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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.

The Best Advice for Soon-to-be College Graduates

Graduating from college is an exciting milestone that signifies the end of one journey, and the start of another. With graduation steadily approaching, it’s natural to feel a little lost, and even scared, of what’s yet to come. The best part is, you don’t have to have everything figured out. Your story is just beginning, and it’s time for you to learn as much as possible in the next few years.

Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

Life is all about experiencing new opportunities and embarking on adventures. It’s also about stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things. Use this time and energy to explore new hobbies and interests. If your job takes you to a new place or unfamiliar city, do as much exploring as possible. The most successful people aren’t always those with the best grades or best internships, but sometimes the people who are able to adapt to new circumstances and environments.

Keep Your LinkedIn Updated

LinkedIn is an awesome tool to leverage when staying connected to classmates, former supervisors, professors and more. You can also use it to browse job openings, stay up to date on current events and trends in your industry, and share your professional accomplishments. Be sure to support your classmates and friends on LinkedIn as well and take a genuine interest in articles and updates they post as they are likely to return the favor. Make sure you update your LinkedIn frequently with new skills, certifications and awards to reflect your professional experiences. Ask a mentor or former supervisor to write a recommendation on your profile. This shows you have made a good impression on former employers and would be an asset to a new company.

Ask Lots of Questions

You don’t have all the answers, and you’re not expected to either. Asking questions is essential to growth. It’s also acceptable to make a few mistakes along the way. According to Inc.com, many college graduates set unrealistic expectations for themselves early on in their careers that are nearly impossible to live up to in terms of job satisfaction and lifestyle. It takes time to build your career, and it’s important to remember that your first job (and even your second, third or fourth) is rarely your dream job. Use this period of growth to ask as many questions as you can and learn new things. Your future self will thank you.

Cherish The Little Things

Life isn’t always perfect, but there is something good in every day. Don’t let a bad day or even a bad week stop you from enjoying this time in your life. Go out for dinner with a friend, or attend a fitness class to get your mind off work and unwind from the week. Make sure to spend at least an hour each day that honors you, and be sure to practice self care. Try writing in a journal each night before bed to reflect on your day and keep track of your progress. For a smooth, weighted writing performance, use a Sarasa Grand gel pen. The Sarasa Grand is the perfect pen to bring to a big meeting, and makes a striking first impression. For other professional, durable and stylish pens, turn to the STEEL line.

Honor Your Own Journey

Theodore Roosevelt said, “comparison is the thief of joy.” In the age of social media, it’s easy to compare your journey to that of your friends and classmates. Remember, what you see on social media is a highlight reel. Everyone follows their own path in life, and everyone is fighting an internal battle you know nothing about. The path to success is rarely linear, and you have your entire life ahead of you. Be kind to those around you and know that you are doing just fine.

Make New Connections

While it’s important to stay in touch with classmates, professors and past mentors, it’s also important to use this time to expand your network. Get to know your new coworkers and supervisors and take the time to grab lunch with them when possible. Ask others about their experience and use their advice to better your own career.

 Do What Makes You Happy

At the end of the day, life is too short to be anything but happy. Friends, family and the relationship you have with yourself are the most important things in life. Pursue the things that make you excited to come to work in the morning, and never stop exploring your passions. You can’t find true happiness from a paycheck.