Education

Let’s face it, we all spend a lot of time getting work done at a desk. Typing, writing, drawing, and organizing our way to the next deadline. Your work space can even be seen as an interesting reflection of yourself. So why not cater your desk to how you work best?

desk 1

For the simple and clean go-getter. There’s no need for unnecessary supplies or distractions. This worker is anti-clutter and prefers having only what’s needed to get an assignment done.
MUST HAVES: portable items such as a foldable book stand, small notebook, and an easy-to-carry thermos.

Desk 2

You appreciate visual company at your desk. Having inspiration at your fingertips is a necessity and your selected pile of books and magazines are always on rotation.
MUST HAVES: just the right lighting, background music, and a new stock of inky pens on standby.

Desk 3

The one that schedules time to schedule things. People ask you for the stapler, the post-its, and index cards. You are the constant email checker and enjoy the list-making efficiency of Wunderlist.
MUST HAVES: color coded agendas, caffeine, and a fully charged laptop.

Work space styles are endless, but once you figure out what your go-to items and settings are, you’re more likely to stay focused and motivated. Plus, spending some time to transform your space can add a little joy to your day to day. And behold, desk jobs can be fun!

Image: Marian Rose Bagamaspad

Skills

You’ve been sending emails, organizing files, making excel sheets, running errands, and learning all summer. Whether it’s a fashion, photography, or finance internship, chances are you’ll be leaving soon. Sometimes it’s because you’re going back to university in another state, or maybe you’re taking 21 credits and you can’t fit it into your schedule. Maybe the internship wasn’t right for you but you wanted to at least give it a try. Either way, it’s time to say good­bye, and there are a few things you need to do beforehand.

1. Let your boss know.

Whether it’s a job or internship, it’s good to give a two weeks notice that you will be leaving the company. Make sure to write a formal letter and to give a verbal heads up. It’s bad to leave a gaping hole where you used to work, and this gives employers a chance to find someone to take over your responsibilities. This is a good chance to explain what you liked about the internship, and if you want to come back next summer you should mention it!

2. Attain contact information.

Get his number. Or her number. Or their numbers. Before you leave, make sure you have the email, LinkedIn, Facebook (if you so dare), or any other social media/contact info of people you worked with. You want to keep in contact with people who you want to remember. Just remember to contact them once every four months to say hi! You want to be able to maintain a good relationship, and who knows, they might help you out or vice versa in the future! This is also a good way to let others know you’re leaving so it won’t be awkward that you just disappeared.

3. Clean your workspace.

Once upon a summer, I was led to a bright desk on the top floor of an office building. The vibe was chill, the lighting was comfortable, and the desk, well, the desk was covered in dust, had hygiene products in the drawer, and lacked a functioning stapler. The former intern did not bother to bring her leftover peanut butter, half melted chocolate, or instant nail polish with her after she left. This isn’t very nice, and doesn’t reflect the respect and effort she could have put into her internship! Please, take your things with you, straighten out your desk, wipe things down, and leave it nice and welcoming for the next intern!

4. Work hard until the very end.

This is important! Even though you know you’ll be leaving in two weeks, you want to leave a good impression. Don’t lose steam! Have a final hurrah! Do your best and make it the best end of an internship. You’ll feel accomplished and your coworkers will appreciate it. Best of all, you’ll be motivated to have a good start for the semester. Who wouldn’t like that?

As the summer winds down, things will change. The weather, your closet, the internship, and the semester. Things will come and go, and we have to go along with that flow. I hope these tips can help you prep for this change, and that it is all smooth sailing from here.

Image: deathtostockphoto

EducationSkills

We all know (and fear) the mass of college loans that await us at the end of our four years, so why not save a little money when it comes to shopping for your dorm? What do you really need to survive your four years? It can be tricky to narrow it down when it feels like you need everything and anything for being on your own for the first time. Here’s a generic list of things I believe are worth having when staying on campus:

