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No Productivity (on Travel) Without Power

2011 February 27
tags: Chargers, Getting Things Done, GTD, iGo, iPad, iPhone, iPod, postaweek2011, Productivity
by Andrew   

I like being productive…after all, I write a blog about increasing productivity while reducing stress. I spent several days away from home in meetings this week, and my productivity almost went waaaay down. Fortunately, it didn’t, thanks to the help of two other people who came to the rescue of my dying electronics. This week, I give some recommendations for avoiding this stress-provoking nightmare.

My productivity, and my stress reduction, are based on the availability and reliability of my electronics. I’m fully capable of accomplishing a significant amount of work without them, but I prefer to use my electronic systems because of the data integration I achieve and the ability to rapidly process information across widely varying categories. To this end, I keep a set of chargers at home for my laptop and my iPhone, and a set in my traveling computer case. This week, however, I decided to take my computer backpack instead of the rolling bag. I got all the way to where I was going, only to discover I had a couple of hours of laptop and iPhone battery left. I had brilliantly brought along my iPhone cable without the power plug. Again, not a problem if I had my rolling computer case, because the charger in it will charge any electronic device I carry. But, as I said…I took the backpack instead and didn’t put the chargers from home in it.


Keep spare chargers

Lesson learned, and a suggestion I’ll offer everyone: Keep a set of chargers in every computer bag you’ll take on travel, a set at home, and a set in your car in case you manage to get there (as I did) without putting the right equipment in the right bag. This can quickly become an expensive proposition, so I’ll describe the setup I use now to prevent a recurrence of this situation. I’m sure with some careful buying, you can achieve even better price breaks than I did, but I wanted a reasonably priced rapid solution, not the absolute best price.


Replace multiple chargers with a new laptop charger

First, your laptop came with a charger. Leave it at home. It’s bulky and only charges your laptop. Replace it in your rolling computer case (and a backpack if you use one) with an iGo power adapter sized for your laptop and you’ll also be able to charge your phone and/or BlackBerry, as well as your MP3 player. Make sure you get the right tip for your laptop, your phone, and your MP3 player, if it doesn’t come in the package with the iGo you want. I use the iGo Everywhere130 because of the multiple charging sources it supports, but you can buy these in higher power ratings if you’re willing to forgo some of the options.



Multi-purpose iPhone charger

I use an iPhone as my personal phone and for entertainment, some reading, task and context management with GTD, and maintaining my calendar. The cable that comes with it is ridiculously small, so I recommend buying the following longer cable (at least one for home and one for a travel bag) so you can actually use the phone while it’s charging. I also recommend the following charger. It’s a bit of overkill, but I have never regretted having it and I have regretted more than once forgetting it, so I again recommend buying one for the laptop case and one for the backpack. It will charge an iPhone, iPod, or other USB-charged device using household power or vehicle power. It will charge an iPad, too, albeit slowly. And, the additional backup battery it provides ensures I have the ability to make calls and check messages when I get off an airplane without having to spend half an hour or longer charging my phone. Bonus: The extra battery is charged by the power block without taking up the cable’s charging slot.


Happy traveling!


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