The more I expand the travel section of my blog, the more I find myself sat on trains. Spending full days, and sometimes weekends, away from my designated blogging space means it’s very easy to get behind with blogging. I’ve just about got the ‘working on the road’ thing down, which is why I’m compiling my tips in this little post. I’m relating this to blogging, but there’s no reason this can’t apply to other work too!
My first tip is try to reserve a seat at a table in the quiet coach (as I write this I’m surrounded by crying children on the way back from Brighton without a table. I’m not in my happy place). By being in the quiet coach you can really crack on without distractions, and with a table you can set up a desk area. However, don’t be that annoying person who really spreads out – just take up your allotted space. If you’re travelling on Virgin East Coast in particular, it’s worth noting that all odd numbered seats have a plug socket next to them.
I’m a huge planner. I have to do lists which list my to do lists. I like to plan my work before I travel, and I usually put less on my list than if I was at home. This is because I’m also an avid people watcher and am easily distracted. By just setting myself two or three tasks before a journey I know I’ll feel like I’ve accomplished more than just guessing what I have to do.
If I know I’m going to be travelling for a long time, I pack a tablet or laptop. If I’m going on a day trip I tend to just pack my iPad as it takes up much less room and is far lighter than my laptop. I don’t worry about tethering my phone to get internet, or relying on dodgy train wifi, I just type away in a note if it’s a post that needs writing. If I’ve got a quick turnaround on a post and I don’t fancy taking my bulkier bits of tech, I even draft out my posts on my phone on the way back from a location (I’m looking at you, The Railway Children). If you can rely on the internet a little more, travel is a great time to catch up on emails, replying to comments (which I promise I will get better at soon) or reading other posts.
Just like you would in any other job, it’s important to keep your fluids and sugar levels up to keep your mind focussed. Personally I treat myself to a coffee or tea before I get on a train as they usually taste nicer and are cheaper than those on board, and always carry a bottle of water with me. Snacks aren’t essential for a short journey, but they’re a great treat so I usually make sure I’ve got something to chew on whilst I travel. And hey, you can’t sit working without a little brain food!
If you were sat at a desk working all day, you’d take breaks. The same applies to when you travel. Chances are you’re not on trains for a really long time to have to take breaks, but if you are, make sure you make the most of them. I know that when I’m interrailing, some of those journeys are 6+ hours in one go. After an hour or two my mind starts to wonder and I’m sure yours does too. Sit back, take in the scenery and let your brain have a rest before you get back to work.
And then of course if you know you’re going to be out all day taking photos and working in that sense, you could always leave the work at home. When I’m taking a new journey I love staring out the window and seeing places I’ve never seen before. Travel is a luxury, even if you feel like you’re slumming it a bit, and it’s something that you’ve got to enjoy!