Summer 👏 is 👏 here 👏!  It’s time for the beach, barbeques, and early release on Fridays. Unfortunately, for us adults, summer does not mean school’s out. But, if you play your cards right you can work hard and play hard. The name of the game is productivity. The more you can get done in a shorter amount of time the better. Check out these top 5 apps for productivity so that you can spend less time working, and more time enjoying the sunshine with friends and family.

Serene - a 3 tiered approach

Serene is a macOS app that layers three techniques to boost focus and limit distractions. This is one of the best apps for productivity because it helps you plan your day. We all know how powerful goal setting can be, especially when they are small and achievable. Each day Serene prompts you to identify a goal, specify the timeframe to complete it, and how you will get started. 

The second step in Serene is to block digital distractions. The app allows you to block apps and websites that you know take you off track such as Instagram, Youtube, and Twitter. While you can customize which websites you would like to block, you aren’t able to block “some” distractions or prioritize “some” information. The app or website is blocked entirely during the session you choose so you have to be sure your focus is more important than missing any messages.

The last step is to enhance your focus. Serene helps customers do this with focus music, countdown timers, and scheduled breaks. Overall, this product is great for someone who likes a plan but needs help sticking to it. The distraction blocking is a nice addition but the options are somewhat limited.

|| Try Serene for a trial period of 10 hours here.

 

Hardly - Notification Customization

Apps for Productivity, Hardly

When developing the best apps for productivity, companies must balance simplicity and customization, and Hardly does just that. Hardly’s interface is very straightforward making it easy to use. A productivity app is no good if you are distracted by figuring out how to use it.

At the same time, the app offers users a high level of personalization with the ability to prioritize certain alters and block some distractions. Instead of going totally silent, the app allows you to filter notifications by person, project name, and urgency. This means you can go into focus mode without fear of missing anything important or time-sensitive.  To me, this feature is priceless.

Want to learn more about how Hardly can help you reach your productivity goals? Read our deep-dive article from earlier this month and sign up for our beta test here.

Shift - all of your apps & accounts in 1 place

Apps for Productivity, Hardly, Shift

Shift is for those of you looking to declutter your desktop. The app helps you focus and improve your productivity by shortening the time it takes to switch back and forth between different email accounts, browser tabs, and apps. Shift becomes your browser for work; having everything in one place makes the process seamless and efficient. With Shift, you can snooze or mute your notifications and sync them with your calendar to avoid distractions during meetings. Lastly, Shift works across Windows and Macs so it’s perfect if you work on both platforms. 

Try Shift for a trial period of 7 days here.

 

Todoist - gimmick-free task management

Todoist is one of the best apps for productivity if you are looking to improve task management for your team. As a remote, international employee at Hardly, Todoist helps me stay on top of my assignments and assign tasks to others easily. The app allows you to transform a note into a one-off or recurring task, color-code priorities, share projects, and record your progress. After using Todoist, I realized group work doesn’t have to be painful. A seamless task management system makes all the difference in getting work done efficiently as a team.

Try Todoist for free here.

 

IFTTT - a seamless series of events

Apps for Productivity, Hardly, IFTTT

IFTTT, which stands for “If This, Then That”, is one of the best apps for productivity if you love automation. As we all know, time is money so being able to have small tasks taken care of without a second thought is a godsend. The website and mobile application allows you to connect internet-aware apps, services, and devices, without any coding.  For example, you could request your computer track your work hours when you are at a certain location in google calendar or automatically share your company’s new LinkedIn posts on your personal page. Basically, you can work smarter by concocting your own recipe of commands that triggers second and third order tasks automatically. 

Try IFTTT for free here.

 

My time in Japan has come to an end and I am now in the process of PCSing. For those of you who aren’t familiar, the term is used to describe the hellish moving experience for military members and their families that happens on average every three years. What makes this process so painful? All of the emails, phone calls, and signatures required to move myself and my belongings from one place to the next. Some are important and some aren’t but the one time you select “off” on your notification setting or throw items is the virtual trash, you will regret it.  Therefore, operating on a zero or one scale isn’t an option.

