Tag Archives: professional tips

F-701 ALL METAL Retractable Ballpoint Pen on top of a open notebook

6 Ways to De-stress After Work

It’s natural for work to leave you a little stressed at times. But if you’re leaving your day job and still feeling overwhelmed once you get home, you might want to consider stepping back and prioritizing a little R&R. There are tons of activities that have been proven to reduce stress and help relax your mind. Here is a list of our favorite ways to de-stress after a long day at work.

Walk it Out

Something as simple as taking a 10-minute walk outside can help reduce stress and reset your mind so you are able to live in the moment and relax. But any type of physical activity can help manage stress, so don’t limit it to a simple walk. Go to the gym, run, ride a bike, or play fetch with your dog. All of these will have a relaxing effect and allow you to de-stress and breathe easier.

Shut Down to Power Up

Turn your screens off. All of them. Take a half hour and turn off your phone, TV, tablet, computer or any other devices you have. Your brain needs a break from the constant intake of information and your eyes need rest from all the blue light, as well. Use this half hour to do some breathing exercises, meditate or simply take a nap. Your mind will be clearer and feel more relaxed than if you spent that time checking emails or mindlessly scrolling.

Write It All Down

Once you are home from work, take a few minutes and write about your day. Journaling can allow you to put the stresses of the day on paper—and leave them there. Choose Different with a pen that will give you a satisfying writing experience like the F-701 ALL Metal Ballpoint Retractable Pen. It has a fine point ink and is elegantly designed for any Instagram photo opportunities you have in store. If ink isn’t quite your style, try the DelGuard Mechanical Pencil. It features a comfort grip and unbreakable lead. What more could you want?

Get Lost in a Book

Diving into a book can be a great way to de-stress. Reading allows the mind to focus elsewhere, instead of on the issues that are stressing you out. After spending some time reading, you’ll feel more peaceful and be able to let the stress of the day melt away.

Head to the Kitchen

Cooking is a great stress reliever. Not only is it a physical outlet for stress, but as a result, you’ll be rewarded with delicious food. Take the time to create homemade meals or snacks (instead of throwing together a bowl of cereal). Eating something healthy can help you feel more relaxed instead of the feeling of falling into a food coma.

Pump Up the Jams

This tip is a no-brainer. In fact, you might even do it without realizing the benefits of it. While classical or slow tempo music is proven to be some of the most relaxing genres, any type of music that makes you happy can have a positive effect. We recommend crafting a playlist of your favorite music so it’s readily available for your commute or whenever you need a little pump-up session.

De-stressing is a very important part of having work-life balance. Using these tips, or any combination of them, can help you compartmentalize a stressful day from the rest of your life.

DelGuard Mechanical Pencil beside a laptop and notebook

7 Ways to be More Productive at Work

Being productive is an important part of any job, no matter what career you are in. But we all know, going to work every day and striving to be consistently productive is no easy feat. Between long meetings, chatty co-workers, and never-ending email chains, some days just seem to slip away and when it is over, you feel like you haven’t accomplished anything. Use these tips to get more out of your workday and head home without your to-do list hanging over your head.

Focus on One Task at a Time

Multitasking may seem like a smart way to accomplish multiple things at once, but it actually has the opposite effect. Research has shown that our brains are not nearly as good at handling several tasks at a time as we like to think we are. In fact, some researchers suggest that multitasking can reduce productivity by 40%. When you focus and commit to one task instead, it allows your mind to be clear and not be clouded by other thoughts, allowing you to work more efficiently. Take one task at a time, cross it off your to-do list, and start feeling more accomplished.

Be Strategic

While we can’t create more hours in the day, we can be strategic about how we use the hours we’re given. Think about how and why you are not getting as much work done as you’d like. Is it because you didn’t get enough sleep? Are you distracted by social media temptations? Or do you sit next to a chatty coworker? Spend some time identifying the causes and then be strategic about finding the solutions that address those issues.

Be Alert

There will always be large tasks that take more brain power and energy then others. Prioritize the time of day that you are most alert for these types of tasks. For some people, their peak time of day is first thing in the morning after a big cup of coffee. For others, it might be during the afternoon (after that 2nd cup). Find the perfect time of day for you and tackle your biggest tasks then. That way, you can get through the small stuff when your energy tank hits empty.

