Work as a State of Mind, Not a Location

work as a state of mind
Photo credit:Giorgio Montersino

I have been thinking a lot about last month’s Social Media Breakfast with CC Chapman and Sea Bags. I have been thinking about the awesome speakers we had, their great stories, the amazing people we had in the room and the perfect photos from Ryan Dlugosz but there was another thing. Remember when CC was getting a feel for the people that were in the room? He asked if people were lawyers, did marketing for a business and a few other work examples (that I can’t remember right now). I think we stumped him or at least surprised him that we had a not-so-typical group of attendees.

Of course there were representatives of larger companies in the state, from news outlets, marketing and PR firms but looking around the room there were a lot of people that work for themselves or people that represent businesses virtually (you can actually see a list of attendees here on the Eventbright page). So I started thinking about how and when we work.

I have a “real job” and my daytime weekly hours are dedicated to that. The thing is, I sometimes do that work from home, from Bard Coffee, from conferences, hotels and from my cell phone. Often, I close up shop at the office right at 5, have dinner with my husband and then ‘clock back in’ at 7pm when he goes to work. When I am ‘working’ isn’t so much about where I am but what state of mind I am in and I know I am not alone.

So to many of you who are like me or who are making a go of it on your own – here are a couple resources you may want to check out to help you with your ‘work’ or with your work state of mind:

  • Work Shifting – is actually a community sponsored by Citrix online (pretty smart huh? the people that make GoToWebinar and GoToMeeting). The blog is updated often with lots of solutions and problems you may encounter as you transition from non 9-5 working.
  • Virtual Assistant – Just because you are venturing out on your own doesn’t mean you have to do it on your own. There are lots of things you can ship off to a virtual assistant. You can even reach out to Maine’s own Office Solutions ME.
  • Dropbox – Let’s you save work, documents and videos in the cloud so you can access them anywhere remotely.
  • Lifehacker – Tips, tricks, and downloads for getting things done.
  • The Four Hour Work Week Blog – You have probably heard of the Four Hour Work Week Book but if you aren’t ready to buy, there is some really great content on the blog. Start there and then you can think about buying the book.
  • TED – Need some inspiration? A good Ted Talk will almost always help. People are changing the world and nothing is stopping you from doing the same. On the inspiration front read this post from Copyblogger too: How to Quit Your Job, Move to Paradise, and Get Paid to Change the World.
  • Wi-Fi Detector T-shirt – Thank goodness for

A little bit of a random list but I find myself checking out and using a lot of these when I am working from out of the office (well maybe not the t-shirt but I had to put that in there) or just to keep me on track and feel less alone when I am planning on not being in the office for awhile.

I think we are fortunate that for a lot of us our work can be done almost anywhere. There are of course downfalls to this like our work being done everyehere and perhaps too often but we need to get control of that ourselves.

How about you guys and girls? I know a lot of you work from not-so-typical locations. What helps you? Skype, GoToMeeting, Evernote? Let us know!

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  • Ryan O’Connell

    I recently left managing an event management company for a competition director position at Special Olympics. At my last job, I quickly learned that have laptop and internet- will travel. And I did travel for work, a lot. And I was able to work just as well in a moving truck with an internet card as I was at the office. I learned to appreciate coffee shops and while traveling, the hotel bar with wi-fi. At my new job, the mentalality about work is very old school and you are expected to be in the office. But frankly, I’m doing the same kind of work and feel I can do my job just as well from home or coffee shop or now, in a neighborhood bar with wi-fi access. I just feel the idea of an office- at least one you have to be at 5 days a week is outdated, especially with Skype (awesome) and the various conference call tools out there.

    This is a great post and something I wish more people would read and seriously consider.

  • Don Kleiner

    Great list. I love to watch TED talks for presentation styles of often truly amazing presenters. Turns out that I use OfficeSolutionsME regularly she is on the list of folks that make me look good. I use the Microsoft version of cloud storage and Google docs depending on my collaborators. Skype is catching on, I have a guide that I talk with regularly who does not have phone service of any kind available, but we can Skype with ease, pretty amazing.

    Working almost all of the time is the big issue that I see at my house we both work after supper in the evenings. In fact I recently commented that almost everyone I know does. Not just the small business folks like me but even folks with real jobs. I can’t help but wonder if we have lost something by being “on” all of the time. Of course much of my work is actually a load of fun and not drudgery at all. So I suppose that working is actually recreation. Fishing trips all summer you call that work?

    Thanks for the post.

  • Dan Wadleigh

    I just started using Evernote and am quickly becoming an evangelist of the product. … “Yes honey you can use it for grocery lists and so much more!”

    I love the ability to have notes/audio/photos saved in a virtual notebook I can access just about anywhere with so many devices (phone, pc, tablet). I’ve never like elephants more!

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  • admin

    Thank you Ryan for your personal example of how you just have to break out of routine and figure out what is most efficient. Best of luck at the new gig!

    Don, that is great that you use OfficeSolutionsMe – she seems like she does a great job! I think this pressure to be ‘on’ more often does have to directly relate to how much you enjoy your job. If I was forced to log back into ‘work’ at night to do something I hated, I wouldn’t but for me – I like what I do and find it so interesting that I like getting a lot of my reading and writing done at night. Thanks for the comment!

    Dan, I use Evernote too. Great little app. I am surprised how much I use it for photos. Something visual to remind me of a thought or a blog post I want to write. I am an elephant fan too 🙂