 

I need a spectrum or gradation. It would be amazing if I could turn my notification setting to off but still be alerted whenever an email titled “PCS” came through. Then, I could filter out the unimportant stuff when trying to remain focused.

 

Moreover, there is nothing worse than being bombarded with rings, dings, and pings when you are in a work rhythm. But, some people, topics, and projects are worth the distraction. The problem is most platforms only allow you to have all the notifications or none at all. That’s where the Hardly app comes into play. Let me introduce you to the notification setting filters of my dreams:

Notification Setting #1: Give certain people a VIP pass

Hardly Notification Customization

I love my grandmother to death but I know a conversation with her will last hours. Even when we both have the intention of simply checking in, our conversation becomes tangential and any work flow I previously had dissipates.  A phone call from her, while wonderful, is the ultimate distraction.

And I’m not alone. In our last team meeting, coworkers mentioned that their family group texts were at the top of their distractions list and something they wish they could filter out when they are in Zoom meetings or quickly approaching a deadline. We all want to know what Uncle Jack thinks about the latest COVID restrictions, just not when our website edits are due by the end of the day.

Without Hardly, my only option is to put my phone on silent or constantly be swiping away messages off of my laptop screen. With Hardly, I can silence my family drama while still receiving notifications if my deployed husband tries to contact me. Communication is few and far between so making sure I see his messages is a must!

This feature of the notification app is a game-changer. It gives you the power to hand out passes to the very important people you need to be in contact with to stay on top of your work while pressing the pause button on distractors (we want to hear from them, just not now!)

Notification Setting #2: Allow top-shelf topics to come through

Hardly App Alert Manager Notifications

In addition, the Hardly app allows you to filter notifications by topic. I love that my workplace values coworkers getting to know one another personally, not just professionally. However, I can do without the string of nonstop notifications from coworkers sending each other cat pictures while I am trying to enjoy a dinner date or working on writing a blog. 

I love this notification setting because I can limit distractions while allowing alerts from the blog or social media channels. Meaning, when my phone buzzes in the middle of getting some great thoughts down on paper, I know that it’s a notification pertinent to my work and actually worth checking. Any app that prevents me from losing my train of thought over random conversations is a winner in my book.

Notification Setting #3: Push through priority projects

Hardly App Alert Manager Notifications

Lastly, while other applications allow you to filter notifications by person or category, our software offers customization like never before. You can filter your notifications by urgent words. For instance, any messages that say “urgent,” “end of day,” or “ASAP,” can bypass my do-not-disturb notification setting on my computer so that I don’t miss anything pressing.

 

Don’t believe me? I bet you can think of at least one time where you had your notification setting off and when you turned it back on realized you had missed a question or request that was time-sensitive. Hardly will make sure you can keep your focus without missing anything that requires your immediate attention.

Why does all this matter?

Notifications Hardly Superhuman

The percentage of employees that would rather go back to their daily commute than continue sorting the deluge of emails and Slack or Teams messages. Source: Superhuman

Not sure if a notification filtering system will truly have an impact on your remote work experience? Superhuman just released a new survey that found nearly two in three remote workers would rather go back to their daily commute than continue sorting through the avalanche of emails and chat messages. Additionally, over half of men and women say they can’t go more than 5 minutes without opening a notification for an email or work communication.

 Click here to learn more about the Hardly app and let us know which notifications you love filtering out! Need more tips to keep the distractions out and the productivity in? Read our blog on how to overcome notification nerves

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Perhaps you have even heard that Hardly is going to be participating in South by Southwest® (SXSW®) in order to help spread the word that working from home doesn’t have to lead to madness. Many of us have gone from a working at home mentality to a living at work mentality. Working in general, and working from home particularly, can be really stressful!

