working on the road

#smallbusinessweek Working on the road is many people’s ultimate dream.

By Shelley Trupert

Whether it is a few weeks away, working from the lake or a winter away in a sunny, tropical destination, it requires a lot of self-discipline and focus in order to do so productively—especially from an RV. You’ll likely always want to get outside and join the hikes, bike rides, or fishing trips but sometimes you have to sit a few out. Having a clear picture of what work needs to get done can help you arrange your day so there is also time for adventure. If, for example, you have to call in for a team meeting at 3pm every day, then you can plan to have office hours during that time. Or if Tuesdays are when you have multiple orders and expect your employees will need to reach you, make sure you plan long traveling days on any other day. There are a few other things you can do to help make sure it goes smoothly.

Have a designated workspace: Focusing on work is already distracting enough in an RV. Nothing is more distracting than trying to do your work in a space where you spend your days relaxing with your family and friends watching TV. Having a designated workspace helps you stay focused and allows you to get as much work done as possible before going out to explore the great outdoors. The ultimate goal is to finish your work as fast as you can so you can go have fun. For some, it may be helpful to pull down the blinds, while for others, it may be helpful to throw on some white noise. Find out what works best for you.

Use noise canceling headphones: Noise canceling headphones are your new best friend. Using them gives you the ability to vacate your RV and everyone in it. Whether you choose to listen to white noise or soft classical music, music can help you focus on your task at hand and forget the world around you. They also give off the “do not disturb” vibe to those around you.

Wake up early: I know, I know. You’re probably dreading the idea of this, especially after a long day of sight-seeing. But getting up early prevents distractions. It’s hard working on the road when there are so many extraordinary activities to be participating in. Getting up before the rest of your crew will give you some peace and quiet and give you the time to work ahead. That way when everyone gets up, you’ll be ready to take on the world with them without your to-do list pressing you to think of work. If you just can’t handle being a morning person, stay up later and get some work in after everyone else is asleep.

Invest in a mobile hotspot: All distractions aside, the most important thing you will need on the road is Wi-Fi. And while many campsites (especially the more luxurious ones) have Wi-Fi, it’s often very spotty or slow. You don’t want to have to spend your entire trip sitting in Starbucks trying to get free Wi-Fi. Using a mobile hotspot not only helps you get your work finished but it also protects you from hackers when it’s password protected. A slow connection can easily double your work time and remove the relaxation vibe very quickly. Your Wi-Fi connects you to your business so a good hotspot is a must.

Track your time: It’s so easy to lose track of time when you’re on the road. To be sure you don’t overwork yourself and get the right mix of work and relaxation, consider downloading a time-tracking app. Most apps not only track time for you but many also allow you to bill clients, collaborate with clients, and print detailed time reports.

Using these tips and remaining flexible while traveling on the go ensures you will be a pro in no time. If you are still nervous to mix work and leisure, start off by taking a small trip or extending a vacation so you can relax a little longer while still meeting any deadlines. Eventually you might find your business is more portable than you thought.

Shelley Trupert works for Outdoorsy, an RV marketplace for consumers and pros. She has been camping for almost 20 years and is always looking to find the next hike, off the beaten path. While she used to enjoy tenting in the wilderness, she prefers to camp in an RV now—whether it is a Class C or a teardrop trailer—to enjoy a little comfort after a long day outdoors and the ease of travel it provides. Her goal is to hike in all of the national parks in North America.

Working on the road stock photo by Karin Hildebrand Lau/Shutterstock