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Radical Vacation Equations for Home Office Time Management

Commentary, Work/Life Compatibility
June 23rd, 2017 No Comments »

I recently wrote about the Death of the Away Message. Communications are so pervasive, so ubiquitous, so tethering, that we never really can disconnect – if that’s what we seek. Someone replied with a gentle suggestion regarding my vacation: “Unplug a little if you can.”

Commentary PictureA kind enough nudge from someone seemingly concerned about my enjoying a little R&R during my vacation.

But to many home officers, micropreneurs and small business owners, a simple, paradoxical equation prevails when presented the prospect of a vacation:

Time Away From the Office = Reductions in Billable Work = Lost Income Potential / Revenues

Multiply that equation by three weeks on the road, and the result can be downright devastating to the bottom line. To paraphrase my friend Jim Blasingame at the Small Business Advocate, “As a small business owner, if you don’t kill, you don’t eat.”

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Voicemail, Away Greetings and Remaining Reachable From the Road

Pre-Trip Planning, technology, Telework & Virtual Officing
June 8th, 2011 No Comments »

If you’re a home office worker, a road warrior, a teleworker, a virtual officer or just a workationing mom or dad who’s hitting the highway but expecting to take a little work in tow, how will you help those trying to reach you to actually reach you. A voicemail I received today helped highlight that question. It also revealed that with email, texts, pins, BBMs, Facebook, tweets, IM, LinkedIn messages, some people still rely on vmail. And as antiquated as we may believe it to be, we still must serve those people’s needs.

In the message, the person left her query. She also commented that my outbound greeting referenced Cinco de Mayo. A greeting a month old, eh? Goes to show how little attention many of us pay to our vmail greetings.

This got me to thinking, though… Assuming people actually listen to greetings, what should we say or request of those trying to reach us? What about for teleworkers, road warriors and even workationing entrepreneurs?

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Home Office Highway: Americana a Way Norman Rockwell Never Envisioned

Pre-Trip Planning
June 3rd, 2011 No Comments »

Summertime’s a great time to hit the open road – without leaving life behind. Technology widely available to the consumer market helps the “anywhere” office – and online personality – come alive without an electrical outlet or Ethernet cable in sight. This is Americana in a way Norman Rockwell never could have imagined.

This summer, the Home Office Highway ‘11 road show will showcase the tech, tools and tips that empower people to work and play from the interstate highway – or the information superhighway. The three-week excursion and social media event will highlight how “location independence” can be found wherever life’s journey ventures.

This year, we’ll travel from Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco. Part sightseeing trip, part college tour, all fun-n-games. The van will have laptops, digital cameras and other technology common to the modern family home.

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‘End of Magic’ a Fallacy for Road Warriors, Children at Heart

Commentary
May 16th, 2011 No Comments »

Home Office Highway CollageSeth Godin wrote recently of the end of magic.He was lamenting how the newness of the new seems to have passed us by — how the really cool tools and applications that once wowed us in the workplace and life now are so commonplace that they are taken for granted, and no longer harbingers of Wow!

Wait. Take a moment to ponder the tools we use and what they bring to our daily lives. You might respectfully disagree.

Every day, I use services and tools that keep me connected with the world outside in ways that still seem magical. My BlackBerry brings the Internet and its motherlode of possibilities to a device smaller than a deck of cards (iPhone users will only smirk at the possibilities borne from their device).

Want to contact a peer, client or someone else from my database? Will that be by phone (office, mobile, home, “other”?), or email, or SMS, or MMS?

Add a new name to Google Contacts — and it’s “magically” duplicated in my BlackBerry. Send an email from my phone and it instantly appears in GMail.

As I prepare to head out on Home Office Highway once again this year, I think about the tools that’ll keep me connected from the road.

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Tax Expert: Road Warriors, Business Travelers Bone Up on Expenses

Finances, The Road Warrior
June 1st, 2010 No Comments »

June Walker, a tax advisor to the independent / soloist / self-employed and home office business community since 1979, has guided indies through various tax issues for years.

Today, she offers some guidance on handling business and travel expenses. To June, the questions seem the same: Travel expenses, transportation expenses, vehicle expenses – aren’t they all more or less the same thing?

Well, maybe to you they are, June says. But not to the IRS. There are subtle and there are grand differences. Understanding standard business travel and the expenses related to a typical business trip is the place to start.

Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house goes Pat Personal Trainer. Gram just bought a color laser printer and it’s the cheapest way for Pat to print his new brochures. He leaves Friday afternoon. The bus gets him there in time for dinner. He works at the computer all the next day until the wee hours. (He’s sure these new brochures will get him lots of customers.) Very early the next morning he kisses Grandma good-bye and heads back home on the bus.

Pat was away from his home, for business, overnight. It was BUSINESS TRAVEL. Therefore he may deduct travel expenses.

The IRS says this about BUSINESS TRAVEL . . .

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Jack’s Sack: A Road Warrior’s Org-Tool

organization, The Road Warrior
June 1st, 2010 No Comments »

Fans of 24 will recall the messenger bag / shoulder tote that Jack Bauer used to carry. It held various Secret Agent tools – nuclear bomb deactivation tools, that ubiquitous “handheld” to which CTI could send building schematics.

Never saw him pull out lunch or a pair of car keys, though.

Jack Bauer & the Jack Sack

Jack Bauer & the Jack Sack

Still, I wanted a bag dripping in such utility. Functional, not too girlish. Effective enough to carry all my stuff, but still macho enough so as not to bring my manhood into question (no, it’s neither a manpurse NOR a European shoulder bag). Apparently, you can find one here.

Any home office worker, teleworker or other mobile tech / road warrior likely could appreciate this lament.

Is there a bag that fits all the stuff the modern tech-laden exec or home-working mom / dad must shuttle?

In other words, what makes a great laptop travel bag? It’s a question I’ve asked for years.

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Humongo Back-Up Goes Ultra Portable

Product Reviews, technology
October 30th, 2009 No Comments »

It seems the more digital detritus we amass, the more of it we expect to wedge into a smaller and smaller space. That’s where the Sandisk UltraBackup USB Flash Drive comes in.

This flash drive — or “thumb drive” as some people call it, referring to its digit-like size — is small on size but huge on capacity. Measuring from 8 gigabytes to 32 gigs, this traditional flash drive offers one-touch back-up. It’s ideal for traditional back-up, or just stashing stuff to take on the road.

Good thing, since most IT pros joke about there being two types of computer users in the world: Those who have lost data, and those who will. Read More »

Verizon Droid vs. iPhone: A Battle of Road Warrior / Home Office Smart Phones

Communicating, technology
October 29th, 2009 No Comments »

A funny thing happened while I was reviewing the new Verizon Droid smart phone for Home Office Highway and Chief Home Officer.

I never made a call.

With 10,000 available apps, Verizon’s 3G network, and Google’s Android 2.0 operating system, there’s a lot to do with a phone without ever making a call. In fact, that’s why I may never buy one.

Listen as I review the Droid with Jim Blasingame. Read on below the widget to hear why I’m a tried-and-true BlackBerry person – at least for the moment…
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