Juggling one million tabs, shifting between multiple screens, and trying to stay focused amongst a myriad of distractions would make anyone want to pull their hair out! Hardly is all about making your workday a whole lot better by creating hardware and software that can improve your overall productivity and wellness

SXSW®, Hardly

What is SXSW?

SXSW® is a major conference and festival that celebrates all things focused on creativity and discovery. While the festival won’t take place in sunny Austin, Texas, this month, it will be an incredible, digital experience where companies, artists, and keynote speakers will share the fruits of their imagination from all over the world.

Be sure to check out their website for more details on who else is attending and what topics are going to be discussed.

SXSW®, Hardly

Who is fellow pitch competitor, AlphaBeats?

Luckily, Hardly is not the only company focused on trying to decrease stress and improve the mental wellbeing of us worker bees around the world. Fellow SXSW® competitor, AlphaBeats, is also leading the charge against madness caused by work-stress—but from a different angle. Their goal is to help you both  unplug and calm down during the little time we do have away from work. This way your mind actually has time to rest.

Alpha stands for “alpha waves”, which are the brain waves produced when you are in a relaxed state. Their app uses music to de-stress the brain.

Based out of The Netherlands, this revolutionary, technology company helps you to decompress from work in a major way. The first step is that AlphaBeats turns your smartphone into a biosensor. Then, they combine neurofeedback with technology that enhances the relaxing qualities of your favorite songs to train your brain to reach deep relaxation in 10 minutes after four weeks of consecutive use.

No more looking up the sound of waves or rainfall on Youtube for meditative vibes! AlphaBeats has you covered!

SXSW®, Hardly

What is work-stress?

Work-related stress is a real thing. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines it as “the response people may have when presented with work demands and pressures that are not matched to their knowledge and abilities and which challenge their ability to cope.”

Now, I’m not suggesting pressure at work is a rarity or that it is inherently unhealthy. However,  when the pressure becomes excessive and unmanageable, it causes stress that can damage your personal and professional health. Western Governor’s University states that when work-stress becomes chronic, compounding over a significant amount of time, it can lead to burnout, which has been linked to a higher likelihood of suicide, substance abuse, heart disease, high blood pressure, and death before the age of 45.

SXSW®, Hardly

How does work-stress affect you on the job?

For all you productivity hackers, stress can be a disadvantage when it comes to getting a lot done in a short amount of time. You see, stress causes a lack of energy and focus. Initially, stress can give you a burst of energy but quickly transitions to draining you emotionally and physically— preventing you from delivering your best work.

In addition, stress can take over your mind and make it impossible to focus on completing the task at hand. The constant worry can take up significant time and reduce your creativity, which is totally inefficient.

Lastly, stress can turn you into the coworker from hell. When constantly on edge, we are more likely to make mole hills into mountains, freak out rather than problem solve when challenges arise, and snap at colleagues who are probably just trying to help. Remember, most jobs require teamwork, especially in a virtual environment. Your mood doesn’t just affect you but those around you, too.

SXSW®, Hardly

Take control of the work madness

If music isn’t your best stress reliever, try physical exercise, getting out in nature, journaling, taking a bath, practicing mindfulness, or enjoying an adult coloring book. No matter what you choose to do to destress, make sure it is quieting and releases tension from the workday so that you can get a good night’s rest—the ultimate form of restoration. You can also check out our lazy guide to better wellbeing.

Interested in learning more about how Hardly and AlphaBeats can help you zen out? Don’t forget to visit our virtual booth at SXSW® from March 16th-20th. We hope to see you there!

As a blogger, learning to overcome writer’s block is a necessity. For me, it’s not so much the blank page. It’s the lack of creative triggers around me that make it difficult to get into a good writing flow. Companies and employees have always been focused on productivity (which seems like the right choice if Maslow had a business world hierarchy). However, creativity is also a key ingredient for success. While shoving a desk against any wall with an outlet might have worked at first, it is time to upgrade our home office into a permanent setup that inspires creativity.

