Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tips for Working While Traveling

Until we make the big move in June, I’ll be splitting my time between two states two weeks out of each month. The things I do for my mother (I sure hope my daughter is paying attention.).

I spent yesterday morning traveling and the rest of my afternoon working on client projects. I find that as long as I have a plan and work it, the transition each month goes pretty smoothly; my clients have no idea. However, this week I had to inform a couple of regular clients I handle weekly projects for that I would not be available Thursday and Friday in order to handle some personal business. The client got a little panicked. I assured him that I would have everything for the week completed before I left (after all I was already preparing for the trip). It took turning in the project early as promised to ease his concerns.

I find that it’s best not to worry my client’s pretty little heads unnecessarily; I don’t bother telling them when I travel. I figure as long as I’m completing projects and meeting their quality standards, it’s best. I do make a few adjustments while traveling to reduce the chances of problems cropping up unexpectedly.

I Bought a New Laptop

I now work exclusively from my laptop. I invested in a new laptop last month and passed my beloved, but slower, desktop on to my children. Working from two different computers could get a little confusing for me. I installed and transferred everything I need to my laptop to keep things simple.

I Started Using Google Docs

I was initially introduced to Google Docs three years ago by a client. At the time he kept me quite busy with projects. In order to keep things organized (we’d often work on two to three projects at once) he gave me a crash course in Google Docs.

Google Docs is a very flexible online tool. You can create documents as you would in Microsoft Word or Open Office, spreadsheets, create pdf formats and PowerPoint presentations.
It’s also great when you’re collaborating with clients and other contract workers like web developers. It’s easy to share documents with others.

My favorite feature is the database. I can store store all of my documents so that I can access them from any computer. It’s the epitome of doing business in the cloud.

I Work Ahead

I work on a couple of personal projects in addition to handling client work. I try to work ahead on regular projects like blogs as much as possible. I also try to plan deadlines with enough cushion to handle any unexpected surprises.

I Don’t Overdo It

I don’t schedule an excessive amount of deadlines while traveling. I prefer to keep things as simple as possible, so the majority of the work I do while out of town consists of research and writing. I seem to handle deadlines better on my own turf - or maybe it’s just the security I get from being in my own home office with all my files and resource material.

I Use a Cell Phone for Business

I don’t do a lot of business by phone, but there are certainly times when it’s necessary. Sometimes people call after coming across my website, or a past client will contact me to discuss a project. A cell phone is just easier for me to manage and it goes where I go.
Do you have any tips for working while traveling to share?


Lori said...

I'm SO protective of my time off! I have my cell on my business card, but it's rare that I'll use it for business. Few clients call me there, and those that do usually just ring away in my purse (I need to make it more of a habit having that next to me). :)

Kimberly Ben said...

Lori, I originally debated using my cell for business. It was a good choice for me because I've never been one to spend lots of time making personal calls on the phone anyway, so it wasn't such a big deal. if I can't take a call, I just let it go to voice mail and return the call later. I've trained myself to keep it next to me while I work (mainly because my husband calls so much throughout the day - lol).

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