Snacks on snacks on snacks

It can be hard to get your work accomplished when your stomach is grumbling. Keep snacks close by for those moments when you need to curb your hunger. If you can, make sure they are healthier snack options. Snacks filled with sugar and empty calories can often make you feel like you’re going to crash and have an adverse effect on your productivity. Reach instead for a healthy snack that will have you feeling energized and fuel you through the rest of your stressful day.

Use the Right Tools

You’ve heard the phrase “dress for success” before, but while it’s a good motto for professional work attire, it’s also a good sticking point to consider your work tools. Equipping yourself with tools you’re excited to use, like the sleek and smooth Sarasa Grand, can not only get you motivated to work, but can actually increase your productivity. For a less permanent option, try out the DelGuard Mechanical Pencil, which features an unbreakable lead tip and textured grip. Or, check out other options from the STEEL collection to help you Choose Different and power through your day.

Put a Stop to Interruptions

Interruptions are everywhere, but one of the biggest sources of distractions come from your cell phone. Emails, text messages, and social media notifications can throw a wrench in your flow. Even if it is for a couple hours while at work, take some time and silence your phone. With the lack of interruptions, it will be easier to focus and cross items off of your to-do list faster.

Declutter that Desk

Too many things on your desk can be distracting or just make you feel downright anxious and uneasy. Take a few minutes and find a place for all the random clutter and papers that are scattered about. A clean, well-organized desk will make it easier to find things you need quickly and keep your mind sharp and focused on what you are working on.

Don’t let yourself go home at the end of the day feeling like you accomplished nothing. Start implementing these tips to put a stop to distractions and refocus on your priorities.

5 Simple Strategies for Taking Better Notes at Work

Effective notetaking is often the unsung hero of the workplace. It can help you capture ideas, learn new concepts, organize your thoughts, share information, and much more—but in order for your notes to be effective, you first have to learn the right notetaking strategies. We’ve got you covered. Whether you’re in a one-on-one with your boss or in a large company meeting, these simple strategies will help you take better notes at work—and get more out of them.

Ditch the Laptop

Your brain reacts differently to passive versus active actions during notetaking. Recent research has proven that since writing by hand is an active action, it is often more effective then typing for notetaking. Plus, when you are having one-on-one meetings with clients or your boss, it is nice to not have a laptop “wall” between the two of you. Laptops can also be a distraction in larger meetings, due to email pop-up alerts and social media notifications. Using a notebook eliminates these distractions and keeps you open and engaged.

Use the Right Notetaking Tools

As research has proven, handwriting is better for retaining what you write, but first you need the right tools. Using a lined or dotted/gridded notebook (like for bullet journaling) will help keep your notes organized and make writing easier. Then, choose different and make a statement with the right pen. The STEEL F-701 Ballpoint Pen is all-metal and has a heavy-duty feel you’ll notice right away. Plus, it’s refillable so you’ll never have to worry about replacing your entire pen. For other professional but still stylish options that features gel ink, check out the Sarasa Grand.

Focus on the Right Things

Your notes should not be a straight transcript of an entire meeting. Afterall, we all know how meetings can tend to meander onto tangents before getting to the meat and potatoes. Make sure you take down the main bullet points and any additional comments or questions you may have. The key is to focus on capturing the basic facts, issues that need to be resolved, decisions that have been made, and action plans including who is responsible for completing these tasks.

Less is More

When it comes to notes, taking less is actually more. Take down keywords, skip unneeded words, or write down partial sentences. While this sounds strange, you will actually be able to capture more notes than trying to write down every single word that is said. Once you are finished with the meeting, write up a full summary while the information is still fresh in your mind. This gives you the opportunity to fill in all the blanks, so when you look back you have everything you need from the meeting.

Keep it Bold

While taking notes, make sure to highlight or bold the most important information. This allows you to more easily locate the important takeaways when skimming your notes later. If you are handwriting your notes, make sure to bring a highlighter with you to your meeting. If typing, use the highlighter, italicize, underline, and bold options to make your notes more effective.

No matter what profession you’re in, taking notes is part of the job. These tips and tricks will help you be more productive and effective no matter what career you’re in.

Work bag filled with must-have items including hand sanitizer, phone charger,

7 Must-Have Items to Keep in Your Work Bag

From traffic congestion on your commute, meetings that run over schedule, last minute (and stressful) deadlines—sometimes it just feels like the workday is conquering you. Those days can get worse by your cellphone dying or coffee spilling on your shirt. Despite how small these things are, they can cause a busy day to become a stressful day. We’ve all been there, which is why we came up with a list of work bag essentials that will help keep your workdays moving smoothly.

