September 24, 2017

Work-Juggling Tips for Road Warriors

Meeting deadlines during a month-long trip to Quito, Ecuador was supposed to be a breeze.  But a local energy-saving strategy of scheduled power outages caught my husband and I by surprise and short-circuited our workday.  Unplugged, we relied on extended-use laptop batteries, advanced planning and a restructured mix of work and sightseeing to handle professional obligations during our trip. Our lesson: Working from the road is possible with flexibility and careful planning.

Tips from the Pros:

Lara Dunston and Terence Carter of Gran Tourismo Travels pair their travel writing and photography skills to live and work on the road full time. Their top tip? Schedule duplicate backups of critical data, using both cloud (Internet) storage and a portable drive.  For productivity, they prefer furnished apartments or holiday homes rather than hostels. It also helps to communicate in advance with office-bound co-workers or managers when your on-the-go access might be sketchy.  In Dubai, Dunstan and Carter once lost access to the rest of the world for three days when a ship severed a cable in the Persian Gulf. On a recent stay in Puglia, Italy they found the best Internet access was not in their house, but at a nearby olive grove. “That was great fun until it rained,” Carter said.

Short-Term Opportunities:

Being able to crank out work in small bits of time between media events, during airport delays, early in the morning and in Priority Pass lounges will go a long way towards making sure deadlines are met. To achieve this, it helps to break down larger tasks into smaller productivity packets. For example, researching articles to link to from a particular piece can be done while internet access is available, while framing up an article outline can be done without Wi-Fi, using an old-fashioned paper and pencil if necessary.

Efficiency:

Even the best manager of time can use a little help occasionally when it comes to finding a few extra minutes. For example, one of the reasons I like to have my Kindle Fire on the road with me is that it fires up to web-ready capability practically immediately, compared to the amount of time it takes my laptop to do the same thing. This often means the difference between answering a tweet or email in a timely manner or not. Similarly, travel clothing that is not space efficient and wrinkle resistant takes precious minutes out of my travel day for things like ironing and of course struggling to get everything into the bag.

Photo Credit: Office Now