Category Archives: Working

Loving lately: Backpack edition

Lately I’ve been carrying my favorite Eddie Bauer backpack from college and grad school to work. It holds everything I might possibly need during the day — wallet, phone, sunglasses, iPad, whatever book I’m currently reading, and my camera. Could I travel more lightly? Sure, and I want to do that more often, but until then … I carry a backpack.

My criteria for a backpack are pretty simple — must be large enough to carry everything listed above, but must not be too big so that it is bulky and unwieldy. It must also make me look like a hip adult going to work, not a teenager going to school on field trip day. Too much to ask? I think not.

I’ve been coveting a few nice backpacks lately. Here’s the rundown:

backpackcollage

1. Timbuk2 Candybar – $85.00

I think this one is my favorite out of all of these. However, each time I look at them I seem to choose a new favorite. Fun colors, but still work-appropriate, and the reviews are great – it holds a lot but is not too bulky.

2. Mossimo Solid Backpack – $29.99

Easily the cheapest of the bunch. Target offers solid colors or prints, which can be fun. The drawstring seems secure, but the bag itself is still a little bulky.

3. Quick Trip Backpack – $59.99

I love these colors, although the eggshell fabric would probably dirty easily. The double latches are nice, and the shape is trendy.

4. Electra Commuter Backpack – $62

Gray and green work beautifully together, and the fact that this bag is made by the Electra bicycle company gives it bonus points. This one would stay secure even on my bike.

5. Ranger Small Laptop Backpack – $119.95

This is the priciest, but that mustard color is hard to resist. It comes with a rain cover (I can only hope that there would even be a reason to need that here in Kansas), and the reviews are fantastic — this is a bag that works well for petite frames.

6. Contrast Zip Backpack – $33

My favorite color combo for this bag is the red and blue, which of course is out of stock. If it were in stock, I probably would have already ordered this bag, in spite of the questionable reviews about the website itself. I love the shape, the double zip, and the size. *Sigh* … light blue isn’t bad, either, I suppose.

What kind of bag do you carry? Should an almost-30-year-old woman give up the idea that she is some sort of hipster academic and just ditch the backpack? 

I’m getting things done.

Have you heard of Getting Things Done? I know, it’s a foreign concept to me too — or it was, until I learned about the process called … well, Getting Things Done.  It’s an organization method set out by David Allen, and about three-fourths of the Internet swears by it — or at least, that’s what it seemed like when I first started researching it early in 2011.

Working in my first “career” position, I knew that I had to keep up with everything that was going on. I’m pretty organized anyway, but I wanted to step it up a notch since, you know, I had a salary depending on it. I read the book, got some manila folders, and made some labels. I started feeling organized at work, like I could keep track of everything because it was there in a file. I didn’t have to keep it all in my head anymore. Over the last year (I started in January 2011), I added more folders for more projects, made more labels, and found out how well this system really works.

One day when I was home sick from work, I was able to direct my staff to the folder that contained some important things needed that day. I knew right where it was, even in my feverish state. When I have meetings scheduled, I can grab the folder for the meeting and be confident that everything I need is inside.

I may not follow the system exactly to a T, but that’s what’s beautiful about it. Take the things that speak to you and implement them. If you want to take it further, go for it. If you just need a little bit of streamlining, that’s great too.

After a year of having this system work for me at work, I’ve decided it’s high time to implement it at home. Sure, I don’t necessarily need meeting notes at home, but the system can help organize bills and other paperwork, something that is sorely lacking here. I’m not sure what my labels will all include, but I’m sure I can find some inspiration out there among the masses.

Are you a GTD-er? Do you secretly dream of crisp manila folders and clean printed labels? (Or not so secretly, like me …)