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6 Personal Must-Haves Items That You Need At Work

6 Personal Must-Haves Items That You Need At Work

We spend many of our waking hours at the office. Given that reality, it makes sense to have a few items at work that help you to stay productive and happy.

The following items will greatly improve your quality of (work) life. Do you have them?

1. An Office Sweater

Sweater

    Have you ever worked in an office with powerful AC? When you first walk into the building, it is refreshing and puts a smile on your face. But you can have too much of a good thing. For those days when your office AC hits you like a January day, an office sweater will come in handy. Instead of complaining about the cold, simply put on your sweater and immediately become more comfortable.

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    Tip: Bring a sweater that is simple and professional. Avoid slogans or anything else that you may need to explain to your boss or customers.

    2. A Small Personal Grooming Kit

    Hair Brush

      Whether you’re facing wind, rain or shine, it is important to look your best at the office. That’s why many professionals have a small grooming kit at the office. For men, you may be able to manage with little more than a comb and a small shoe cleaning brush. For women, you may need more items.

      As you prepare a grooming kit, keep in mind the limited storage space you have at your workstation.

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      3. A Few Snacks

      Almonds

        Bringing your own snacks to the office is a smart move for a few reasons. First, you will be less likely to indulge in expensive, high sugar candy. Second, you will be able to eat immediately – no waiting in lines!

        There are many different options to consider in the area of office snacks. You could buy a package of protein bars and put it in your drawer. Or you could you pack almonds, a durable super food that provides protein. As a general rule of thumb, high protein snacks are best to give you significant energy.

        Tip: Read this list of super foods for more ideas for snacks to bring to the office.

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        4. A Dress Up Item!

        Bow Tie

          Yikes! The CEO suddenly decided to visit your office on casual Friday. Your chances to make a good first impression are at risk.

          If you plan ahead, you can address this problem. You may want to bring a tie and sports jacket to the office and keep them there for surprises. A neck tie is a great personal item to sharpen your image because they are small, easy to store and signal a higher dress code.

          5. A Good Book

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          Business Book

            From time to time, there are slow periods at the office. For times like those, I suggest keeping a good professional book at the office. To get started, try 15 Inspiring Books Every Leader Should Not Miss or 10 Books To Become A Better Project Manager. For those stressful days at the office, having a good book to read for a few minutes is a great way to take your mind away from the stress of the daily grind.

            Tip: Is there a classic book about your company (or a biography of your founder or CEO)? If so, consider adding that back to your cubicle desk. It is a great way to signal your commitment to your company.

            6. A Phone Charger

            Phone Charger White

              A dead cell phone is deeply frustrating! All of your contacts, emails, games and other useful materials are locked into a useless device. Spending $25 or $50 on a spare cell phone charger is a great way to avoid this problem. With an office charger in place, you will be able to leave the office each day with a full charge.

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              Tip: Some phones will let you charge by connecting to your office PC, but that may not always be an option. Make sure that your “office phone charger” will work with an AC outlet.

              Featured photo credit: Office/tpsdave via pixabay.com

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              Bruce Harpham

              Bruce Harpham is a Project Management Professional and Founder and CEO of Project Management Hacks.

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              Last Updated on July 21, 2021

              The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

              The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

              No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

              Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

              Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

              A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

              Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

              In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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              From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

              A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

              For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

              This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

              The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

              That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

              Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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              The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

              Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

              But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

              The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

              The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

              A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

              For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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              But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

              If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

              For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

              These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

              For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

              How to Make a Reminder Works for You

              Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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              Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

              Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

              My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

              Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

              I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

              More on Building Habits

              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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              Reference

              [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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