Amazing Tech Gadgets to Help You Work Smarter, Not Harder

In this day and age, you can’t escape technology. We all carry around computers in our pockets, and most jobs require at least some sort of tech gear. Whether you work as a desk jockey or in a trade, you probably need gadgets to stay productive. Here are a few of the best ones you should not live without.

1. A good flash drive

rows of USB flash drives

You have a lot of options when looking for a flash drive. | Roslan Raman/AFP/Getty Images

These days, most of us store our data in the cloud. Regardless, you probably sometimes transfer documents from one device to another. Time recommends getting a good flash drive to get the job done. This SanDisk model represents the gold standard, but you may also want something like this, which attaches to your keyring. For real MacGyvers, you can even buy a Swiss Army Knife with a USB drive attached.

Next: If you want to upgrade your laptop camera, check this out.

2. For better web conferencing, add an external webcam

a webcam in front of the youtube logo

If you want to become a YouTube star or just conference for work, a webcam can help. | Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images

Whether you conference for work or want to chat with faraway friends more clearly, think about getting a good webcam. Wirecutter recommends the Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920. Its stellar image quality and easy-to-use software makes it stand out above the rest. Only the Logitech Webcam C930e carries slightly better image quality. That one provides less manual control, costs about $30 more, and works best for corporate environments.

Next: Keep your stuff safe with this must-have.

3. A backup hard drive

the WD logo on a black hard drive

Get an external hard drive to avoid losing all of your work in the event of a crash. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Let’s face it: hard drives fail. Yes, even the one holding all of your files, photos of your kids, everything. Invest in an external hard drive like the Western Digital My Passport. Make sure the model you get comes with more storage than your current computer, so you can back everything up. You can thank us later.

Next: If you ever work on the go, this will keep you going.

4. A small power strip for working on the go

a power strip with a man's feet out in the open

While you likely do not need this many outlets, a small power strip can help you work better. | Denis Charlet/AFP/Getty Images

If you travel a lot or just need to plug multiple things in at once, you know the outlet struggle gets real. Pack a small power strip like this one and never compromise on your power again. It works great for small office spaces, too. If you plug in a lot of USB-powered devices, look for one that also features USB ports, to save on snaking cords.

Next: Your wrists will thank you for this one.

5. Get a good mouse (trust us)

Trust us, your work deserves better than this. | Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images

If you spend a lot of time on your computer, you do not have to settle for a trackpad or standard-issue mouse. Tech Radar tested a number of them, and found the Logitech MX Anywhere 2 works well for most people. Mac users will love the Apple Magic Mouse 2. If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, or other repetitive-motion strains, a new mouse might make a big difference.

Next: This piece of equipment also changes the game.

6. Spring for a new keyboard

Woman working in home office

An external keyboard can help make your work more pleasant and productive. |

Wirecutter suggests upgrading your keyboard, for a variety of reasons. They come in different speeds, feel different under your fingers, and can even last longer. The testers recommend a mechanical keyboard for more durable, responsive, and customizable options. than other types of keyboards. They agreed that the WASD Code 87-Key works well for most people, and also weighs in at a good price point.

Next: Productivity mavens know this next tool works wonders.

7. Stay on task with a time-management app

10 o'clock Clock Vintage on Wood Table with Sun Light

Trust us, better ways to manage your work habits exist. |

If you have a hard time tracking your time, look no further than Wunderlist. It comes in iOS, Android, Mac, Windows 7, Windows 8 and 10, Chrome, and even Apple Watch applications. Although it comes in both free and paid tiers, testers found the free version works just fine. Once you start managing your time this way, you will never go back.

Next: This low-tech solution uses tech-focused techniques in a tried-and-true way.

8. A paper journal — yes, really

hand singing a paper

Yes, a low-tech solution to keeping your work on track will help. | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Inc suggests the Habit Nest Morning Sidekick Journal because it works just like the productivity apps you know and love. It helps you track tasks you want to complete, as well as keep a record of achievements. Who doesn’t love a little positive reinforcement? It also helps you unplug once in awhile, which will keep you fresh when you log back on.

Next: This method uses tech to keep you on task.

9. Try tracking your time

An Apple iPhone 6s displaying the alarm clock application

Yes, you can use built-in alarms and other ways to track tasks, but a better way exists. |

For optimal productivity, wants you to keep better track of your time. A lot of free programs exist to give you a good idea of how you use your days. You can’t fix it if you don’t know it, so try diagnosing your productivity to improve it. Learning a few hard lessons about how you use every moment will ultimately help you get better.

Next: If you have a mind like a sieve, give this a try.

10. Never forget your passwords again with this app

a hand typing in a password on the facebook app

If you keep forgetting your passwords, try this app to save time resetting them. | Saed Khan/AFP/Getty Images

Do you have so many passwords that it gets hard to keep track? Welcome to the internet club. Never waste time resetting them again with this app. 1Password helps you keep track of all of your passwords, securely and easily. Just memorize one password to open the app, and 1Password automatically gives you access to any of your other connected accounts. Even better, when you need to make a new one, 1Password automatically generates a secure key.

Next: If you get restless in your chair, you need this.

11. Get out of your seat with a good standing desk

businesswoman shopping online at desk in the office

To increase your work productivity and help your health, try a standing desk. | Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images

The Fully Jarvis Bamboo is the Wirecutter recommendation for full-size standing desks. The desk comes in at half the price of less stable models, and even adjusts for standing-to-sitting work. You can also add keyboard or pencil trays, monitor arms, or other gizmos to maximize your workspace. In addition, it looks clean and modern, with lots of surface area for everything you need to get the job done.

Next: Sometimes you just need a good place to park it.

12. But if you must sit, use this chair

woman with back pain sitting in an office chair

Avoid work-related pain with the right chair. |

If you stand up after a long day at work and your back groans with relief, you need a better chair. The Steelcase Gesture comes expert recommended as the best office chair for most backsides. Its ball-and-socket armrests, designed similarly to the human shoulder, makes it more adjustable than most chairs. That means that you will likely find a better way to make it fit you, no matter how you sit.

Next: If your productivity depends on noise, get yourself some of these.

13. Shut out the world with headphones

woman sitting at desk, wearing headphones

If you need to block out the world, a good pair of headphones will help. | Woodson

If you work in a noisy office, a cafe, or just want to surround yourself with the ambient noise of your choosing, you need some good headphones. Wired suggests the Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay H6 headphones for canceling out the world. These headphones, will they certainly do not come cheap, will create your own little sound wall. The beautiful audio makes your favorite tunes sound heavenly, and the over-ear cushions keep your head comfy. What cubical chatter?

Next: If you ever take notes longhand, eliminate a common struggle with this.

14. Digitize your notes

Yellow sticky notes and pencil

You can do better than this. | DGrad/iStock/Getty Images knows you sometimes need to write longhand, but transcribing is such a pain. If you ever need to share your notes with someone, you know the hassle of typing them up. Take that problem out of the equation with the Smarson SmartPen. It automatically turns your paper writing into a digital file. How cool is that? This gadget saves time and effort, which gives it high marks in our productivity books.

Next: If you just can’t get it all done, experts recommend this service.

15. Consider a reception service

a businessman talking to a receptionist

If your business does not have receptionists, consider a digital service. | LuckyBusiness/iStock/Getty Images

Sometimes, we just need a few more hours in the day. Since we have not yet figured out how to bend time, recommends a virtual receptionist if you or your company can’t afford an in-house one. A virtual receptionist service can also handle your appointment scheduling, lead-generating, anything you need to maximize your business. Now that’s what we call working smarter, not harder.

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