Blogging On The Move

If you’re a problogger and you travel more than once every 3 months, you need some sort of ‘living on the road’ solution to keep you plugging in and functioning (work-wise, of course). It may be a romantic (and healthy) notion that you should ditch all things work and Net when taking a break, but that’s for those rare once or twice an year vacations.

If, like, me, you’re on the road for a week a month (even car accidents don’t stop me anymore), you don’t only need the right setup (read gadgets and software) but also the right routine – simply put, nothing fracks up your work like an uncertain, unplanned work schedule.

The Tools

If you’re expecting a Internet Tablet / Pocket PC a la Nick and Chris, you’ll be disappointed. I’m packing the Nokia E61i which is light-weight but remarkably effective for blogging on the move (I was sold after this comparison, although to be honest the iPhone and W950 aren’t serious competitors to the E61i).

Thanks to cheap (but annoyingly slow) cellular data plans here, Internet access is rarely a problem. Combine that with the E61i’s WiFi capabilities, you’ve got a working laptop replacement for your travels.

Of course there’s a laptop in the mix as well (a Dell Inspiron 6400 running XP, no exploding batteries though), but when I’m traveling I tend to work light and instead of carrying the laptop, I rely on other people have computers with working Internet connections and carry a Kingston 2GB usb drive packed with portable apps.

You can literally take a whole week off and work from your smartphone and your usb drive – talk about traveling light, eh? There’s a second phone (Nokia 6233) that I use for regular voice calls and old-fashioned networking. Both phones work as decent cameras and there’s the customary iPod nano (with the 6233 an able music backup) to help me stay focused.

The Methods

This is where it gets more interesting. It’s almost impossible for me to work on a regular schedule at home; traveling makes it that much harder. As I discussed earlier this week in my piece on time management, it’s ultra-important to reduce unnecessary activities and especially remove distractions when you’re doing heavy lifting (work that requires a lot of concentration.

Obviously you’re not going to get much done if all you do is read feeds and emails, especially when you have less time in the first place. The big secret – it’s not so much a secret as a changing your mindset, which is not easy to do – is to delegate your blog management. In fact, here are 3 easy strategies you can use to lessen your blogging / working load:

  • Outsource – either temporarily or permanently
  • Arrange for guest bloggers
  • Write articles in advance and set them to publish in the future – this doesn’t work so well for newsy niches, so you might have to hire and train people you can rely on.

It’s imperative that you set aside time every day to work – usually I find that it’s a lot easier find plenty of spare time late afternoon / early evening as opposed to morning, but that’s probably a side-effect of my night-time routine – your mileage may vary. In any case, one big block of work time is easier to manage while traveling, and while working / blogging off your SmartPhone / PDA / Blackberry means you’re usually ‘offline’, it helps if you can find some space to yourself as well. And if you’re not used to working in such surroundings, the music always helps.

What’s Your Secret?

How do you manage the demands of working on the move?

6 thoughts on “Blogging On The Move

  1. I would recommend a foldable keyboard plus a PDA. I still own two Palm V and use the original Palm keyboard when traveling. An alternative to a foldable keyboard could be a real keyboard if such a solution exists.

  2. As stupid as it sounds, I’m seriously considering a One Laptop Per Child laptop. They are small, low energy, and do most everything I need. plus they don’t have those damn outdated hard drives that everyone seems to still love.

    i’ve wanted something like this for a long time.

  3. Here’s what I learned form my experience blogging from Blog Expo – my laptop is too big and I’m always going to have to work from the road. So it’s in my best interest to invest in a small, lightweight laptop if I’m going to be doing more of these things in the future – and I hope to.

  4. Remember that rules are guidelines and can (and should) be broken if the need arises.

    Case in point – traveling = no IM for me. I might log on once a day if absolutely necessary but in some cases it means total cut-off. This can be a problem in certain projects (such as my work here at Performancing) where you need to be available all the time. The alternative to this is using email as a messaging system and while it’s not recommended, it’s better than being burdened by IM / being out of touch.

    Of course, phone is always an option, especially if people start wondering if you’ve disappeared off the face of the planet. Which reminds me, I gotta send Ryan my number

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