My Office Essentials

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I have to tell you a funny story. It’s about one of my co-workers and how her obsession with office supplies actually got her into trouble.

In a busy, paper-based medical office, a lot of faxing and photocopying occurs. We use black pens when scheduling or writing memos simply because the pens with blue ink do not produce legible faxes or photocopies.

However, my co-worker just had to use the blue pens because they were part of her office essentials- the funny, little quirky preferences that we develop for certain stationary supplies or office gadgets that inexplicably make us feel more confident and more productive at our jobs.

Our office manager begged her until she was blue in the face (pun intended) to switch, but she just couldn’t. We eventually removed all of the blue pens from the office, but to this day my co-worker claims that writing with the blue pen just makes her feel better.

Don’t tell me you don’t have your favorite office supplies because I know that you do. And because I’m in the mood for sharing, and I love making lists, I’ve compiled a list of my office “essentials”- the supplies that I need on a daily basis that not only assist me in being productive and staying organized, but make my work honestly more enjoyable. I’d love for you to share yours as well by emailing me at keepingbusyb@gmail.com.

A paper-based agenda. Writing down my appointments and the time-sensitive actions in my calendar solidifies them in my memory, and I developed a system of storing my to-do lists in my agenda so I can access them on the fly. Bonus points if the agenda is pretty.

Colorful pens. I used to be so obsessed with color-coding that my classmates in first-year linguistics at university made up a verb to describe my unique brand style of transforming lecture notes into a crazy rainbow of reminders and possible study questions.

Pretty notebooks. Anyone notice a theme here? They’re essential for jotting down notes in a meeting or recording an idea you got while waiting for the street car. Much like my pens, I carry these babies around with me until they bite the dust. Or get filled up with ideas. Whichever comes first.

I’m constantly on the go so I am forced to manage most of my emails and phone calls through my Smartphone. It also has a copy of my calendar and a couple of apps I use to manage my time. And I also have the IKEA app which just sort of draws me into this universe of assembly-required furniture.

Highlighters. I make a ton of notes and use these often to color-coordinate tons of reminders, projects, etc. They also make my agenda look pretty. Bonus!

Blank notecards. Because. I. Believe. In. The. Power. Of. The. Handwritten. Note.

Post-Its. Flags, shapes, sizes, colors- I personally consider them to be one of the ultimate reminders- kind of like my nagging conscience, only prettier.

To others my essentials might seem frivolous or unnecessary, but to me, they’re what keeps me happy before, during and after the work day. After all, what’s a few dollars to spend on post-its if they make everything look pretty and organized?

KBwB-BFlower-50To check out more of my favorite office supplies? Some of the stuff I dig is featured on my Amazon store here, and I should tell you that I get a small (small!) kickback if you see something you like. Did I miss one of your favorites on my list? Comment below or drop me a line at keepingbusyb@gmail.com and set things straight!

What I Would Have Done, Had I Been You

KBB_bookmark_mugSometimes one of the biggest mistakes we make, both personally and professionally, is not taking our own advice.

It may seem like common sense to trust your own judgment but unfortunately when we’re neck-deep in situations ourselves, it’s hard to maintain the same kind of level-headed thinking that comes so easily when helping to solve a the problems of a colleague or friend. So what is a professional like you or me to do?

A woman I knew was guiding me through a difficult situation and I was getting frustrated that the answers were not coming easily. She asked me, “Well, what would you tell a client in a similar situation?”

I thought about it, told her what I would have recommended, and asked her again what she thought I should do. She smiled and said, “You already told me.”

Isn’t it funny how we have to step out of our own shoes in order to step back into them? When solving a problem in the workplace or at home, try asking yourself what advice you would give a friend or colleague in need. It’s a little like thinking outside of the box- it can take some time to get the hang of it, but the results are more often than not innovative, positive and rewarding.

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If you’re not going to take your own advice, at least take mine. Check out my business section for more posts filled with practical advice you can use RIGHT NOW in your own personal and professional lives. If I were you, I’d go read them all right now. Seriously.

What to Do When There is No Problem

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Sometimes, there is no problem.

Isn’t that weird? I think most of us spend our day-to-day looking for problems because we’re so used to them coming up. From our email search functions not working properly to that guy who cut you off on the way home from work, it seems like there’s hiccups everywhere, everyday.

So when there aren’t any problems arising in your business and everything seems to be running smoothly, it can be hard to figure out what to do. Where do you go from there?

Most people feel it’s a natural step to hire a consultant for their business when they’re experiencing problems. It’s great to get a fresh perspective on a situation in order to come up with a solution to make it work again.

What a lot of people don’t realize it that hiring a consultant can also be helpful when there isn’t a problem. A consultant may be able to give you an outsider’s perspective on where to take your business next. Some examples of this could be decision on how to expand your business, or take on a new project.

Or why not continue working on what’s already working? A consultant may be able to offer suggestions on expanding your client base, or starting a new advertising campaign, or diversifying a solid advertising base with some exciting new social media adventures.

Consultants aren’t just there for when there are problems that need fixing. After all, there isn’t always a problem to be fixed! Maybe the only problem you should be considering is, what do I do next?

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Got some time on your hands? Check out my business section for more inspiration on how to improve your business, or visit my busy section on how to start your next project. Or why not try something completely different to take a break and do some baking? The possibilities of what to do next are endless!