Mobile Lifestyle Lesson: Always Have Something to Do (Especially if it’s analog)

Today, I’m spending most of the day as a work day…I just spent quite a bit of time putting receipts into our shared Google Spreadsheet, which we’re using to manage and balance expenses.

One of the things that I’ve learned on this trip is to always have something to do, because you never know when you’re going to not be able to do what you intended to, when you’ll be waiting on someone for something, or when you’ll end up on a Metro with 20 minutes to burn.  This happened a bit ago as I ducked into Starbucks to get some work done…no power outlet and my laptop battery was dead.  Here I was, with a stack of receipts and nothing to do with them.  Since I rode my bike here, I’m a few miles from the van and my books that I usually bring along with me.

What I did have, however, was the smaller of my two digital cameras and a stack of receipts.  I also have a group of virtual assistants based out of India through a company called GetFriday.

As I was organizing my receipts, waiting for a power outlet to open up, I seriously considered photographing each receipt, sending the images to GetFriday, having them enter the data into a pre-formatted spreadsheet, then I would just copy that to the shared spreadsheet.  The idea is that I would be able to at least make progress in the meantime rather than simply wasting the time away, listening to my iPod, waiting for an outlet to open up.

Cumbersome?  Absolutely.

Luckily, as I was organizing the last of the receipts, a table opened up near an outlet and I input them myself.

But, I think that this exemplifies the mantra of “Always have something to do” and what becomes possible.  When I talk to people about outsourcing, the first response I always get back is something to the effect of “I have no idea what I would outsource.”  Until I made the jump and hired them, neither did I.

In this instance, what would otherwise be considered laziness could have turned into an efficiency.

Next time, though, I’ll be sure to have a book on hand.

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