12 Products That Will Make You More Productive at Home and at Work
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Courtesy of Pottery Barn, Saks Off 5th, Amazon
There are days when we fly through our to-do list without a second thought, effortlessly going from one task to another without missing a beat. And then there are other days (or weeks, for that matter) when responding to that email or finalizing that presentation feels like a major chore. Even the world's most successful CEOs have struggled with motivation before, and most of us have to try a few different techniques before we figure out our peak hours of performance. It's okay—we're human, after all.
If you are on a mission to boost your productivity and make progress toward your goals, consider one of these products, which come recommended by career gurus, entrepreneurs, and mental health experts. From a timer that will help you take restorative breaks to a work-from-home sign that tells family that you're head-down on a project, these essentials will help you feel more on top of it (and encourage you to take much needed breaks, too).
Related: 10 Habits of Highly Productive People—and How to Build Them Into Your Routine
Pottery Barn Daily Organization System Essential Office Set
Before you head off to bed at night, does your kitchen need to be tidy? Or do you put in extra effort to make your bed each morning? Some people struggle with leaving messy spaces—but we don't always give our workspace the attention it deserves. It may seem obvious, but an organized workspace translates to an organized work life, says Dr. Racha Buxani-Mirpuri, LMHC, NCC, BC-TMH, the owner of Buxani Counseling Care. This Pottery Barn set will reduce some of the mess on your desk and move important items, like calendars, onto the wall, so you can easily access it when needed.
Weeping Birch Home Personalized Work From Home Privacy Sign
The hybrid work model has pros and cons, and while cutting out the commute increases productivity, having your partner or kids knock on your door creates frustrating distractions. Dr. Buxani-Mirpuri suggests keeping your door closed and even hanging a sign like this one to let your house guests know when they should or shouldn't pop in to say hello. This personalized sign could also easily hang on the side of your cubicle or the back of a chair at the office—and you can customize the text so it feels specific to your role.
Primrose Valley 30-Minute Iron Glass Sand Timer
Though cartoons may depict work as furiously typing for hours without a break, in reality, most of us do better when we time-block our days, says Kyle Elliott, a tech career coach. Although 25-minute and 100-minute segments are popular choices, you can also explore shorter ones if you get distracted easily. "You'll be surprised by how much you can achieve in a 10-minute or even five-minute chunk if you stay focused and on task," he says.
Instead of setting a timer on your phone (which could entice you to check TikTok and Instagram or text a friend), consider a classic sand timer that's not only beautiful and a statement piece for your office, but an effective time tracker, too. When the sand runs out, it's time to stretch, take a break, or go grab that lunch you promised you wouldn't skip.
Lululemon The Mat 5mm
One of the biggest mistakes people make when attempting to increase their productivity is cutting out all of their joy. You have a lot to do, so you don't have time to enjoy yourself along the way, right? Definitely not, says Dana Kapplan, a certified meditation teacher and the founder and CEO of The Path. If you are happy, inspired, and energized, you'll probably do better work—or at least be more efficient with your to-do list.
There are many ways to add a little spice to your schedule, from browsing through a gallery, listening to a hype song and dancing, or even keeping a yoga mat handy for a quick stretch and flow. Even if it's just a break that lasts a few minutes, you'll return to work with fresh energy and perspective, Kapplan says.
n.o.w. Tone Therapy Mindfulness Meditation Aid
For people who have never meditated, it can feel daunting—if not anxiety-inducing—to sit still with your thoughts for an extended period. But, even if you're not ready for a 10-day silent retreat, integrating a few moments of mindfulness can help you feel more productive and motivated, according to Kapplan—and many other leaders who swear by meditation. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer used to do this to keep himself sharp all day; his staff called it 'nap time.'
To help you release the outside stressors and tune in to your inner self, consider this meditation aid, which you can take anywhere you go. It emits calming tones that help you focus, whether you meditate for three minutes or 30.
Kaicn Daily To-Do Notepad
If you have several ongoing tasks, it can be easy to get overwhelmed, which can inhibit motivation and productivity, says Carrie Ditzel, a clinical psychologist and the director of Geropsychology & Neuropsychology at Baker Street Behavioral Health. Rather than listing out a multi-page laundry list of everything you have on your plate, start with one single day.
