Is your desk littered with random (read: treasured) knick-knacks? If not, do you want it to be? (Yes, you do.) Not to be boastful, but I consider myself pretty well versed in the delicate art of covering your work surface with stuff—useful stuff, of course.
Whether you want to generate creativity, to look at something beautiful, or to just stay organized, here are 12 tchotchkes for you to choose from. And, naturally, these are also great gifts for officemates (and they’re all under or around $12). You’re welcome.
Stuff That Helps You Think
Nanoblocks are a new favorite of mine—they’re essentially tiny LEGOs! I could play with these all day. (I swear I’m actually very productive at work.)
2. Rubik’s Cube
Besides being an interesting puzzle, Rubik’s Cubes are pretty fun to just mindlessly play with while you’re thinking. A classic.
If a Rubik’s Cube is just a bit too obvious for your tastes, you might enjoy this little brainteaser: the Micro Cubebot. It’s a cube that turns into a robot and vice versa.
Or perhaps something to help you take a step back from it all? A mini Zen garden should help you get your focus back.
Stuff That’s Pretty to Look At
5. Candy Dish
Did you know having candy on your desk could make you more successful ? Get promoted and have a snazzier desk with a fancy candy dish.
Don’t stuff your business cards in some drawer where no one can see them. Display them proudly with a quirky business card holder like this one.
If you want to be even more professional, bust out a set of these beautiful Etsy coasters. Nothing says “pulled together” like coasters.
Succulents are an attractive addition to any office, and they’re amazingly easy to take care of. Here are six for $10. Keep a trio for yourself, and give the other three to one of your lucky officemates.
Stuff That Keeps You Organized
Aside from helping you know what day it is without checking your phone, this calendar helps you grow your vocabulary. My new year’s resolution? Get one of these calendars.
10. Fun Sticky Notes
Personally, I need to have about six different note pads going at once, so it’s nice to have them look different. These are a fun alternative to the standard Post-its.
In an effort to actually keep track of all those notes, these little note clip stands are super useful in helping prioritize (and find) my notes.
If keeping notes isn’t your style, this desktop dry-erase board might interest you. Save paper and keep track of your thoughts. Win-win.
Photo of LEGO person courtesy of simone mescolini / Shutterstock.
Lily Zhang serves as a Career Development Specialist at MIT where she works with a range of students from undergraduates to PhDs on how to reach their career aspirations. When she's not indulging in a new book or video game, she's thinking about, talking about, or writing about careers. Follow her musings on Twitter @lzhng.More from this Author