Home Office, Creativity, Hardly

It's about balance

Over the summer, I picked up watercolor as a COVID-19 hobby to replace the time I would normally be out and about. One of my friends who frequently produces artistic genius told me:

“The secret to igniting creativity was to have the perfect balance of nothing and something around you.”

I know. It didn’t make any sense to me either at first. However, after reflecting upon this list of strategies, I’ve found her words summed it up perfectly. Check out our suggestions for how you can level-up your home office to a chamber of creativity:

Home Office, Creativity, Hardly

Stimulate your 5 senses

Fast Company claims that sight might have the greatest impact on our state of mind. Anything from painting an accent wall in your office to changing the color of your computer screen can help you elicit a new idea. Bringing visually stimulating artwork into space can spark creativity as well, as long as it’s not distracting.

If inspiring images aren’t your thing, try decorating with words of wisdom. Sometimes an inspirational quote or a profound poem is just what we need to get the creative juices flowing.

While sight might be Fast Company’s first pick, I would argue sound is the most powerful tool in inspiring creativity. It could be the soothing sounds of Bach or the poppy, feel-good beats of Dua Lipa that put you in the right headspace to bring new energy to your work. A study in the Journal of Consumer Research found ambient noise is the best sound to evoke creativity. Try typing in sounds of the forest or beach on YouTube, and play it on a low volume.

For scent, try lighting a cinnamon or vanilla candle to enhance your creativity. In terms of touch, make sure the temperature of your workspace is ideal for you. If you are too hot, you will feel agitated. But, too cold, and your body will be using so much energy to stay warm. There won’t be enough energy to engage in out-of-the-box thinking.

Also, don’t forget to literally fuel your creative mind with the right foods (aka, taste!). Junk food can make us feel sluggish. Instead, prime your mind with healthy carbohydrates and natural sugars from fruit to keep you alert and energized.  

Home Office, Creativity, Hardly

Declutter your home office

A mess of a desk is a mess of a mind. Creativity requires clarity, which means a clear workspace. While this doesn’t mean your home office should be void of personality, making sure everything is in its place before you brainstorm will help you focus on the project rather than the coffee-stained stack of papers from an assignment that was completed weeks ago. I’ve found the easiest way to keep my workspace clear is storage. Shove stray items into some high-quality plastic bins that fit perfectly under your desk. This simple action will help you fake cleanliness on days when you just can’t Marie Kondo your life. A couple of items from The Container Store will help your creativity go from zero to 100 real quick!

Home Office, Creativity, Hardly

Go green

No, don’t paint your office green; what I mean is to breathe some new life into it with plants. Medium even calls potted plants creativity heroes. Prominent CEOs, such as Tim Cook, and leaders in tech like Amazon claim that surrounding themselves and their employees with nature inspires innovation.

Not convinced? CNN reports environmental psychologists have a growing body of research that suggests biophilic design supports cognitive functioning, stress reduction, and well-being, which can all contribute to ingenuity. Don’t be discouraged if gardening is not your thing. Even a small succulent that only needs to be watered once in a blue moon will do the trick!  

Home Office, Creativity, Hardly

Choose a window, instead of a wall

At the very least, if you are trying to increase creative vibes, move away from the blank wall. Not only is natural light better for our functioning, but a view of the outdoors can help us expand our minds.

Donald Rattner writes that design strategists—in conjunction with psychologists—have found that our perception of the expansiveness of our physical space dictates our perception of our mental space. In simplistic terms, the more physical space we think we have, the more inclined we are to generating original and useful ideas.  You can’t get more expansive than the great outdoors, so facing a window or opening up french doors to your backyard could be a game-changer.

Albert Einstein said, “Creativity is contagious, pass it on.” Following this spirit, share this article with friends and coworkers so they can foster creativity in their home offices, too!

The holiday season is in full swing – families are gathering (virtually or while social distancing?) to eat turkey, christmas trees are going up, and we are all about to put on the holiday 15 as if we haven’t been comforting ourselves with uber eats for the last seven months to get through this pandemic.  Well, we have put together a list of holiday snacks that are healthy-ish to keep you energized as you work from home through the festivities.

