Linda Derschang, CEO of the Derschang Group, is the owner of six show-stopping Seattle restaurants that have been featured in Food & Wine, The Seattle Times, and more. Walking into each space is a completely different experience from the next—from Moroccan-inspired to a Big-Sur-in-the-1970s vibe, it’s clear that Derschang puts as much into the interior as she does into the menu. Patrons are in for wall-to-wall feasts for the eyes as well as the taste buds, and Derschang draws a lot of her inspiration for her spaces from regular travel. “I love the flexibility of being able to work anywhere. In the last two months I’ve been to Chicago, New York, and I’m going to Paris for Fashion Week at the end of September.”
Whether it’s for work or play, she can’t help but to go into restaurateur mode when she sees something she likes. “Even when traveling for pleasure, I’m constantly noticing details and getting inspiration for my small business. How could I not? We all have to eat!” But customer flow in any of her six restaurants definitely does not slow while she’s away from Seattle, so mobile productivity is essential. Here are her five tips for agile working and staying productive while gathering her inspiration:
1. “Keep on top of your calendar and time differences when making appointments.” As any virtual teams will know, taking advantage of mobility is all about using it. So, having to reschedule appointments because you didn’t review your calendar in the morning, or you didn’t account for being in a different time zone, can really eat up your day at best—at worst it could create missed opportunities.
2. Make your cell phone work for you. “Charge your phone every night, and always have a charger (or two),” Derschang says. Nothing stops communication in its tracks like a mobile device that’s lost its juice. “Having my phone is key,” says Derschang. “I’m constantly taking photographs, whether it’s to show my team, or to remind myself, or to post to my Instagram. I’m also on my phone trying to stay on top of emails, making notes, and checking news. And like everyone, I use my phone as a navigation device, to find a ride, and even to book an exercise class while traveling.”
3. “Carry pen, paper and reading materials in your bag.” As great as technology is for agile working, Derschang finds there are times where she needs to go old school to capture ideas and thoughts. “I really love having a notebook to doodle in,” she says. And it’s inevitable that you’ll find yourself with some downtime. “I like to read whenever I have a spare moment. I usually have a section of the New York Times, an [issue of] The New Yorker, or a book in my bag.”
4. “Keep a spare set of cords.” Do a pre-trip inventory of all your devices and what you need to keep them in working order. “It’s so frustrating to realize I don’t have a cable for my Fitbit or to charge my headphones,” Derschang says. “I travel so frequently that it’s simply easier to keep a separate bag, always ready to go.”
5. “Pack light and wear comfortable shoes.” The less you have to lug around, and the more comfortable you are, the more energy you have to focus on what you’re there to do. Derschang also says, “the best way to see a place is by walking or biking. I’m thrilled that sneakers are so cool these days. I can walk around Paris or New York City in my Stan Smiths and my feet are fine all day.
I travel light so I can shop. Whether I’m at a market in Mexico or a small, interesting shop in London, I’m likely to pick up something to bring home. If I start light I can check a bag on the way home.”