Event professionals will tell you that the ability to work efficiently outside the office is a necessity. With the increase of tablet technology the need to carry around a paper binder or a heavy laptop is nearly obsolete. With the right tools, I can quickly accomplish anything while offsite. So what are the tools that work (or don’t) for the planner on the go?
A keyboard is imperative because it turns your iPad into a word processor that rivals any laptop. I suggest using a keyboard that is part of a case such as a ZAGGfolio. The Brookstone KeyboardPro has a magnetized keyboard that is removable. It is particularly effective to use on a desk surface because that allows you to change the orientation of your screen (landscape/portrait), which the ZAGGgmate does not. Planners say that they do not want to loose the sensation of writing because it helps them remember details. So a stylus is almost as important as a good keyboard. There are many styluses on the market and most have a round rubber tip. The best stylus for me has been the JotPro by Adonit. It has a clear plastic disk and ballpoint head, which allows for greater swivel and feels more like the weight of a real pen. This stylus along with the app Noteshelf lets me get entirely away from spiral notebooks.
Some of us spend time buying expensive external hardware such as a portable scanner. These are great for scanning documents, and even though they are small, they are cumbersome to pack. The solution for me has been a FREE app called Genius Scan that allows you to snap a picture of a document and convert it to a PDF. You then open it in a PDF annotate program (GoodNotes, iAnnotate) and make notes or sign it. Very quick and nothing extra to pack.
A huge misconception about moving away from paper and relying solely on tablet technology is that the battery life on an iPad will not last. There are many external charging options available for planners on the go. I’m a big fan of external battery packs that can come in many forms. The Mophie Juice Pack fits in your palm and can be plugged into any device. The best gadget I’ve found is the Powerbag by Ful, which becomes a mobile charging station with several connections. Imagine being able to charge multiple devices at the same time while walking around. No more stopping to look for an outlet. The Powerbag is available in several styles and has been a lifesaver for me.
These small tools along with highly productive apps such as Dropbox and QuickOffice make the job of the road warrior event professional easier. They put all of our necessary documents at our fingertips. Gone are the days of carrying a heavy paper binder or pulling your laptop out at the security checkpoint.