Apple Pie Protein Smoothie

Holiday Snacks, Hardly

If you are on a health kick, this holiday snack is for you. Perfect for those mornings you want to feel energized and motivated to take on the day or replenished from a hard workout, the apple pie protein smoothie is easy to make and packed with nutrients to keep you satiated for a couple of hours. It tastes like dessert but minus the guilt or the need to run around the block five times due to a sugar rush.

What you need to make this delicious dessert:

¾ cup almond milk (add more if you would like a thinner smoothie)

1 frozen banana, peeled

¼ cup old fashioned oats

1 apple, chopped in large chunks with the core removed

½ tsp ground cinnamon, or to taste

1 scoop vanilla protein powder

¼ tsp ground cloves, to taste

¼ tsp ground nutmeg, to taste

Instructions: Throw it all in a high powered blender and let the magic happen! Pro tip- a smoothie always tastes best with a straw.

Gingerbread Loaf

Holiday Snacks, Hardly

Nothing sums up the smell of the holidays like a gingerbread loaf. This spicy, moist slice of cake is the perfect mid morning snack to indulge in with a cup of tea when you are feeling a bit peckish before lunch. Not only will the scent of ginger and molasses waft through your home office, but this loaf will last you all week. The recipe below is adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction. She has never steered me wrong when it comes to baking!

What you need:

2 cups of all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

¾ cup unsulphured molasses or dark molasses

¾ cup hot water (my grandmother used to use orange juice for added flavor and extra moistness)

½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick, softened)

⅓ cup brown sugar

1 large egg (room temperature)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease your 9×5 inch loaf pan. Mix the dry ingredients together (flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt). Next, in a separate bowl, whisk the molasses and hot water together. In another bowl, mix the butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla extract together (I know, it’s a lot of dishes but apparently this is all part of the art of baking). Then, slowly in three additions, add the dry ingredients to the molasses/water mixture. Mix each addition just until incorporated. Finally, BAKE!

Irish coffee

Holiday Snacks, Hardly

After all that baking, a long day’s work, and a lot of family time, I greatly enjoy an alcoholic beverage that is also warm and cozy. Not to mention, the Irish coffee is the perfect 5 o’clock beverage. It has the caffeine you need to re-energize while also getting you in the mood for a virtual holiday bash. The best part is, this classic holiday snack only requires 4 ingredients you probably already have at home.

What you need:

2 teaspoons brown sugar if you are a stickler for making things the OG way or 2 oz of Baileys Original Irish Cream

4 oz of your favorite coffee (the stronger the brew, the better)

1.5 oz Jameson Irish Whiskey

1 oz of heavy cream, whipped

Instructions: Fill a heatproof glass mug with boiling water to warm it up, then brew your favorite coffee. Dump the hot water out of the mug and put in the brown sugar. Separately, whip your heavy cream until you like the consistency (I prefer mine on the thicker side). Next, pour the hot coffee into the mug and stir until the sugar dissolves. Then add in the whiskey and stir again. Finally, top it off with a heaping dollop of cream.

Sweet and Spicy Holiday Nuts

Holiday Snacks, Hardly

This next snack is full of healthy fats and is sweet and spice and everything nice. These nuts make great holiday gifts and nibbles when you are looking for something to pop in your mouth every couple of minutes. Keep them on your desk for convenience so you can easily grab handfuls while you work on a powerpoint or a long proposal throughout the day.

What you need:

A mix of nuts – any kind you want including macadamias, walnuts, pecans, cashews, Brazilian nuts – except for peanuts

1 cup sugar

¾ teaspoon cayenne or chili powder

1 teaspoon ginger

¾ teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon cinnamon

2 Egg whites with a tablespoon of water or melted butter (this is just to coat the nuts so the spices stick)

Instructions: Mix all of the spices together. Secondly, in a separate bowl mix together the egg whites and water (or oil) and coat the nuts. Transfer them to the spice bowl and mix all together. Finally, spread them on a sheet pan and bake for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Peppermint Bark

Holiday Snacks, Hardly

This is actually my personal favorite. It seems like someone is always trying to justify eating more chocolate by saying it is healthy for you and I’m not gonna be the one to argue otherwise. Plus, studies show that peppermint can help increase your focus and memory. Either way, this holiday snack is delicious and making it always puts me in the holiday spirit.