Hand Sanitizer

Germs—they’re basically everywhere. During the workday, you may not always have access to a sink to wash your hands. Keep hand sanitizer in your work bag to keep you and your hands germ-free. While it’s not an end-all, be-all replacement for washing your hands, it’s great to have when you’re trying to fend off the cold circulating around the office.

Pens to Make A Statement

No matter what type of environment you work in, you can never have enough pens. Keeping a few extra in your bag will save you in a pinch if it runs out of ink, you misplace it, or a coworker borrows it and doesn’t give it back right away. The Sarasa Grand Retractable Pen is one you’ll definitely want to keep backups of tucked away. With its sleek design, quick-drying gel, and 6 fashion colors, you’ll be better off not letting coworkers borrow this one. The STEEL F-701 ALL METAL Ballpoint Retractable Pen is another solid choice if you’re looking to make a statement. All-metal from clip to tip, this pen does not sacrifice on style or performance.

Phone Charger

Need we say more? We all know there’s nothing worse than being at 12 percent by noon. Keeping a portable phone charger on-hand will literally save your phone’s life—and yours. Make sure your phone isn’t ready to clock out before you are.

Mints

Coffee is a must for early morning meetings—or early mornings in general. But even though we all love this caffeinated wonder, coffee breath leaves something to be desired. For this reason, mints are a work bag essential. They’ll save you from awkward, stinky breath encounters with coworkers—and your boss.

Aspirin

Headaches happen even to the best of us. Keeping a bottle of OTC aspirin in your bag will ensure that you’ll get through it (relatively) pain-free and let you get back to what you need to do.

Travel-size Tissues

Between seasonal allergies, the common cold, and even accidental spills or messes, there’s always a good reason to keep tissues on-hand. Keep a travel-sized pack in your bag, regardless of the time of year, for the moments your nose decides to throw a wrench into your day.

Stain Removal Pen

Coffee spills and lunch-time stains are evitable from time to time. While you could always keep a sweater or extra shirt in your bag, a smaller and easier solution is a stain removal pen. In just a few minutes, the stain is gone and no one will know you had a clumsy moment.

Every workday isn’t going to be perfect, but some situations have quick fixes or are avoidable with the right tool. Be sure to have these handy items in your work bag for when days don’t go quite as planned so you’re prepared for anything that comes your way.

Notebook with to-do packing list scribbled on it, beside a laptop bag and a coffee cup

6 Essential Tools for Starting a New Job

Is there anything more exciting, yet nerve-racking, than starting a new job? Beginning a new position exposes you to new people, tools, and exciting challenges. But being new can also be a little daunting. One way to relieve the new job jitters is to know you are walking into your first day fully prepared for whatever’s ahead. Here are the essential tools you’ll need to start off your first day on the job right.

Infographic of essential items to bring on your first day of work including personal identification, notebook, reliable pen, professional workbag, lunch bag, and confidence

Personal Identification

Unless you completed all your paperwork prior to starting the position, you’ll need to meet with HR on your first day to set up payroll, benefits enrollment, and fill out other company-specific paperwork. Some of this will require a form of personal identification such as a driver’s license, passport, or social security card. Bringing one or multiple forms of ID on your first day will not only show your preparedness, but also let you concentrate on your new duties and responsibilities earlier.

Notebook

On the first day of a new job, it’s best not to rely just on your memory. Bringing a notebook will ensure that you have a place to store critical information such as office procedures, login credentials, security codes, and even your colleague’s names. Choose a notebook or notepad that is easily portable, so you’re able to take—and retrieve—notes while you’re on the go.

A Reliable Pen

A notebook doesn’t do any good without a proper writing instrument in hand. You need stylish pens that are reliable and smudge-free. For a pen that makes a statement, choose the Sarasa Grand gel pen. Its sleek design and quick drying ink is perfect for taking notes on a busy first day on the job. For other great professional but stylish options, turn to the STEEL line. Both of these are also great interview pens.

Briefcase/Bag

You’ll want to make a good first impression when you first walk into the door. Carrying a briefcase or purse not only looks professional, but also frees yourself from carrying belongings in your arms, so you’ll be ready for a handshake without any awkward stumbles. A briefcase or bag also provides a safe and organized place to put important papers or items you’re given throughout your day.

