Help with setup of Filing and Supplies for Mobile Office
I have been practicing GTD for about four years and have recently switched to a different role within my organisation, so rather than being permanently based at home and sharing desks at an office, I am now on the road selling about 60-70% of the time.
I now have a dedicated desk at our main office which has a pedestal drawer with spaces for stationery supplies and a single filing drawer, so I am fully organised and very productive when at the office, but it's when I am on the road or at home (which is most of the time) that I am struggling with how/where to store work files and stationery leaving stuff all over the place and it is hampering my productivity.
I have a small two drawer filing cabinet at home that is full with personal filing without being able to put work filing and project support materials in it as well, I also have a cupboard style desk with doors on the front and this doesn't have any drawers to hold regularly used stationery and processing tools.
In essence, I need to work the following out:
1. What to do with work-based active project support and reference files
2. Do I really need to have all processing tools (Sticky Notes, Pens, Pads, Paper Clips, Binder Clips, Fresh Files, Labelling Machine and Labels) in a bag at all times?
3. How can I organise the supplies at home and when travelling?
I tend to switch between three bags depending on the type of travel and duration:
1. Laptop Backpack for casual working in coffee shops or when at the office with no meetings.
2. Small messenger style laptop bag for professional meetings
3. Combined Carry On Suitcase/Laptop bag for overnight stays and international travel.
Apologies for rambling, but I really need to get something done with this before it drives me mad!
Consider going totally electronic
From your post it sounds like the only thing you can really rely on is having your laptop around. I don't know how much stuff you need to be paper in your role, but consider going electronic as possible. I know you don't have a scanner on the road, but I've been using my iPhone camera as a capture tool and that seems to be working pretty well. All my files are now digital, I keep notes in OneNote, and there is even a StickyNotes in Office for easy capturing. When my computer is not on I have a OneNote iPhone app that I collect on, and can sync when the computer is on. The only hardcopy documents I have are those required for meetings, which I try and keep to a bare minimum. I quite like it and it's very portable (apart from the weight of the laptop).
Where are the functional "cracks"?
A couple of things right off the bat: I would think about having a duplicate set of office supplies (e.g. paperclips, sticky notes and the like) at your "work" office and at your "home" office. For the "portable" office, I would pare down and just have a small pouch or pencil case that carries the bare necessities. Think about how much processing you actually do on the fly and "pack" your pouch accordingly...
I find with a lot of travel - especially international - that paper is a lot less anxiety-inducing for me. Yes, potentially heavier, although you don't need a honking great planner for lists & diary - you could survive with a smaller, "personal" size (Filofax, for example)... Then you're not worrying about syncing, charging, etc. on the road. I realise this is an "old school" approach, and not for everyone. I would agree that the iPhone (or similar device) is great for capturing pictures of receipts, etc. and would recommend an Evernote account, which you can access on your laptop and mobile device.
But the most important thing is to visualise what a seamless, stress-free set-up would look like, and then back up from there to the nitty-gritty!
PDFPen on iPad seems to be working well
I have a 22" external monitor connected to my corporate laptop to plenty of real estate and its sometimes useful to extend the desktop across both when working on some tasks.
Originally Posted by Suelin23
Based on comments from the Mac Power Users Podcast (I am an aspiring Mac owner in future), I purchased PDFpen for iPad and have found this to work well for marking up building plans and using Dropbox to move data around.
The standard Acrobat Reader for Windows works well for the large technical submission document review and text markup but doesn't allow drawing shapes in PDF's, so I will see how this works combining the PC and iPad together.