What you need:

12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips or cut up your favorite chocolate bar into fine pieces

14 ounces white chocolate chips or chopped white chocolate

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

3/4 cup crushed candy canes

Instructions: Start out by crushing up the candy canes. Then, melt the semi sweet chocolate chips in a double boiler and mix in the peppermint extract. Line a cookie sheet or ceramic dish with parchment paper. Then, create a nice layer of the semi sweet chocolate and put it in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes for it to set. Next, melt the white chocolate and layer it on top evenly. Before this cools, sprinkle on the crushed candy canes and pop it back in the fridge to set again. Finally, take it out after about 30 minutes and break it into pieces. Voila!

All of us here at Hardly hope you have an amazing start to your holiday season and that these holiday snacks bring some joy to your workday. 

Ahhh it’s finally that time of year. I’m not talking about tables full of turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie— I’m talking about the day where everything is magically discounted and you can finally afford those bougie items you have been eyeing on your wishlist for the last six months. It’s Black Friday! Well, it’s more like a weekend-long Cyber Monday this year due to COVID-19. The point is, the deals are real so it’s the perfect time to give your makeshift home office a makeover. 

Spruce Up Your Subscriptions

If you’re anything like me, you tend to go with a platform’s least expensive option initially. After using the service for a couple of months, I usually wish I had the upgraded version but struggle to agree to the heftier price tag since I can get by with the basic model. However, working from home has changed the game. The extra features are worth it and many subscriptions offer Black Friday discounts that make the perks irresistible. I recommend leveling up your Canva, Zoom, and Spotify accounts.  

Canva   Zoom   Spotify
The next level will give a greater range of stock photos and unlock new templates. Paying a little extra for Zoom will allow you to talk to as many people as you want for as long as you want.  This might not seem like a big deal but the base version forces you to end the meeting after forty minutes if you are talking with more than one person.    Considering Zoom is the new conference room, this upgrade is a must. Lastly, background tunes have really helped me get a workflow going but every time a Japanese commercial comes on I am jolted out of it.   Biting the bullet and buying Spotify Premium is most definitely worth it if it helps maintain your focus and positive vibes as you grind through your workday.

Cancel Out the Noise

Background noise is one of the most distracting aspects of working from home. I live by two train tracks and constantly have foot traffic above and below me since I live in an apartment building. Whether you have pets, have a noisy roommate, live by a bustling street, or are trying to juggle homeschooling your kids with working from home, most of us struggle to maintain peace and quiet.  The solution- some effective noise-canceling headphones.  I recently paid a pretty penny for AirPods and swear by them. AirPod Pros are light, feature active noise cancellation for immersive sound, and can seamlessly sync up with all of your other Apple devices. I’m sure you can purchase them for less on Black Friday. Prefer an over the ear option for greater comfort throughout the day? Try the Bose 700s.  

 

While headphones prevent you from hearing the background sounds so you can stay focused throughout the day, they don’t solve the problem of background noise for your coworkers during video and audio calls. Muting your mic is an option, but I can do you one better. Krisp is AI-powered noise-cancelling software for your microphone. The technology adds a virtual filter between your microphone and your calling app which doesn’t let any background noise pass through. Getting this software will ensure you are keeping it classy on calls and your professionalism remains intact even while working remotely.  

