Imagine a world where you never have to work on your days off and where your breaks are actually breaks. When you leave the office at the end of the day, you are done until the next morning when you step into work and switch the lights on.
Okay, that’s probably not going to happen, at least not any time soon. In reality, you will probably have to work from home—and on the road. Imagine that: working and traveling. While this may seem disheartening, there are several tips you can follow to make working on the go much more bearable. We’ve compiled a list of our favorites to help you get your “road work” done—completely stress free!
- Plan Your Schedule a Day Before
Every successful day requires an effective plan. In short, it’s impossible to meet your goals if you don’t know what you’re working with and develop at least a general idea of how to get there. This is especially true if you are working on the road. Planning your schedule a day in advance will give you time to prepare for the challenges of the next day.
For example, it might be helpful to carve out a few set times throughout the day that you will devote to work. No matter what else you do in your travels, keep in your mind that you must work at those predetermined times. This will help prepare you and give you the mindset necessary to achieve your goals.
It will also make sure that you can balance your work and road lives. Don’t feel like you need to multitask. Instead, focus on one thing at a time. This separation will make your workload more bearable, and it will also improve your sleep schedule. If you are due for extended travel, this is particularly important, as your trip can throw off your normal sleeping rhythms and make you feel groggy.
- Know Your Hotspots
If you are working on the road, there’s a good chance you will need an Internet connection at some point. Knowing where the Wi-Fi hotspots are on your route will greatly benefit you in this regard. Remember that you can stop off at local libraries and restaurants (such as Starbucks) to use Internet if necessary. Keep in mind, however, that not every establishment will give ready access to their Wi-Fi connections. If possible, scope out the hotspots along your route to see which establishments offer free Internet access and which require payment or unattainable passwords.
In the event of long-term travel or emergency, a portable hotspot is a must. Functional hotspots start around $40, but keep in mind that the quality of your Internet connection increases with price. If you are pressed with deadlines, it’s crucial that you keep a portable hotspot on hand. Those involved in any sort of online business know that a steady Internet connection is the crux of their enterprise—as such, you want to maintain Internet access at all times. Make sure to research your hotspot provider to identify any weak spots in their coverage. This will help you plan accordingly and stay on track.
- Use a Quality Laptop with Virus Protection
This may sound obvious, but you would be surprised at the amount of people who attempt to work on the road without the proper equipment. You want to make sure that your computer is up to date and has plenty of storage space. Older computers are more susceptible to damage and wear and tear, increasing your risk of an accident. If you see yourself working on the road, make sure that your machine can handle it.
Not only this, but you will want to make sure your device has what it takes to be on the move. You don’t want something that is too clunky, heavy, or takes up too much space. At the same time, your device needs to have all the necessary tools to work from home. Does it have Microsoft Office, for example? Do your keys stick? The key to successful road work starts with quality machinery.
If you are using external Wi-Fi, you will want to make sure that your laptop has excellent virus protection. Even if you are connecting to seemingly trustworthy sources such as libraries and Starbucks, there’s a chance that your device could become infected with a virus. Keep your downloads to a minimum and avoid any networks that aren’t safe. Installing quality anti-virus software will allow your computer to stay up and running no matter where you go, and it will protect against any damages that could hinder or ruin your work.
- Have a Power Bank Handy
Accidents are unpredictable and unavoidable. Try as we might, we often find ourselves in sticky situations. For this reason, it’s important that you always carry a power bank with you. This is especially true if you see yourself on the road for an extended period. A power bank will allow you to charge your laptop, even if you don’t have access to an outlet.
For those unfamiliar with the technology, a power bank works by first being charged like your regular laptop or technological devices. Once the device is charged, it can in turn be used to charge your laptop. You will want to make sure your power bank is fully charged before heading out. If possible, keep the power bank charging in your car outlet when you aren’t using it to charge your laptop.
Functional power banks start around $40, but you may want to invest one a little more expensive. This will ensure that you have continuous access to charge, even when you are far from home.
- Don’t Get Caught Off Guard by Time Zones
If your trip involves switching time zones, be sure that you and your clients are all on the same page.
