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The Portable Office

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  • The Portable Office

    It's been a couple of months now since I started GTD. I'm in sales and travel extensively 150-200 days a year. I'm looking for tips on how to make my portable office even better. Everybody I work with works from home or on the road.

    I've searched the board and between this and a couple of other sites, have gotten even more portable so I thought I'd share a few things I do in the hopes a few of you might have some additional tips.

    These are a few of the more important things that have helped me:

    1. Consolidate all email into a yahoo account. For about $30.00 per year I have all my email accounts go in there. Now I can check my email from all accounts from any computer anywhere from my notebook, at a clients, Kinkos or the hotel business center. And to top it off from my phone if I need to. The new yahoo beta is good interface over what it used to be. I've looked at gmail a bit and have stuck with yahoo because it's alot like outlook now.

    2. Use the yahoo calendar. Everything now goes into my yahoo calendar. The reminders are great. You can have two sent per event and I put all my day specific events, like bills, when clients need things. I've set up a folder for reminders in my email and they get filtered into there and I see that I have reminders. The one drawback to using the yahoo calendar is printing out the calendar leaves much to be desired but there is a tool called Intellisync that allows you to sync your calendar to outlook. So each week after I update my calendar, I sync my yahoo account to outlook and then print out from there and get a great calendar. I'd use palm as well but I always had syncing issues that caused me more headaches than anything else. I print out the calendar in a monthly view, a weekly view and a daily view and then stick it in my binder. I've given my assistant access to it and she can add things as well. I can't imagine ever not using a calendar like this.

    3. Use Basecamp. I've started using basecamp. Inside I have projects for each of my clients, have access to files I might need anywhere, and all my lists are right in there. I have given access to the people who help me get my stuff done and assign things directly to them from there and they do likewise for me. I can see in an instant what I am waiting on from them and if it has been accomplished. I've also set up users for my context like "My Projects", "My Calls", etc and then when I assign a task like a call, I assign it to "My Calls". Then from the dashboard select the to-do's for "My Calls" and all my calls across all projects by project are listed. I also do the same for all contexts, print them out and stick them in my binder. Inside there I've also set up some checklist for what to do with clients to help me remember what to do each time. The only drawback to basecamp is you can't export it to outlook or to pda which would be nice, but now that I have everything arranged by context in my printouts, its not such a big deal. I highlight the contexts, put them in my binder and I'm all set. If there are any basecamp users out there, I'd love to hear what kind of tips you have. Although its not perfect, it's still an awesome setup.

    4. Use ACT! I have an extensive databse of people to call and now because my assistant has worked with it and changed it to my liking, once a month she prints out a new database arranged by type of client, by region, by status and put them in a binder that I now carry with me. When I have to make calls, it's put on my call list as call whatever region and its right there with me. If it was online it would be perfect.

    5. Use ruled index cards. I buy these spiral bound and keep them in the car along with a voice recorder. Any notes go in here for later input in the system.

    6. Really Useful Box's I found these at Office Depot and have two I carry primarily. One for files and one as a big inbox (it's about half the size tall as a file box. They are very sturdy and fit snug on top of each other and are great. If they rolled they would be perfect. They have nice handles compared to the other plastic boxes available.

    7. A soft briefcase. I carry my project files in it.

    8. A myfax account. Whenever my assistant has a piece of paper I need in digital form, I have her fax it my myfax account. Then it is in my email as a pdf.

    9. A portable scanner to scan in documents I might need. Along with papermaster I can have pdfs if needed. I've kicked around the idea of going totally paperless but so far it's only been to a certain degree.

    Those are some things I do. My goal has been to be able to work at any computer I have access to. Or if I do not have a computer with my paper system that comes out of it. Anyone else out there trying to be entirely portable? What have you done to make your life easier?

    Last edited by Thor; 07-21-2007, 04:09 PM.

  • #2
    I am not sure if this is in here...

    but let me just tell one thing. The mobile part of my system is a hipsterPDA. One thing I have in it is a stack of cards with an ad-hoc presentation of my business cause. I always used to struggle with the "What do you do ?"-question. Now I can offer real insight for those who are interested. Or make some jokes for the people who just ask to keep the conversation going.