If you’re just joining the freelance workforce or recently got the memo from your boss about workplace neatness, a carefully focused desk can truly impact both productivity and creativity. Once you’ve carefully swept the entire contents of your desktop into the nearest empty file drawer, here are a few suggestions for items that can help keep the chaos organized going forward, while also expressing your own personality along the way. These are also great gift ideas as we move into the holiday season (speaking of chaos).
Check out these picks for awesome office decor ideas to help lighten neaten desk and streamline your workflow.
For the Retro Design Fan
Whether you’ve just started keeping a Bullet Journal (see below) or have always preferred to commit your thoughts to paper, keeping a notebook with you at all times is almost as old as carrying around a clay tablet. Protect yours with this Detroit-made cover from Shinola. It fits Shinola’s medium hard linen journals ($22) and planners, as well as an iPad mini paired with the company’s medium-sized paper journal.
Bathe your desk in the light of inspiration created by the genius design team behind Southern Lights. Handmade in Nashville, Tennessee, the Bell Jar Table Lamp features a vintage socket, cream cloth covered cord, and a sturdy wooden base. It even ships with a 30-watt Edison-style filament bulb.
Keep the Victorinox Spartan Wood Swiss Army Knife handy at your desk for the odd bit of whittling, punching an extra hole in your belt buckle, or opening a bottle of wine. In its elegant walnut case, this knife really can be an indispensable tool for everything from being your trustworthy letter opener to coming in handy when the office manager is running around looking for a screwdriver. Just make sure she brings it back.
For the Minimalist in All of Us
Whether your most industrious sessions are powered by a couple of cans of Coca-Cola or of Budweiser (no judgments), keep your desk moisture-ring free with this elegant—dare we call it a cozy coozy?—from the clutter-free design minds of Graf Lantz. The merino wool felt protects surfaces while keeping your favorite beverage cold and your hands dry while you drink.
A collaboration between one of our favorite global affairs magazines — with a solid stance on design — and a 100-plus-year-old writing and drawing instrument powerhouse, this pen will provide 8,000 meters of stylish handwriting. Made in Switzerland, the pen is made from lightweight aluminum and is available in black with black ink or white with blue ink.
So yes, the true minimalist would forgo a clock in favor of using his phone or perhaps just ignoring the construct of time altogether. Those of us who need to actually keep track of things might like something a little less cerebral to keep us focused, however. This elegant clock from the MoMA Design Store rests on your desk as a simple gray aluminum cube, but “wakes up” when you tap it or snap your fingers.
Because Sometimes Things are Classic for a Reason
Keep those loose papers from blowing around with a paperweight that doubles as an ersatz fidget spinner. This elegant octahedron from West Elm blends white and gray marble with wood for an angular decorative object with a classical bent. It’s warm, natural textures invite touch, with a comforting heft.
Sure, you could just use the plastic-handled aluminum scissors from the office supply store, but why not keep a beautifully polished pair handy that you’ll never want to shove into a drawer? These are a nicely weighted stainless steel with bright gold handles. You’ll be the envy of all when it’s time to make office snowflakes from photocopier trash.
For when somebody else is buying (but you probably shouldn’t put this one on the company card): Legendary stationers and leather goods manufacturer Smythson creates this travel desk for the luxury traveler on the go. It includes storage pockets, a blotter, an address book; writing paper, cards and matching envelopes, and, of course, a black ink pot. Yeah, it’s excessive and totally not necessary in a world with tablets, but damn if don’t fee fancy with one of these as your desk.
Get a jump start on organizing your job, your career, and your whole life with this tried and true method from digital product designer Ryder Carroll. Drawing from his own experiences growing up with ADD, he developed an organizational method that can be easily adapted to just about anybody’s needs. Best of all, the process can be managed in anything from a drugstore spiral bound notebook to an elegant Shinola journal.
For those of you just looking for a great notebook to get you through the day, check out the best notebooks for putting pen to paper.