Over the last year I’ve attended Nebraska Christian College, been a part time youth pastor, the onsite tech for the school I am attending, a father of two boys, and a husband of my lovely wife. This lifestyle has caused me take my office with me and become completely mobile throughout the school year in order to accomplish the tasks set before me.
This is my mobile office of bare minimum equipment I take with me throughout the year needed to stop and do what’s needed when I find time for me to do it.
This is what’s in my bag:
Backpack: My Full Bag is the “Desk” of this operation. This bag was selected not because of it’s look but rather it’s design. This bag has the pockets and sleeves to de-clutter my books, pens, Bible, and various other things that I’m ending up placing in my bag.
One of the reasons why I selected this bag was the amount of pockets it has. Two different sized side pockets and front pockets with three interior pockets to hid things as well as a phone pocket on the arch of the top, this bag has the storage for what I need to do.
The largest selling point for me was it’s completely separate and thick padded laptop pocket located closest to the back of the person carrying it. This put me at ease with putting my laptop in the bag while lugging around all this equipment. If you like this back it’s called the Big EASY and can be found here –> Ful Backpack Big Easy
Cords and Organization needs: It seems throughout the year, more and more cables turn into knots in my bag. As I’ve added them, I began to research cord management. I’ve found I needed a Grid-it Cocoon cord manager. This item is not needed by everyone and people can actually use just straps or even twisty ties to keep their cords in order. Unfortunately I’ve found if I don’t have my cocoon I do not keep my chords organized. The one I got is a medium and it holds an audio, two thumb drives, 4 port usb hub, USB 3 external hard drive cable, iPhone charger and network adapter pretty easy with room for a few more things. I find this a must for those who need to take a few moments to “unwind.” (It’s a joke people.)
Wireless Mouse: I also take my wireless mouse with me everywhere. I’m not a fan of any track pad. In fact, I find using a mouse to be much quicker and easier for me from basic tasks to editing a video. My current mobile mouse of choice is the Magic Mouse by Apple. One less dongle hanging out of my laptop and having to keep track of with it’s Bluetooth connection.
Writing Devices: I have to have my Z-grip pens and a sharpie. If I don’t have both of these I’m often lost. Why? Being left handed it’s hard to find pens that actually work well for me. This specific type of pen I’ve found with the strange angle of writing I’ve used for year work well together. The sharpie is a youth pastor must. 100’s of times I’ve found uses for it from labeling drinks and cups to marking stuff mine or yours. If you don’t carry a Sharpie with you for most jobs, I question our ability to actually communicate with out speaking slower.
iPad Mini: This has come and gone, but by the end of the year, it was a must. By using Logos Software on my laptop to lesson prep, the Logos app for my iPad Mini has become a must. The other app I use that’s a must for me is OnSong. It’s been a saving grace not to have to carry 100’s of chord charts for my guitar with me every where I go. Along with the ability to change keys, this app has made the iPad mini for this youth pastor and Christian college student a must. — Side note: Both apps have a dark mode, meaning that the background is black and the letters are white. I personally feel more apps need to do this. It’s so much easier on my eyes.
iPad mount: The whole reason I’ve gotten the stand holder to use, was this last year we added worship to youth ministry. Being able to mount it on a mic stand or even just a pole has provided a lot of freedom for someone like me who’s full of energy and nearly always moving while teaching. It also sets my mind at ease that I’m not going to drop or throw the device as is locked in to the stand holder. It’s something I feel some pastors do not take advantage of, and instead, use a stand or pulpit to hide their iPad they are teaching from.
GoPro: It seems every youth pastor I know either wants one of these or is picking one of them up. I love my GoPro. I used to put it on my head and walk around being annoying. It was a lot of fun, but I found that’s not how Jesus acted. But with being an aspiring video maker and often not having the time to schedule video shoots with my schedule, when time does permit, I’ve got this ready for what every hijinks that we have on schedule for the day.
Headphones? As it goes for mobile offices in the modern day times I’m not sure you’ll find one with out a pair of headphones. I’ve carried many different kinds of headphones over the past year, but I keep settling on the ear bud kind. I find myself being able to share, if need be,during a trip and with being able to buy them for less than 10 dollars at a time, so I don’t feel bad if I accidentally break them.
Laptop: My final part of my mobile office is the brain. The laptop is great for answering emails, editing videos, looking up something and checking WiFi issues while running around doing multiple things. I’d be lost in my mobile office without carrying this around to help me navigate many tech issues on the network here at school, while typing notes in class, during a youth crisis where I must answer a parent’s email in the next 10 minutes. Seriously this actually happened.
External Hard Drive: I also find that carrying an external hard drive for the video production part of my day often helps me back up and save large video files from my GoPro and other cameras.
Network Cable: Part of being the onsite tech requires me to have to test jacks out throughout the buildings. My personal preference on cords is get a bright colored one that most people won’t buy. I do this to ensure my cable isn’t taken by anyone else.
Not picture: As it doesn’t go in my backpack very much, my phone is not pictured. This is something I feel is needed and part of the office, but I also find I am taking it with me without the backpack as well. Also not pictured is the laptop charger. It doesn’t always go with me. Only when I know I’m not coming back to the apartment for some time.
This is just the minimum devices, gadgets, and various other items I’ve found needed for the full time student, dad, husband and part time onsite and youth pastor. Throughout the school year, various others things go in and out of the loop based on temperature, time of year, and even tasks for the day. Throughout it all, this is what makes the cut for my bare minimum mobile office.
What do you think? Did I miss something? Did I take something you wouldn’t?