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Paper Chase Press desk planners

Productivity

The 99U Gift Guide for Building Good Habits

Make this season’s gifts mark the start of a more productive, focused year—whether for yourself or someone on your list.


Give the gift of good habits this holiday season. Our selections are geared towards making sure that resolutions last through January and beyond. Add them to your list, gift them to family, friends, or colleagues, or treat yourself. Whether it’s making more time to meditate, using devices less, or making more sustainable choices, we have just the gifts designed to help you slow down and establish the routines that make you happier and more motivated.

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Keep track of commitments

For those who find comfort in organization.

Getting back to basics with pen and paper is a great way to get through the bumpy first few days of setting up a new habit. Consistency is key, and the Habit Roadmap lets you track your progress by marking daily actions and week-by-week habit streaks. 

Get more organized

The Action Method notebook

Who doesn’t love a good spiral-bound?

Based on the Behance Action Method, this notebook’s design template heralds the end of scribbled sticky notes and overlooked to-do items. The page is split into four zones to organize thoughts and help you leave brainstorming sessions feeling energized, not overwhelmed. 

Make to-do lists 

Paper Chase Press planners

Why not bring a bit of whimsy to your paper goods?

Seeing your priorities mapped out and close at hand is an easy way to set up a routine of jotting down your lists of tasks and commitments. This fun desk planner is both functional and eye-catching–just the thing for making a habit of planning your weeks and months, sketching out big ideas, or just plain doodling.

Make time to meditate

The Calm app.

The Calm app.

Calm is an app of choice for those looking to slow down and find some zen. The guided meditations are an easy way to take some time out every day, and the accompanying book offers tips and ideas on how to find some peace. Calm also offer a book and a gift subscription that allows a year of unlimited access to their content library. 

Create a meditation station

3rd Ritual Bel candle

3rd Ritual Bel candle

Founded by Jenn Tardif, 3rd Ritual draws on her years of experience studying yoga and meditation to make thoughtful products and meditation tools. The Bel is a candle with brass time markings that make a gentle sound as they fall, making your meditation a phone-free experience. 

Make a caffeine habit more sustainable

Kinto coffee tumbler.

For whatever hot beverage fuels your mornings…and afternoons.

If you’re keen to cut down on waste and plastic, a good reusable coffee thermos is a wise investment. This Kinto style is sleek and minimal, but boasts a vacuum seal and a clever double lid that will be a welcome gift to all caffeine devotees, yourself included.

Read more, on paper

Go back to the early days of New York Magazine with Anne Quito’s look at the work of Walter Bernard and Milton Glaser.

Here are some of our favorite book releases from 2019 to keep you turning pages rather than mindlessly swiping: Take an inspiring dive into the golden era of magazines with Mag Men. Explore how the spaces we inhabit shape our lives and identities. Let’s hear it for the late bloomers. A chill pill in book form. Forge connections and reestablish community in a world of isolating technology. Celebrate women in design. Blow your mind, change your life. John Maeda helps us speak machine, and to consider a new framework for impactful design decisions. We know multitasking is a myth, so improve productivity instead by managing your attention. Business as art? A new form of entrepreneurship comes with vision and principles.

Use the phone less

Jim & Chloe Read's Widebody Alarm Clock.

Jim and Chloe Read’s Wideboy Alarm Clock.

Looking to break the habit of checking your phone first thing in the morning? An alarm clock is an easy way to short-circuit this instinct. This mid-century-inspired style, designed by husband-and-wife team Jim and Chloe Read, is a chic way to cut down on how many times you pick up your phone. 

Make self-care a priority

The Shine app.

Start the day with a positive mindset.

A Shine app subscription gives access to audio talks, challenges, and motivational messages that focus on productivity, burnout, mindfulness, and personal growth. Making time for daily check-ins with yourself establishes a healthy pattern, and will allow you to make more thoughtful decisions and feel more assured in work and life. 

Be more productive

Hay hourglasses.

Like sands through the hourglass…

One of the most popular resolutions for a new year is a vow to be more productive, more focused, and just get it done more often. But if you struggle to focus and find yourself frequently distracted (we don’t blame you!), it could be time to look at how you’re spending your work hours. With each turn of the Hay hourglass, you have a visual reminder of how you’re spending 15 minutes—a pretty way to parcel your time and prioritize.

Eat healthier

Ekobo bento-style lunchboxes

Bento lunch boxes by Ekobo.

If you want to make a habit out of bringing your lunch to work, a well-designed lunchbox could be the push you need to make it a daily routine. This Bento-inspired box is a sustainable choice, with neat, divided sections and bamboo cutlery. 

Get in touch with nature

Nils Plöjel's self-watering planter pot.

Nils Plöjel’s self-watering planter pot.

Let a lush, thriving plant perk up your workspace, with no green thumb required. Making a habit of surrounding yourself with greenery is proven to help with stress and create a more welcoming environment, and this self-watering planter by Nils Plöjel is an easy way to add a touch of nature to your desk. 

Support artists 

A Bea Crespo print.

A Bea Crespo print.

We might be a little biased, but we think supporting independent artists is one of the best gifts, hands down. Keep an eye out out for illustrators and designers who offer their prints for sale and add to your collection throughout the year. Our favorites include Yeyei Gomez’s striking graphic figures and Bea Crespo’s surrealist silk screens, or commission one of your favorites

Invest in mentorship

If you want to make a habit of keeping your interview and resume skills in top form in 2020, consider calling on the professionals. The Muse offers a range of services, from resume and LinkedIn reviews to one-on-one mentorship that could be just the thing you need to get out of a rut, go in a new direction, or achieve some long-standing professional goals.

More Posts by Mia Pinjuh

Mia is a writer based in New York. 


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