Getting to pound away on your computer wherever you want – a trendy café, a park by the beach, your best friend’s couch – is one of the best perks of working for yourself. (Well, that and being able to not wear pants!)
But when you work on the go, you need to make sure that all your gear is sorted, so that you’re not constantly forgetting things or wasting time gathering your shizzle together (a mistake I used to make far too often). After nearly two years of living the laptop lifestyle, I’ve pared down my work-on-the-go necessities to the following essentials:
1. My MacBook Air.
This baby is so dang light and pretty, she makes me happy just looking at her. Although I’m still figuring out some of the finer Mac OS details (having only made the switch from lifelong PC-er a few months back), my MacBook makes working out and about a cinch.
2. Bluetooth mouse
I’m just not a trackpad kinda gal. A Bluetooth mouse makes everything a lot easier (especially when I’m doing nitty gritty editing stuff). I use a cheap Logitech one (and when I’m set up at my desk at home, I use their Bluetooth keyboard as well).
3. Pens, pencils, notebook
I’m a pens-n-paper girl at heart, so being able to scrawl notes, ideas and listicles to my heart’s content is a must. I like a hard-covered notebook, purely so the cover doesn’t get too dog-eared with my constant chucking it in a bag.
4. iPod + earphones.
Picture this: you’re at a café, happily pounding away on your keys, when Mavis and Jean sit down right next to you (despite many other empty tables) and start loudly discussing last night’s episode of The Bachelor. (Or even worse, a couple sits down next to you and proceeds to have a full-blown argument. Happened to me last week. #awkward). Usually, I like to work in silence, but if there are people talking around me, then I plug in my iPod and earphones and immerse in my go-to playlist (heavy on John Butler, James Vincent McMorrow, Ben Howard and Wintersleep). #muchbetter
I’m a stationery whore from way back – buying and trying anything I can get my hands on. And post-its have always been a total staple (ha!). I recently bought a 5-pack of big coloured cuties complete with ruled lines. Love!
6. Keyboard protector.
Earlier this year, I spilled a full cup of coffee on my laptop. (Yep, this was the incident that spawned the aforementioned move to Apple.) Now, I drink copious amounts of tea, coffee and water throughout the day (a habit which is never gonna change) so I needed to come up with a workaround to ensure the longevity of my gorgeous new ‘puter.
When I’m at home, my laptop is always mounted on a cute little wooden crate so that it’s at eye level, which means that my beverages are all safely 20 cm below the danger zone, resting safely on my desk. But when I’m on the go or at a café, it’s just the laptop on the table in front of me, with the mug of flat white perched to the far side of the table.
As you can imagine, I’m quite paranoid about spontaneous beverage eruptions. And apart from exercising more caution, I wasn’t quite sure what else I could do.
Then, my sister came up with a brilliant idea. She too had spilled an entire cup of tea on her BRAND NEW MACBOOK (which very luckily, was covered by insurance). (I swear, us Larsen girls aren’t usually the klutzy kind!)
Anyway, in her pursuit of a beverage-friendly solution that would enable both typing and tea drinking, she sourced a keyboard cover on the interwebs. This little guy is basically a 10cm x 30 cm rectangle of moulded, rubbery silicon that fits perfectly over my keyboard, forming a barrier to any stray dust particles or wayward coffee molecules that might be trying to invade.
Now of course, this isn’t a complete solution – more like a bandaid safeguard that might afford me two seconds leeway in the event of a spill. I don’t intend to ever find out its effectiveness (I am SO careful now!), but at only $1.23 (Yep, you read that right) it’s an extra safeguard I’m happy to have in place.
While we’re on the subject of boring safety gear, I also have a hard case for my laptop and a soft pouch that I transport it in (after my old-OLD laptop’s screen got damaged in transit when it was loose in my bag).
7. Lint cloth
Oh, the glamour! When you’re working outdoors in the sunshine, all the dust and fingerprints show up on your computer screen like crazy. A quick wipe-a-rooney and the smears are gone. #winning
8. Bag to carry it all in.
Something roomy, sturdy and stylish. For the moment, that’s a sports-style one shoulder knapsack, but I’m thinking of upgrading to a leather satchel-style bag.
And there you have it! The things that keep me productive and organised while I’m traipsing about.
Do you have any other essentials for when you’re working on the go and living the laptop lifestyle? Let me know in the comments below!