It’s funny how I can sleep eight hours and chug a keg of coffee, yet still manage to find myself two hours deep into a subreddit devoted to cheese while on deadline.
Our culture has become obsessed with working a mile a minute. But how much do we actually get done? The goal isn’t to necessarily do more at once, but to do each thing more efficiently. And, dare I say it, with a lot more enjoyment [insert thing about how we’re all going to die anyways so we might has well derive some satisfaction from mundane tasks].
Productivity is complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Whether you work from home or share a cubicle with coworkers, you, too, can feel like you’ve actually accomplished your entire daily to-do list.
If you’re anything like me, you get your best ideas at inopportune moments (for example, my bed, bath and beyond). Logitech Keys-to-Go is a Bluetooth keyboard that easily connects to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth to capture those Oprah-esque “aha!” moments as they arise. It’s super lightweight, quiet and comes with its own media stand, so you never have to lug around that giant laptop “just in case.” (Also, it’s spill proof—so go ahead and type away on that bumpy train ride while juggling a coffee in the other hand).
And then there are the times when you feel like something’s in the air—and for once, it’s not your coworker’s sad desk tuna sandwich. Recent research from Harvard University found a strong link between indoor air quality and workers’ overall performance and cognitive function. Plug the Awair Glow device into a nearby outlet, connect it to the corresponding app on your smartphone, and it’ll identify the level of dust, ventilation and humidity weighing you down with intel on how to fix it.
Have you drank your eight cups of water today? Probably not. Research from The Journal of Nutrition found that even slight dehydration kills concentration, energy levels and #mood. That’s where the Hidrate Spark 2.0 becomes a literal career-saver: The Instagram-friendly water bottle emits a soft glow when it’s time to chug or refill base on your activity level and physiology. What’s more is that a study from the National Institutes of Health even found that this specific brand records fluid consumption with 97 percent accuracy.
Noise-cancelling headphones are a must for blocking out distractions. Skullcandy Crusher Wireless over-the-ear headphones provide crisp audio without the distracting background noise. Plus, even if you’re not actually listening to anything, wearing them sends the message to onlookers that you’re not available for meaningless chit-chat about the weather or their new startup. If you’re feeling fancy, hook up the headphones to Bluetooth and free yourself from the shackles of tangled cords.
App-etite for Production
Probably (definitely) inspired by Finding Nemo, the goal with Flowstate is to “just keep swimming.” It’s an app that deletes whatever you’ve typed once you’ve suddenly stopped, allowing you to keep pushing through inspiration lags. Writer’s block, who?
Like its name suggests, for $3.99 a month, Tasker notifies you of certain pre-programmed tasks based on your Android’s (sorry, iPhoners) sense of location, time and day. If you plug in your headphones, for example, you can program the app to immediately launch all your audio options. Instead of checking your text messages in the middle of the workday and “accidentally” wind up in a Words With Friends battle with an 80-year-old stranger (just me?), trigger the app to read your messages out loud. Just make sure you’re wearing those headphones, of course.
Comfy chair, don’t care. If you’re experiencing even the slightest pinch in your lower back or neck, your focus is pretty much shot. While the Aeron chair, Herman Miller’s latest offering, is quite the splurge, think about all the waking hours you spend trapped—er, parked—in the same spot. Designed with hardware that molds uniquely to your spine, pelvis and arms, it promotes the importance of good posture without all that nagging from your middle school teacher.
Toggling through Word docs and Chrome tabs gets confusing after a while. Keep your to-do list, random musings and Important Doodles in front of you with the Bamboo Slate tablet. Jot down notes in good old-fashioned handwriting, then transfer them onto the cloud.
Words of encouragement are sometimes the final push we need to get over the assignment edge. Since a quick Gchat with your long-distance friend often devolves into something far too time-wasting, keep an empowering plug-in neon sign above your desk that doubles as a constant therapy session and chic decor. Try a neon sign from Amazon that reads "Do What You Love" so you never forget why you started, and "Hustle" from Neon MFG reminding you to do just that.