Working on the Road

Departing on a new journey, I am struck by the state of the art on work mobility. People can certainly do much more on the road than ever before. Not only is it easy to maintain contact with the office and family back home, you can access a vast range of online resources wherever you may be. As with other benefits of information/communication technology, these capabilities require individuals to be vigilant about maintaining a balance of productivity with wellbeing.

    Remember All the Bits. I use a docking station for my notebook computer at work and home, which means I go a long way without using the power cord. So, I keep it in my carryon bag to reduce the chances of forgetting it on the road. I also have spare connecting cables for the iphone plus European adapters in the bag. Otherwise, there are too many elements to remember reliably.

    The First 2 Hours. The oxygen level on airliners is thin. I live at sea level with a view of the Bay of Fundy out my window. I’m used to as much oxygen as is available. After a couple hours, low airplane oxygen erodes the fine edges of my cognitive abilities. It is then time to shift from productive work to productive movie watching. Some movies are certainly improved by oxygen deprivation, but few analyses or report benefit from that state.

    Balancing Weight and Capacity. Although an ipad can do a lot, a notebook computer has many additional capabilities for writing or analysis. So, I travel with one of each. It is a challenge to find notebooks with the right balance of computing power with light weight. A well designed carryon bag is essential as well. A strained neck or shoulder can cramp a trip.

    Ergonomics. A few hotels have adjustable office chairs; most do not. My solution has been to place the notebook on my lap, with a magazine under the computer to insulate from the heat. This format reduces the shoulder tension that is inevitable when the keyboard is too high.

    Take a Break. When out in the world, take a break and go for a walk. Whether it’s a Romanesque church or a view from a mountain, focusing your mind and your eye on something non-digital is an important statement for health, wellbeing, and productivity.

What’s your most effective strategy for working on the road?


  1. Dear Dr. Leiter:

    I fully appreciatethose tips you give us for working on the road!!

    My system follows an older style: Usually on the road I’m thinking or having conversations about the subject I want to work with. I use to test my arguments with people, and when I arrive to a quiet place, I write in my mini lap what I’ve found interesant: New points of view, new approaches to a same subject or problem, and ideas for further investigation.

    Of course I also enjoy the road…


  2. Heriberto

    Thank you for your observation. It is so valuable to talk with new people and to discover new points of view. It is essential to listen and to look with fresh eyes when going to new settings.


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