What’s the key to a productive workday? According to the latest science, it’s all about fresh air, scheduled breaks, and finding a laser-focused neighbor.
In a far less scientific study, we asked our team — designers, strategists, and project managers — to share the one object they need to get stuff done. You should be able to spot our designers from a mile away.
I’m a big fan of The Pomodoro Technique, but instead of a cute, tomato-shaped timer I just use my iPhone timer. Breaking out tasks into 25-minute intervals with five-minute breaks in between to check/respond to urgent emails and phone calls, and even knock out a few easier tasks unrelated to my main project works really well for me. It’s definitely not for everyone, but I’ve been doing this for a few years now and have found it to be really effective.
/ Melissa Allen, Brand Strategist
Pilot Fineliner Pens
I can’t work without my Pilot Fineliner pens. I have no idea how they discovered the perfect alchemy of shape, line quality, ink darkness, and point robustness, but they are they only pens I can use correctly. I keep BOXES of them on hand and sometimes go through two a day.
/ Eric Thoelke, President + Executive Creative Director
I use the app f.lux to mirror screen brightness with the time of day (really helps my eyes feel much better after a long day of looking at the computer). I also wear blue light glasses to get the same effect if I’m doing anything that is color sensitive.
/ Samuel Bell, Interactive Account Manager
There is something about a whiteboard that helps me get out my best brainstorming. I do better work when my hands are moving and drawing. Unlike paper and pencil, it’s much easier to erase and edit, and there’s a bigger space to expand ideas. It’s a great tool for collaborating — everyone can have a marker in their hand to edit the ideas together. A whiteboard can also save the day in a client meeting when a complex idea is drawn out, clarifying both our ideas and theirs.
/ Kelly Smith, User Experience Designer
A Nice Variety of Pens
I write everything down. The creative directors here can attest: I scratch down every word of feedback on nearly every project. As such, I’m very choosy about my writing instruments. I carry around three fountain pens that have three distinct nibs and, of course, three different ink colors. Color coding? Not for me. Fancy writing system? Nope. I just like to have the option to change up how the words look on the page. You’ll typically find me with ink on my hands from noodling around with my beloved, inky pens.
/ Kelcey Towell, Designer
I’ve been using the window management app Divvy since 2012 and I’m not sure I remember how to work on a computer without it. It’s essential to my workflow.
/ Daniel Korte, Senior Interactive Developer
Flight of the Conchords Playlist
It allows me to stay focused but lightens my mood when things get intense.
/ Jane Winburn, Account Manager
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