Living and working on the road full time means I have the freedom to work anywhere. It also means that I could find myself working anywhere, a flexibility that can be difficult to adjust to. As humans we crave the familiar, and a constantly changing workspace can easily interfere with productivity. However, I have found a few tricks to help make any space feel like my own.
Use my own computer.
I can’t imagine work on a shared computer. If you have to share your laptop with other members of your family, set up individual profiles so all of your settings can be personalized. Knowing exactly where everything is allows me to work faster and adds a level of consistency to an ever-changing work environment.
Use a real mouse.
When I first started working remotely I tried to use my laptop’s scroll pad in order to cut down on what I had to bring with me to the coffee shop and the amount of space I might take up. There’s nothing like using a sub par track pad to make you feel like you’re working in a temporary situation - or at least hoping it’s temporary. I love my Logitech wireless mouse and will happily make room for it in any travel bag. Speaking of bags…
Build an office-in-a-bag.
My laptop backpack has everything I might need to conduct business, including my external hard drive, headphones, business cards, notepad and pen, and Starbucks reward card. The bag, as well as the items in it, have become a bit of security blanket for me; even if I don’t use everything in it I feel more secure knowing that it’s all available to me whether I’m in my own RV, in a coffee shop, or at an airport charging station.
Invest in good headphones.
A busy New York coffee shop produces the perfect amount of background noise for me to write, but a Denny’s restaurant presents one distraction after another. Fortunately, I always carry an awesome pair of headphones and have the “Ambient Music” station favorited on Pandora. In 90 seconds I’m in my own world and ready to go to work.
What are your must-haves for making anywhere feel like your own work space?