I really enjoyed today’s electricity blackout that extended across the whole suburb, what I now refer to as the Great Blackout of 2013.

I had received a letter in the mail from our electricity company a few weeks earlier notifying me that the power would be turned off all day today and so I was prepared to spend the day offline but still keen to get some work done.

Battery levels for the iPad

Fully Charged is Fully Prepared

It was important that the iPad was fully charged the night before to ensure they’d not run out during the day. I’d loaded it with the latest podcasts I had yet to listen to as well as some recently added music from Soundcloud, Jamendo and Free Audio Archive.

Humans Need Recharging Too

I knew I could use the gas stove to boil any water required for cups of tea and coffee but I soon realised that I had forgotten to grind extra coffee. I rummaged around and found the hand grinder though so all was not lost.

Sure enough, as predicted the power went off bringing with it a pleasant calm to the neighborhood. The only sounds to be heard was the occasional bird call and the gentle jingle of the wind chimes.

Getting Out of the Office

Considering it was a beautifully sunny day outside I decided to set up the mobile office, consisting of just the iPad, a stand, bluetooth keyboard and table & chair. I’ve used the ‘outdoor office’ a few times before and found that it is actually preferable to the desktop, especially when any writing tasks need to be done that don’t require internet access. I had a few client proposals to write up as well as some tweaks to some website manuals so this was the perfect opportunity to get those jobs done.

iPad with stand and bluetooth keyboard

The ‘Outdoor Office’ requires no electricity

Screen glare was easily avoided by orientating the screen in such as a way that it didn’t reflect. Another consideration is that leaving your iPad in the sun can decrease the life of your battery.

My WorkFlow on the iPad

Being a Mac user I primarily write in Notes or Pages as these reliably sync with the iPad.

Office folder on ipad

The iPad’s Office folder

Notes is part of Mac Mail and I use it heavily to jot down any thoughts as they come to mind. I have a folder on the launch bar of my iPad named ‘Office’, inside which, are all the main Office related apps. The Notes app lives in this folder, which is accessible from anywhere on the iPad and it is similarly used to jot down any thoughts. These Notes then get turned into Calendar entries and sometimes get moved into Pages as the idea is developed. Each time the iOS devices are synced all Notes are updated on the Mac and devices.

Though not a heavy user of iCloud I uploaded a batch of Pages documents to iCloud and synced (‘synched’, ‘sanc’?) them with my iPad the night before. It worked flawlessly. The proposals I had to write for clients and manuals were there in Pages on the iPad and I was able to continue working on them during the blackout.

Saving Electricity = More Productivity

Being offline meant that I was able to work with out the myriad of distractions interrupting me throughout the day.  To be honest, I felt as though I achieved more today with these restrictions than I do on a normal day with electricity and the Internet.

It was such a nice change from the usual office desk to the sunny outdoors that I think I may have to make this blackout thing a weekly occurrence!

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