5 TIPS ON WORKING REMOTELY//
Sitting on my table is a lineup of four delicious happy hour tacos, a house margarita, and my laptop. The spot is Babalu in Overton Square of Memphis, TN and they have some of the best grub in town. I don’t say that lightly, as I’ve lived in Mexico on and off quite a bit over the past five years. To complement the food and drinks, there’s the cutest little brown baby on the planet to my right smiling away at me. The chatter of neighboring tables mixes in with the Latin Jazz over the speaker system and I realize something. This stuff makes me happy. I’m not only happy, but I’m working and I’m happy. This is why working remotely is so important. If done well, it can increase productivity, grow your network, and make your workday even more fulfilling.
Working remotely isn’t for everyone. For example, my girlfriend has ADHD and I remember a time we were trying to study at a hip new Vietnamese joint. She quickly explained to me that it wasn’t going to work. Apparently she could hear every conversation coming in and out and was completely over-stimulated. The way her brain worked simply fought against the productivity of working in public. So know yourself and realize that these methods don’t work for everyone. However, I thrive on the chaos. I accept the challenge daily of having my cake and literally eating it, too. (Speaking of which, my dessert guacamole just arrived. Haha!) To optimize your experience, experiment with the following tips and tricks:
1. Bring (mic’d) headphones. There are an infinite amount of things that could be hitting your ear holes that either make or break your focus. It could be an obnoxious voice or laugh, an offensive topic, etc. so instead of hearing the shrill cry of “Chandla’ Bing!”, simply throw in your headphones and find a soundscape that suits you. For me, it’s a toss up between ambient instrumental music from the likes of Explosions in the Sky, jazz fusion from recently featured Chicago band CRISP, or the sultry soul of Lianne La Havas. In addition to controlling what sounds course through your brain, you can also take or make voice memos and calls hands-free. Check the link to see the super affordable headphones that I use daily.
2. Find Wi-Fi. As a former cruise ship employee of more than three years, I have mastered the art of finding strong internet connections. For travelers and those who work on the road alike, good speeds are imperative! There are multiple apps and forums on the internet that rank the wi-fi connections of various businesses according to location. Utilize these, call ahead, and make sure that the spot you choose will meet your needs.
(Alternate) Get a tethering package. I personally utilize a high speed unlimited tethering package on my T-Mobile bill that is less than $25/month! I can work anywhere, anytime! It’s lightning fast, super cheap and good enough to simultaneously run Netflix on my Smart TV, surf the web on my computer, and still sift through my apps actively on my iPhone. I HIGHLY recommend T-Mobile for their customer service and affordable high speed tethering options. (No, they’re not paying me to say that, but I may be biased, as T-Mobile was one of my first jobs in high school.)
3. Pick your spot wisely! I generally will choose my location based on two things: food and drink. I’m a foodie, and I get genuine joy from trying new, innovative foods. Not only does this combine my work with another thing I really love, but as it turns out, humans need to eat! It’s killing two birds with one stone. (And if you’re eating Tinga tacos like me, I suppose it’s closer to three birds! Haha.) For others, a tranquil body of water or a rooftop bar may work better. And for some, a quiet library or a coffee shop may be more productive. Know yourself, experiment, and find the best spots you can. If you’re a foodie like me, read some Thrillist articles, find local blogs, or just read through reviews on TripAdvisor!
4. Use the BEST equipment you can afford. I’ve learned the hard way that nothing can kill a day (or a mood) quicker than faulty equipment. I’ve been chatting with millionaire CEO’s when my headphones started acting up, and the awkward, unprofessional atmosphere that it created was a big hurdle to overcome once we got reconnected. And there have been countless times I’ve lit up like Wolverine when my old-ass MacBook started freezing up mid-project. So you should really think about what your equipment needs are, do your research and buy the best stuff you can. Your equipment can also be considered a business expense that you can claim later, so don’t be afraid to splurge a little. For great, unbiased product reviews, check out Cnet.Com or Consumer Reports.
5. your experience! Basically everything I’m throwing at ya’ is opinion, so create your own by experimenting. Try new locations, equipment, and techniques. For some of you cyber-hippies, it may be best to get some grass between your toes and blast Mumford & Sons from your car speakers. For others, an Chicago rooftop with the hip-hop sounds of Mikey to the P, might be the answer. Be comfortable, blur the lines and find your bliss (even) while working!
There are all sorts of benefits to working remotely. Other than having your cake, as I said before, it also increases your visibility in the community. I get recognized from various social media posts and engagements constantly! I went to a coffee shop the other day, and with the help of our IG Growth Package, my barista thanked me for liking so many of her IG photography posts and gave my coffee to me on the house! Not to mention, people see my fingers blurring around my keyboard of my sticker plastered MacBook and it creates conversations about who I am, what my brand is and how we might work together!
Working remotely is fun, freeing and can be the most efficient way to work, if you do it right! I urge you to try it today and maybe even read one of my other blogs while you’re out there doing it! Cheers.