I’ve been thinking about ways of working, and how to run a business effectively, a lot lately. Whilst I have a nine-to-five, I know I’m not the typical nine-to-fiver. I’m always looking for new ways to generate income, new outlets to be creative and expand my lifestyle. Statistics show that the top 1% of earners in the UK have on average 7 different revenue streams, so I better get thinking then!
The way you organise and decorate your desk reveals a surprising amount of information about who you are. But with this in mind, I realised that my “office” isn’t a truly fixed abode. I have my desk at my flat, but then I also visit my boyfriend a lot and so have a desk at his. I also have my jobs office, and a space at a co-working space. I also often work out of coffee shops, trains and even planes. I’m getting pretty good at working from anywhere; I’ve edited some of my favourite Instagram photos on a commuter train and I hand wrote my dissertation (yes hand wrote 15,000 words) from a make shift desk at my parents’ house. What I’m trying to say is, we need to let go of this notion of only being able to work from one dedicated space, otherwise our creativity will be inhibited. An ‘office’ can be a dedicated room in your house, a dining room table or a rented space. However what is key is making it your own, and utilising it to its full potential.
However to do so, there are a few tools and tips that are pretty important to have and to master and I can tell you, it isn’t all about having your laptop fully charged.
Keep a pen and paper handy
No matter where your work space is, one thing is for certain – a pen is an essential ‘office’ accessory. It’s what writes your To Do list, records your latest sketches or makes those ideas flow.
I don’t care what anyone else says, the pen will always be a crucial tool to have. I’m asked to hand sign contracts that can not be done by electronic means on a weekly basis, I need to scribble down thoughts and sometimes I just want to doodle silly things.
I actually love pen and paper way more than typing. I’ve been using PARKER Pen’s since I was small. I remember getting my first PARKER Pen when I went to high school- it was a sign I was about to start my journey of learning on my own. Now a days, I always keep a pen and note pad in my bag so when I get an idea I can just jot it down. Ideas just seem to flow more with a pen in my hand. Often I’ll start with a rough blog idea (quite like this one) and I’ll start brainstorming words, connections and little funny phrases that spring to mind.
Define what you have to do
When you work from multiple locations, that feeling of “I’m now at work” can be lost. Plus if you have limited time i.e. the length of a train journey, then you need to make sure you maximise your time.
I like to start the day by writing down on paper what I need to do that day. Everything and anything, note it down. Even that you have to pick up toothpaste on the way home. Then split it out into what you can do at what times. E.g.- working from your office today? Split it into all your work tasks for this time. The have a separate to do list for the admin stuff like picking up toothpaste, so you don’t get distracted and end up popping out for half an hour.
Be mindful of where you are
Working from a dedicated office is a no brainer, but if you are working from the more unusual places, just be mindful of where you are. If you are in a coffee shop, remember to buy something, and I don’t just mean one cup of coffee in an 8 hour day. Make a few cups and over lunch when tables are at a premium, go buy some food from them. If you are in a public no office space, try not to be yammering on the phone all day, plan your work around the space you are in.
Have all your tools synced and multiplatformed
If you are going to be working from anywhere, make sure you can work on any device. There is no point only being able to work on your laptop, as what happens if the battery dies? Or you don’t have it with you on that day? Make sure you email account is accessible through a web portal and that your files are hosted on a central server somewhere which you can access on any machine.
Don’t rely on the Internet
More and more places offer Wi-Fi, but it not everywhere does, or it can be ropey. Don’t let no Internet stop you. Make sure you have offline copies of files you need that day, even if they are normally online, say in the Cloud. Also try software that allows you to edit offline and will save locally, and then you can sync it later once you are back up and running. If you can’t access your files without the Internet, make sure you have at least some paper, so you can make notes that you can type up later on, so the time isn’t completely lost.
Today I still use PARKER and currently have a Parker Ingenuity which uses 5th, technology which has the style of a fountain pen but is much simpler like a rollerball. Parker Ingenuity actually adapts to match the natural angles of each user’s handwriting to produce smooth, non-scratchy strokes, which actually works really well against the rocking motion of a train, as let’s be honest, you can never get any signal on a train!
Wherever you work from though, there is one thing that is key. Make sure you do what you love.
This post is sponsored by Parker Pen. However all views, words and photography are my own.