Getting More Portable

June 16, 2008

This past week my younger son had a soccer camp every morning and it was about a half hour drive from our home. I packed up my zippered binder, laptop, and three-ring notebook each day to be able to use some of the camp time for work.

What I didn’t discover was consistently good coffee nearby. I don’t enjoy coffee first thing in the morning and usually have a couple of cups mid-morning during my work. I can’t brew it in my car –yet – so I tried three different places during the week with mediocre results. What I did discover is which parts of my work routine I can pack up and take with me.

My daily planner is in my zippered binder with my monthly targets and weekly steps, so I was able to plan my day while eating breakfast and drinking mediocre coffee. Anything that was planning or list-making, like choosing groups of people to contact as part of my referral seeking program, could be done in the binder. Reading for professional development was obviously portable, also.

I took my laptop along and was able to write drafts of articles and spend time doing creative writing. When the places with coffee were too crowded and noisy for me to write, I learned it was easiest to sit in the back seat of my car, windows down, with a little bit of shade. This worked as long as I had a nice breeze because it’s getting darned hot in north Texas.

I started looking mid-week for places with Wi-Fi to see how it would work to access my web site and autoresponder control panels. I didn’t find anywhere with free Wi-Fi so I didn’t try it out. I left my e-mail time and web site and blog management for the afternoons when I was back in my office. With a little more information and experience I’ll be able to find internet access while I’m out, and with a little bit of effort I’ll be able to learn how to access my business e-mail through the web. Then I’ll be ready to turn any mediocre coffee joint with a shaded parking lot into my office.

This is a boost for me because I was talking about what I want and need in my home office with a coaching colleague this week. We are taking an advanced coaching skills class and were doing some practice to apply the skills when I looked around and realized my home office just happened by default nearly five years ago and I haven’t improved it since. As we talked and she practiced coaching skills, I realized I don’t need an office as much as I need comfortable space and user-friendly materials and equipment. I can write on the computer wherever I can set up my laptop. I can write in a three-ring notebook wherever I can find quiet space and not too much wind. I can brainstorm and arrange ideas wherever I can spread out a few sheets of paper. I can talk to coaching clients wherever I have a good phone connection and no distractions.

Realizing I don’t have to be in my office to work, and that I can plan to work in different areas of my home or at a park or a coffee joint even when my office is available to me, freed me up to design the office I need. I’ve made the cluttered guest-bedroom-turned-home-office into a chaotic mix of boxes, papers, equipment, and frequently moved pieces of furniture. It’s a total mess, especially since I have to wait almost two weeks until the technician can come and hook up the recently disconnected phone line opposite of where I have the phone and fax now. But when that’s set I’ll have a corner of the room for the computer, resources, and bookkeeping, plus a filing cabinet for paperwork. The rest of the room will become a comfortable guest room for when we need that, and I’ll use it as an office for only a few tasks. For me, having much of my work be portable is liberating.

May You Know the Joy of Sharing Your Gifts,

Steve Coxsey

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