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Not everyone is lucky enough to have a designated space to deal with desk work. Perhaps there is little room at home for a permanent station. Or perhaps you are a consultant moving between sites and have no one spot to call your own. Or perhaps you just like to vary the scenery of where you work.
In all of the above, you need a portable office.
Portable Office Materials
The materials for a portable office should include those things you would normally use, in a format and size that is easily portable.
- Pens. You don’t want to go overboard, but you should have a black and blue or red pen in your favorite type of ink.
- Pencil. Preferably mechanical (so you won’t have to carry a sharpener) and a container of lead.
- Eraser. For the above pencil. Pick a good one, like the Staedtler Eraser.
- Highlighter. One color will do well. Pick a slim line version rather than a chunky one. It will save space and be easier to use.
- Pocket stapler. A mini stapler that takes standard staplers, like the Swingline Tot Stapler. Bonus points if it has a built-in staple remover.
- Sticky notes. Good for flagging things and making notes to yourself, go for a pack that is low profile and has multiple sizes, like Sticky Notes.
- Paperclips. Having a few paper clips on hand can help group papers. I keep some in an old Altoids Mini tin to keep them together.
- Pencil bag. To keep all of the supplies above in one place.
- Filing. If you want to go with an expandable file, like the Smead Expanding Files, or file folders, like Smead Poly File Folders, I recommend going with poly because it will hold hp much longer than paper.
- A bag to cart it all around with. I use a tote bag that I got from the Humane Society, but you could go with a bag more classy, or even Wonderfile Portable Workstation. For my client portable office, I put everything in my briefcase.
Once you have assembled your office, you are ready to start using it.
A Word About Filing
With limited file space, you will have to decide how to adapt the filing to your needs. Here are some ideas:
When I worked for multiple clients, each client had a poly envelope that was labeled with the client name. That way everything was together, and I could grab the pouches I needed for the day before leaving home.
If your filing lends itself to various projects, you can use file folders to hold the papers. Examples might be “reading”, “gutter repair”, “correspondence”, “Scouts”. You get the idea.
If your portable office is going to be dealing with household papers, you will want to set up a process file system. This would include “Inbox”,”File”,”Shred/Recycle”, “Reference” (with reference holding things that need to be dealt with on a given date, more like a tickler than David Allen’s reference files).
Do you have a portable office? What do you have in it? Share below.
Photo by Office Now