Ahhh, January – that season of palm trees and swimming in clear blue water.

“Wait, what’s going on Julia?” you might be thinking. “I thought you lived in Canada, on the west coast of British Columbia, where there is the occasional palm tree in someone’s back yarn, but it always looks kind of sad and lonely and occasionally is dusted with snow.”

Well, yes, I do live on the West Coast, you are correct. But I spend part of every year working from a sailboat in the Caribbean. Tiny Frog Strategies was actually designed to be a business that allows me to work from wherever I am.

“Wow- that’s incredible – you are living the dream, right?” you might be thinking.

Well sorta. Here’s a few things you need to know about running a location-independent business like mine.

Anywhere is actually somewhere.

Working from anywhere actually means anywhere that has power, internet, and a working laptop. Over time, I have sometimes struggled to have all three at the same time, which can be extremely frustrating. Oh, and a comfy place to sit – beach sand is really bad for electronics, FYI.

Your time or mine?

Working from anywhere means that sometimes my 9 am Vancouver client calls are at 5 pm (when I am in England,) sometimes at noon (when I am in the Caribbean,) and sometimes at 9 am. Flexibility is key, plus a good app for managing meetings in multiple time zones. Sometimes I feel ahead of my clients, sometimes behind…

Structure within the chaos

Working from anywhere means that instead of having a set routine to my work day, I have a portable one. This means that even though some days I walk 45 minutes to a coworking space and some days I walk 7 steps to set up my computer in the forepeak of our sailboat, I always start my work day with a cup of coffee and a review of my to-do list. The work day ends with a final glance at my email, reviewing my calendar for the next few days and preparing my to-do list for tomorrow.

I haven’t always worked wherever and whenever I wanted. I’ve had many years of so-called “traditional” office jobs too. Some things don’t change in any workplace, because work is work, even with palm trees.

You are not as far as you think

No matter where I am, I am always energized by projects that involve collaboration with others. Plus, the tools to work remotely are amazing these days. Even when I worked in an office in Toronto, I had many clients that were in different cities or countries. These days I use video conferencing, document sharing systems, even real time collaborative editing programs.

And if you want to talk by phone, (old school, I know) my phone number travels with me everywhere. Call 1-604-210-6172 and you will reach me – although I still only answer during working hours of my local time zone. 😊

Important but not urgent is king

I always find it a challenge to prioritize those tasks that will be beneficial in the long run over those that are seem urgent to do right now. Like check my email again – something really important could arrived in the last 15 minutes!

I have resort to sneaky self-trickery, such as breaking down a big project into bit size pieces, putting the item at the top of my to-do list (and the top of the work day) and being clear on my next simple step. Because at the end of the day, I know it is the important-but-not-urgent stuff that will really make a difference for my future. And putting it off one more day will result in it never getting done.

On the topic of important-but-not-urgent, I know that legacy giving (or planned giving if you prefer) is never the top priority in a fundraising office. And if you don’t spend some time on it now, you won’t to get to experience the benefit that it brings: a steady flow of dollars into your organization, at the lowest ROI in the development team.

But we can help! Legacy Jump Start is an online program that walks you through the steps to set up a proactive bequest program at your organization. No more wondering how to get started, just give it a couple of hours of time each week, and we’ll have you up and running in no time.

Legacy Jump Start will be open for registration in just a few weeks. Want in – or know someone else who should? Check it out here and try the first few lessons for free.

What’s the view from your office? And do you have a routine that keeps your workday moving? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you.

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