Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Road Warrior - My personal top 10

I have been a road warrior for the past 7 years. For those that are wondering what I define as a road warrior, I define anyone that is a road warrior if they spend more time in the car or plane then they do in their own bed or home. I travel on average 1300 miles a month just for appointments. In the years, I have traveled I have found ways to make my life just a little easier.

1. GPS - if you don't have one, you need to get one. I strongly suggest one that is active updates (Satellite) and gives you traffic updates.

2. Neat Receipt Scanner - this has made my life so much easier. I am the first to admit that I have a horrible with paper. This device allows me to manage my receipts, reports from school districts, worksheets for students and anything that can be scanned in single sheet. If you are a road warrior, you have to save your gas receipts, food receipts, store receipts for expense sheets. This device makes it super easy with just a push of a button. You can organize your material fast and easy. Runs off the USB.

3. Portable Printer - I don't use my portable printer. I have a lightweight printer that I use for evaluations or just fast reports. I have found that it comes in handy when you need it RIGHT NOW. The printer cartilages can be expensive but if you only print what you have to it isn't that much. Runs off the USB.

There are other options but I have found them to be inconvenient such as Printeron or Printme which allow you to virtual print to specific hot spots. I found that Staples or Kinkos can take a PDF and print it just as easily with no contract or monthly service.

4. Paper - I hate paper being left in an open package in the car. It allows dust, moister and other stuff to get on the paper so I found a plastic case that is perfect for holding a ream of paper. It keeps it protected; I always have clean and dry paper. The plastic case actually looks like a plastic brief case.

5. Sharpie or Felt tip markers for writing messages or directions. Pens always run out of ink, they don't write on many services and the sharpie or felt pens are perfect for fast notes.

6. Large Post it note pad - Nothing works better when you are on the side of the road trying to retrieve voicemail or take directions. Stick it to the steering wheel and write away you don't have to worry about the note moving as you write.

7. Car adaptor for your electronics - A laptop battery or your cell phone can only last so long. The car adaptors allow you to charge your batteries when you are working on the car. Now don't get silly don't try to run all your electronics at a time, pick and choose what is a must have.

8. WIFI finder – Yes, I admit it, I borrow strangers opened WIFI. If they are going to leave it open, I am going to us it for checking and sending email. Rarely would I send files. If you feel guilty about using someone’s free WIFI then you can find many stores or restaurants that have free WIFI while you eat or sit outside the building.

9. File Tote – offers you document holders, binder space and a surface to lean on when working. I like the file totes that are canvas and zipper because when school ends for the year, I can fold up and store for the next season.

10. Internet back up space – I go for the free space especially if you use encrypted files. It allows me not to worry about thumb drives, which computer a file is one or if someone has to wait for something. The best is that you don’t have to stress that the computer hard drive has lost your files.

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