You don’t want to miss your 10 a.m. Skype meeting or your 12 noon deadline because of a simple lapse in judgment.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult at times to know just what time zone you’re in or to predict where you will be at any given moment.
That’s why it’s important that if you’re taking a cross-county trip you have a detailed schedule in place—and that you stick to it.
Make sure to map out your schedule as it relates to the time zone you will be in at the time. Chances are, your cellphone will automatically adjust to the time zone you’re in, so you never have to worry about changing the time yourself.
If this isn’t enough, most phones come with the option of showing you the time in your current time zone as well as the time in a place of your choosing.
If your company is still basing your work off the time zone in your hometown, you can use your phone to keep track of the difference between your time zones so that your work is always on time.
And remember, before making any agreements with clients, be sure there’s no confusion about the time. In doing so, you’ll have a smoother and less stressful road work experience.
- Preschedule Social Media Posts
Depending on your job, social media posts can be very important. Entrepreneurs trying to build a personal brand, for instance, need to make routine posts to build their following. For those in marketing, social media offers a powerful branding platform.
The unfortunate reality is, however, that as you work on the road, you’ll likely be unable to give as much attention to your social media profiles as you’d like. Because having a significant lapse in posts can hurt your bottom dollar, take the time to preschedule your posts before your journey so that you can focus on the work at hand.
Social media sites themselves have their own scheduling options, but if you’d like, you can also invest in software that will schedule them for you—for a price. While it might seem like a costly investment, purchasing this software can save you time by sending out your content across all your social media pages at once.
If you find a little extra time on your trip to dedicate to social media, great! That’s even better for you or your company’s brand.
If not, you can work with the peace of mind knowing that it’s one less thing you have to worry about.
And when you’re on the road, that’s always a good thing.
- Make Sure All Your Files Are Accessible
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s all too often that important work-related information gets behind. And that’s never a good thing.
Just think: how bad would it be if you got hundreds of miles away only to realize that you forgot your client list or your preliminary work plans?
It’s a situation no one wants to find themselves in. The good news is that with today’s modern technology, you never have to be.
Several file-storage methods are available for the effective transport of your work-related documents. While USB thumb drives are always a popular option—and a practical one if you think you may go for extended periods without data or Wi-Fi—online cloud storage options are becoming increasingly popular.
If you’ve got a Microsoft computer, for example, you may find that you can automatically backup your files to Microsoft’s OneDrive. For Apple users, the company’s iCloud offers another powerful storage option.
iCloud and Google Drive may be some of the best options for those who work on both their laptops and their phones. For Apple users, the iCloud syncs across devices, and for Android users, the Google Drive app comes pre-installed, and all files can be accessed from your laptop by going to the company’s website online.
If you know that you have an upcoming trip, it’s a good idea to get in the habit of saving all your documents to a cloud storage option or USB. In this way, you can make sure that you have all the information necessary to get the work you need done.
- Have a Backup Plan
At the risk of sounding negative, it’s important that you plan for the worst.
This may mean making sure that at least some of the work is done in advance.
While you might catch a break and get more time on the road to do your work—getting stuck in traffic, for instance—it’s also likely that you could face some time-consuming problems.
It’s always best to be prepared for the unexpected. Don’t let a surprise flat tire be the difference in you getting your work done or not.
While making your schedule, make sure that you have a backup plan in place in case you need to get your work done under a tighter deadline.
You may want to spend some time before your trip simply outlining your responsibilities. If you’ve got another capable person with you, you may even think it best to consider asking them for assistance.
While it’s optimal that you won’t have to use this safety net, having one in place ensures that your work is completed without any unnecessary hang-ups and reduces your stress.
The Bottom Line
Maximizing your productivity while working on the road takes careful time and planning. While preparing for your trip, be sure to count for unexpected delays, setbacks, and distractions so that you can get your work done no matter the circumstance.
If you follow the tips above, you can enjoy a less-stressful work experience. By accounting for potential mishaps and preparing accordingly, you can ensure that your work is done on-time.
Even better, a thoroughly thought-out plan will help you stay on top of both the pressing tasks at hand and the more mundane, but still important, aspects of your job.
Next time you have to work on the road, keep our top eight tips in mind to boost your productivity and efficiency.