  1. Bed Products: Two words: Twin XL. Make sure your sheets fit the bed that your school is providing you with! You can get away with full sheets if you tuck them in or a twin comforter since they’re made longer in order to hang over the edge of your bed. I also recommend getting a mattress pad and bed bug protector. No matter where you go, those beds aren’t going to be as comfortable as the one in your room at home, and it’s always better to take precautions rather than not. Also, bed risers can be a life saver when it comes to under bed storage. Don’t forget to load your bed up with some comfy (and cute) pillows!
  1. Desk Products: Putting aside your standard school supplies, there are some items you’re going to need to have in and on your desk at school. One of the most important things is a lamp. You’re going to want to have proper lighting for all your studying and late night surfing the web endeavors! Which comes to my next necessity; a laptop. It’s an unavoidable need to have to get you through all you classes whether to help you with cramming for that big exam or writing that research paper due at the end of the term. Also, remember to have lots of containers and bins to organize your supplies in your desk draws! As for personalizing your desk, consider having a few nicely framed pictures and a mirror so that you can avoid trying to do your makeup in the bathroom in the morning; it’ll truly be a life saver!
  1. Medicine/First-Aid: I highly recommend having a homemade first aid kit handy somewhere in your dorm. You can keep Band-Aids, Neosporin, Advil, Tums, sterilizing wipes, and any other medical items you may need as the year goes on.
  1. Beauty Products: All things under the categories of makeup and hygiene come into play in this category!
  1. Bathroom Products: Whether you’re sharing a suite or using a communal bathroom, it’s always a smart idea to have a shower caddy. It makes bringing all your bathroom necessities from your room to the bathroom so much easier. Some other generic necessities include towels, shampoo and conditioner, and all your mouth hygiene needs!
  1. Miscellaneous: There is a list of items that I recommend that don’t necessarily fit under one particular category, but come in handy nonetheless:
  • Batteries: There’s always going to be something you have that needs batteries and having them hidden in a draw somewhere will save you lots of time when you do!
  • Full Length Mirror: You have to be able to check your outfit before going out in public, right?
  • Trash Can: Self-explanatory.
  • Laundry Bag: Save yourself the trouble of attempting to lug all your dirty clothes with the stereotypical overflowing pile in your arms.
  • Umbrella: Rain or shine, you’ll be stuck walking to class.
  • Tissues: Commonly forgotten and always needed whether it’s to fend off that common cold or clean up a quick spill!
  • Backpack: A life saver when it comes to lugging your books from class to class.
  • Paper Plates: Easily disposable and a great way to keep your room from being littered with crumbs!
  • Sewing Kit: Usually overlooked, but you really never know when a sewing kit can save the day!
  • Flashlight: If there’s a power outage, you’re not going to want to waste your cell phone battery to guide your way around.
  • Garbage Bags: These will make your life so much easier when it comes to emptying out your trash can!
  • Mini Fridge: There is going to be food that you’ll want to have that need to be refrigerated (or those leftovers from dinner last night).

Happy dorm shopping!

EducationSkills

It’s summer! You get to sleep in, waking to the sound of chirping birds, sunlight coming through the windows, illuminating your room. You wake up with bed hair and you stumble out of your bed, walking past the pile of dirty laundry and bowl of cereal you went to get in the middle of the night. Your desk is a mess. Nail polish bottles, papers, pencils, eraser dust, an earring missing its sister, a collection of bracelets, a chipped cup, a photo of you and your friends, Post-Its that have lost their stick…

Listen. You’re a lovely and awesome person, but it’s time for an intervention. It’s time… to clean your room. Summer is a great time to clean your room or workspace. You can get rid of old things and prepare for the next semester. There are some things you can do to make it easy for you to keep your room clean until September, without making your room too sparse or boring.

When most people clean their room, they clean their closet. But there are other parts of your room that you can’t neglect. You have that Economics textbook propping up your laptop. The Victorian novels you bought for Lit class are scattered on three shelves and you probably spent $200 buying all of those last semester.

Students often forget (or don’t have time) to sell their textbooks at the end of each semester. Finals can get in the way, or going back home/going abroad will be more of a priority than a few books lying around. But unless they’re on a shelf (and you’ll be using them again), there isn’t any reason to keep them. There are many options to sell them, either back to the school’s bookstore or online.

Speaking of things you’ll need again, you might want to sort through all your notes. Some students use a laptop and save their docx. or PDFs there. Luddites like me like to print things out (sorry trees!) and write notes on them before putting them in a folder. All those papers scattered in your room? The Post­Its reminding of you an upcoming final? The pens that dried out because you lost the pen cap? (I prefer clicky pens myself) This is a good chance to go through what you want to keep (or not keep) and delete/throw out what you don’t want.

Laptop users, this is a good time to back up your data! You might unexpectedly need that final paper’s works cited page again, or you might get a handout that you’ve gotten before. I like to back data up every half a semester, but the summer is the best time to do it. You might want to tune-up your computer and all that techy stuff while you’re at it!

This time of the year is a good chance for you to make a workspace for yourself. If you’ve been living off your bed with laptop in lap, you might have found yourself falling asleep while doing a paper (sounds familiar?). If your desk space was cramped up with dirty laundry, old lip gloss, and a dusty printer, well, it should all cleaned up and free for you to use. If you create a workspace, it will help you concentrate.

Remember, if you always push your chair in after you use it, it won’t be piled up with clothes and other things. Keep a container for pens and other office supplies, and make sure your printer is in a spot that’s easy to access. Ink is also easy to refill, so always have that somewhere in case you have to emergency­print a handout or something. Things like that can distract you from working during the school year, and if you start the habit this summer, you are more likely to maintain it (and get to know where everything is) by fall.

Now that your room looks like it’s ready for summer fun, as well as for the next semester, there are a few things you can do to keep it that way. Next week, I will share my tips on how to maintain your organized space.

Read Summer Action Item – Clean Your Room: Part I

Image: Kikette Interiors

CultureSkills

It’s summer! You get to sleep in, waking to the sound of chirping birds, sunlight coming through the windows, illuminating your room. You wake up with bed hair and you stumble out of your bed, walking past the pile of dirty laundry and bowl of cereal you went to get in the middle of the night. Your desk is a mess. Nail polish bottles, papers, pencils, eraser dust, an earring missing its sister, a collection of bracelets, a chipped cup, a photo of you and your friends, Post-Its that have lost their stick…

Listen. You’re a lovely and awesome person, but it’s time for an intervention. It’s time… to clean your room. Summer is a great time to clean your room or workspace. You can get rid of old things and prepare for the next semester. There are some things you can do to make it easy for you to keep your room clean until September, without making your room too sparse or boring.

