5 rules of mobility learned in 2009

Any mobile worker would have to travel and work with its own environment but would also be able to adapt to any environment. Here are the 5 golden rules to keep in mind before going to a travel I learned in 2009. It’s probably a reminder to most of the reader of this blog … but also a good way to go back to the basic.

Size matters

Being mobile implies to deal with the size and the weight of objects the mobile worker would have to carry. And sometimes, being a mobile worker could be just really painful for your back (or your bag … or your pocket). For example, a cool and ultra new smartphone could be really a fantastic tool, yet not easy to fit in your pocket. Sometime, the latest gizmo isn’t the best solution.
Of course, laptops are probably the biggest concern regarding the size. Since the rise of netbooks, they now are a good answer with very compact size. If laptops and netbooks become really small these days, it’s not always the case for the charger, though … Something to keep in mind before packing your bag :)

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Energy management

Being mobile with all the gizmos modern worker have could be just a nightmare if you don’t have an energy source. We previously discussed the issue of the charger – a universal charger could be a good solution, avoiding dealing with plenty of them.
Once again, the latest gizmo could be really cool, but on the road, it’s important to go back to your basic needs. Sometimes, the previous gadget generation has the benefit of being optimized (latest firmware, etc – leading to better battery management). Or they simply consumes less energy (for example, smartphones are just burning battery so rapidly, while normal phones will be with you for the week.
Thin and light charger are definitely something to look for. Another solution that might be to consider at some point : solar charger.
Hopefully, the move of the European commission for universal charger will help at some point.

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Internet connection

We’re getting more and more used to unlimited and permanent internet connection – wifi access, 3G networks are getting always more popular and are weapons of choice for mobile workers. Learn to plan and map your trip with the closest wifi hotspots available (McDonalds, airports, cities, hotels, etc – for France, a Neuf, Fon or FreeWifi access is a big plus). A small wifi detector can also really help. But sometimes, there is just no internet, and you’ll have to deal with that.
Working offline can also be great opportunity to work differently, to focus on what matters and being more productive.
With a decent email client (ie. thunderbird), you can still read your email you’ve previously downloaded, answer to them offline (they’ll be sent next time you’ll connect). Also think to download your important documents (or the one you currently work on).
Offline period are also great moment for reading … tools such as readitlater allow you to mark internet page for later, and download them for an offline visualization.

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Adapt to your working environment

Finding a nice, quiet place to work is always the better option. And if the view or the place inspires you, you’re work will be more productive and creative. But sometimes, it’s just not possible to pick the perfect spot. Noise is often the no1 enemy – earplugs will be lifesaver in these situations. If you like working with music, a good headset will also be very helpful (Noise cancelling technology can be a plus).

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Working mindset

Working is all about routine. Working outside the office or on the road could be sometime disturbing or distracting. To be able to focus on what matters, it’s important to recreate a routine that will help you find your focus point. Drinks, lights, working space, specific music will help you to find standpoints and go back to work.

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Bonus : the 6th rule – with you wherever you go/are

Inspired by Nicolas who thought it could be a good idea to make reminder about the remote access solutions. Technology indeed offers us plenty of options for accessing our work capacities remotely. remains definitely a strong asset, but during this year, a few other tools also came to help us.

One of the first one that will probably be pretty huge in the coming month : Mozilla Weave (disclaimer – I do work with Mozilla) will allow any firefox user to synchronize its data (bookmarks, navigation history, tabs opened, password, login, etc) between 2 firefox (for example, “home computer”, “work computer”, “laptop”) with the required level of security. Go and adopt it !

If you need to remotely (and simply) access to your computer, logmein also improved its offer during the year with a mobile edition. Yummy.

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