Reader Nick asked the following question in the Ask Lucky forum:
Love the blog! I’m just wondering, do you always need an internet connection to add content to your blog? For instance I remember in one of your posts, you were on the aircraft that didn’t have wifi and then again in the uber (obviously didn’t have wifi there), so how do you get your content out so quickly and efficiently?
Is it just a simple case of writing in pages and then cutting and pasting one you’re in wifi range? What about adding pictures? Same thing?
I know this isn’t about travel (well…kinda) but I was just curious. Thanks for all you do. Keep it up!
This is a fun question, because I suspect I’m different than most in terms of when I’m most productive. I write an average of about eight blog posts per day, and often I find that I’m significantly more productive on insane travel days, than on days where I’m just sitting in a hotel room.
Often when I plan crazy trips I say “well how am I going to be able to stay caught up on things with this sort of itinerary?” But often it proves easier than a day at a desk. Why?
I don’t think there’s any skill required to be productive while sitting at a desk with high speed internet, so I won’t go into that part of my “work” any further. Instead I’ll focus on the more challenging circumstances, where I find that I’m surprisingly productive:
When I’m tethering off my phone
With my travel schedule I have a lot of idle time. There’s always a few minutes while I wait for boarding to begin, then once I’m on the plane it’s usually another 30 minutes before the door closes. I spend a countless amount of time in Ubers and on trains as well.
Under those circumstances, being able to tether off my phone is a lifesaver. No, it’s not high speed wifi, but in many ways that’s a blessing, because it allows me to stay focused and not get distracted. When on my laptop and tethering from my phone, the speeds are fast enough so I can save a WordPress draft and schedule posts, but not so fast that I end up watching cat videos on YouTube.
Let me give an example of a “work day” for me on the road. A couple of days ago I flew Singapore Airlines from Frankfurt to New York, arrived at 11AM, had some things to attend to in the city, and then had a midnight flight to Vancouver on Philippine Airlines:
- We had to wait for a gate for about 20 minutes on arrival from Frankfurt, so I was able to tether there, and crank out a blog post
- I got two more blog posts done during the Uber ride into the city
- I got another post done while taking an Uber ride from downtown to midtown
- I got another two blog posts done during the Uber ride back to the airport
- I got another post down while I was waiting for my Philippine Airlines flight to finish boarding
Hell, I’m writing this post from an Uber as we speak.
I know it’s weird, but the above circumstances are where I focus best and am insanely efficient. I hate being in cars and hate waiting, so rather than being frustrated about it, I just get in work mode and am so happy when I arrive and have accomplished something. Then when I actually have a fast and stable internet connection I can watch YouTube videos instead.
So tethering whenever I’m in a situation where I’d otherwise be bored works really well for me.
When I’m using a word processor to write
When I don’t have a stable internet connection or even the ability to tether (like on a flight without wifi), I spend my time drafting stuff in a word processor. Obviously it’s not ideal for posts with a lot of pictures, etc., but for posts that are wordier, it’s great. I can get all my writing done uninterrupted, and then can make everything “prettier” when I have a stable internet connection again.
Furthermore, I also take this time to edit and resize pictures, and then I have them ready to go when I have a stable internet connection again.
Also, before a long flight I’ll often load up some WordPress pages for posts I’m working on. For example, trip reports are time consuming, so I’ll insert all the pictures into a WordPress page when I have a stable internet connection, and then I’ll do the actual writing when I don’t have an internet connection. I just save a backup of it, in case the page crashes.
Obviously the above is pretty specific to blogging, though that’s also what the question was about. However, I think the general philosophy works for staying productive on the road, regardless of what type of work you’re doing. In a way, I find that I’m more productive and focused with slow internet, which is why being able to tether off my phone during idle time is such a lifesaver.
Anyone else have any tips for maximizing productivity on the road?