Office items, like the kind you'd find at top retailers, all tend to serve a very similar purpose: to help you get your work done. But all things are not created equal, and some supplies are more useful than others. There are also some that, though we may not think so at first, go a long way towards making us more efficient. Here are five items that can improve your productivity in a big way.
Having a giant surface to write your daily, weekly, and monthly to-dos on can prove invaluable. Apps on your smartphone and tablet are great, but little is going to motivate you to get things done more than staring at your tasks on a giant display. You'll be more than eager to erase every task on that board so you can start the next workday with a fresh whiteboard and clean slate.
There's a reason obsessed detectives in the movies are pinning evidence to cork boards in order to connect the dots. They're a great way to reference the various aspects of an assignment, whether that assignment be catching a serial killer or preparing a big presentation. Being able to visualize all the details at once will help you bring every piece of information together into one cohesive whole. Television writers, for example, are well-known for pinning notecards to boards as they structure episodes of a series. Depending on the size of your office space, you may need to choose between a cork board and a white board, but having even one of the two will go a long way towards increasing your productivity.
A lot of people think that binder clips serve a simple, single purpose: binding sheets of paper together. Those people would be very, very wrong. Lifehacker wrote a very fascinating article about some of the many uses of binder clips. Those uses include managing cables, keeping hanging folders from sliding, holding pens, pencils and photos and several more clever ways to take full advantage of a seemingly basic office item.
For those moments in the office when you're struggling, a round piece of foam can be exactly what you need to keep your cool and get back to your work sooner. The website Cognitus (UK) has a great article about the science behind stress balls. By occupying your "sensory channel" by squeezing the stress ball, you partially mute your "intellectual channel," which leads to quicker relief from your stress. Keeping a stress ball in a desk drawer might save you valuable time if it keeps you from freaking out every once in awhile.
How do photos make you more productive, you may ask? Try looking at a picture of your spouse, your family, your pets, etc. and not feel motivated to help put food on their table. A well-placed frame containing a happy memory caught on camera can remind you why exactly you're working those long hours and why it's all worth it when everything is said and done.