Lunch Bag

The first day is critical for meeting your coworkers and starting to build a working relationship. While it can be tempting to leave your workplace for lunch to take a deep breath and digest everything, bringing your lunch allows you to connect with your coworkers and show you are interested in being part of the workplace culture. Bring your lunch in an insulated lunch bag that will keep everything fresh and look stylish. It will also save you money in the long run!

Confidence

The most important tool you need to bring with you is confidence and a positive attitude. Remember to be true to yourself—after all, it’s how you landed the job in the first place! Show up on your first day with the confidence to learn and grow, and a positive attitude that’ll show everyone you are the real deal.

There is a lot of new job advice out there, but what you bring with you is just as important as what you do. Whether you are preparing for your first job or you are a seasoned pro, these items are vital for a successful first day on the job. You’ll be prepared for anything that comes your way. Learn more about how you can Choose Different.

A Navy Sarasa Grand Retractable Pen transposed next to a Smoke Blue Mildliner Double Ended Highlighter & Creative Tool

7 Ways to Achieve Better Work-Life Balance

When it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything you want, what do you do? How do you handle work and personal life? Work-life balance is something everyone struggles with at one point or another, but it is achievable. Just like anything else, it takes skill and practice. Check out our 7 tips to help achieve a better balance, and to start feeling happier both in and outside of work.

Set Realistic Goals

Everyone has goals they want to achieve in both their professional and personal lives. But sometimes we reach too far or make our goals too big and as a result, they become overwhelming and feel unachievable. Start by setting realistic, SMART goals; ones that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. These types of goals can be tackled by breaking them up into smaller steps and goals. You’ll feel satisfied achieving small wins along the way and stay motivated to move towards the next step.

Learn to Say No

When you’re feeling overwhelmed and work starts to spill into personal time, it’s often a sign that you might have too much on your plate. Learning how to say no is critical in achieving better work-life balance, but it will first take some practice. Get comfortable with your assertiveness by practicing during situations where the stakes are lower. This can help you build courage to say no in more difficult situations—after all, confidence is a muscle we all need to exercise. You’ll find that you’ll feel happier and more balanced when you prioritize what you really want and say no to things you don’t.

Be a Planner

Still feeling like there’s never enough time for everything? If so, you might not be scheduling your time effectively. Putting your to-do’s on paper in a planner can help you become better at time management, and more easily keep track of events, appointments, errands, and tasks. The smooth flowing ink of the STEEL G-402 Gel Retractable Pen makes creating lists easy, while the STEEL PM-701 Permanent Marker is perfect for drawing attention to your most pressing tasks.

Concentrate on One Thing

Take every day and every task one step at a time. Oftentimes when we think we’re multitasking, we aren’t really doing two things at once—but instead, doing individual actions in rapid succession. Take a task, whether it be professional or personal, and give it your full attention. Finish the task, and then move on to the next one. Being “where your feet are” allows you to be present in the moment and focus more clearly.

Have the Right Tools

Whether it’s needing a specific piece of software to better perform a function in your work role or having the right stylish pens in hand to help you stand out in your office meeting, having the right tools matter. When you’re equipped with products that are reliable and high quality, you perform better, too. The Sarasa Grand Retractable Pen combines quality performance and style, making it the perfect tool for crossing off your to-do list and making a great impression. If you’re looking for durability and reliability without compromising on sleekness, look no further than the STEEL F-701 ALL METAL Ballpoint Retractable Pen. These are also great options for interview pens.

Disconnect from Time to Time

It’s easy to get sucked into tasks and feel like you have to be available 24/7 for both life and work. Taking time to disconnect from the outside world can be difficult, but it is necessary. Put down the phone, put away the computer, and take a deep breath. Giving yourself time to disconnect can help you refocus and go back into work refreshed and ready to take on anything that comes your way!

Practice Self Care

Being burnt out can affect not just your mental wellbeing, but also your physical health. In order to destress and restore, we recommend intentionally setting aside time to practice selfcare—otherwise, it may never be a priority. Do the simple things that will make you feel better; Drink lots of water, take a walk, unplug, and take quiet time when it’s necessary. Taking care of yourself will positively effect both your work life and your personal life.

Attempting to find work-life balance can be tricky but if you start with small steps, you will see how they lead to big changes. There are many benefits of work-life balance but the biggest is being able to enjoy both separately. You can love your job and love your downtime without sacrificing either.