More people than ever now work on the move, thanks to mobile phones, laptops, and tablet devices. But if you're regularly using your car as a workstation, how can you keep track of everything and keep it all neat, organized and tidy? Here are 5 tips from Bob Howard Acura.
1. Paper. Although technology companies would rather you didn't mention it, there's still a lot of paper in business. Whether you've printed a hard copy of a document for proofreading purposes or just amassed a pile of receipts for an expense claim, paper will build up. There are two steps to managing paper in your on-the-road office. First, make sure you have a hole punch and ring binder, and file away every single scrap of paper neatly, keeping it all in one place. Second, when you finish with a piece of paper, scan it if it's important, and then recycle it. Nothing clutters an office faster than scraps of paper, and this is doubly true if your office is a car. Lose the trash.
2. Storage. Keep your car tidy by keeping your on-the-road office in one of the storage compartments. Whether that's in the glove compartment, the trunk, or the front passenger seat footwell is up to you, but get into the habit of putting your office away when you're not actively working. Out of sight, out of mind, and it will help prevent you from losing important items in the interior of your car. One other handy tip - try to limit the number of external media devices you use (USB sticks, CD-Rs, etc).
3. Charging. Pay careful attention to the battery life instructions on your laptop, tablet, and smartphone. Keep their charge levels topped up at every opportunity, and get into the habit of checking battery levels last thing in the evening so you can charge your gadgets overnight if necessary.
4. Stationery. When working on paper, you will need a pen, a pencil, an eraser, possibly a ruler, and a highlighter pen. That's it. Buy one of each item, and a case to put them in. If you give into the temptation of buying dozens of different colored pens and a pencil for every grade of hardness, you'll end up losing items left and right and still won’t be able to find a pen when you need one. Buy a small amount of equipment and concentrate on keeping it in the same place.
5. Prioritize. The best way to keep your on-the-road office tidy and organized is to do the bare minimum of work on the move. When you begin to do any task in the car, take a moment to think about whether it could wait until you're back in your regular office or at your desk at home. And if it can wait, ask yourself whether you would be likely to do the task better with a more dedicated working environment, perhaps with colleagues who you can ask for advice and support. Technology has made it easier to work wherever we happen to find ourselves, but that doesn't mean we always should. Taking a few minutes in the car to jot notes down in a pad after a meeting is a great way of retaining more information in your memory from a conversation. Trying to write your five-year business strategy in a car is a recipe for disaster.