Most of us have to work to keep those pesky bill collectors away, but not many of us actually have to work in an office. So why aren’t there more people at the park with me today?

Maybe working anywhere EXCEPT an office is not for everyone, but if you’re interested in working on your tan and your projects, here are a few of my tricks of the trade.

Tools I use:

A quick list of the tools I keep in my bag.

  • Laptop – Macbook Pro – It’s simple, hard to hack and easy to use on the go.
  • Phone  – iPhone – It’s simple and easy to use as a hotspot if I’m away from Wi-Fi.
  • Software – cloud based – Google Apps for Work covers email, calendar, documents, spreadsheets, presentations, etc. Wrike handles all of our project management. Google Voice is our office phone line and Skype for team meetings.
  • Extra Monitor – Sometimes 13 inches of laptop screen space is just not enough. I carry an ASUS MB169B+ 15.6″ Full HD 1920×1080 IPS USB Portable Monitor in my bag. I use it maybe twice a month but when I need space, it rocks.
  • BTW, the bag is a Patagonia Messenger Bag. I’ve tried them all. This one organizes the office tools inside and is tough enough to be outside.

How I do it:

It’s just like working in the office or cubicle only without fluorescent lights and people telling you about their frustrations with the copy machine.

  • Meetings – Phone call, Skype or coffee shop. Most of the time my team, clients and vendors would like to save a little time and chat over the phone versus drive across town or fly across the country. If we do need a little face-to-face time, meeting local team members or clients at one of the newest coffee shops or eateries in town is always more fun and positive than an office. Relationships are built over food, not conference tables. 🙂
  • Projects – Keeping everything on cloud-based apps makes this easy. If I have access to the Internet, I can work. Documents, team collaboration, live chat about tasks, etc. Go paperless and get on the cloud if you haven’t already.
  • Distractions – True, there are days when the coffee shop is just not playing my song or when the dogs at the park are barking. Put on some headphones and a visor. Point yourself in a direction that makes you productive, not distracted. It takes practice to stay focused, but it’s worth it.
  • Discipline – this is the hardest part for me. If no one is expecting me at the office or in a meeting, I have a tendency to drift into work rather than attack it. Setting up a little external pressure helps. Book your team calls first thing in the morning. Make a client call from the car on your way to the park. Promise your prospect a reply at 9am the next day. The point is to set yourself up for success. Creating reasons to get moving in the morning will create momentum that lasts well into the day.

I know this style does not fit every kind of job. If I need a pharmacist in an emergency I don’t want to have to search the local skate parks to find her. But, if you are consulting like I am, then you probably have days where the placement of your laptop doesn’t really matter. Be ready for those days and make your friends jealous when you post pictures of your “Park Office.”

Happy Consulting 🙂