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The Struggle (and Joy) of Working in an RV

There are definitely some things I miss about a house. One of them was having a dedicated office.

I’ve worked from home/RV for several years now. During that time, my office time has consisted of managing rental properties, working with website clients, and recently editing YouTube videos.

When you live in an RV, finding a dedicated spot to work is extremely difficult. This post is written more out of the frustration of reaching for the best solution rather than already knowing what works best.

I can tell you what has NOT worked for my situation with a wife and toddler:

  1. Putting up a sign that I am working (toddler ripped it up)

  2. Letting the family know that if I had my headphones on, I’m working

  3. Putting up a curtain separating the front seats of the motorhome from the rest of the RV

  4. Telling Marissa I’m “going to work” for x amount of time

The main problem with everything I’ve tried is I’m still pretty much in the same room as the family and the majority of the time they can see me working.

I know, I know, it may make me sound like a douche to ask for dedicated work time, but in my defense, editing, coding, and any number of client work I do does require a sense of focus.

Marissa likes to do multiple things at once. I choose one task and basically hone in on it until it is done. That’s not to say one way is right or wrong, but it’s the way my mind works and it’s how I can get very complicated tasks (like editing video for 4 hours straight) done.

So if you plan on working in an RV with a family around you, here are a few ideas to get you started:

Get Creative With Your Office Space

When we toured RV Love’s motorhome, they turned their closet into an office: We’ve seen others turn a bunk area or toy hauler area into an office. I’ve also known some RVers who use their tow vehicle as an office. This would be tough with something like a Subaru, but if you have a large truck or cargo van, it could definitely be an option.

If you haven’t bought your RV yet, the big deal here is to decide how important a dedicated office space is. For me, I knew it was important, but not a deal breaker. I’ve found other ways to work around not having an Office Space like

Work Early in the Morning (or Late at Night)

The majority of my work takes place hours before the family wakes up. I’m not a morning person. However, I do like to get things done. And I can do in 2 hours what would take me 4 if I wait until my toddler is running around.

There is also something powerful about knowing I’ve already finished up a video, cleared my inbox, and prepped for my day not long after the sun comes up.

I also love sunrises. And if you’re RVing, any excuse to see a sunrise is a good plan in my book.

Keep it Simple

With my office in my house, I used dual monitors, a tablet, keyboard, mouse, printer, fax, etc. Once we made the move to the RV, I downsized to one piece of equipment: a 15″ Macbook Pro.

This Macbook was not cheap, but it does everything I need. The battery life is above average. It edits video with ease. The screen is big enough for me to see what I need and yet not so cumbersome I can’t move it around.

The Macbook trackpad is also awesome. It knows gestures so I can quickly navigate and make changes in addition to the keyboard.

It’s taken some getting used to, but I love it. The additional flexibility of just a laptop has easily trumped the large dual screens and all the other bells and whistles I had in my office.

With all the struggles that come with working in an RV with a family, I can still say it is 100% worth it. Because of the flexibility that comes with my work style, I can spend more time with my wife and daughter. We also try to plan our outings during non-peak times which means we save money and don’t have to fight as many crowds.

If working in an RV is a fear of yours, don’t let it hold you back. With a little bit of creativity (and patience), working in a SMALL space can give you BIG results!

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