’Tis the Season for Working Remotely: 5 Tips for Staying Productive

The Grinch May Steal Christmas…but He Can’t Steal Your Productivity

With the holiday travel season kicking into high gear, working professionals around the world are packing up their bags and hitting the road—or the skies—for home. But work marches on. Don’t expect that out-of-office notification to stem the tide or let you off the hook on the inevitable flurry of emails needing your attention over the break.

As you look to balance travel, family time and other celebrations with short bursts of work over the coming weeks, here are some tips for how to stay productive while maintaining your sanity.

Planes Trains Autos

You might want to reevaluate your packing strategy… Image courtesy of Plan An Event.

Travel Light

If you’ve got a suitcase full of presents, heavy boots and winter clothing, remember that every ounce of weight counts, especially if you’re flying. Although it may seem counterintuitive, why not leave your laptop behind and work off a tablet? Parallels Access will let you tap into any home or work computer from any mobile device while nativizing all those desktop applications so they perfectly fit within your mobile user experience.

Don’t be that guy furiously repacking a 55-lb bag to avoid the overage charge who holds up the entire check-in line. December travel is already synonymous with delays…don’t make it worse.


Welcome to your hometown coffee shop, where the Wi-FI password is Java1234. Image courtesy of The Movie District.

Stay Charged, Stay Connected

Don’t count on finding a spare iPad charger or WiFi signal if you need to get some work done at grandma’s house, and that “WiFi” they’re hawking up at Java on Main is probably about as good as the coffee (muddy at best). If you’re out in public, keep in mind that outlets may be few and far between. Come prepared with your own personal WiFi hotspot and a backup portable charger. Here are some tips on the best hotspots for each carrier, and a list of the best portable battery chargers on the market today.

National Lampoon Christmas

Don’t forget to pick up more eggnog on the way back from the library. Image courtesy of Sodahead.

Find Your Quiet Place

Family driving you crazy? Let’s face it, you’re not going to be productive while your uncle tops off his eggnog with brandy half-way through a rant on politics and your mom yells at the cat (though, in her defense, cats do not belong in the Christmas tree). First thing’s first, let off some steam.

OK, now you need to find your quiet place. Why not the public library? It’s the only place in town where any and all conversations will be mercilessly shushed by a third party. If you’re not on familiar turf, here’s a national library database where you can find the closest one. Go forth, and don’t forget that hotspot (never trust the Wi-Fi).

Forget something?

Forget something, Uncle Billy? Image courtesy of PlayBuzz.

Stay Organized

Holiday brain is a problem, and you need to find a balance between relaxation and keeping those important work projects in motion. But don’t fret—there are some really great productivity apps out there. For example,Wunderlist is a powerful and free cross-platform app that lets you easily manage tasks, create sophisticated to-do lists and set reminders for recurring responsibilities. If you’re looking for more options, there are some other great tools out there as well.

Home Alone

Treat. Yo. Self. Image courtesy of Ryzen Bergon.

Relax and Have Fun

This is the most important lesson of all. You’re on vacation—act like it!

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