Productivity

These items are a combination of electronic accessories, power management, and "paperware" that's helpful for when I work and travel. These happen to be the items I'm most frequently rotating out, so if you have suggestions, I'm really open to hearing them about this section.

  1. Apple Magic Mouse 2
  2. Kindle Paperwhite*
  3. MUJI A4 sketchbook
  4. Moleskine plain notebook, large
  5. Zebra G-301 Gel Pens
  6. Coolingtech universal adapter
  7. Anker PowerCore 13000 battery pack
  8. Amazon 6' USB lightning cable*
  9. Avantree cable straps
  10. Google Chromecast

* Suggestions particularly welcome

 

Apple Magic Mouse 2

I love this mouse. The newest model of the Magic Mouse is rechargeable with a Thunderbolt cable, meaning I don't need to worry about carrying yet another cable or batteries when I need it. In addition to just being a solid mouse, the extra functionality around swiping puts this over the edge against other similar products.

 

Kindle Paperwhite*

I've been on and off about bringing a medium sized tablet or e-reader with me. I go the Kindle Paperwhite a little over a year ago, and it's almost an aspirational piece of equipment: I like to read, but it just isn't the only thing I do. I love that the Kindle is low power, really durable, and great for the thing that it does. But what I'd like to do more than just that: watch video, write notes, and read other long-form content like articles that are shared on the web. With all the things I'm carry around already, it's really hard to justify a single-purpose device when there are alternatives like the iPad Mini that allow me to read and the other things I'd like to do in a medium-size form. I may try that in the near future.

 

MUJI A4 sketchbook

This is a large, A4 sketchbook that I carry around in my laptop pocket of my bag. It functions a lot like a portable whiteboard when I have particularly complex ideas that I need to lay out visually, in a way that my smaller, more compact notebook wouldn't be able to accommodate.

 

Moleskine plain notebook, large

I've been a big fan of Moleskine notebooks since I was in college. When I was studying for my philosophy degree, I had a Moleskine notebook for every one of the classes I took. I still have my college notebooks in a drawer in my New York apartment, each one packed with scribbles from lectures and in-person meetings with others. I've made a habit of bringing this with me to my coffee and drink meetings now. It's a great way to jot things down without seeming rude by being on my phone.

What I also love about these notebooks are their utility. They're sturdy, have two pockets to hold business cards and other small pieces of paper, and a handy bookmark strap to quickly get to my last page. I always carry one in my bag with me. 

 

Zebra G-301 Gel Pens

This should go without saying with the two books I write in, but it's important that I note a few things about the pens I carry. First, they're cheap: no use in bringing a nice Mont Blanc with me except on special occasions. When I travel, I lose pens like a line cook cooks eggs: at high volume and very fast. Second, I always have at least three of them with me. I have one in the side pocket of my carry-on backpack so I always have something to fill out entry cards before I land at the airport, one attached to my Moleskine notebook, and a spare that I don't mind losing if someone needs to borrow it.

I got these Zebra pens from a recommendation from my friend Kasra, who uses the ballpoint version of these religiously.

 

Coolingtech universal adapter

This is a recent addition to my stack after losing the clunky off-the-street adapter I bought in Taiwan. I like that this adapter is pretty compact compared to other models and has two USB ports for easy charging. Before, I would carry around a universal adapter with an additional power strip, but it tended to be overkill for what I really needed.

 

Anker PowerCore 13000 battery pack

This is also a recent addition to my bag, after realizing how quickly my iPhone battery depleted during this trip. I've done a lot of research on battery packs, and I have a few requirements: it had to charge devices quickly, charge devices many times over for multiple devices, something I would feel happy to bring in my pocket, and wouldn't require I bring yet another cable in my bag.

Previous batteries I'd bought fell short in one way or the other. Some of them were too big to bring with me on hikes. Others were too small to carry enough charge. One I had previously needed to be charged so often it actually became an extra liability than relieving the power issue I had.

After watching Unbox Therapy's review of Anker's more juicy (ha!) 20100 model, I started looking into Anker's other products. This 13000 seemed to fit the bill for something more serious than the off-the-street models I've been using, but not so much of an investment that I wouldn't mind shelling out some dollars to try it.

I like how compact it is, how it carries some pretty serious and quick charge, and I get to even use my USB-C cable for my Macbook Pro to charge it. We'll see how it goes in the coming months.

 

Amazon 6' USB lightning cable

No matter how good I am about keeping my phone charged, I inevitably run into this situation where I'm on the go, my iPhone is at about 10%, and I need to run into a cafe or restaurant to charge my phone. I go into a nearby coffee shop, order a drink, and of course, the few outlets that are around are inconveniently located across the room from a table, underneath a person's seat, or otherwise awkwardly positioned from where I'd like to place (and possibly browse) my phone while it's charging. Bringing this extra-long cable means I don't need to worry about that anymore. It's also great for other awkwardly placed outlets in my AirBnb, at the airport, or on a plane.

One problem I have with this cable is that it's very defective when I plug it in with my laptop. It tends to rotate on and off charge periodically, so if you have recommendations for another extra long cable to replace this, I'm happy to hear them.

 

Avantree cable straps

I. Love. These. Straps.

I carry a lot of cables with me. For my laptop(s), phone, mouse, battery pack, speakers, headphones...the list goes on and on and on. What that means is that sometimes I'll stuff all those cables into my bag in a hurry and when I open it up after a flight, it looks like I sliced opened the belly of a monster designed by a deeply intoxicated Jony Ive.

These cables solve those problems once and for all. They attach to each cable I have so I'll never have to go hunting for them individually; they're pretty long so I can wrap them around even the bulkiest cables like my Macbook charger; and they're velcro, so they're easy to fasten and unfasten. All I need to do is wrap the cable around my hand, find the easy-to-locate strap, velcro up, and they're neatly bundled every time I take them out. They're a lifesaver.

Google Chromecast

I am a very big video consumer. YouTube has become a daily destination for me, and few things make me feel more like I'm home like putting on a movie or TV show from Netflix. I can do this fine pretty much anywhere I go with my phone or my laptop, but there's something comforting about being able to watch video on a bigger screen on a couch when I'm traveling. This small, really portable Chromecast gives me that option. It's a little bit of home I get to carry in my pocket.