May 18

The curse of working “anywhere”

I love my job. As a freelance editor, with Word and access to email, I can edit an article, dissertation, or book from anywhere. I've taken advantage, too. I have edited by a pool in Mexico, in a German beirgarten (yes, in Berlin), and in my parent's Texas backyard while my kids play with the dogs.


I found this image at Looks awesome, right?

Now that I've added this blog to my business, I love that with Internet access, I can pull up my WordPress account, log in, and just type away at a blog entry. Although, if you follow regularly, you'll notice my bi-weekly posts dropped off a bit, to just weekly.

I've been on the move since the last weekend in March. I went back to Texas to visit family for two weeks. While there, my husband landed a job in Houston, and we headed back to New York to start packing.

For the last month, I've been house-hunting, packing, arranging logistics, saying goodbye to friends, flying to Texas, unpacking, buying cars (because we didn't have cars in NYC), and, oh yes, bringing our two little kiddos along for the ride, as well as editing several articles and blogging.

Because I can work from anywhere, my blessing, my curse.

Distractions can also work anywhere.

Whether you're working while in a vacation-type spot or in the midst of life upheavals, if you work from “anywhere,” you are easy prey for distractions. And you know it. If you're in an extended vacation type of spot, say, for the summer, it's so easy to let yourself slide, just work an hour or so a day. If you're working from home but out of your routine, urgent, day-to-day matters, related to food, clothing, and shelter dissolve your time.

Your job that lets you work from anywhere just got hijacked by distractions.

How do you combat the distractions that come out of nowhere?

I have a couple of principles, which I am sometimes better at sticking to than other times. They are:

  • Try to maintain some sort of morning routine. In my perfect world, I am up before everyone else to exercise a bit and shower before the family breakfast. After eating and clean-up, I get the kids settled into activities (or passed off to a sitter or family member) and work.
  • Set and achieve at least one major goal each day. Start on that goal first thing in the morning, and don't go to bed until it's done. Don't think you'll go take a dip in the pool first, then start work. That's how you sabotage yourself. Spend at least an hour (two if you can) doing good, focused work. Then, reward yourself.
    • If I'm at dinner and haven't finished the day's goal, I have a no alcohol rule. I don't recommend drinking a bottle of wine with dinner and then trying to write. Luckily, that hasn't happened on this blog…yet…
  • If you have children, work during nap time. Do not succumb to the urge of getting other stuff done or watching TV for “just a minute.” Nap time is barely long enough to get anything productive done anyway, you need every second of it.
  • If I am working while on vacation, I try to minimize or cut out social media and TV. If I have extra time, I'll spend all of it enjoying my vacation. You have several chunks of time: 1) Enjoying vacation, 2) Productive Work, 3) Sleep and routine personal care, 4) Time-wasting crap. I'll focus on the first three, thanks, otherwise the time-wasting crap will infringe on the other categories. Of course, in the last month, I haven't been enjoying vacation; I've been unpacking. Same principle applies.

What about you? You work from anywhere types, how do you combat the distractions that come out of nowhere to steal your productivity?


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