LinkedIn recently asked a lot of their content providers to write about the things they carry with them. I’m not on that list but thought it would be a fun topic and I’ll post this to my profile there. People wrote about their digital devices, comforts from home they can’t easily get on the road, calligraphy pens to write thank you letters, and more. I decided to separate my things into two categories: Less and More.
I used to schlep a computer backpack around with lots of stuff in it. All kinds of stuff that was work or travel-related. I carried a 3-port power adapter for airport usage and a spare ethernet cable. There was always a Cliff bar or snack just in case I got stuck in transit without food. Power adapters, cables, and earbuds (2-3 pairs for different uses) were either a jumble or in zip locks or special cases. I had the physical copy of Wired magazine in addition to the digital version on my iPad because there was room for both. It felt like my backpack was like Batman’s utility belt. I’ve got no clue how he carries all that junk on him and still fights crime because it weighs a ton.
Once I realized that my backpack weighed more than my luggage, I decided to simplify things. The pack went and I got a small messenger bag with the deliberate idea that I’d strip out what wasn’t needed. It barely fits a 13″ laptop. That laptop is now a MacBook Air which is insanely slim, holds a charge for longer than I need, and is WiFi-only. No more power adapter and ethernet cable. The bag came with a neat board with overlapping elastic straps to secure loose items. If something can’t fit on there, it doesn’t come. There’s vastly less physical stuff with me and it’s all extremely findable which is a great feeling.
The “more” side of this are little things to be effective or entertained while on the road. They may even be practices or information more than things. I started blogging a little more than a year ago and do much of it on the road. Until the Air, I did most of this on my iPad. Now I use the iPad to sketch out content for the blog or format images using apps. I carry one stylus for drawing and one pen (I used to tote at least 5 pens at all time – because I could). The iPad is my home for content too. I use apps like Zite and Pocket to load up the iPad with stories to read that are either personal or professional trends to keep up with. Dropbox and Evernote extend the iPad’s usability greatly and keep information . There’s also the Kindle app for eBooks which is much easier than carrying books around. My Jawbone Jambox rides in my rollaboard so I can have tunes while working in a hotel room.
I also use the devices to stay connected. Even when I’m on the move, I’ve got access to iMessage on three different devices. I communicate with my wife while I’m away from home more than I ever have. I also enjoy posting to Instagram or Facebook to show my family and friends what I’m up to beyond words. Another enjoyment is watching the upgrade and standby lists at airports for funny combinations then post those socially. Really early in the morning, an upgrade for Tom Farmer – who appears on the board as FAR/T – can seem pretty funny.
One offline thing I’ve done is to download my Instagram feed (there are websites which make this easy) and use it for a screensaver. There are some neat effects on my laptop and I actually enjoy when it comes on. I have images of my family, friends, hobbies including biking and cooking, and travels sliding around each other. I’m always bumping into people who’ve never seen anything like it and that helps create a personal touch as well as remind me of what’s important in my life.
I've been in the software sales and service industry since 1994. I am an avid biker, father of two, and have been happily married for nearly 20 years. This blog is simply to share some thoughts on what can help make you more aware of yourself and therefore more successful in your interactions.
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