Bon Jovi played in the background, insert “It’s My Life,” as the smell of vanilla and coffee beans hit my nose. There I was in a hip little cafe in Ecuador tapping away on the keys of my laptop. Content shooting over to my editors, soccer game on the TV, people chatting away in multiple languages…The Joys of a Mobile Office.
Have laptop will travel- it can be a dream come true with loads of freedom to boot or a nightmare with massively slow connection speeds and missing documents. Today I have gathered some tips from the MyBlogU Community to help you lean more towards the “dream come true” scenario.
*This post has been updated with more tips.
The Where of a Mobile Office: Cafes, Co-Working Spaces, & Libraries Oh My!
An inspiring atmosphere and a great internet connection = a space to work online.
I have worked managing social media and helping clients with freelance blogging at the library, local cafes, Starbucks, Panera Bread, friend’s houses, outside, and more! I have yet to try co-working spaces, but they seem to be all the rage.
Here is what some fellow bloggers and freelacners had to say,
“The two best ideas I use are coffee shops with great wifi and co-working spaces, which are growing in popularity. Both environments offer the positiveness that comes when you are around other people. Co-working spaces are becoming more and more popular and are extremely cost-effective. Moreover, these spaces give one the opportunity to network with other like-minded individuals.”Edwin Dearborn
BidSketch has some great tips on being respectful and working from coffee shops like a boss.
Co-working spaces sound like a great idea to me. And David of The Happy Guy says,
My wife drives my daughters to high school in the big city each morning. But when she is out of town at a conference a couple of times each year, I drive them into the city. It’s really not worth driving back out to God’s country and then back into the city to pick them up again, so I camp out at my “library office.”
Work is where the WiFi is, but David didn’t choose just any library,
I picked this particular library because it is attached to a community center with a couple of long corridors. So during the day, I can get up and walk and stretch and even do jumping jacks to get the blood flowing – even when there is a January blizzard outside. This applies not just to this library, but to other large places with WiFi, such as food courts at large indoor malls. You can find David’s post here:Work is where the WIFI is (with LogMeIn)
Exercise is a wonderful way to keep your energy high on a work from home or a working mobile day.
The Tools for A Mobile Office: Apps & Gadgets
For the love of gadgets! There are some apps and gear that will make your mobile work run smoother but do not overdo it. Remember, you want to be able to change locations easily without a lot weighing you down.
“Apps like ZOIPIER softphone mimic a real telephone right on your desktop so with a headset you can speak on the phone hands-free and continue to type or write if needed.
With the advent of the just-announced iPadPro and its Apple Pencil, I can see the mobile office becoming smaller, lighter, and more powerful for those who use productivity apps as well as those in the design and illustration business.”Steve Counsell
I didn’t know about that one Steve. Good tip.
A few apps/online resources I recommend for the mobile office are:
Focus@Will – An app with music scientifically designed to help you focus while you work. This can be great for when you are in a cafe and find yourself tuning into your surroundings instead of focusing on your tasks.
Idenati – An online digital command center to eliminate the distractions of the internet. You can just head to your Identai dashboard to have all the online websites and apps you use organized in one place. Idenati can save your passwords too so you have them wherever you are working. See How To Create A Digital Command Center for Better Focus
Trello – I use and love Trello to organize my projects on the go because it syncs to all devices. It creates the perfect online mobile office.
Staying Productive With A Mobile Office Kit
Create your mobile office bag or box to carry with you as needed. Some things to consider for your kit:
- Stand to hold them
- Small Wireless Keyboard
- Solar charger
- USB Drive, Hard drive for backups
- Pens, highlighters, markers
- Notebook and stickie notes
- A really great planner
This post has been updated since Steve mentioned about the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil coming out. I personally like to just take my iPad when I work from various locations. I have the Apple iPad (Wi-Fi, 32GB). The rose gold is lovely and I use it for digital planning and all kinds of projects. I have a strong case with a stand that has been very durable but can still easily fit inside my Marshall’s handbag.
I have a Bluetooth keyboard for it too. The keyboard is easy to carry for a mobile office but still has all the full-size keys. I just have to be careful to remember to turn it off when I am finished and bring extra batteries for it.
It was a long time after the iPad craze before I got one but I love it now. Great to use instead of a laptop if you want something smaller. Though there are some tasks that are easier to do on a computer. I even use my iPad as a second monitor in my home office beside my computer with this iPad stand.
I’m a freelance writer and blogger. Charli Marie is a web and graphic designer but she has a similar kit for her mobile office.
The iPad is also great if you have an app like Goodnotes to store a digital planner and digital notebooks if you don’t want to carry paper ones.
I still love paper planning but I do use the GoodNotes app with a digital planner I got off of Etsy.
I have loads of app and equipment recommendations for the mobile office and home office on our resources page.
You will also want a good quality bag or tote to put everything in to carry your mobile office, one that will protect your devices. Small pouches that go within your bag can also help keep like things together and your bag organized.
You don’t want to be THAT person at the cafe that has the clown bag full of random stuff that you keep pulling out.
I like to have two “kits” in mind- one that is minimal and one that is ready for more extensive work depending on how long I will be out and what tasks I have to do. If you can have extra chargers, batteries, etc that you can leave packed and ready to go at all times it helps a lot.
If you are not going to be at a cafe, maybe outside or somewhere without food and water access, pack a refillable water bottle and snack. If you are going to be on calls, you may need a little self-care, quickly pretty yourself up kit too. And don’t forget your wallet.
So, are you ready to take your office on the go?
Here are the gadgets you’ll need for your mobile office via an infographic from Mallee Blue Design:
Infographic Courtesy of Mallee Blue Design
There you have it- your Where, How, and What of Mobile Work!
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Drop by Mallee Blue Design to thank David Trounce for making that infographic for our Immensely Social Community and don’t forget to Pin It! A Thank you to David Leonhardt of The Happy Guy, as well as Edwin Dearborn of Power Branding Secrets, and Steve Counsell of SteveCounsell.com for contributing to this post!
So, I want to know…How and where do you work MOBILE? What’s in your mobile office kit?
Pin it to save these mobile office tips for next time you need to pack and head out: