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How to Transform Your Car Into an Alternative Workspace Think you can’t get any work done when duty calls you away from your office? Think again! It’s amazing how efficiently some tasks can be performed from America’s new third workspace: your vehicle.




Now that my children are getting older, I find myself meeting their needs less at home and more outside the home — more specifically, instead of braiding their hair, helping them with their homework or making them a snack, they’re now looking to me to drive them to their activities and chauffeur them and their friends around town. As much as I love being a full-time mom, this has created a bit of a conundrum for me as a full-time business owner: How can I remain as involved in my kids’ lives as I’ve always been while still getting in my required daily allotment of work?

Enter the newest trend in American professional culture: mobile work time. And by “mobile,” I mean literally taking some work on the road with me in my automobile.

Granted, using your car as an alternate workspace isn’t conducive to certain duties and functions. When you need to hunker down and attend to serious tasks that require serious attention, there’s no replacement for the permanent office space where you keep all the many tools of your trade. But as for a lot of the “filler tasks” that fill your days? You might be surprised at just how many you can accomplish from your car!

Related: Working Remote? These Are the Biggest Dos and Don’ts of Video Conferencing

The rules of the road

To be clear, I’m not talking here about conversion to digital nomad life, the kind of roaming remote occupations made possible by vehicles like Nissan’s e-NV200 WORKSPACe, launched in 2016.

Nor will I cover the spate of new products designed to keep us working efficiently wherever we are. There are numerous sources you can access that will point you to all the mobile equipment and technology you could ever need.

Rather, for those of us who are still mostly office-bound, I’m just talking about squeezing more juice out of the fruits of our labors by taking advantage of the benefits of working on the go, including:

  • It makes productive use of what would otherwise be dead time.
  • It expands the boundaries of when, where and how you can be more efficient and time-effective.
  • It gives you a break from the office, a change of scenery, without necessarily having to break from work.
  • It provides time limits on tasks you want to limit (like phone calls you want to keep brief).

Adobe agrees that certain tasks lend themselves particularly well to working out of your car: marketing and social media management, virtual assistance, writing and content creation, and sales and business development. No wonder I’m such a fan — as the CEO of my PR firm, that’s what I do most of the time.

Examples of prime opportunities to work out of your car

Here are some recent instances when I was able to convert in-vehicle time to high-performance spans of work output.

  1. Waiting in the cell phone lot at the airport. Over the holidays, I went to pick up family flying in. When their delay turned from 20 minutes to 40 to an hour, I happily found time to check and return all the phone messages that were awaiting me.
  2. Parked in the lot of an athletic field. One of my kids has an hour-long soccer practice two days a week. It hardly makes sense for me to drop her off and turn right around to pick her up, so I now stay parked beside the field, where I can not only keep an eye on her but also get a solid hour of uninterrupted work done. I now dedicate this “wait time” to going through my email box and paring it down. (I do the same thing when the kids want to hang out in the mall for a while.) It’s made a significant difference in my inbox management.
  3. Breaking at highway rest stops. When you have to take longish drives, the breaks advised to stretch your legs and rest your back are an opportune time to multitask. Walking in circles around the lot, getting some steps in, I dictated half a dozen voice memos to myself on things to follow up on when I got back to the office, then several more to my staff, which I texted to them on the spot for timely implementation.
  4. Intentional turnoffs between client visits. On my last trip to Nashville to visit a handful of clients in person, I used the rental car as my “think tank.” While driving to my different appointments, I turned off the radio, looked straight ahead and let my mind do its creative thing: PR campaign ideas, pitch themes, content creation. By the time I purposely pulled over before reaching my next meeting, I had several good brainstorming thoughts to jot down about my last meeting.
  5. Stealing away in the driveway or garage. Over winter break, the house just got too loud with all the kids home from school. I wanted to make a good first impression on a potential new client, so I grabbed my laptop, headed out to the garage and attached the portable organizer I store in my car for just such purposes to the back of my front seat. I conducted the call in peace, totally calm, without distractions, and landed the client. Granted, it was winter in upstate New York, so I warmed up the garage first with our space heater!

Related: 21 Productive Things to Do on Your Commute

The end of the road

Lastly, a few tips I’ve learned from experience:

  • For safety, I suggest backing into parking spaces so you can keep a better eye on your surroundings.
  • Move to the passenger seat or back seat for room and comfort.
  • Email yourself documents ahead of time that you know you’ll need quick access to.
  • Pre-plan to have a reliable hot spot where you’re going to “park it” as well.
  • Consider carrying along a collapsible file folder in your car to keep notes and paperwork organized per client when you’re away from your desktop file system.

You should never, ever attempt work duties that will distract you from driving when you’re actually behind the wheel, motoring from point A to point B. Safety is obviously the paramount concern. But when you’re not in transit, it’s worth exploring how much you can get done on the road!

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