Where I live, the summers are 100 degrees and the winters are three. New York is a challenge for a closet because there is such a drastic difference and sometimes you feel like you need everything. If you live in a place like that, this would be a good chance to sort through your closet, accessories, and jewelry.

You’ll be surprised by what you find. That blue off-­the-­shoulder top? The t-­shirt from summer camp. That pair of jeans with the hole by the butt. Riiiight, I forgot I had that! If you haven’t worn it in a while, chances are, you won’t wear it again. You can totally sell or donate stuff, and that would free up closet space!

I live near an Ikea and they have a super great section just for organizing things. I love silver sterling necklaces, but they always get tangled. You should find a way to store special accessories, such as silk scarves or cute hats, so they won’t get crushed or damaged.

One more thing. That nail polish that’s been sitting there for about three years that you haven’t touched, the one where the color has separated with the un­open­able top? Toss it. The mascara that’s gathered dust by the foot of your bed? Toss it. Summer’s a good chance to go through expired makeup or other chemical­ish things that you put on your body.

Your body changes from season to season, and from month to month. Sometimes you have to accept the new tan or the sudden dry skin and find products that are healthy and good for you. You want to look your best, and you can’t have that if you have a rash from expired concealer! Remember to wash your makeup tools (ugh, germs…) and store them somewhere dry and safe (and away from pets!).

Next week, we will discuss that textbook you have propping up your laptop and those books that you’ve been using to keep the window open.

Photo via You Make Me Swoon

InspirationSkills

I live a whirlwind of a life. With this constant chaos comes quite the mess to follow. I’m talking papers and books stacked to the ceiling, clothes thrown and shoved in unconventional places and the constant “Where’s Waldo” like escapade when looking for anything.  I couldn’t live like this so I did some searching and found some nifty little fixes that were able to help a Tasmanian devil like myself. When it comes to getting work done, I can use all the help I can get.

Here are my top 4 tips for getting that desk (and brain) of yours organized!

1. Get Pretty.

Invest in pretty stationary! You’ll find yourself being far more careful and considerate with it and it keeps you organized. Who doesn’t want to whip out a gorgeous little book whenever they want to jot down an appointment?

desk1

Whitney English Day Planner

desk 2

Mon Cahier Planner

desk 3

DIY Planner

 2. Think Sticky.

Sticky notes have changed my life. Like a quick little reminder, you can stick these guys anywhere and be instantly reminded to do just about anything! For me it’s remembering to take my vitamins.

desk 6

WTF Sticky Notes

desk5

Ribbon Sticky Notes Pad Set

desk 4

I’m Sticky Post It Notes

3. Get Hanging.

Put all those important papers and notes somewhere you can see them! And feel free to style them accordingly.

desk 8

Chicken Wire Organization

desk 7

Hanging Desk Organizer

4. Top It All Off.

There are way too many pens, pencils, rulers, and other random doo-dads and gadgets we keep on our desks these days. Why not display and organize them in style?

desk 9

iPhone Dock Plus Vase

desk 10

Mason Jar Organizer

main desk photo

Skills

When you are trying to juggle five different balls, staying on top of your projects takes skill. One of the best ways to keep those balls in the air is to be organized, both physically and mentally. That is, you want a physically organized space to work and live, and you want to have your duties organized mentally so you don’t forget a single thing. Being organized requires consistency and some effort, but once you have a system down, you may be able to add in a sixth ball.

1. Maintain an organized schedule. When you have a jam-packed schedule, the last thing you want is to be running late, miss a meeting or an appointment, and not finish your tasks on time. Keep your ducks in a row by writing down everything, from new assignments to places you need to be.

2. Tidy your work space. Having a clean desk can sometimes be the simplest way to clear your mind. De-clutter your work space by tossing scraps of unused paper and using folders to divide up different documents and subjects. With room to work, you’ll feel as though you can accomplish anything.

3. Keep your priorities in check. When you have a lot of things to do, it feels overwhelming to figure out what needs to be finished first. Organize your priorities by numbering them, with #1 being the first task to get done. You might choose to do a little bit of a few things, or to just concentrate on finishing one task completely. Either way, have a way to manage your to-dos.

4. Write it down. Using a large whiteboard or cork-board can be beneficial for organizing your life because you can write notes and messages about things you want to remember.  A small planner might not be big enough to grab your attention.

5. Divide and keep track of group tasks. If you are working on a group project or with a team, organization is a must. You can write down each person’s duties in a planner, but that might be too cluttered and confusing for you. We have found Trello to be an awesome resource for not only individual tasks, but also for team projects. Your team members can update one another on their progress, you can see what your teammates are working on, and you can move around the task cards into different columns to maintain an organized group system. The best part is that everything is all in one place, which makes managing a team or working with others very easy and organized.

 How do you stay organized?