For the past five years, I've worked from home. At the end of each year, I like to go through my home office and clean and organize it to begin the new year. This is the time I clean out my computer, wipe down my monitors, and organize my desk and filing cabinet.
Over time I tend to add a new item or two to the mix so it's not a bad idea to assess whether or I need that extra printer, USB cable or webcam around. I try to keep my computing setup as simple and minimal as possible. I've found that doing so makes it less likely I'll have a technical problem, and when I do, it's easier to locate and troubleshoot the issue if I only have those products I actually use around my desk area.
Over the course of 2018, I added a few accessories I found helpful that I want to share with you. These are not earth-shattering discoveries, yet each made my work a little more convenient and enjoyable. So here are my five favorites:
This is the first quality flashlight I've owned after putting up with probably a dozen cheap models over the years. The Manker is a 650 lumen model with three brightness settings (and a strobe to annoy your pets) which makes it plenty powerful enough to illuminate around my computer and desk in case I need to plug-in or troubleshoot anything on the floor. I wish I had purchased this product a few years ago instead of suffering through poor quality flashlights. $40
If you're using USB ports on your PC to charge devices such as iPhones, iPads, and Kindles, consider using a desktop charger instead. This 60W model from Anker has been a welcome addition to my desk. My kids use it to charge their wireless headphones, battery packs as well as phones. I bought a cheap model a while back and it got so hot to the touch I thought it was going to ignite. This Anker barely gets warm while charging three or four devices. Tip: I use a pair of 3M velcro hanging strips to keep the charger firmly planted on my desk. $25
If you spend a few hours each week using a VOIP product or online conferencing service you might appreciate the Blue Snowball. For years, I've relied on gaming headsets with varied microphone quality. None of them have lasted more than a year with daily usage, so I decided to upgrade my audio quality and move to a stand-alone desktop microphone. And the Blue Snowball has been nearly perfect. I wish it were smaller. But it works great with Windows 10 and every VOIP and conferencing applications I've thrown at it. $55
I like oversized, thick, dense mousepads. And I've tried a number of cheap models from Amazon Basics to more expensive models from Logitech, but none of them feel as nice as the HyperX. It also cleans up easily with a damp cloth and stays in place due to the mesh and rubber backing. $15
How much do I love the Jackery? I bought five of them for each of my kids for Christmas. These are durable, reliable portable chargers that fit in your pocket. I even like the emergency LED light that you activated with two quick presses on the power button. I bought mine for when I'm traveling by plane or bus, but I've found them just as useful around the house and car. There are much cheaper models out there, but don't bite. The Jackery is the one you want. $20