With the right accessory, even the most nightmarishly mundane outfit can be upgraded to look fresher than the overpriced farm-to-table kale salad from that new restaurant downtown. In the same manner, a few upgrades to the objects you use every day can give you a refreshed mind for tackling all the great projects on your plate. If dressing up makes you more creative, then it’s not so absurd to think some of that psychological magic transfers to some of your tools and accessories. AND CO wants you to not only be the most productive version you, but also to treat yourself from time to time. The items in this list, miraculously, do both. Besides, no one outgrows the thrill of a new toy. You deserve one.
Ah, the Moleskine. If it were good enough for Oscar Wilde, Matisse, and Hemingway, then why shouldn’t it be good enough for you? Impress your friends by showing them that, yes, you still know how to write things down. As a freelancing individual, inspiration can strike at any time, and waiting to get in front of a computer to fully express your ideas isn’t the smartest move. But this is the twenty-first century, so, of course, there’s a digital upgrade available. Consider shelling out for an Evernote Moleskine— it syncs up with the popular Evernote app and digitizes each stroke of your pen. You’ll get a version saved to your laptop, tablet, and/or phone, so you can turn your downtime brainstorming into a springboard of productivity wherever you are.
If you’ve got a notebook, you’re going to need a writing implement. Turn an otherwise mundane task into a fancy flourish by keeping your favorite pens and pencils in a leather roll that will make classic vibes emanate outward from your very being. As an added bonus, keeping those writing sticks wrapped in luxury will suddenly cause you to care more about your choice of pen or pencil. Before you know it, you’ll be dying to show off your sleek pens and perfect (or rather, unique-at-best) penmanship at every opportunity. People will definitely take a mental note, but they won’t be anywhere near as good as your written ones.
Business Card Case
Some will argue that business cards are on the way out. What’s wrong with asking to put your contact info into a potential client’s phone? Nothing really, but a business card— even for a freelancer— can leave a lasting impression. Your new contact will think of your card as a tangible reminder to give you a call and put you on some cool projects. The only possible way to make a more lasting impression is to keep your cards in a sweet, minimalist, business card case. You’ll go from “charming charming creative I met yesterday” to “charming creative who carries their name in style and oh god, I’m giving them work right now.”
Writing stuff down is great. But unless you’re a time-traveling freelancer from the days when you could get a swank Upper East Side pad for under $60,000 or have a fully furnished house party every Saturday night just because you felt like it, you’re going to be using a computer from time to time (read: probably every day). So why not upgrade your typing game with a Das Mechanical Keyboard? You’ll become a faster and more accurate typist, your mechanical keyboard will outlast whatever flimsy typing surface that came with your computer, and you’ll get that throwback “clickitey-clack” sound so you bang out projects while sounding like a boss.
As a freelancer, you’re already equipped with a few playlists to match any new situation that arises. But how are you going to listen to them? You could listen from your computer speakers or standard issue earbuds, but a good set of cans will suck you into the beats and put you in the productivity zone. Here’s a secret: some headphone manufacturers charge exorbitant amounts of money for the name… and not much else. That’s totally fine if you’re into paying 80% markups in order to have trendy logos on your ears. But as a freelancer, the only brand you need to worry about promoting is your own. So try scooping up a pair of AudioTechnica ATH-M50’s or Sennheiser HD280’s. Both are under $150 and feel great on the ears. You’ll never use the throwaway drug-store buds again.
Placing your computer an amazing bag is like gifting your feet with fresh sneakers. Yeah, any bag will do in a pinch, but splurging on one you really like floods you with all intangible feelings associated with Grade-A Swagger. Go with leather for a splash of sophistication, or a multifunctional one that will carry you from your usual writing haunts to a meeting with a new client. A sturdy bag with deep pockets also means you can carry more than just a computer, too— load up with notebooks, sketch pads, your favorite design magazine, or that book on you’ve been meaning to read since last year. Seriously, a nicely outfitted bag is the death of boredom.
Is a piece of functional desk decorum a tool or an accessory? Who cares? If you have anything left to spend, think about getting an hourglass. Not the kind that comes with Pictionary, but one of those elegant timepieces that can 1) instantly make you look that much more put together, 2) serve as a fancy paperweight, and 3) light a fire under you when some tight deadlines are approaching. Now available in contemporary designs for the modern art critic inside of you.