You’re racing to meet a big deadline and that’s when the city finally decides to fix the street in front of your office. Or your neighbor starts work on that new addition. Or you just need a change of scenery. Whatever the cause, an independent worker needs a back-up plan for those days when the office environment is just too noisy, too chaotic or too distracting to work effectively.
All the above has happened to me. I tried valiantly to keep working while the neighbor’s house was demolished and rebuilt – there were guys on scaffolding about six feet away from my desk. But after a couple of days, I realized I needed a bug-out plan.
Find another place to work
For me, it’s the local library. I can use their computers for web-only projects, such as researching articles or writing WordPress blogs. Or I can jump on their Wi-Fi with my own devices. Other people bug out to their favorite coffee bar. The point is to have a place in mind where you can access Wi-Fi safely and work comfortably.
Backup projects to your cloud account
Of course, my entire system is backed up via CrashPlan. But it’s a bit of a hassle when I just need to work on a specific project. So I have my Projects folder backed up to a separate cloud account for easy access from another computer. I’m currently using iCloud, but I’ve worked with both Google Drive and Dropbox.
Keep a “ditch bag” in your car
Ok, I confess. Keeping these few things in my glove box also helps when I get to a meeting only to find I’ve forgotten my glasses. Just knowing I have the essentials with me helps me stay productive. Here are the “spares” I keep on hand:
- Library card for computer and Wi-Fi access
- Cell phone charger
- Reading glasses
- Pen, highlighter, notebook
- Password for your cloud backup, if you’re likely to forget it. Just don’t label it as “password.”
I wouldn’t recommend keeping a spare phone or laptop in the car – too much risk of theft. But those aren’t the sort of things I’m going to forget anyway.
What’s essential for your work? What do you keep on hand to keep working when you just have to bug out?