How to Prepare Yourself to “Work It” at your New Job

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Getting a new job is so exciting, isn’t it? It’s a chance for a fresh start, with new opportunities for growth and new challenges. It’s a chance to meet new people with whom you can share thoughts and ideas, and a new forum for collaborating. It’s a time when you can reinvent yourself and there is a world of possibilities on the horizon…

Can you tell that I’m about to start a new job myself??

What gave me away, all the dreamy verbiage above about possibilities and growth? Well, I can’t hide it. I’m extremely excited, and this transition has been a long time coming. It’s one of the reasons I’ve been a bit reticent on this blog as of late (my apologies!), and now  it’s finally happened! I can’t tell you how excited I am to spread my proverbial wings and to expand my skill set and responsibilities, which I know I’m capable of and have been itching to do for quite some time.

The idea for today’s  post sprang from my own efforts to ready myself as much as possible before I start my new job. In an effort to assist those of you out there getting ready to embark on your new career path, I’ve put together 6 easy things you can do to start your new job on a high note.

Take some time off (if possible)

I know that this may not be feasible for everyone depending on individual circumstances. But if you can, you would be wise to take a period of time off after wrapping up your previous position and starting your new one. It allows you to put some distance between the old and the new, to disengage, and to rid yourself of any lingering stress.

For those of you who’ve made job transitions in the past, you may well recall the exhaustion you felt immediately after your final days of work. In fact, you may have been inexplicably exhausted for several days after. That’s why it’s best to take a couple of weeks off if you can, allowing yourself the first few days to succumb to that fatigue and do next to nothing.

If you don’t have the luxury of a few weeks off (as most of us unfortunately don’t), then absolutely make sure to do the next item on the list….

Take a “Mental Health Day”

What’s a Mental Health Day, you may ask? It’s a day devoted entirely to YOUR well-being. Do some good things for yourself that help you to relax and rejuvenate. Need a few ideas? Try one of these:

  • take a hike
  • get a massage
  • visit a museum
  • read at a coffee shop
  • take a luxurious bubble bath
  • go to the movies
  • listen to music
  • do some shopping
  • get a haircut or manicure
  • do something creative – draw, paint, craft, knit
  • write in your journal or write a letter

The point is this: do whatever it is that makes you feel happy and promotes a feeling serenity. You deserve it and you really need it in order to ready yourself for your big day.

Do Your Research

This is a big one. Do as much pre-prep as you can to learn about your new employer before your first day. You should already have good background information from interviewing for the position, but definitely familiarize yourself some more with the company’s website, their LinkedIn profile, any other social channels they may be using, etc.

Buy Yourself a New Outfit for your First Day of Work

I encourage you to buy yourself some new work duds for your first day. You can think of it as both a reward and an investment. A reward because you landed that new job! You should feel proud of your hard work, and you can feel good about celebrating your accomplishments with new professional attire. It’s also an investment in your new career that will help you to feel more confident and start you off on good footing your first day.

Of course, it may not be realistic or feasible for everyone to splurge on a new outfit. And if you can’t, that’s okay too. But do spend a little extra time on making yourself feel special. Give yourself an at-home manicure, try a new hairstyle, do whatever you can to make yourself feel special and give yourself a little extra “oomph”….feeling more polished and pulled together will give you that extra boost you need to approach your new place of employment with confidence and class.

Plan Ahead

Spend some time thinking about what your morning routine will look like before your first day. Will you shower the night before or in the morning? How much time will you need for your commute (factoring in any possible traffic)? Will you eat breakfast before you leave? Will you need time to make coffee and lunch in the morning or will you prepare it all the night before? Do you know alternative routes to get to work in case your main route is unavailable for some reason? Do you have contact numbers for your new employer just in case you are delayed by traffic? Prepare yourself as much as possible so that you’re calm and collected your first day.

Prepare your Work Tote or Briefcase

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Think about what items you’ll want to have on-hand at your desk and pack them the night before. Here are some of my recommendations:

  • Planner, notebook, pen, folders (these items aren’t necessary because you’ll normally be provided with some by your new employer, but I personally like to bring my own because I find that using pretty organizational work items helps me to work better).DSC_0009
  • Personal items: hand lotion, vitamins, tylenol, mini-deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, tampons, hand sanitizer, bobby pins/extra hair elastic, hairspray, throat lozenges, gum, water bottle, coffee travel mug, extra phone charger (if you have one), a picture or two to personalize your spaceDSC_0006

And finally, get as much rest as possible before your big day. On that note, I’m going to do just that! Wish me luck tomorrow. 🙂

R

7 Apps You Need to Know About

I love apps. I really do. