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10 Steps To Working On The Road

10 Steps To Working On The Road

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    Even if your work doesn’t need to be done in an office, it can be very hard to work when you travel. You may be a freelancer, you may own your business, or you may telecommute, but there are ten steps you need to take to prepare yourself to work on the go. They’re especially key for long-term travel, but if you’re only going for a week, consider making the effort: these steps will not only simplify your current trip, but they’ll make it easier to prepare for future travel as well.

    1. Downsize your equipment. Sure, you can’t do your job without half a dozen gadgets and ten reference manuals. But do you really want to carry all that stuff through airports, hikes or whatever travels you have planned? Look for places to minimize: your reference manuals may be available as PDFs and you might be able to find one gadget that does everything. As a general rule of thumb, if you can fit in your luggage, you’ve got too much stuff to travel comfortably.
    2. Plan your schedule carefully. You can be spontaneous and wander off into the wilderness if you want, but you should make sure that your clients or employer know that you’ll be unavailable for contact during your wilderness wanderings. Furthermore, most of the wildernesses that I have visited have not offered reliable internet access: schedule yourself to be places with internet access when you need it.
    3. Check your insurance. Not all insurers cover travelers for even little things like lost laptops. Especially if you’re going for a nomadic lifestyle, make sure that your insurance covers all eventualities — like health care in a foreign country or coverage for a broken computer. Many insurers offer special long-term travel packages, such as Insure and Go’s Long Stay offer.
    4. Automate as much as possible. Even on the road, you’re likely to have bills, such as your insurance payment. Schedule payments ahead of time through your bank to reduce worry. You may also be able to answer most email questions with an automated email, or handle other business details. Going to the full outsourcing plan advocated by Tim Ferriss may be further than you need to go, but simplifying your obligations as much as possible will make your business run smoothly while you’re on the road.
    5. Inform your clients of your travels. Things go wrong, no matter how hard you try, and you don’t want your clients to find out that there’s an issue by you missing a deadline. You’ll get more leeway if a client knows that you’ll do everything you can than if you leave your client in the dark.
    6. Double check prescription medication. If you require prescription medication, it’s up to you to make sure that you can get a refill wherever you go, especially if you lose your meds. You may face some problems, though: TSA regulations may prevent you from caring your medication with you if you fly, or you may be visiting a country where certain medications are restricted (to check, you’ll need to contact the embassy of the country you will be visiting). Your medications may be more of a personal issue than a business matter, but you won’t be able to work if you’re not feeling so well.
    7. Keep records. You’re not just a traveler, you’re out there doing work for your business. You’ll have the same need for itemized receipts when you do your taxes if you’re in Timbuktu as you would in New York. Personally, I like a small notebook that can serve as a holding place for receipts and other bits of paper, though I know plenty of people who use their wallets as catchalls as well. Consider keeping track of contact information and other details in the same way.
    8. Bring nice clothes. You never know when you’ll find an opportunity, but you might not get the chance to talk to a potential contact if you’re wearing cut-offs or camping gear. Stick one dress-up outfit in your gear that you can pull out and wear immediately. Avoid things that need ironing or special care, like dry cleaning. Personally, I’ve found that sweaters are often the best tops, especially light ones that won’t overheat you in a warm climate — they don’t wrinkle and, if you wear them with undershirts, you rarely need to wash them.
    9. Choose a backup plan. Travel presents hundreds of opportunities for you to lose key equipment, such as a laptop. You’ll want to back up your data on a regular basis to a central location — that is, one you aren’t carrying with you. You’ll also want to have advance plans of how you might obtain new equipment. If, for instance, a certain type of cellular phone is vital to your work, could you have a new one shipped to you quickly? Could you make do with another phone?
    10. Adapt as needed. A traveling lifestyle is full of surprises. That’s half the fun, after all — getting out and doing new things. If you’ve managed to automate the things you’d normally worry about, and you know that issues like insurance and Plan Bs are taken care of, you have the opportunity to relax and go with the flow. Sure, you’ll still need to find some time to take care of your work commitments, but that’s why you planned ahead.

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    Last Updated on July 16, 2019

    7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

    7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

    Office politics – a taboo word for some people. It’s a pervasive thing at the workplace.

    In its simplest form, workplace politics is simply about the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics. It all goes down to human communications and relationships.

    There is no need to be afraid of office politics. Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics. Below are 7 good habits to help you win at the workplace:

    1. Be Aware You Have a Choice

    The most common reactions to politics at work are either fight or flight. It’s normal human reaction for survival in the wild, back in the prehistoric days when we were still hunter-gatherers.

    Sure, the office is a modern jungle, but it takes more than just instinctive reactions to win in office politics. Instinctive fight reactions will only cause more resistance to whatever you are trying to achieve; while instinctive flight reactions only label you as a pushover that people can easily take for granted. Neither options are appealing for healthy career growth.

