5 things you need to stay connected when disconnected

By Brett Anderson

St. Croix Advisors

We’ve talked about it before, and chances are we’ll talk about it again. Disconnecting. The art of leaving it all behind and unplugging for a weekend, a week, or maybe longer.

As a business owner, you’re never really on vacation. The emails pile up, the phone calls keep coming and that to-do list never gets left at the office.

So, how does one unplug and disconnect while still staying on top of what needs to get done? I’d be willing to bet that you already have a cell phone, but there are plenty of other gadgets and tools available to the person who needs to stay connected, even while away. It’s another list post, friends, so bear with me. This time, I’ve outlined the top five things you need to stay connected while disconnected.
  • Laptop — I know this probably goes without saying, but do you have the right laptop? If you’re often out of town or you want the flexibility to be able to take work with you, this is important. You don’t want to choose a laptop that’s too big, but you still want that full keyboard, so your wrists don’t get sore typing on those mini keys. Make sure that you get good battery life in case there will be stints where you’re unable to charge it. Will you be making conference calls or sitting in on Web conferences? If so, you may want to invest in a laptop with a built-in webcam.

    Additionally, make sure to choose the computer that is capable of running all of the programs you’ll need to access, even while out of the office.

  • A mobile hotspot — Because you’re toting that laptop around everywhere you go, you want to make sure you can use it. When traveling to the cabin or even a hotel you’ve never stayed at, it pays to have dependable access to the internet. Streaming wireless internet accessibility to any device — laptop, smartphone, tablet, etc. — a mobile hotspot simply provides broadband service through the cellular company’s network. Some smart phones themselves even have this capability. Whether 3G or 4G, you need to ensure that you can stay connected when you need it. Contact your cell carrier for options and pricing.

  • A headset — If you have to make important calls or be party to conference calls while away, you want to make sure that you have a good headset. The earphones should be noise cancelling, so you aren’t distracted by any ambient noise. Additionally, you don’t want to interrupt those around you when you watch videos and listen to music while working.

  • The cloud — You’ve probably heard the commercials and hype surrounding cloud storage. Basically, you can have files and data stored online, so that you can access them from whichever device you happen to be using. This is the perfect solution for a mobile work environment. Whether you use DropBox, Google Drive or a different platform altogether, the important thing is that you are able to access the documents, files and information that you need in real time. Plus, others who have access to the drive can still pull, edit and review the information and changes you make. That way, business can proceed as usual, even when you’re on the go.

  • Charge it up — A power inverter is a great tool to have if you’re going to be spending a lot of time in the car. Pretty much anything that you need to charge can be charged with this device through your car’s 12-volt power source. This way, you can get all of your work done (or at least stay caught up) while you’re en route to your destination (provided you’re not the driver). Make sure that the one you choose has enough watts to support your laptop’s power needs. Your local electronics retailer can get you all set up.
Of course in addition to these five items, there are a plethora of smart phone apps, software programs and anything that your own specific needs demand. Look for my next blog on tablets as our foray into the wide world of technology continues