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15 Items You Need to Have in Your Office Pantry

15 Items You Need to Have in Your Office Pantry

Sometimes it’s a good idea to bring food from home to the office to spice up your daily lunch routine. To make eating at work more home-like, I have compiled a list of fifteen pantry items that you should stock in your work kitchen. They compliment many foods well and never go bad.

1. Honey

Honey is one of those items that has magical properties. Synthesized by bees, honey lasts forever. This delicious sweetener has been found in ancient tombs and has a shelf life of several hundred years. Put some honey in your office pantry to go with fruit, yogurt, or tea.

2. Salt

Salt is one of those items that is used in a million different ways. It can, of course, season your food, but it is also used as a preservative in curing meats and other items. Grab a container of salt to add some flavor to every meal.

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3. Sugar

Every office needs sugar for coffee. Sugar is a delicious natural sweetener that goes well with everything. Put this on your shelf and try to resist the urge to eat spoonfuls on your own.

4. Peanut butter

Peanut butter is often included in aid packages delivered to impoverished countries. Filling and delicious, a jar of peanut butter can solve many breakfast and lunch crises. This is an essential office pantry item.

5. Canned tuna

Canned tuna has a shelf life of forever, and can be very filling. Put this on a sandwich with some mayonnaise, or over a salad, and it can really spice up a meal.

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6. Olive oil

Olive oil is great in a lot of ways. It can be used in cooking and baking, but its main purpose in an office setting is to be mixed into salad dressings. Keep some olive oil around the office pantry and you’ll thank me eventually.

7. Rice

Brown rice has a shelf life of about twelve months and can be boiled into a meal quickly. Put some brown rice on your shelf in case of emergencies.

8. Canned beans

A can of baked beans can be the perfect meal in a pinch. Grab a few cans and keep them in the office pantry in case. And when you finally eat them, you’ll thank me. They’re delicious.

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9. Almonds and other nuts

Cans of nuts are great for snacking and can last forever. Grab a few cans of assorted nuts but store them nearby to keep them safe—others will try to snack on these if you leave them in a common area.

10. Canned and bottled juice

Apple, cranberry, orange, even tomato—all these juices will last forever when canned, and can be a perfect accompaniment to both breakfast and dinner on the run. My favorite is spicy tomato juice, so I don’t have to worry much about others drinking mine. But you might have to mark your juice if you put it in the office pantry fridge.

11. Vinegar

Both red and white vinegar are very versatile items. At times used as cleaning products, vinegar can be mixed with the aforementioned olive oil to produce a delicious salad dressing. Also, if you have a stove top and a lot of time at work, slicing up some white onions and caramelizing them in vinegar will lead to a delicious addition to any sandwich.

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12. Applesauce

This childhood staple has a shelf life of about a year and a half. It can be good for breakfast in a pinch or a supplement to a balanced lunch. Bring a jar. It is an essential office pantry item.

13. Broth

The shelf life of broth is between two to five years. Grab some and put it in the office pantry fridge. Broth is great on a cold winter’s day.

14. Maple syrup

The Canadians really know what they are doing with this one. A bottle of maple syrup will last forever, and having this on hand will come in handy on the days your office caters breakfast. Yum!

15. Alcohol

We all like to have a little fun, right? Spirits such as gin, rum, and whiskey have a tremendous shelf life, so keep some around the office pantry. Just make sure that it is okay with your office policies first.

Featured photo credit: Food aisle / lyzadanger via flickr.com

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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