9 Inventions To Make Your 9-5 Job Way Easier
If you work a 9-to-5, it's probable that you aren't crazy about a few aspects of it. Getting up on time; figuring out which buses are late; using your time properly; fluorescent lights; trying to block out the world while having a phone conversation with your boss — there's room for improvement. Luckily, new tech is there to help (mostly). Robot coworkers are not yet an option, and manner-improving electrified cattle prods are likely not legal, but there are certainly bits and pieces of technology in the world that can smooth the day-to-day workings of your office life — and even make it more awesome.
There are a few components to greater happiness in the office. (Green space, apparently, is one of them, so try and nab yourself a desk plant, and do your best not to kill it.) Cutting out useless tasks is one, reducing needless fuss another, and being able to communicate ideas without resorting to charades is there too. Plus you'd probably like to feel better in control of your time, to have excellent coffee all day, and to find super-awesome lunch spots depending on your mood. Yes, this is all possible.
Of course, low-fi office life works well, too. If you're the kind who does all their work on paper and can regulate their productivity to an analog clock, well then, you might not use this list. But if you want to improve your daily grind with a bit of tech magic, dive into these nine 9-to-5 improvements.
(Probably best to hit play while you read.)
To Wake Up At The Right Time: Wakie, Free
This free, faintly odd app will definitely have you out of bed in time, because it involves a stranger calling your phone to do the honors of rousing you from slumber. Wakie pairs sleepers with wakers the world over for a 60 second wake-up call — so chances are even that you'll get a sexy whisper or a dude in Wisconsin with a tuba. It changes every day and is anonymous, so there's no chance it'll be repeated if the experience is terrible. But novelty is the spice of life.
To Keep Your Commute On Track: Samsung Gear Live Watch, $199.99
There are a lot of reasons to get into the smart-watch trend if you're a bit of a tech head, but for those who are chronically late, the Samsung Gear Live has an added bonus: It's a commute-saver. It'll be able to calculate your best commute times on various forms of public transport, foot and by car; it can pull up timetables when you get near a station or stop, and sometimes access warnings about delays. No more running for a bus.
To Show Off Ideas In 3D: The 3Doodler Pen, $99.99
The 3Doodler is one of a bunch of 3D pens that have popped up lately, and they mostly seem to appeal to doodlers who want to take their scribbling 3D — but if you work in a creative field, this could actually be an excellent work tool as well. Admittedly you may spend most of your lunch hour figuring out how to make a 3D Snoopy, but when it comes time to sketch a concept for your boss or impress a client with a design, it may be a life-saver.
To Lunch Like A Hipster: Lunchtrack, Free
Lunchtrack is for people who want to make the most of the food-truck trend, but can't quite keep on top of their nasty propensity to, you know, move around. It's a truck tracker and reviewer that allows you to locate the closest truck to your area, navigate towards it, and then leave a review once you're done scarfing down the pulled-pork-sriracha-mayo-burrito-burger hybrid on your lunch hour.
To Make The Most Of Your Time: Toggl, Free
Toggl comes recommended by productivity-strained friends who need to keep track of their time. It's basically a logger of activity — but is insanely smooth and designed to look slick as hell when it's eventually converted into time sheets, graphs of time spent on different projects, and other fancy things. It's designed to make you aware of every second in the workspace, and to track division of labor among teams. You can upgrade to more sophisticated Toggl packages that are paid, but the free version certainly is no slouch.
To Get The Right Temperature: Comfy, Free
After studies showed that women are consistently colder in office environments because they've been built to accommodate men, temperature has become a feminist issue — and Comfy hopes to solve it. The building you work in has to be coordinated with Comfy's building robotics system, but once that's done (a tall request, I know, but this may be the future), Comfy can deliver streams of warm or cold air directly to your desk based on your personal preference. It's not yet widely available, but if it's widely adopted you could be living in your own personal Bahamas.
To Communicate While Cordless: The Dash Headphones, $299.00 (Pre-Order)
Bragi's Dash headphones are worth the money, if only because they will in fact allow you to brag around the coffee machine. They're at the forefront of the cordless headphone revolution, nestling inside your ear canal. But they're also worth it if you work in an office environment that demands a combination of intense concentration and many phone calls — because they do both. They're Bluetooth-enabled, can receive and make calls, and significantly reduce ambient noise (like your coworkers' complaining) during a call. Plus they're epically noise-canceling — and can do music playback too. They're basically earplug phones.
To Keep Coffee Perfect For Hours: Joulies, $59.95
Coffee is essential to any working stiff's life. Which is why Joulies are a particularly spectacular invention. They're stainless steel shells (shaped like coffee beans, for effect) containing an organic material that melts fast and solidifies faster. The science? Put all five Joulies in a hot cup of coffee and they'll cool it to the perfect temperature — 140 degrees Fahrenheit — and then keep it there. For about five hours. This is basically nirvana to anybody who habitually leaves a cup behind when they go to a meeting.
To Transfer Your Scribbles To Devices: Livescribe, $149.99
These days, it's becoming more and more necessary to leave scribbling behind for neat note-taking on a tablet (though styluses do now mean you can scrawl on a tablet to your heart's content). If, however, you tend to find yourself stuck without an electronic device in sight and an awesome idea, the Livescribe pen may be your best bet — because it transfers whatever you write down to any connected device using a Wifi connection.
Yes, this is completely mental, but it'll also save your rear next time you lose that Post-It with the brilliant idea on it.
Images: Pexels; Livescribe, 3Doodler, Joulies, Dash, Comfy, Wakie, Toggl, Lunchtrack, Samsung