Make Your Workspace Ergonomic

Last month I wrote an article about maintaining physical health while working from home. One way to stay healthy is by purchasing ergonomic furniture and accessories for your office. Everyone already knows about a standing desk, but have you tried a balance board? FLUIDSTANCE provides a variety of options and claims that their boards keep workers happy and healthy. Balancing on the board helps you expend energy, raise your heart rate, and avoid the post-lunch slump by engaging your muscles and your mind. This dramatically ramps up the health benefits of just standing versus sitting.

 

If you prefer sitting, this is for you. Try the Modway Articulate Ergonomic Mesh Office Chair. The mesh supports your back while the adjustable armrests provide the ability to sit in a comfortable position and maintain good posture throughout the day. Want to sit but also a bit of a workout? Get a balance- ball chair like this one from GAIAM. These increase your daily motion and strengthen your core.

 

And we can’t forget about the wrists! Every remote worker needs a keyboard that supports their wrists. The Logitech Ergo K860 is a highly reviewed ergonomic keyboard that claims to give you 54% more wrist support. The sloping form reduces muscle strain on your wrists and forearms by keeping your hands and shoulders relaxed. With this purchase, you can keep calm and type on!

Key Items for Convenience

These office items aren’t the most fun, but they are the most necessary for a functional office. If you have to get them, it might as well be during a Black Friday sale. It’s time to stop going to the library every time you need to print a document, wasting time flipping back and forth between tabs, and tripping over extension cords to accommodate all your electronics at your desk. Step one is to get a wireless printer.  While printing large documents isn’t great for the environment, it’s sometimes worth it to give your eyes a break from the screen. I recommend getting the HP Office Jet 250 because it is a one-stop-shop for all of your printing needs and it’s compact enough to transport anywhere or stow away when you aren’t using it.

Next, two screens aren’t just convenient but a necessity, nowadays. It is crazy how much faster you can get your work done when you can see two documents simultaneously. If you are looking for something multipurpose and portable, it might be worth dropping a bit of money on an iPad that can act as a second monitor for your Macbook. Another option that you can’t go wrong with a classic desktop dell or this portable LED Monitor from Amazon. Once you go to two or more monitors, you won’t want to go back.

 

Last, but not least, a compact powerstrip is key so that your laptop, phone, and lamp can all be plugged in at the same time and at your fingertips. This cube-shaped, space-saving power strip by Anker is the perfect solution to prevent you from going haywire.

Things To Keep You Going

 

Now that we know working remotely is not a fad, but rather a lifestyle, it’s time to invest in some items that make working from home sustainable.

 

These extra accessories will improve the quality of your home office setup and make working remotely more enjoyable. First up is an espresso machine. Now that you are no longer stopping by your favorite coffee shop on the way to work, it’s time to bring the barista to you. Ball out on this automatic espresso machine from Sur La Table and enjoy velvety smooth cappuccinos and lattes every morning at home. Not a coffee drinker, the Breville One-Touch Tea Maker is a must if you enjoy loose leaf and optimal steeping. Williams Sonoma always has great Black Friday deals!

 

Video meetings have become a standard since working from home became the norm for most of us since the pandemic started. While some people might have homes filled with natural light at all times of the day, my office space can be dark which causes me to give off mugshot vibes on Zoom rather than professional, happy, healthy, and thriving ones. To remedy this situation, I suggest a 10” selfie ring light. Instantly brightens up your face and space.

 

Blue light glasses are another must-have since we are glued to a screen for an excessive amount of time each day.  Prevent eye strain and look stylish doing it with options from Warby Parker or Felix Gray.

 

Plants are another nice addition to your office. Since we aren’t getting much time outside due to the pandemic, bringing a little nature inside isn’t a bad idea. Venture out to your nearest flower shop or Home Depot and choose some greenery to brighten up your space. Don’t know where to start and need something low maintenance, may want to check out succulents or cactus.

 

In Conclusion…

While we can’t guarantee all of these items will be heavily discounted, these additions to your home office will take your remote working experience from a 7 to a 10. Capitalize on as many Black Friday deals as you can but don’t forget to remember what you are thankful for, enjoy the company of family and friends, and eat your heart out this Thanksgiving!