    Winning requires you to consciously choose your reactions to the situation. Recognize that no matter how bad the circumstances, you have a choice in choosing how you feel and react. So how do you choose? This bring us to the next point…

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    2. Know What You Are Trying to Achieve

    When conflicts happen, it’s very easy to be sucked into tunnel-vision and focus on immediate differences. That’s a self-defeating approach. Chances are, you’ll only invite more resistance by focusing on differences in people’s positions or opinions.

    The way to mitigate this without looking like you’re fighting to emerge as a winner in this conflict is to focus on the business objectives. In the light of what’s best for the business, discuss the pros and cons of each option. Eventually, everyone wants the business to be successful; if the business don’t win, then nobody in the organization wins.

    It’s much easier for one to eat the humble pie and back off when they realize the chosen approach is best for the business.

    By learning to steer the discussion in this direction, you will learn to disengage from petty differences and position yourself as someone who is interested in getting things done. Your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is mature, strategic and can be entrusted with bigger responsibilities.

    3. Focus on Your Circle of Influence

    At work, there are often issues which we have very little control over. It’s not uncommon to find corporate policies, client demands or boss mandates which affects your personal interests.

    Gossiping and complaining are common responses to these events that we cannot control. But think about it, other than that short term emotional outlet, what tangible results do gossiping really accomplish? In most instances, none.

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    Instead of feeling victimized and angry about the situation, focus on the things that you can do to influence the situation — your circle of influence. This is a very empowering technique to overcome the feeling of helplessness. It removes the victimized feeling and also allows others to see you as someone who knows how to operate within given constraints.

    You may not be able to change or decide on the eventual outcome but, you can walk away knowing that you have done the best within the given circumstances.

    Constraints are all around in the workplace; with this approach, your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is understanding and positive.

    4. Don’t Take Sides

    In office politics, it is possible to find yourself stuck in between two power figures who are at odds with each other. You find yourself being thrown around while they try to outwit each other and defend their own position; all at the expense of you getting the job done. You can’t get them to agree on a common decision for a project, and neither of them want to take ownership of issues; they’re too afraid they’ll get stabbed in the back for any mishaps.

    In cases like this, focus on the business objectives and don’t take side with either of them – even if you like one better than the other. Place them on a common communication platform and ensure open communications among all parties, so that no one can claim “I didn’t say that”.

    By not taking sides, you’ll help to direct conflict resolution in an objective manner. You’ll also build trust with both parties. That’ll help to keep the engagements constructive and focus on business objectives.

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    5. Don’t Get Personal

    In office politics, you’ll get angry with people. It happens. There will be times when you feel the urge to give that person a piece of your mind and teach him a lesson. Don’t.

    People tend to remember moments when they were humiliated or insulted. Even if you win this argument and get to feel really good about it for now, you’ll pay the price later when you need help from this person. What goes around comes around, especially at the workplace.

    To win in the office, you’ll want to build a network of allies which you can tap into. The last thing you want during a crisis or an opportunity is to have someone screw you up because they harbor ill-intentions towards you – all because you’d enjoyed a brief moment of emotional outburst at their expense.

    Another reason to hold back your temper is your career advancement. Increasingly, organizations are using 360 degree reviews to promote someone. Even if you are a star performer, your boss will have to fight a political uphill battle if other managers or peers see you as someone who is difficult to work with. The last thing you’ll want is to make it difficult for your boss to champion you for a promotion.

    6. Seek to Understand, Before Being Understood

    The reason people feel unjustified is because they felt misunderstood. Instinctively, we are more interested in getting the others to understand us than to understand them first. Top people managers and business leaders have learned to suppress this urge.

    Surprisingly, seeking to understand is a very disarming technique. Once the other party feels that you understand where he/she is coming from, they will feel less defensive and be open to understand you in return. This sets the stage for open communications to arrive at a solution that both parties can accept.

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    Trying to arrive at a solution without first having this understanding is very difficult – there’s little trust and too much second-guessing.

    7. Think Win-Win

    As mentioned upfront, political conflicts happen because of conflicting interests. Perhaps due to our schooling, we are taught that to win, someone else needs to lose. Conversely, we are afraid to let someone else win, because it implies losing for us.

    In business and work, that doesn’t have to be the case.

    Learn to think in terms of “how can we both win out of this situation?” This requires that you first understand the other party’s perspective and what’s in it for him.

    Next, understand what’s in it for you. Strive to seek out a resolution that is acceptable and beneficial to both parties. Doing this will ensure that everyone truly commit to the agreed resolution and will not pay only lip-service to it.

    People simply don’t like to lose. You may get away with win-lose tactics once or twice but very soon, you’ll find yourself without allies in the workplace.

    Thinking win-win is an enduring strategy that builds allies and help you win in the long term.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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