Mixtus Media Holiday Gift Guide for Your Workspace

While this post has already missed this year’s “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” promotions, ’tis still the season for good deals, which makes it a great time to upgrade your office - both physical and virtual. As a full-time worker we spend around 1/4 of our lives during our career in our work environment. If you’re self-employed it’s likely more than that. Here at Mixtus Media we understand the whole value of a pleasant, productive and healthy work environment. Here are a few of our favorite things that help us get stuff done while enjoying being at work.

 

Work Tools

A new Mac

If you have an iTunes Connect account from selling your ebook on the iBookstore, you can save between $150 and $500 on a new Mac. Just log into your account at itunesconnect.apple.com, then click on “Resources and Help”, and then the link for your region’s Apple Store. If you prefer Windows, I'd imagine there are tons of great deals out there too. But for us Macs are by far the best value on multiple levels.

 

Sit-stand desk

These healthier and more expensive work station options are all the rage now. And my back can testify as to their positive effects and tangible value. You can read The Wirecutter's great piece on the benefits of sit-stand desks. We started using the Jarvis Desk from ergodepot.com recently and love them! It was one of the most affordable motorized sit-stand options available until IKEA announced their new BEKANT Ergonomi for under $500. Good luck finding one though! They are impossible to find in stock.

 

A nice work chair

A full-time work space should be comfortable and not injure your body. How much time do you spend sitting at your desk? All those hours can really take a toll. Even with a sit-stand desk you need a decent chair. The Wirecutter has some good recommendations for all budgets, the cheapest being the $200 IKEA MARKUS. If you scoff at spending more than that on a chair, think of how it compares long term to chiropractor and medical expenses from a bad back and RSI.

 

iPad Air 2 or iPad Mini Retina

I like being able to manage things like social media and catch up on news away from my desk, and my iPad helps me do this. It is of course also an entertainment device, and I probably watch more TV on it than on our flat screen. Unfortunately Apple doesn't give the same discount for iOS devices they do for Macs to iTunes Connect account holders. But they do give iTunes Gift Cards with them during their holiday promotions (which is over for this year), and refurbished iPads are always a great deal.

 

External hard drive for backing up your work

Backing up your computing devices is like flossing for most of us - it's tedious but necessary and we don't do it as often as we should. Having multiple backup methods is best, so we like using Backblaze (more on that below) along with an external hard drive. They are always on sale this time of year. Make sure it's a few times bigger than your computer's and use software to automatically back up to it like Apple's built-in Time Machine or cloning software like SuperDuper!

 

Service Subscriptions

Office 365 subscription

If you are a Word user, then this is the way to get the latest version of Microsoft Office software. For a little extra cost you can even use it for hosting enterprise level email for your personal domain, which is what we do. Microsoft is king of office and enterprise software and this is their flagship product.

 

Evernote Premium

We use Evernote for everything - notes, lists, writing blog posts, reference information. The premium service allows us to share notes and notebooks, access it on any device, and lots of other goodies like more powerful search and annotating. Evernote has taken the place of a standard text editor and writing tool. At $5 a month the Premium upgrade is well worth it for us. Just don’t forget to turn off the new context feature… 

 

Backblaze Cloud Backup

One backup plan is better than none, but if you really want to be safe you need to have at least two. Backblaze backs up automatically to the cloud, and offsite backups are important to have in case of fire, plumbing disaster, or theft. Backblaze is an essential service for our business and we use it in addition to backing up to an external hard drive. How much is your computer’s digital content worth to you? $60 per year is a small price to pay for such a valuable service!

 

Dropbox Pro

Sharing files is an integral part of our interactions with clients and each other, and we couldn't live without Dropbox. It also allows us to access company files on all of our devices including our iPhones. For $99 a year you get 1TB (that’s 1,000GB people!), which gives you plenty of room for all your work files - including massive HD video files.

 

Squarespace

You’ve heard us talk about this before. If you don’t have a website yet or are stuck with an old WordPress template that you’re afraid to upgrade, why not upgrade this Christmas to a shiny new website with Squarespace? This time of year also often allows the extra time you need to take on the task of building a new website. For less than a decent shared hosting account you can have a beautifully-designed, easy-to-use, no-fuss website to host everything from your blog to your own online store.  Use the promo code MIXTUS and your first year is only $86.40 (10% off).

 

So whether you use our suggestions above to “treat yo’ self” or you are able to get a gift idea for a loved one, we hope that you all have a wonderful holiday season and a very productive new year!

What ways are you wanting to upgrade your work setup? What hardware, software and services help you be more productive and make work fun for you? Please let us know! We love learning about new tools!