This daily notebook encourages you to focus on your top three priorities and decide what can be left for tomorrow. This allows you to give your attention to action items you can complete in the time you have right now—which improves your confidence later on. "Like with any goal, it is important to pause and reflect; take stock of what you've accomplished and allow yourself to feel good about the accomplishments rather than only focusing on what is left or may not have gotten done," Dr. Ditzel says.
INCHOR White Organizer Cable Management
Take a mental inventory of everything you use frequently that needs to be charged: your phone, your computer, your tablet, your headphones—and the list goes on (and on). When you are crunched for a time under a deadline, there's nothing more mood-breaking than not being able to find the exact cable you need so your battery doesn't die (and you lose your work).
That's why it's essential to take a minute to organize your many, many cords with an effective cable management system like this two-piece set (which boasts five cord slots), says Jane Stroller, an author and productivity and organizing expert. "It is amazing how much productive time we lose looking for cables and chargers when they are attached to our main working tools," she adds.
Artifact Uprising Modern Wall Calendar
Sure, you have the calendar app on your phone and your computer. But, a good, old-fashioned printed calendar can be your best friend if it's used right, Dr. Elliott says. It can help you visualize the week or month ahead, help you say 'yes' or no to meetings and events, and take the stress out of managing schedules and coordination. Consider a wall calendar like this one that can be personalized for your work and family needs, with large spaces to write in whatever is most important.
Stanley The Quencher H2.0 Flowstate Tumbler
If you grew up in a house where complaining of a headache resulted in your parents handing you a glass of water and sending your outside for some fresh air, then maybe this next productivity tip makes sense. When we are dehydrated, we naturally feel more tired and can even suffer from brain fog, derailing our ability to work through tasks or exercise creativity, says author and life coach Lesley Michaels. This coveted 40-ounce tumbler from Stanley has a cult following thanks to the slim base that fits most car cup holders and keeps your water cold for up to 24 hours.
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
Whether it's the sound of rain falling, waves crashing, or simply an air conditioner running, listening to white noise while you work can help you block out other distractions and allow you to focus on the task at hand, according to Amanda Augustine, a certified professional career coach and the expert for TopResume. But if white noise isn't for you, other music might help you get in the zone for the task at hand. Augustine recommends lyric-free music (like jazz or classical music) when you're writing a proposal or drafting content. If you're trying to power through a monotonous task that requires much attention to detail, pick something that pumps you up. Whatever you listen to (even if it's absolutely nothing), these noise-canceling headphones will block outside distractions while protecting your eardrums and providing extra cushion for multi-hour wear.
Warby Parker "Fiona" Sunglasses
When you spend so many hours inside, you might start to feel suffocated and uninspired by the same four walls. To give yourself a renewed perspective, consider planning meetings in open-air spaces, says Carmen Lopez, an entrepreneur and a retail expert. "It's helpful to seek out open-air spaces with your colleagues or work partners to help boost your energy and mood. It also can be beneficial. You can enjoy the atmosphere and knock out important conversations at the same time," she says.
One idea is to go to work with a colleague or walk outside and speak notes to your voice memo while enjoying the sunshine. When you do, protect your eyes with these cool shades from Warby Parker; their so aesthetically pleasing, they'll encourage you to commit to this productivity tip.
Conair Heat Sense Pedicure Foot Bath
When children are potty trained or encouraged to improve their grades at school, rewards are used as motivators. And while you may no longer need a reward for everyday tasks, sometimes you do—and, yes, incentives can be beneficial for boosting an adult's productivity. According to Lopez, your reward can truly be anything that will inspire you to keep going when all you want to do is bury your head in the couch. "It can be something as small as an iced coffee in the middle of your workday or a pedicure for an uninterrupted work spree—or something more substantial for the entire week, like a one-hour massage," she says. "This will help you get rough a tough project if you know you have a reward waiting on the other end."
If you're looking to turn a reward into a ritual, consider purchasing a foot bath, like this top-rated model from Conair. Soaking your feet at the end of a long day? There's nothing more restorative than that.