Top 7 Back to School Items for Maximum Productivity

Why can’t grown ups have back to school? I must confess to a little school supply envy when I am at Target loading up my kid with new notebooks and pencils. I always feel like the work year begins just after Labor Day (September for non-US folks) even though the accounting year starts January 1.

August for us is marked by family vacation time – lazy hours on the beach or by the pool. It’s a great way to “end” a year. I am always excited for a fresh start in September. And this year there will be so many new programs I am offering. I recharge and come back all engines roaring.

Have your wallet? Don’t worry – none of these items will break your bank account. Let’s go shopping!

Top Seven Back to School Items You Need Now for Maximum Productivity

Calendar System – Planner

I plan for the next calendar year in September. That means I need a calendar system. I scribble notes and big ideas into Moleskine notebooks. Then I determine which services I want to launch when.


I am a visual person so I use Post it notes on the wall. I write down each task that needs to be accomplished on a post it note – bonus points for color coding lol – then create a timeline on the wall. I then put the dates – working backward from the deadline – into my calendar and Asana. Now it just so happens that I use an electronic calendar. And my project management system is software, so I don’t have a physical planner. But I know so many people who swear by them. I think my Moleskin takes the place of the brainstorming creativity that my friends find in planners.

By the way that’s three office supplies to have fun purchasing and planning – planner, notebook or notepad and Post it notes.

A Plant

Science has shown that even one plant freshens the air and acts as a mood booster. There’s an entire industry in design now called biophilia that studies this. The best plant is one that does not need a lot of light and is relatively low maintenance. You want to be able to go on vacation for a week and know that it’s not going to die from lack of water. It’s a good plan to water your plant before you leave. Some great options are the peace lily – lovely white flowers, philodendron – love the shapes of the leaves and if you like variegated leaves you’ll want a golden pothos or spider plant.

Desktop Organizer

Maybe it’s the designer in me but I love matching colorful or patterned desk accessories. In my home office everything is my brand color of red. In our beach home, everything is teal. The beach home has a theme of teal and navy through-out so I skipped shaking things up. Or maybe teal IS shaking things up for me. It’s not a color I have used before. At any rate, no matter what color you love, be sure to have desk accessories that make you smile. These ones are black and white stripes – fun!

White out

Because we’re not perfect! Enough said… Seriously, even if you only type isn’t there some comfort in knowing you can just white it out.

Mouse Pad

Who doesn’t love a new mouse pad? This is a chance to inject some of your personality into your workspace. You could go out and grab an ergonomic mousepad, anything from boring black to bright colors or Star Wars. I would chuckle every time I saw a Death Star on my desk.

But first Coffee

There are so many mugs out there it’s hard to choose. Right now I am on a That’s All mug kick. They are so tongue in cheek clever. And the interior is teal, so they match my beach home office but I digress…

My other go to – I mean I can not live without this – is my Yeti travel mug. This keeps coffee hot and iced coffee cold for hours. I left my iced coffee in the car overnight once this summer. When I went out in the morning, there were still small (ok very small but still) ice cubes floating in it. Stainless steel vacuum insulated – mumbo jumbo for this mug keeps your coffee piping hot! Boom.


Which items will you be purchasing at Back to School for your office? Let us know in the comments.

Catherine Avery

Please Note: Productivity by Design participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to I earn a small commission at no expense to you the reader. I only post items that I think are amazing, fun and functional. Any product reviews are those of my own opinion only.




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