The 10 Must-Have Tools This Extension Agent Never Forgets

Winston Churchill once said, “We shall neither fail nor falter; we shall not weaken or tire…give us the tools and we will finish the job.”

I like this quote because it’s the tools we use each day that make it possible for us to be successful Extension professionals.

Our creativity, ingenuity and insight, coupled with the tools we use are what allow us to make incredible impacts, changing the course of lives and history.

I am often asked about all the tools and gadgets I carry on my person when I’m working out in the field or travelling to a meeting or conference.

So, here they are – the 10 must-have tools that I never leave home without:

  1. weBOOST cell phone amplifier
    This cell phone booster gives me 4 bars when I’m in rural areas of Utah with limited coverage (i.e. Moab or Ferron). Just plug it into your car and hook up the antenna and you go from “No Service” to a clear connection.
  2. LG HBS 730 wireless Bluetooth headset
    I have to be hands free; I love to multi-task! This allows me to tweet, talk, and text people on the go with my phone in my pocket. I also love to listen to my podcasts, TED Talks, and audio books this way. Works great if you like to run or walk, too.
  3. 3 in 1 macro lens attachment
    Rather than carrying a big bulky camera around, I just use these small attachments if I need to take a close up picture of something small. Remember, the best camera is always the one you have when you need it.
  4. Portable charger with 50000mAh
    At a county fair or in an airport, this charger is your best friend. I never worry about battery life or searching for an outlet because this will charge my phone 5-6 times.
  5. Kershaw pocket knife
    This is the best tool for just about anything you need to do. Everyone should carry this knife on his/her person, except when flying. It’s literally saved my life when I’m out canyoneering.
  6. Polarized sunglasses
    The brand doesn’t really matter. Polarized lenses act as a filter for glare. You can see clearly right through all the sun’s glare. I cannot function without polarized lenses in the outdoors or driving. Any cheap pair will do; you won’t squint as much and you’ll have fewer wrinkles around your eyes if you start wearing them sooner.
  7. OGIO NEWT Slim Case 
    I don’t like big bulky bags. The bigger the bag the more likely I am to fill it with things I do not need. This slim messenger bag forces me to keep it light and only carry the things I need.
  8. MacBook Air 13”
    This is such a light device and fits in my OGIO NEWT messenger bag perfectly. I take it wherever I go because when I’m connected to the Internet it becomes my mobile office. Plus, the MacBook Air has a 12-hour battery life.
  9. iPhone 6+
    It’s more than a phone. It’s my connection to everything and thus an extension of my being. Next month I will write about my favorite mobile apps, so stay tuned.
  10. Fitbit Charge
    None of your walking, running, and exercise counts unless you’re wearing your Fitbit. I have the Charge, but really any version will do. It syncs with the Fitbit app on your smartphone and allows you to keep tabs on your fitness goals. Everyone in my office has one and we compete each day. It will literally change your behavior and soon you will be opting to take the stairs wherever you go and parking farther away to get your steps in.

It will be fun to look back on this list in 10 years and laugh at all the old technology I was using back in 2015 while I’m wearing iPants, using a Star Trek tricorder, and looking through Google contact lenses.

This post was originally published in the 4-H Today Blog. Featured image courtesy of SplitShire.com

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