One of my favourite things about working as a Blogger, and working for myself, is the fact that I can work from anywhere. Since #CasaGC is only big enough to house one home office (which, at this point plays host to Josh’s music studio) sometimes that means my ‘office’ is anywhere from the couch, our dining room table or even our big ol’ bed. But after working for myself full-time for the past 1.5 years, I know full well that my efficiency increases substantially when I leave the house, and work from (literally) anywhere else.
Like many other freelancers and entrepreneurs, my work space of choice (outside of my home) often boils down to a favourite local coffee shop in a nearby or convenient neighbourhood based on my day’s schedule. After many successful and not-so-successful attempts at working remotely (mainly based on whether or not I’ve remembered or forgotten to bring key items with me), here I’m breaking down 10 things you need to create an efficient mobile office so you can work from anywhere:
1. Smartphone You Can Hotspot
If you caught this recent article on a downtown cafe that pulled the plug on their WiFi, citing “We don’t want to be an office”, you might already be wary of the availability of free internet at your chosen ‘office’ for the day. Open WiFi or not, it’s best to come equipped with a fully-charged smartphone that you can Hotspot in the case that there’s A) No available WiFi, or B) A super slow connection. Trust me, both examples have happened to me far too many times to count.
2. Compact But Powerful Computer
When your job relies heavily on the use of your computer, it can be difficult to decide if you should compromise power and performance for portability. The struggle is real and I know it a little too well after years of lugging my extremely heavy professional-level laptop that completely destroyed my back. Thankfully, these days it’s easier to get your hands on a high-performance laptop that lightweight and easy to carry around. If you’re in the market for a new device, I’m really impressed with the super sleek new Microsoft Surface Laptop and Surface Pro.
The Surface Laptop is the perfect balance of portability and power with a beautiful blend of fabric, function and sleek design in a truly personal laptop. It brings together Windows 10 S with innovations from across the Surface family in a classic form factor. The new Surface Pro is the next generation of Microsoft’s iconic product and promises to be the most versatile tablet-laptop hybrid on the planet.
3. A Good Camera*
This applies mainly to those who work as bloggers, vloggers, influencers or photographers. Since what we do relies so heavily on imagery, you’re likely going to want to have your camera on hand wherever you’re working. Besides, you never know when you might run into someone you feel comfortable enough asking to “quickly” take a photo of you even though you know, and they know, you’re really asking for about 50 different pose and angle options to get that perfect shot. NBD.
4. Your Chargers (All Of Them)
If you happen to be lucky enough to be packing your own Microsoft Surface with you, this part may not apply as the powerful devices provide 13.5 hours of battery life. In other cases, I would recommend you consider bringing your laptop charger, phone charger, and, perhaps, a back-up portable charger in case you aren’t able to access any plugs (it happens).
5. Notebook and Pen
I spend a lot of time looking at screens for what I do, but I still rely heavily on a good old fashioned notebook and pen for keeping track of my ideas and To Do lists. I mean, is it just me or is there anything more satisfying than putting pen to paper to strike off a list? I don’t think so. While most of my artistic work on paper (beyond words) consists of little doodles, any artists or graphic designers out there should note that the new Microsoft Surface Pro allows you to work with a Surface Pen on screen, which seems pretty cool, especially for working on digital designs.
6. Oversized Headphones
The only problem with working remotely, especially at cafes, is that it can get noisy AF. Having a pair of oversized headphones on hand can help block out the noise and work blissfully to the tunes of your choice. In my experience, oversized headphones can also be of benefit when you want to avoid having people try to talk to you and interrupt your work flow. These really came in handy even when I worked in a shared work space. It was less bustling, but way too social (in my opinion) for keeping up efficiency.
7. Sunglasses For Inside
If you’re anything like me, you prefer to reserve all of your energy needed for socializing for major social settings and events. The rest of the time, you basically want to live incognito and limit the amount times you have to interact with anyone at all. If this sounds familiar, our personalities have recently been defined as ‘Extroverted Introverts’ and you can read more about that life HERE. Sunglasses are a key accessory to living your best life incognito. Go out and enjoy the freedom of working remotely, while simultaneously politely ignoring acquaintances you might run into by pretending you don’t see them at all. Sure, you might look a little ridiculous wearing sunglasses inside, but at least it will save you from dreaded small talk.
8. Reusable Cups
If you plan to park your tush at a coffee shop for a substantial period of time, the least you can do is consider ways to reduce the amount of waste you create while you’re there. The most obvious is avoiding disposable plastic, paper or styrofoam cups by bringing your own reusable travel mug and water bottle with you. If you don’t have one, well, here’s your excuse to go shopping!
9. Access To Money AKA Your Wallet
Similar to the above statement, if you plan to stay at a cafe to get your work done (and likely use a significant amount of their free internet), be a good person and spend money while you’re there. By more than one drink, maybe some food at some point, and tip well. For this reason, it’s key to not forget your wallet. Unfortunately you can’t (yet) pay for everything with your phone.
10. Packed Snacks
Well, I realize this statement completely conflicts with what I just said, but, if you plan to be out of the house all day, buying every single meal is just plain expensive! Especially if you, like me, enjoy/need to snack while working, then you may want to consider packing a few snacks with you. I’m not saying you should bust out a 4 course meal you brought from home at your cafe of choice, but you can break up the amount of items you need to buy while you’re there by bringing some harmless small goodies such as almonds, carrot sticks or an apple to help get you through the day.