How I Work from Anywhere

Part of what attracted me to freelance life is being able to work anywhere. This is something that I take advantage of as often as I can, thanks to technology. Aside from the internet making it possible for me to submit assignments from anywhere with a good connection, portable devices make it possible for me to work almost wherever I want.

I try to travel as light as possible, so my mobile office, at its most basic, consists of:

Smartphone. I use this for writing and communicating. I’ve loaded mine with cloud-based work apps like Google Docs that I can access from all my devices. I also have VOIP apps like Skype and Whatsapp to lessen spending on calls and SMS, and a recording app for interviews. The small screen takes a bit of getting used to, but I’m able to write stories, scripts, articles, and blog posts on my mobile phone. My Smartphone isn’t solely for work; I’ve loaded all my ebooks on it, too. The only thing I can’t do is read comics, owing to the small screen.

Tablet. Basically everything I wrote about the smartphone, except this connects to a bluetooth keyboard. I try to travel light, so this replaces my laptop.

Earbuds. For transcribing interviews, listening to podcasts, talking on the phone, and watching videos.

Bluetooth keyboard. I was resistant to getting one at first, but now that I own one, I’ve found that I write faster, and more when I use it.

Battery pack. Running WiFi and bluetooth drains the phone battery faster, so a battery pack is essential. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to get one; it’s saved my life countless times since. I sometimes bring an extension cord as well, just in case a place has only one outlet.

Pen and paper. I usually have my journal with me. It’s got my to-do list as well as my notes, schedule, and deadlines. I use a multi-pen with two ink colors, a pencil, and an eraser in it. I also bring a watercolor and brush set when space allows, though this is obviously not part of the mobile office.

This simple setup has served me well when I don’t have my laptop with me, enabling me to write, coordinate with clients and interviewees, run meetings, and work on various tasks on the road.

It’s allowed me to work from different places, which is a sanity saver because even the most grueling 15-hour workday seems like a vacation when you’re working by the ocean.


Yvette Natalie U. Tan is a multi-awarded author of horror fiction and the Agriculture section editor of Manila Bulletin.

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