Unless you’re Alex Honnold or some other famous pro athlete, you probably spend a lot of time during the week in front of a desk. It’s the cold reality of modern life. And it’s true for us, too. We might work for an outdoor magazine, but most Outside editors and writers spend their days typing away. As a result, we’re always trying to find better ways to be more productive so we can get our work done a little faster and then jump out for a lunch or a postwork ski, hike, or run. Here’s a list of what I’ve been using lately.
Rhodia Goalbook and Undated Calendar ($26)
I use digital applications like Trello and Asana to organize and track larger editorial projects, but for my day-to-day tasks, I’m still a fan of pen and paper. Each morning I take great satisfaction in writing down my to-dos, and I love crossing items out as my day goes by. There are lots of beautiful planners to choose from, but I always go back to a Rhodia like this, because it comes with an undated calendar that I fill in as a go and because the 90-gram ivory-vellum acid-free paper is an absolute pleasure to write on.
Rustico Sidekick Leather Cord Wrap ($36)
Did you know there’s actually a field of study called knot theory that tries to explain why knots almost inevitably form when you toss your headphones in your backpack? I don’t understand that theory but instead will point you to this leather organizer, which keeps your charging cord, headphones, and other cords wonderfully organized and knot-free during your commute and on your desk. I can’t explain how nice it is to never have to fight a knot.
Ugmonk Gather Modular Organizer ($170)
I’ve found that it’s the little things that can make my desk unlivable. Pens, papers, stickies, paper clips, etc., start to clutter open spaces and make me feel crazy. That’s why I was excited to come across this organizer, because it keeps all the small shit in its place. Yes, the thing is pricey, but it’s made out of beautiful maple or walnut, and I found myself willing to pay the extra price for extra head space. I also dig the headphone stand and coaster, which keep my music and coffee always in reach.
Craighill Desk Knife ($70)
Commence eye rolls. I get it. Seventy bucks for a piece of steel that opens boxes seems absurd. And in some worlds it is, but not for those of us at Outside. One of the perks of being a writer here is that you frequently test a lot of gear. And all that gear comes in cardboard boxes that you have to open and then break down and recycle. I’ve already used this simple bomber of a carbon-steel knife to deal with hundreds of boxes and will use it for hundreds more. It’s sharp, easy to grip, tears right through, and will be one of the tools that has utility for decades to come.
Bose Home Speaker 500 ($350)
If you work in an open-air office around other folks, you’ll want something like the Bose QuietComfort 35 II headphones. But if you have your own office, or work from a home office like me, I’ve found it’s much nicer to ditch the all-encompassing headphones and use a speaker like the 500. Like all Bose products, the 500’s sound is crisper, clearer, and fuller than you thought possible, which makes music that much more enjoyable. I also dig that Alexa is built in and that the speaker connects via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.