A Mobile Lifestyle for a Smoother Work Life

Manage Work Life Better


The commute is killing you, the caffeine has you on edge and the shirt and tie is getting you hot under the collar. And that’s before we even mention the workload.

Modern life is a demanding beast and if you’re looking to manage your work life better, there’s one thing you need: Mobile broadband.

So how does a little thing like a dongle or a smartphone solve all of that? Remember when you used to stand in line for your morning coffee and look at the girl with headphones, her laptop and mug and think “she’s not really working”? Maybe there was a time she wasn’t, but today you can bet that she is working in an environment she likes.

“But how does she talk to her clients?”

She probably uses communications platforms such as Skype or Oovoo. Calling computer-to-computer is free and calling a landline is less expensive than using the blower.

“But what if she needs to have a meeting?”

Then she gets in her car, or catches a train and still manages her work life. If there’s no time, or getting to see clients is expensive, video conferencing will give her the face-time she needs without hours or days of travel. If the job is a short one, it can probably be finished more quickly this way than if travel were added to the equation.

“How does one share paperwork?”

If she’s dealing in office documents like Word, or Excel, she might be using Dropbox, which is an online storage system that allows documents to be stored in files on the Internet. The file is shared via an email invite. Suddenly the need to be in the same room as the person you’re working with is gone.

Alternatively, there are dedicated content management systems such as Basecamp that can house the entire content for a project and allow two or more people to collaborate on a single document at the same time.

There is also Google Docs which does the same. It has an added function of Instant Messaging Chat (IM) that allows collaborators to chat through their process as they are working. Colour coding allows users to see who has added what to the mix, so all the rules of collaborative working apply, just within an online framework.

Take a step back for a moment and you’ll see that using these tools, the gal in the cafe can hire and collaborate with people anywhere in the world. Add Paypal to the equation and she can unlock expertise in foreign markets and often for a better price than we would find it at home. That’s valuable. Equally, if her own patch is a little dry she can find work in foreign markets and receive payment in exactly the same way.

“What if one’s on the road all day?”

Then she’s on her smartphone. The name is no mistake, smartphones are smart.

Take Dropbox as an example: She has the app on her phone, which is synced with her online account. When documents are updated, the Dropbox app will tell her. If something needs her urgent attention, she’ll immediately know to make the time for it somewhere in her day. Documents are inactive for much less time this way than if they are sitting in an in tray in an office somewhere.

If she’s travelling a lot she’ll have an app like Kayak, which allows her to compare flight, hotel and rental car prices on the phone. Once her itinerary is booked, she can check flight status in real time and have instant access to the airlines contact information. If her plans need to change, she can make other arrangements before she’s late for everything.

“How does she manage her contacts if she doesn’t have an office?”

Social networks are the new rolodex. And it’s not just about Facebook. Professional networks such as LinkedIn allow colleagues past and present to stay connected. Profiles are regularly updated so that you can see what your contacts have been up to and whether you can be useful to one another today.

Networking itself doesn’t have to be a face-to-face exercise either. Twitter is a great platform for meeting new people in your field. Following their tweets also gives you an insight into what innovations they are interested in.

“So, I can manage my work life while sitting in a cafe too?”

Yes, technology has evolved to a point where it is working for us. All the frameworks are there to save us time and money, to breakdown geographical barriers and allow us to explore markets that were once out of the reach of the average working person. The number of online businesses have increased exponentially as individuals harness the Internet to make a living.

But there is a caveat to all this:

Just because it’s online doesn’t mean we can forget what it’s fundamentally all about: human relationships. And there’s no app for that.

Do you make your work life smoother with the Internet? Got tips?


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Discussion

  1. STRONGside on the 29th June

    Great job on the article. Living a life free of office constraints adds much more than just freedom from a cubicle and a suit every day. it can give you real joy and add years to your life. Since you are not commuting, you can sleep later. Since you don’t have to go out to lunch, you can make your own much healthier option. Since you wont be going to office parties you can save money and calories. You will also eliminate the stress and drama of office politics. Not a bad shake if you ask me.

  2. Peach on the 30th June

    This is want I am actually trying to do with my work life. I find it more productive than working inside an office. More inspiring, productive and yet enjoy the moment. I really recommend designers to try these approach. Sometime, you must let your idea flow, not force it.

    Thanks for the great article. :)

  3. Charles van Heerden on the 30th June

    Fully agree with the general points of this article. A lot of time is wasted by traveling, particularly around peak hours.

    I would add Skype as a great tool for video conferencing.

    Being a big Apple fan, I am also looking forward to their iCloud developments – which will make the way of storing and accessing applications a lot more seamless.

    We live in a virtual world – with virtual leadership where managers are coaching and guiding teams around the world. Location is no longer barrier.

    And new technology will make it easier to work where we want and when we want.

  4. Robert on the 1st July

    I’ve been thinking about getting one of these mobile hotspots for a while. Turns out the Verizon LTE coverage in Chicago isn’t too bad so I may have to sign up this weekend. Thanks!

  5. Bambi Weavil on the 12th July

    Loved this article. I’m always up for upping my productivity in what are normally “down” moments. One of the simple timesavers I try do is compose text msgs on the train to send when I’m back above ground. I also just downloaded the RememberTheMilk app so that will also help me stay on top of things.

    Cheers,
    Bambi

  6. Bojan on the 12th September

    I was working in the internet company for more than a year and it was amazing experience. The minute I got my job, I went to Greece to try to experiment with location free work and it was awesome.

    While I was getting tan on the Greek Sea Side, I was happily working for my employer and earned my salary online.

    This is one of the greatest things that happened to me and it’s totally possible to achieve.

    My workolliday lasted for more than a month and I didn’t even took a vaccation.

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