As I write this, I am sitting in a salon chair, waiting for hair dye to process, so I figured there couldn’t be a better-suited time to get my ideas for this post on paper. One of the benefits of being an entrepreneur or freelancer is the ability to work on the go and morph any setting into an office. This is how we make working on the go work!
The keys to successfully working on the go are efficiency, organization, and time management (keep an eye out for another post on this topic, as I could go on for days!). These are the tips that work for me:
Obviously, if lay floors for a living, you can’t walk around with tools in your pockets 24/7, but you can keep a notebook, any measuring devices you need for an unexpected quote request, as well as an iPad or laptop with you so that you can take advantage of the downtime that is scattered throughout your day.
I am a content writer and social media manager, amongst other things, so I keep my bag stocked with a notebook, pens, my iPad, chargers, headphones (there are noise canceling options available for those of you that prefer silence over music while working), a schedule of articles to be written, and my phone. Then moments just like this one, when I am just sitting here, becomes “found” work time.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a high maintenance worker. I have certain things that I need my setting to provide, depending on the project I am tackling. Because of this, I separate my weekly To-Do list into two different sections “Can Handle with Screaming Babies Zone” and “Quiet Writing Zone.”
If I am doing social media posts, I don’t generally need much quiet, unless I am generating new content (if it requires longer content, I move that over to my “Quiet” section of my To-Do list), so that type of work stays on the side that allows for me to work at my daughter’s extracurricular activities, or in a coffee shop with headphones, etc.
My quiet side contains projects that I need to complete once my daughter is in bed for the night, or at school, and I am locked away in my home office so that I can devote the concentration the project requires.
One of my biggest complaints of working on the fly is the interruptions… That sounds horribly rude, and I don’t mean it to, but if you’re working in an office, chances are, people aren’t going to pop up at your desk and ask you what you do for a living, and then once you respond, their eyes won’t light up and they will not continue to fire off a bazillion questions about what you’re working on. I have met many cool people this way, and I am always beyond flattered and feel really undeserving that they even care about what I do, but… working.
My solution is to be as polite as possible, but try to politely end the conversation as quickly as I can. With new potential clients, I hand them my business card and ask them to call/ email me to set up a time to discuss their needs, and explain that I am sorry, but I am on a deadline for another client and need to give the project my full attention.
As a working mom, time is precious and I am usually trying to crank out as many quality projects as possible at that coffee shop table before having to dash off for a client meeting or pick up my kid. I have found the BEST solution to all of this is a good pair of headphones, going to the coffee shop mid-morning or early afternoon, after the rush, or just maintaining a really good “I’m Super Busy and Engrossed with My Work” face.
We all have a good idea of what our day will look like, right? Appointments, meetings, deadlines, etc. But do you map out your downtime? I do. That 10-15 minutes waiting for you kid’s bus? I use that to go over my work for the day, or write down new blog post ideas, social media ideas that I want to incorporate into my projects for the day, or answer client emails.
Waiting for a doctor appointment, while my car gets serviced, while my hair is getting done, waiting for my daughter’s theater class to end… it can all be work time if you are flexible enough to work on the go.
The ability to create an office anywhere can be an amazing thing with some preparation and a willingness to think outside of the box. As an entrepreneur, you have advantages and disadvantages (such as taxes, oy!) Being able to create your schedule to optimize your working hours is a pretty big plus if you use it wisely!
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