By Nicole Tinkham
It’s not uncommon for the average worker these days to bring work with them on the go. With meetings throughout the day, traveling to conferences, bringing work home in the evenings, and running out for a mid-afternoon coffee break, we are in desperate need of a system that works. Obviously, we can’t just pick up our entire cubicle and head out the door, so the proper tools for productivity are essential. We’ve put together a list of everything you need for a portable “office” so you’re always prepared and organized, the two keys components of working on the go.
1. A good planner
While we’ll talk about some incredibly helpful smartphone apps in this post, we’re going old school for a moment and recommending a good planner. You can store all the information you want on your little smartphone or tablet but we guarantee a pad of paper and pen will never truly go out of style. They’re ideal for jotting down quick notes and phone numbers when you’re currently using your phone or are in a rush. A good planning system typically includes notepads, storage, pens, a business card holder, and telephone/address sections. You’ll find many different options when it comes to planners but it’s important to find the one that suits your needs best. For help choosing the perfect planner, here are 7 Things to Ask Yourself before making your purchase.
2. Power charger
We can’t think of anything worse than having a ton of work to do, a low battery, and no available outlets to charge up. Who else would go into panic mode at this point? This is where you need additional outlets in a power strip. Your first thought is probably “there’s no way I’m lugging around a power strip with me all day”. But there’s a better solution. This surge suppressor (see image below) is slim, portable, and has three outlets PLUS two USB ports. Now all you have to do is convince someone in the coffee shop to share an outlet with you!
Get yours here: SK30USB Surge Suppressor, 3 Outlets/ 2 USB, 540 Joules, Black
3. Portable hotspot
Nowadays most places offer free Wi-Fi, but we suggest being prepared with a portable hotspot just in case. They’re easy to carry around with you and they protect you from hackers that like to hang out on public networks.
4. Laptop lock
If you work in public areas on your laptop, you know that sometimes you need to get up and leave the table you’re sitting at. You have two options: you can either pack up the laptop and take it with you, or you can leave it out in the open. Much easier to leave it set up, right? To ensure no one steals your laptop, you must lock it up. Don’t take any stupid risks! A lock is easy enough to carry with you so there are no excuses. Get yours right here.
5. The right baggage
This topic will vary based on your personal needs. If you’re traveling, you’ll probably want a larger bag to fit all your necessities. If you’re just running to different appointments throughout the day, a small laptop case, tote, or tablet organizer (with notepad, pens, business cards, etc.) may be all you really need. Regardless of your needs, you’ll want to find something with plenty of compartments to keep everything organized.
6. Cable organizer
When you throw a bunch of different cables in your bag, you’ll end up with a tangled mess. We’re sure you can relate. Simple cable organizers will keep your bag organized and eliminate wasted time spent detangling. You have many options when it comes to cord organizers. See below for a single cord wrap as well as a binder system (ideal for travel).
7. Expanding files
If you don’t have a physical location in which you can file documents, you may want to think about an expanding file or file box. They can easily be thrown in the car for instances when you need to access important paperwork while on the road.
8. Stow & Go cart
These aren’t for every professional but they certainly come in handy when you have boxes of samples to deliver to customers. They’re lightweight and you can fold them up and stick them in your trunk.
9. Bluetooth headset
If you’re always on the go and trying to make calls every chance you get, driving with a phone up to your ear isn’t your best option. If this sounds like you and you’re tired of holding a phone with your shoulder and accidentally pressing random buttons with your ear, it’s time to invest in a Bluetooth headset so you can go hands free.
10. Cell phone car mount
A car mount is great if using your phone as a navigation device when going new places. It also keeps your phone from sliding around your car while driving.
11. Helpful apps
And of course there’s always a helpful app to make everything a bit easier. Here are a few must downloads.
• Dropbox – Allows you to access your files no matter where you go on any of your devices.
• Expensify – Syncs with your credit card to track expenses as they happen.
• Evernote – Note taking app that can also incorporate video and photos.
• Google Calendar – Manage multiple calendars (work, personal, ect.)
• Remember the Milk – Manage to-do lists for the whole month.
Just because you may not have a physical desk (or rarely use it) doesn’t give you an excuse to be disorganized. There are many tools designed for working on the go and if used properly can make your life a million times easier. Getting this part of your life together can reduce your stress levels, save you time, and make you look more professional. Please note that not all of these solutions will be best for you. Everyone is different; doing a different job, in different areas, doing tasks a different way. Try a few things out and find out what works best for you!
On-the-go workers: What’s your best tip for working on the go? Share in the comments below or over on our Facebook page!