10 Desk Essentials you Need on Hand to Boost Productivity

You may think of your desk simply as a home for your laptop or, alternatively, a surface to clutter with photos and all sorts of other paraphernalia. Arm yourself with these 10 desk essentials and you will see results! You’ll work smarter and quicker, with everything you need easy access to close at hand. By minimising distractions and enhancing opportunities to motivate yourself, you will have a better work day - every day.

Clutter-free is the only way, allowing you to see exactly what is in front of you. So, whether you’re working from home or the office, a streamlined approach will ensure you can find things easily and deal with the curveballs of the day more calmly. Most importantly, you will save time, with no need to rummage through drawers or piles of papers you have been hoarding. Be inspired by the list below then be in touch to let me know your favourite must-haves.


Record brainstorming, important thoughts before they wander off, phone numbers or sums and your top 3 tasks for the day. I adore the gorgeous stationery designs from Melbourne publisher Green Pea.


Ideally this should be mounted off your desk out of the way and should motivate and inspire you. For beautiful inexpensive artworks, be sure to check out Etsy or to display your photos uniquely try OnStone prints.


Fill it with a stapler and staples, small and large bulldog clips, working pens and highlighters. I love Kikki K for affordable sleek design.


Hydration is key. It’s amazing how much better your brain works when you regularly top yourself up with H2O. Biome have a huge range of eco friendly water bottles that are perfect for the job.


If you snack at your desk, a mirror can be super handy for quick food-in-teeth inspections before you have a conversation with a colleague. It’s useful for lippy application or hair inspection too without a trek down the hallway to the nearest bathroom.


As much as you might like your co-workers or the office playlist, there are some occasions you just want to be in the zone and not interrupted. Or you need a certain motivational tune turned up really loud just for you. Australian-created Nura headphones, launched in 2016, are on my wishlist. My motivational tune is by Flume!


There should be somewhere for incoming documentation to live, to keep it separate from that you’ve already dealt with. I love Zetta Florence in Fitzroy for pretty treasures.


Beat that afternoon slump and stop you hijacking the morning tea leftovers or standing in front of the fridge making a bad hungry choice. I get all my nuts and assorted healthy paraphernalia in a mega monthly shop at The Source Bulk Foods.


Winter colds are standard. If you’re a frequent tissue user, it’s worth investing in something with a little kindness woven in, such as aloe vera. Sandpaper nose = no fun.


For the fantastic packaging as well as organic goodness, try the range from Byron Bay outfit Babe Australia.



7 Strategies to Keep you Calm at Work

1. 5 deep breaths

If I’ve learnt anything from mindfulness training, it’s that you don’t have to find huge blocks of time to refocus. If you can find just one minute between meetings, after a difficult email or phone call or when your to-do list is freaking you out, that’s all you need. Take 5 deep breaths, bringing your focus inward and consciously slowing down. It’s like your own personal restart button.

2. Get fresh air

Yeah, yeah. I know you know about this one. It’s not the same as just stretching your legs by walking to the fridge either. You need to get outside and breathe in nature, even if your office is in a concrete jungle. The oxygen to your brain will refresh you, meaning once you’re back at your desk, you’ll be more productive and positive than before.

3. Try Pomodoro

This is the time management method developed in the late 1980s by which you work hard for a 25-minute burst followed by a 5-minute break. This strategy really helps me to focus. I select only one particular task to work on in each finite time frame. The breaks refresh me and I use them however I need - to make a quick snack, throw on a load of washing or scroll my Instagram. Cumulative productivity earns you rewards with 4 pomodoros giving you a 15-30 minute break. The goal is to enhance focus and flow.

4. 3 for today

Anyone else feel sick looking at their to-do list? While there is certainly a purpose for making lists - they help me to feel in control of the many facets of my life - they are too overwhelming in their naked form. A former colleague of mine took them to the extreme, covering her desk with more than 20 fluorescent post-its at any one time! Choose three things only as your top priorities for the day. It is manageable and you’ll feel great when you achieve them. Once you’ve ticked them off, add three more!

5. Aesthetics are everything

You may not be able to do much about the physical parameters of your workspace, but you can pretty it up. Add colour, a mood board, tear-outs from magazines, drape fabric or pin photos. Make your space somewhere you are happy to sit and you will begin to look forward to spending time there. I love to be able to see flowers or candles from where I sit, as well as photos of my family as they inspire me and keep me motivated.

6. Break for lunch

Not only that but, when you do, eat mindfully. We’ve all been guilty of eating while working, paying no attention to the flavours and textures of our food. When you take a break from your work, and step away from your desk to eat, it makes a difference to how much you enjoy your food, while giving you a brain break too.

7. Create work/life division however you can

After my toddler goes down for a nap, I light a candle and put on some relaxing music before firing up my computer. The bonus is that the scent from the candle relaxes me and the music slows my mind down, allowing me to transition more smoothly into work time.

Add Contact Emma McMillan to the top of your priority list for tomorrow!