For the Office

Most people spend a whole lot of time in front of a computer each day. It’s the machine that drives modern business and an invaluable learning and productivity tool. In the office, some peripherals can be help to increase your productivity and others are kind of like a support staff to make sure you and your tools don’t break or go off the rails. (And, for all of us freelancers getting ready for the end of the tax year, a few upgrades for your home office can help adjust your gross income come April.)

1. Rhodia Mouse Pad/Paper Pad

I first saw this mouse pad a couple of years ago and was really pleased that someone came up with the idea. It doubles as a paper note pad, so stopping to jot down ideas or make lists when you’re computing will never slow you down. When you’re ready, tear off the paper and start over. Hybridization. Beautiful.

@ Vickery ($6.50)

2. CURB Minimal Laptop Stand

Overheated computers are stressful and loud, not to mention frustrating. It’s a problem that’s hard to fix and repair yourself, but luckily there are laptop stands to help you keep your machine from redlining. The CURB laptop stand is probably the most appealing one I’ve seen for its simple, clean design and portability.

@ Designed by M ($12.99, on sale from $16.99)

3. Apple AirPort Express

If you need wireless internet for work, when you’ve got a bad connection it can be a drag on multiple levels. We live in an old house with thick walls, and I’m really glad that the AirPort Express exists so we can extend our wireless connection to farther away spots in our space. And, you know, stream music to wireless speakers across the room.

@ Apple ($99)

4. Bose MIE2 In-Ear Headset

Looking at headphone reviews can feel like trying to decide where to eat based on Yelp reviews. I’ve been using Bose headphones for years, and have always been very happy with the sound quality and durability. If you want to upgrade your earbuds, these are a good pick, and the microphone is a great tool if you’ve got to make phone calls.

@ Bose ($116, on sale from $129.50)

5. LaCie Rugged USB 3.0 External Hard Drive

Don’t underestimate the value of an external hard drive. I’ve been having a lot of conversations about how people archive digital media now that digital files are more prevalent than hardcopies of music, photographs, and documents. While organizing an archive could be great, you’ve got to have one to have that problem, so keeping your files backed up is paramount.

@ LaCie (from $199)