5 Mistakes I’ve Made as Mobile Worker
Here’s what I’ve learned along the way…
- I assumed nobody was looking – As a mobile worker, I work from coffee shops, airports, airplanes, parks, bars (my favorite), outside daycare, poolside, you name it and I’ve probably opened up my laptop there…
At those times, I get so focused on my work that I think I’m invisible. Suddenly, I started realizing that people in public spaces think that they can just look at whatever you’re working on. The nerve! (I’m guilty of doing this, too.) I even had a lady seated next to me on a flight watch an ENTIRE movie on my iPad and then ask me , “So what did you think of the ending?” Then I was on a flight from London to San Francisco and I was able to read the entire 2nd quarter strategy for a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company that shall remain nameless.
Ever since then, I have been using a privacy screen on both my laptop and iPad. THEY ARE AWESOME!!! Not having prying eyes is SO cool and makes me way more comfortable, particularly when I’m working on non-bloggable content.
- Carrying too much crap – I always want to be prepared, so I used to carry my laptop case and purse filled to the brim. I ended up searching, for what seemed to be hours, for any one thing and I was not digging the weight and shoulder strap bruising. I have found the coolest thing for meetings and conferences! It’s a padfolio that zips all the way around but has a magical world inside – it holds a notepad, my iPad, my pens, my stylus, my ID, my credit cards, my business cards…and it even has a removable 3-ring binder strip in case you want to carry some additional documents. It’s my little mobile working station when I’m on the go.
- I didn’t know the good mice from the bad mice – All mice are not created equal. I’ve bought so many cool looking ones that I thought would last forever, only to have them die in 6 months. Even though you may think that mice are just mice, there are significant quality and durability differences. There are several technologies for scrolling, clicking, squeaking (j/k), etc. What appear to be minor distinctions in the product feature set can make ALL the difference in the world when it comes to getting work done. Not to mention that you can save your wrist and hand a lot of pain by not using the tiny touch pad on your laptop (this creates “contact stress” on your hand/wrist muscles and joints). There’s even a mouse out there that literally works on any surface – walls, a glass desk, or even your forehead (I can get pretty creative testing out new products)!
- Always have protection – I never understood the world of surge. I always plugged anything straight into the wall outlet. Little did I know that this could totally ruin your stuff! Whenever there’s a storm, or any wacky power surge, this power can go through your plugged-in cord and damage your laptop, your printer, even your TV. When you’re at airports, hotels, and coffee shops and particularly with international travel, you never know how the power sources are built and your phone, tablet, and laptop can be damaged. I bought a nice-looking surge protector for my home office as well as a super lightweight travel surge to protect my precious laptop and my phone when I work remotely.
My Faves: http://www.mobilegear.com/Products/Surge-Protector–10-Outlets–6ft-Cord–TelDSLCoax–2880-Joules__IVR71657.aspx and http://www.mobilegear.com/Products/Travel-Surge-Protector–4-Outlet–350-Joules–11-Cord–Black__FEL9904801.aspx
- Not listening to my mother – I heard it a million times growing up – “sit up straight.” So what do I do? I work from the couch, my recliner, the bed – basically wherever there’s room in my tiny one bedroom apartment. This caused me years of unnecessary aches and pains just from trying to get my work done…or simply buying way too many shoes online. Recently I purchased a “Laptop Computer Caddy”. I haven’t taken it with me golfing yet, though it’s a practical, adjustable stand that holds my laptop AND my mouse. Whenever I want to chill out, but still work from my bed or couch (or even grab breakfast in bed), the legs roll right underneath so I can bring the laptop to me without scorching my legs. Plus, I can now sit up straight and have my little mobile working station wherever I want. My mom would be so proud…
Having a new mouse, or a new surge protector – even a new pen – may not sound like much. However, there’s a whole world out there of incredible products with new technologies and product features (did you know there are pens that are “cabin-pressure proof” and the ink won’t explode if you take them when flying?). Understanding how you can improve your mobile working life can make a significant difference in your happiness and productivity.