On being a digital nomad: I traveled the world for a year and a half as a digital nomad, joking with my friends that my large backpack was my apartment and my smaller one was my office. In that time, I’ve come to learn the absolute necessities of my day-to-day office (a.k.a. backpack) as a freelancer. It’s pretty wild, even to me, that my backpack is my office. Inside of it is everything I would put into an office space, minus the desk.
On her daily work routine: As an LA based freelancer, it’s not an option for me to pop in and out of my apartment to grab things throughout the day. Once I leave the house, I don’t come back until the workday is finished. Between content shoots, hosting my monthly content writers meeting, and Google Hangout meetings with clients—I need to have everything that day requires of me inside of my backpack. This is the most efficient use of my time since it can take 30+ minutes to get from one side of LA to the other.
On what’s in her bag: My backpack stays packed and ready to go, just as an office space is always ready for you to sit and start working. This means that every morning, after I go to the gym, eat breakfast, and get ready, I can grab my bag and go, knowing that everything I’ll need for the day is inside.
On laptop preference: I love my 13-inch Macbook Pro. This is what I’ve been using to run my freelance writing business for two years. She’s been a true trooper, traveling through Central America, Europe, and Asia with me while I was backpacking. I put my laptop in the back compartment of my backpack, inside of the sleeve. This makes it really convenient to slide in and out as I need it and keeps it separate from my water bottle and any food I put in the first compartment (just incase).
On current read: I’m always reading a book and I like to keep a book on hand for down time, like when I’m waiting for an Uber or waiting to meet up with another writer for coffee. I find that in the moments I don’t have a book, I’ll open Instagram and start scrolling. By keeping my book handy, I know I can avoid the temptation of scrolling and learn something that can improve my writing, my business, and my life.
On blue light glasses: If someone told me that I could only take three things with me from this bag, I’d take my computer, my phone, and my glasses. While these glasses have a mild prescription on them, what’s most valuable to me is their interference with blue light. I find that on the days I don’t wear them, I’ll have a small headache at the end of the day. I’m pretty strict with myself now and rarely use a computer or phone for long periods of time without wearing my glasses.
On drinking water: I don’t leave the house without first filling my water bottle. While coffee shops and coworking spaces always give you access to water, you never know what water has been filtered and which hasn’t. So, I’ll fill my water bottle so I know that I’m at least starting with a bottle full of filtered water.
This has been one of my best discoveries as a remote worker—you want to be in control of your water intake. When you’re not home and don’t have a set office to go to, you want to be able to fill up on water throughout the day and relying on the small cups that coffee shops and coworking spaces have available isn’t going to do the trick. I bring my own water bottle to keep that control and be able to stay hydrated during the day, drinking about 80-100 ounces per day.
On headphone use: In the front compartment of my backpack I keep three pairs of headphones. This sounds ridiculous but yes, I do need all of them. I keep a pair of AirPods for when I’m listening to music, a podcast, or a video while I’m in an Uber or walking somewhere. I have a pair of headphones with a lightning port connection to use with my iPhone XS, and then a pair of headphones with an Aux jack to use with my laptop.
I try to only use my AirPods when I’m moving and the cord is going to limit me, and then to use my wired headphones for longer periods of headphone use. This is totally just conspiracy theory as to whether or not Bluetooth is good for your brain, so I just avoid Bluetooth headphones for long periods of time.
On the iPhone: I also keep my iPhone XS in the small compartment with my headphones. I keep it here for convenience, that way it’s easy to grab it whenever I need it. As a freelancer, my phone is an important part of my work day. I’m consistently answering emails and Slack messages from my clients, sharing stories on Instagram, and checking on my Medium article stats. Having my phone in an easy to grab location is a necessity for me.
On being prepared while on-the-go: I keep a portable charger in the small compartment of my backpack. I used to never bring a portable charger with me, as my phone is fairly new and the battery still works all day. But, it just takes one time to learn your lesson. When I first moved to LA, I made the huge mistake of Ubering to Trader Joe’s to grab some quick groceries, without realizing that my phone was at 10%.
By the time I shopped and was ready to call my Uber home, my phone died mid-call. I didn’t have my backpack with me, and didn’t have my iPhone charger, so I ended up wandering around Vine Street in Los Angeles asking restaurants if they would be able to charge my phone for five-minutes. I was lucky enough to find a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf with some very kind employees who charged my phone up for me enough to call my Uber home. After that experience, I always have a portable charger on hand...just in case.
On staying organized as a freelancer: As a remote working freelancer, my backpack really is my everything. It houses the one thing that runs my entire business, my laptop, and everything I need to keep each day flowing. If there’s one thing a new freelancer or remote entrepreneur needs, it’s a backpack they can rely on to fit everything they need. Put everything you need on a daily basis into that backpack and leave it there. This ensures that your “office” is always ready to go, whether you’re off to a meeting, coffee with a friend, or a long work session at a coworking office.