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How-To Geek

Ask the Readers: How Do You Get Stuff Done Outdoors?

Temperatures are rising, there’s more sunshine to be had, and many office workers are getting the itch to work outside. This week we’re interested in hearing your tips and tricks for working productively and comfortably outside.

As fun as it is to work outside and enjoy some sunshine, fresh air, and a change of scenery, transplanting yourself outside your office comes with it’s own set of challenges. This week we want to hear all about your tips and tricks for working outside. How do you keep your screen visible and crisp? Work away from outlets? Minimize the amount of gear you have to haul around?

Sound off in the comments with your work-outdoors-advice and then check back in on Friday for the What You Said roundup.

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 06/6/12

Comments (17)

  1. David

    With Limits.

    1. Just schedule an hour a day.
    2. Take just my computer and my phone (and sometimes some water). This way, the battery doesn’t run out and if I am out of network range, it is only for one hour.
    3. Set aside some work that can be done independent of teammates or internet.

    This way I stay productive, but am able to get out of my windowless cubicle cave each day.

  2. LadyFitzgerald

    I live in Tempe, AZ. I do darned little outdoors during this time of the year unless I travel to a cooler clime. I save outdoor work for late Fall, Winter, and early Spring. Summer is for doing indoor projects and activities.

  3. LadyFitzgerald

    Ok, I missed the office workers part. I’m retired. When I did have an outside job, we went into work just before daylight, sometimes even earlier, to miss the worst of the heat.

  4. Joe

    Use a softphone like X-Lite or SJ Phone to connect to the phone network.

  5. dog

    Retired and outside mornings.

  6. Workin Jerk

    When I work outdoors I don’t usually have much more than a cell phone.

    I actually feel sorry for the poor people who want to work outside and haul everything but the kitchen sink to do it. It’s sort of pay back for the times they see me slogging away in the cold and rain. It’s also funny how I always seem to know more about how to do their job too.

    If life were fair for everyone we’d never know who was getting screwed. I only wish there were a little more equilibrium.

  7. r

    Uhhh?…I usually just go outside and then do some stuff.
    If everything works out for me then it usually gets done outside :)

  8. Joe

    I’m with LadyFitzgerald. I live in Houston, so from mid may to September, I spend as much time as I can in the lovely air conditioning

  9. -Akami-

    Anyone have any tips for using a laptop outdoors, specifically when it comes to reducing screen glare?

  10. Joseph

    I use my Windows Phone which has Office and SkyDrive, and that’s all I really need to work. I also bring along my Zune to listen to music. All while sitting in my favorite tree.

  11. Oz DiGennaro

    The answer is simple: Do not (tech) work outdoors!
    When you’re outdoors, be outdoors. When you work, work.
    No-one can be even 50% productive outdoors, so work a while, then play a while.
    Zen has spoken.
    Oz

  12. cwcarlson

    Outdoors? What is that?

    Oh, are you referring to the big room with the blue ceiling?

  13. Tech Boy

    I go half and half, I work in a room with the French Windows wide open, that way I can be within wifi rance ect but still breath fresh air.

  14. popcorn

    During work hours I’m attached to my cubicle or to those people that need help. I am IT support/systems admin so my job responsibilities are all over the board. There is too much I’d have to take with me to be fully productive during the day or I’d have to go back in often to work on something physically. I don’t do any work outside unless I’m on call and I have to. If that happens I usually just sit in my car or wherever I am visiting and use an air card, laptop, and my Blackberry.

  15. Michigan Matthew

    I just take my phone for the music google play . google play needs more features its a bit plain but its free and works. Or I take nothing and step away from the computers and electronics and enjoy nature for a while .

  16. jvector

    U.K. spin here for a change. Right now it is chucking it down with rain. But a while ago the weather was glorious. However, like Oz says above, trying to ‘do work’ outside don’t really work. Glare on laptop screen is an issue even with a Panasonic Toughbook which the advertising says is readable outdoors. I work at home and used to sometimes try taking paper work outside but the slightest breeze really makes it stressful. So no, go out for a break, walk around, be contemplative/creative and then come in for the industrious bit.

  17. buckaroo

    @ -Akami- and jvector,
    http://diyphotography.net/avoid-sun-on-your-screen-by-building-a-diy-monitor-hood

    ^That is from an HTG article. It shows how to make a sun shade. Might help outdoors too.
    Might want to redesign (that means hack) it so that it attaches to your laptop screen.

    Could get a piece of polarized glass and mount it to the screen.

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