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Packing a perfectly appointed workbag is walking on a razor’s edge. You need to be prepared but unencumbered. You need items that function. You need items that are convenient. You need stuff but you don’t want mass.

Your keys can’t do anything for you when you spill lunch on your new white shirt. Your wallet and phone can’t protect you from surprise showers. When you leave your house, make sure you have everything you’ll need for the day. Make the journey to work less miserable with these things to carry, organize, and optimize your day.

As a home base of sorts. Amazon

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The original rugged twill briefcase by Filson is American-made, water- and wear-resistant, and comes with a storm flap closure to keep your belongings dry and safe. The bag meets airplane size regulations and has a 46-inch adjustable leather strap. It fits a 15-inch laptop, and the interior is subdivided to make smaller items easy to get to. It’s pricey, but it’s worth it.

Never miss a thought. Amazon

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A good idea comes in a flash and exits without saying goodbye or leaving a note. Always carry around a notepad to take notes during meetings, jot down ingenious ideas on the bus, or just doodle when the subway is halted between stations.

Toss the pencil and embrace smooth permanence. Amazon

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The Fisher 400B Space Bullet Space Pen is out of this world—and, in fact, can be taken out of this world. Write at any angle, in zero gravity, and at extreme temperatures. This pen is brass with a chrome finish and even exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art for its classic design. The ink cartridges are hermetically sealed, pressured with nitrogen gas, and made out of the same material used to make armor-piercing ammunition. Sign me up.

Never forget your storage device at home. Amazon

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The USB 3.0 flash drive by Samsung comes with 128 GB of flash storage and can easily fit on your keychain. It is x-ray proof, waterproof, and shockproof. Your files are safe.

Always bring one with you. Amazon

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If you are stuck in the rain, let the force be with you. Not the force of the wind that is, but the force of this Star Wars lightsaber umbrella. The 32-inch umbrella is built with a double canopy and acrylic frame, which makes it extra sturdy and virtually rust-proof. The 14mm fiberglass shaft has a button on the bottom handle to switch on and off the light. Batteries not included (3 AAA needed).

For those that work in audio, give your ears a rest before and after work. Amazon

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Get a good book and phase out the sounds around you. If you’ve never read a Murakami book, you are in for a treat.

This is for those people that want multiple books with them. Amazon

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If you don’t want to carry around a library, get an e-reader. I, admittedly, arrived pretty late to the Kindle game, but I’ve been using my roommates Kindle Oasis and I am now sold. Read classics that are in the public domain for free, or hit up your daily newspaper or that best seller you’ve been hearing about for months. The Kindle Oasis has 23 LEDs, an adaptive front light, and a battery that will last weeks on a single charge. Nothing beats the feeling of flipping through the pages of a real book, but this comes pretty close.

Whether you are heading to or returning from work, give your eyes and brain a rest. Amazon

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Fill your cranium with the sweet harmonic tones of The Beach Boys or the insane control of Laura Marling’s voice. Carry around a large pair of headphones, and make sure you carry some quality earbuds in your bag. The Bose SoundSport in-ear headphones have a built-in microphone; and pump out a crisp, deep, and clear sound. They are sweat- and water-resistant, which make them great for gym use.

Reusable. Amazon

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If you often grab groceries on your way home from work, grab an eco-friendly LA Pop Design expandable bag to cut down on the plastic. These fruit and veggie totes are made of a lightweight, durable nylon polyester that can be tossed in the washing machine. When squished into a ball, they only occupy 2-3 inches of space. You’ll barely notice they are there.

Who said spaghetti with tomato sauce at work was a good idea? No one. Amazon

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No one can slurp up an entire bowl of pasta without the noodle whipping around as it is sucked into your mouth splattering your shirt with that red goodness. Have a way to get stains out so you aren’t that office slob. Bring a Tide to Go pen. (And even if you’re not prone to spills, there’s nothing like being the office hero with a stain-removing pen.)

For people who forgot to juice up the night before. Amazon

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The Anker PowerCore+ mini comes with a travel pouch and a micro USB cable. The PowerIQ will charge your device at its fastest possible speed and will add up to 14 hours of talk time. Whether you drain your battery watching downloaded Netflix shows on the way to work or listening to music to lift your spirits, a portable charging bank is a must-have. Your less-than-prepared traveling companions will thank you, too.

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