I’m currently back out on the road again, working in remote communities in the Northern Territory. The wet season is just finishing up here and there are still a few storms and showers around making it fairly humid, especially in the afternoon. Still, there are worse workplaces I can think of. So, that’s why there are no pretty house pictures this week. Hopefully, all that is still happening while I am absent.
I had a wake up call this week. I lost my wallet.
Don’t worry, this has a good ending! Losing my wallet is not a good thing to do when travelling, as I need to show identification to get on the plane (remote areas don’t have the option of on-line check in) and I pay for most travel expenses by credit card. So there I was, remote location (check out Nhulunbuy on Google maps and you’ll see what I mean), no I.D. and I needed something that would allow me to get on the plane on Friday. Thankfully, I still had my phone – I would have had a melt-down if I had lost that! My phone is crucial to my work as a remote operator.
Hmmm, brain working overtime here. Aha! Possible solution – there is a Police Station in Nhulunbuy, perhaps I could get a statutory declaration signed which would allow me to get on the plane; but would this be allowed by the airlines? I rang the airline and explained the situation to the call centre operator. Thankfully, a statutory declaration that outlined the situation, signed by the Police Officer would suffice.
Right, now what did I have that I could show the Police Officer by way of identification? No receipts with my name on them – I generally don’t use my birth name anyway – no rates notice or phone bills with me, nothing! Ah, another idea. I rang my wonderful husband and asked him to email a copy of my licence and passport to me – luckily, I had previously scanned these to my computer!
Well, after an evening spent working all this out and sending off emails (instead of catching up on reports), I was all set to report to the Police Station the next morning and then start cancelling all my cards. On my way there, I had some inspiration – perhaps I should check at the coffee shop where I had ordered a latte the previous morning, just in case I had left my wallet there.
Sure enough, I had. Big sigh of relief.
So, all is well and I was able to fly out with no problems, which is just as well, because I am on the road for the next three weeks. It did make me realise how easy it could be to end up stuck somewhere with no form of ID. When we travel overseas, we take photocopies of our passports and other documents in case we lose them, but I have never thought about doing that as I travel around Australia for work purposes. Maybe it is about time I thought about storage and access of this sort of information no matter where I am.
I have been investigating going paperless in my work life. We move around a lot and often fly on smaller planes where the luggage limits mean we can’t carry a lot of paperwork with us. To cope with this, we have been gradually moving across to electronic records and cloud computing.
- Our reports are written on a Word template that I upload to a shared ‘BOX‘ drive. I can also access the latest resources from this source as well.
- I use Google Calendar to find out where I am supposed to be each week and our wonderful admin manager updates the information on that so we have all the details about where we are staying, flight details and car hire.
- We use ‘Asana’ to project manage and allocate tasks to individuals in our team and I love the way I can add to or check off items while I am out on the road. I am told this is a great product to use in staff meetings as the minutes can be typed straight into a template and tasks allocated to individuals as you go, we’re going to try this at our next team monthly team meeting.
- We are also trialling some scanning apps such as Scanner Pro for mobile phones to capture the myriad of receipts we gather while out in the field so they can be labelled and uploaded directly to a BOX folder to save our administration assistant the headache of chasing us for them. So, we are well on our way to becoming paperless.
I am ready to ramp it up a bit more though after reading Donnie and Abby Lawson’s e-book, that was released this week called The Paperless Home. It has introduced me to the use of Evernote. I had previously downloaded this as an App on my iPad however found it difficult to work out; I’m not the most technologically minded person. After reading through this e-book though, I was inspired to try again. I think this may be the start of a great relationship!