Well, I don’t have a typical day, but it is a good way to title an article, huh?
While my wife is watching the weather, I’ll be scanning news feeds in Google Reader and flagging stuff for posting later in the day, hitting FoxNews.com, scanning emails, flagging emails for follow-up, etc. I’ll take some handwritten notes in OneNote of stuff on my mind, things I’m already thinking of, etc. We’ll spend some time talking about the kids, each other, the day ahead, etc.
By 6:00, Kathi and I head down to our workout room. Depending on the day and the rotation, we are either cycling, lifting weights, or doing some other type of circuit routine. I normally have my Zune on listening to some music or audio books. I use my Model 02 and OneNote to take notes on my workout, improvements I made, things to work on, etc. To ensure I get a good workout and not get distracted, I close down email and messenger. When I’m feeling too connected and want to minimize technology in my life, I’ll leave the Model 02 upstairs, and I’ll use a Moleskine instead.
By 8:00, I’ve finished my workout, showered, had a protein shake, and headed out the door to my office. A couple of days during the week, I take my kids to a homeschool study center, so I’ll drop them off before getting to the office. I’m either on my phone or the OQO checking email for client emergencies, breaking news, etc. My day can take a sudden change of direction based upon the freakiness of technology.
That’s where my typical day ends.
I wear a lot of hats during the day, and depending on what fire is brewing, I may find myself taking care of multiple issues either at the office, at home, or at a client site. The beauty of tablet pcs is that I can work from wherever I need to, and I always have my notes with me. Having my notes with me is key to my success for getting things done.
- Managing Editor of GottaBeMobile – Throughout the day, I’m watching Techmeme.com, my Google Reader subscriptions, email, Messenger, etc for news that breaks and needs posting. I normally leave Messenger running throughout the day and will have 2 – 3 conversations with Warner and other staff members of GBM about news that is popping, InkShows in the works, scheduling, etc. Using Windows Live Writer, I’ll post news stories that I flagged earlier that morning. I find that I’m filling that role in multiple locations throughout the day – working from my OQO in the car or library, the X61 at the office, or from either machine at home.
- Programmer – I work on a variety of programming projects, from web based systems, to reporting engines, to custom developed apps. Most of that work is done at the office, but I do have to go offsite frequently to work on specialized reports and custom apps. I typically do that type of work on a more powerful Tablet PC like the X61 or 2710p. Days like today, when we are expecting a major snowstorm, I’ll be at home, working from the dining room table on those projects, while going back and forth in my GottaBeMobile role.
- Tech Support – this role is becoming much less frequent for me. As GBM has grown, I’m doing less and less tech support. However, I do maintain a few key clients, and there is no telling when something will break and I’ll need to leave to go take care of it. When I’m on the road, I have the Model 02 sitting in a Pro Clips auto mount, plugged into my Novatel USB727 modem.
I try to be very diligent about getting home by 5:00, so we can all have dinner together, go to TaeKwonDo, go to Scouts, attend church functions, have movie night on Fridays, etc. My computers are normally off from 5:00 until 9:00. Depending on where we are and what is going on, I’m checking email periodically on my phone of the day ( iPhone, HTC Tilt, etc). It is a huge weakness in my life and one that I am constantly struggling with.
By 9:00, the kids are in bed. Kathi and I catch up and just chat about the day. We are both either reading a real book, reading on the Kindle, browsing the web, or just vegging out. I browse my feeds and check my email, making notes of what the next day will hold, drafting some articles, or whatever. I’m a night owl and will typically stay up until 11:30 – 12:00 drifting between work, reading, and instant messenger. Besides working in OneNote, I also find myself in MindManager mapping projects out, to-do lists, etc.
The biggest drains on me are email and instant messenger. At any time during the day, people will chime in and ping me about stuff. I find that I have more control over those interruptions when I leave my messenger status to “Appear Offline”. That way, the virtual door to my office remains closed except when I want to open it. Email is another one of those things that I either live or die by. Most of my communication is by email, but for me to get work done throughout the day, I have to leave Outlook closed and only check it when I want to. I have not been very successful at doing that, but I am making progress.
I’ve found that having access to mobile computers and the ability to work from anywhere can have negative ramifications as well. The mobile phones, tablet pcs, ultra-mobile pcs can be with you always, and so the perceived need to be in touch, available, and constantly checking on things is always nagging. I try to guard my time between 5:00 and 9:00, and the weekends, as unplugged time so that my body and mind are both present with my family, and I have opportunities to be refreshed and renewed.
Successful mobile computing is a balancing act. It provides tremendous freedom and flexibility, but it is a freedom that can be abused if not handled correctly.