Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Keep me Organized/Motiviated/Working Portable Office Sidekick

As a computer programmer, I typically need little more than a computer-like device and an Internet connection to get work done. However, I've found that when I'm away from my desk a few extra items can go a long way towards keeping me effective. This handful of tools helps me stay organized by letting me keep my TODO list updated, stay motivated by letting me focus in on critical tasks, and gives me the chance to tackle certain tasks offline (like, sketching out a design) with relative ease.

Yesterday, as I worked away from my desk, I realized just how valuable this simple setup had become. In the spirit of sharing, here's what works for me. I'd love to know what works for you.

Better Together Pouch - this pouch was a gift (thanks Dawn!) and I love using it. It has slots to hold everything perfectly, and I always feel professional busting it out.

Index cards - I carry a big o'l stack of blank index cards, as well as my active TODO List. Yes, the irony is not lost on me that I'm a computer programmer and I track my TODO list with dead trees. The top card in the stack shows a roughly drawn weekly schedule. I've found that drawing out a schedule on Sunday night is a fantastic way to prepare for the upcoming week. And don't even get me started on the index cards themselves. With their cheap price tag, portable size and ability to offer both a lined and unlined canvas, what's not to love?

Hotel Notepad - There's something both powerful and freeing about hotel stationary. Maybe it's because it's provided free, and there's no consequences for just scribbling on it? Maybe it's because of the compact size and low page count? Who knows. I just know that for brainstorming and other (nearly disposable) writing activities, a hotel pad just feels right.

(2) 0.38mm Pilot Juice Gel Ink Ballpoint Pens - I love the Pilot G2 gel ink, but it wasn't until I tried the .38mm size (instead of the usual .7mm size) that I realized what a difference the right pen thickness could have on my handwriting. I use these ultra fine tipped pens for general writing on note cards, and all of a sudden, my hand writing doesn't have to be a chaotic mess. (I mean, it still is. But it doesn't *have to be*.)

Various color Pilot G2 0.7mm pens. Oh, the power of color! I use green to note due dates, red to title the cards, orange to represent 3shrink links, and purple to mark priority (1 asterisk is priority, 3 means I better get it done today!). My cards may look like a middle schooler created them, but that's fine by me. They're effective.

Not shown: at one point I had small ruler that I found was helpful for making grids and other precise'ish drawings. I lost it. Now I just use the edge of an index card when I need a straight edge. If I see a replacement, I may pick one up.

Also not shown: goodies in my murse daily utility bag, such as headphones, USB cables and other on-the-go essentials.

And that's all there is to it. I should mention that my archival and backup strategy is simple: I just take pictures of index cards and notes, and then I don't worry about losing them.

What's your on-the-go office setup like? Any recommendations?

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