Americans spend more time working than anyone in the industrial world. Yet amid all the platforms competing for our attention, we often feel like we aren’t working smartly. Whether you’re a designer trying to streamline your workflows, or a professional who wants to spend less time in the office, here are seven gift ideas that make it easier to maximize your productivity and work smarter, not harder.
Moleskine Smart Writing Set
Being productive in the 21st century means effortlessly switching between digital and analog tools (unless you’re the president-elect). Moleskine’s Smart Writing Set erases the divide between paper and digital by guaranteeing that everything you write in your paper notebook is seamlessly transferred to your iPad in real-time. Write an appointment in your notebook, have it automatically added to your iCal; start a sketch on paper, finish it up in Photoshop. Moleskine’s got the right idea here: If paper’s going to survive, it’s going to do so as an interface, not as a medium exclusive to itself. Get one here for $199.
Upgrading your pen game is worth it, but the biggest issue with spending more on pens than a Bic is how easy they are to lose. London-based design studio Typica has a solution: These magnetic pens (called Magnetips) aren’t just gorgeous fine-liners in their own right, they’ll stick to anything a magnet will to prevent you from losing them–a desk lamp, the side of your iPad, or even another Magnetip. $39 buys a set of 20.
Adobe Ink & Slide
If you’re looking to pick up something for a digital designer, consider this $30 Ink & Slide set from iPad. For less than the third of the cost of an Apple Pencil, you get a pressure-sensitive stylus perfect for digital drawing, and what I’d argue is even cooler: a digital ruler that makes it easy to create the perfectly angled geometric lines you want.
Daily Fiction Collection
Got a lover of Scandinavian design in your office? The Daily Fiction Collection from Danish design company Normann Copenhagen offers an array of notebooks, envelopes, pens, pencils, and other office accessories that come in 18 different colors and an array of patterns and finishes ranging from mesmerizing terrazzo prints to striped fabrics. Notebooks in the collection can be purchased for as little as $14.50.
Here’s the rare gadget exclusively for the Microsoft crowd. The Surface Dial is a Bluetooth knob you can stick on any surface, to control any Windows 10 app or setting, just like you might control volume on a stereo. Obvious uses include scrobbling through a video, pumping up a Spotify track, or playing impromptu DJ, but design creatives can use it to up levels, switch layers, or manipulate 3D interfaces. Anyone who works with digital interfaces all day will thank you for it if you get them one. Buy one for $99 here.
Beautifully designed by Japanese art director Masashi Kawamura and Italian industrial designer Umberto Onzahe, by What? Watch is a perfect way to blend a digital calendar with a physical watch. Behind the analog dials, it puts a low-power e-ink display on the watch face so a wearer can see the outline of their day. The perfect gift for the stylish executive with enough of a design eye to realize that wearing an Apple Watch still looks pretty doofy. You can buy one for $299 here.
Philip’s SceneSwitch LED Bulbs
Most of us only have one kind of light, but the sort of artificial light that’s good for keeping you productive during the day can wreak hell on your circadian rhythms at night. To stay productive, you need light that matches the warmth or coolness of the sun at any given moment in the day, according to what our bodies expect. Philip’s new SceneSwitch LED Bulbs only cost around $8 each when you buy them in a four-pack, and they make it simple for any lamp in the house to give off healthy, restorative light, at any time. Consider it as a stocking stuffer: Your loved one’s circadian rhythm will thank you for it. Buy one here.