Slice of Life (2): Weekend and Blogging

One of the objectives of the Mobile Computer Blog is to showcase useful real life usages of mobile computing. Specifications and features of devices and apps are important points of discussion, but what is ultimately more important is how we use them.

Previously on MCB, a slice of life was presented covering my role as a university instructor. For this post, however, the focus is on my weekend! Other than spending time with the family, the weekend is when my blogger role takes place. It is also a chance to – usually/hopefully! – complete the weekly review part of project and task management (a la GTD style). Details of these and more are discussed below.

# Scene 1: Grab-and -Go

When ready to go out, I go to my home-office where the iPad resides. It’s been charging overnight and is now at 100% charge! This means that when I remove the charging cable, I do not think at all about charging it for the rest of the day, which is so freeing and empowering!

I then place the iPad in the bag. That is where my wireless bluetooth keyboard (Kanex) also resides. It is such a wonderful ergonomic keyboard that only needs to be charged every 3 weeks or so!!

So this means that, early morning, I just need to grab the iPad, put it in the bag, and go!

# Scene 2: Arriving at the coffee shop

I usually go to one of the nearby coffee shops to do some work. Once I enter the coffee shop and order my coffee, I find a good table, get the iPad, Keyboard and headset out of the bag, and sit to start working.

Being a truly mobile computer, the iPad doesn’t put you in a situation where you need to find a table near a power outlet, remove your entangled laptop charger, and perhaps also lean down and fuss a bit with the power outlet!! With the iPad, you arrive at the table, place the device on it, and just start working!

# Scene 3: Some organizing

One thing that I try to consistently do on weekends, is to recalibrate my on going projects and tasks. This is a process that David Allen, in his GTD system, calls the weekly review.

My app of choice for this is OmniFocus which I have on both my iPad and iPhone. Ideally though, I much prefer doing the weekly review on the larger screen iPad.

Although it feels overwhelming sometimes, I attempt to review the full list of projects and tasks. I look at them one by one; updating, modifying, marking “done,” deleting, moving around, etc.

Usually, I also have a page of GoodNotes ready for brainstorming, jotting down ideas, and enabling a different perspective on projects at hand.

# Scene 4: Blogging

My blogging workflow goes something like this:

  • Prep the checklist for blog writing (a mini-process involving automation in Drafts and OmniFocus).
  • Choose the top three ideas, then contemplate (in GoodNotes), which one to do this week.
  • Brainstorm the chosen idea in GoodNotes. This eventually leads to a rough outline.
  • Refine a draft of the blog post (in Drafts).
  • Copy the draft to WordPress app for editing and supply of relevant links.
  • Publish the article (at the right time!), promote it to friends, on Twitter, and on Instagram.

# Scene 4: Meeting time

Occasionally, I schedule a meeting in the weekends, usually related to research, teaching, or some other area.

This is the case this weekend, as I will be meeting an entrepreneur who is invited as guest speaker to one of my upcoming classes at the university.

The iPad is handy in preparing for the meeting; writing down notes (GoodNotes), reviewing papers (GoodReader, Files/FileBrowser), and perhaps searching a few things online (Safari).

At the meeting, I would have GoodNotes ready to take the meeting notes, and have some other information on standby as references of the discussion. For today’s meeting, I would have the assignment requirements (which students would complete based on the upcoming guest speaker session) and some course notes.

# Scene 5: Family gathering

After the morning work, I go for the all-important weekly family gathering. I usually take my iPad bag and place it somewhere visible.

I might need to use the iPad for family related task, like showing photos of the kids on the large iPad screen. Other times, a quick/light task needs to be done (like an uncompleted weekly review). Yet, on many days, the iPad just sits there quietly while the family is engaging in conversation and a good time.

# Scene 6: Coffee shop (second part!)

After the family gathering, I usually go to another nearby coffee shop to complete any uncompleted morning work or to do some light preparation for the upcoming university work week.

Oh, and have I mentioned how easy and convenient it is to have my iPad with me?! From the morning coffee shop, to the family gathering, to the evening coffee shop, moving the iPad is always an easy grab-and-go! It is light, has no cables attached, is always on (no need to wait for loading time), and has a battery capacity to last you the whole day.

It almost feels like a mobile office. Wherever I am (home-office, any coffee shop, at a family gathering, etc), it is very easy to get the iPad out and work using the familiar work routines and apps.

# Scene 7: Some entertainment!

Ok, the main focus of this blog is “productivity on the go” (that’s the blog’s slogan/tagline!). However, I do occasionally use the iPad for light entertainment. Nowadays, that means watching an episode of Star Trek Discovery on Netflix via the beautiful 11″ screen!

The downside is that, with Apple adopting USB-C for the 2018 iPad Pros, it is becoming less convenient to just grab and use any headset. A bluetooth headset is a must!

# Curtain close!

So, you’ve been through a typical weekend day focusing on the role the iPad plays. Seven scenes represented the day, covering coffee shop visits, a meeting, and family gathering.

Going through this day, it is evident how the iPad is useful, versatile, and easy to handle. It is by no means perfect, but – with the right mindset and preparation – it has the ability to replace your laptop and elevate your productivity to ever higher levels.



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