Out of Office

Archive for the ‘Finally Free’ Category

Smartphones use doubles in 2012

More than half of Australian adults use smartphones, and their use doubled in the year to May 2012, according to a report from the Australian Communications and Media Authority. The report, entitled “Smartphones and tablets: Take-up and use in Australia”, also found a dramatic increase in tablets.

The key infrastructure drivers for this growth include the continued rollout of mobile network upgrades, growth in 4G coverage and the increased use of WiFi hotspots.

This is particularly significant for many Out of Office workers. The obvious beneficiaries are Digital Nomads, who can now find it easier than ever before to work from anywhere. But it also applies to many other types of workers, particularly those who travel for work or commute to work.

25 Tips in 25 Minutes

StopwatchesIn this episode, we share 25 simple but effective tips for improving your Out of Office work style – in the areas of productivity, e-mail, reducing interruptions, flexibility, and online meetings.

Listen to the episode here:

Download the MP3 file here

Buy the book here (available at a reduced price for a limited time).

Summary of the 25 tips:

Set up your workspace with productivity in mind:

  1. Have a dedicated office
  2. Make it easy to switch between workspaces
  3. Create good ergonomics
  4. Make it a place where you like to work

Reduce interruptions:

  1. Turn off alerts for non-urgent communication
  2. Conversely, allow important and urgent messages to get through
  3. Educate people about your work day
  4. Schedule work for quiet times

Manage your time:

  1. Use the Pomodoro Technique or Work Sprints
  2. Set priorities for the day
  3. Track your time
  4. Focus on outcomes and results, and keep promises you make to others

Handle email efficiently:

  1. Don’t use your inbox as your To Do list.
  2. Separate processing from responding
  3. Unsubscribe from irrelevant newsletters, notifications, and mailing lists
  4. Use sub-folders to organise incoming mail

Run better online meetings:

  1. Have a pre-meeting checklist
  2. Know what you want to get from the meeting
  3. “Arrive” early, and be ready to start on time
  4. Get comfortable with the technology

Be flexible, but in a smart way:

  1. Set aside dedicated time slots each week for certain things
  2. Establish a routine for the day
  3. Set weekly goals rather than daily goals
  4. Mix it up
  5. Try different things, and break all the rules!

5 Simple Steps to Taking Your Freelance Career on the Road as a Full-time Traveler

Not every Digital Nomad secretly harbours dreams of being a full-time traveller, working from wherever they lay their laptop. However, some do, and the Digital Nomad workstyle does make that more feasible than most other ways of working.

Freelance Web designer Nathan Swartz wrote about taking your career on the road as a full-time traveller, offering these five key steps:

  1. Organize Your Accomodations
  2. Rediscover the Internet
  3. Set Yourself Up for a Digital Lifestyle
  4. Inform Existing Clients of Your New Hours and Availability
  5. See the World!

Read the full article here.

The Complete Business Traveller Gadget Checklist

If you’re travelling for business or because you’re living the life of a digital nomad, it’s useful to know what you need to take in order to be productive on the road. Everybody has their own list of essentials; here’s one from Lifehacker:

  1. Powerboard
  2. The right device(s)
  3. The appropriate chargers
  4. Universal USB cord
  5. Wi-Fi hotspot
  6. International power adaptor
  7. Bootable USB stick with key documents
  8. Headphones
  9. Screen wipes
  10. Portable phone battery

Read more in the Lifehacker blog post here.

The Workshifter’s Non-Tech Toolkit

Apart from all the technology you carry around with you, what else do you need to be able to live a Digital Nomad’s work day? Susan Murphy has some suggestions in her post, “The Workshifter’s Non-Tech Toolkit”. My list doesn’t match Susan’s exactly, but it was well worth reading anyway – if only to trigger some ideas for me.

Tim Kreidler: The Busy Trap

The following is a quote from Tim Kreidler’s opinion piece The Busy Trap in the New York Times:

Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.

Out of Office workers are particularly prone to the “Busy Trap” because our homes are often our workplaces. This makes it all too easy to spend all our waking hours working.

In the “Finally Free” chapter of the book we offer a few tips on how Out of Office workers can separate work from play. These include taking short breaks during the working day, planning social appointments at the end of the day, and, as Tim Kreidler suggests, unwinding and letting our batteries recharge.

Does Social Media Use Compromise the Security of Your Home?

There’s been some debate whether sharing your location on social media platforms really does increase your risk of getting burgled because the baddies know you’re not at home. Some say it does; others say it’s really no different than most office workers leaving their home empty on most weekdays.

How can you find out the truth? Well, one U.K. survey went to the source: They surveyed ex-burglars, who estimated that their nimble-fingered colleagues were in fact using social media to find vulnerable homes.

Here’s an infographic with some stats and tips (click for a full-size version):

Social Media Safety Infographic Provided By CreditSesame.com
Social Media Infographic Provided by CreditSesame.com

The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Coffee Shop Etiquette

If you’re regularly working in a coffee shop, you might have asked yourself these questions:

  • How long should you linger over a single cup of coffee?
  • How much should you spend?
  • Is it OK to take phone calls while sitting there?
  • What about inviting other people to meet me there for meetings?

Of course, there’s no right answer that suits every situation, but Mashable has attempted to answer the most common questions in the extremely useful post, “The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Coffee Shop Etiquette”.

Cool Mobile Accessories to Add to Your Travel Toolkit

If you’re a Digital Nomad, you have the flexibility of working from anywhere. In our “Freedom” chapter, we suggest an inventory or essential equipment and accessories for your mobile office (a.k.a. backpack!). PC World adds to this with its list “Cool Mobile Accessories to Add to Your Travel Toolkit”.

Five Reasons The Cloud Is Ideal For Small Business

If you’re thinking of moving more of your business services on-line, Angus Kidman at Lifehacker lists five good reasons why:

  1. You avoid large up-front capital expenses
  2. You don’t need to maintain your own server
  3. You don’t have to grapple with unfamiliar interfaces
  4. Your software is accessible from anywhere
  5. Your data is backed up automatically

Read the full article here.

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