Whether I'm responding to an emergency or racing out the door to my full-time job (I work at an electric utility; more about that later) I grab more than just my purse. My "bag of things to do" is always over my shoulder, filled with: one - two books (if I'm past the halfway point in the one I'm reading, I stow an extra), my current writing project, usually consisting of two notebooks (the Levenger Circa notebooks--don't try them unless you're prepared for a new addiction and a much lower checkbook balance), my favorite pens, various loose copies and notes, maybe some junk mail, our business checkbooks (we have two businesses) and a snack. It's tiring carrying all of this around--a snack is necessary!
The great thing about transporting all of this is extreme preparation: if I get snowed in, end up in the ditch, have to leave work to sit in the hospital unexpectedly, waiting for a friend to emerge from a coma, or solve the latest challenge in my writing project, I'm ready. If luck is preparation meeting opportunity, I am always prepared and alert for an opportunity.
Carrying my projects in a bag separate from my purse has its advantages: I can leave it in the truck while I'm shopping, dining or visiting people; I enjoy the benefits of a large purse without lugging the large purse everywhere (my purse is mid-size, but manageable); I can stow items requiring action on a particular day such as outgoing mail, small items to be returned to the store, an extra pair of shoes, even my laptop and charger in case I'll be in the vicinity of a wifi connection.
Yes, tote bags are beautiful creations and make grand auxiliary carry-alls for life's necessities. Mine sometimes sports an unattractive bulge--maybe I'll stash an additional bag in the pocket just to be sure I can take it all with me.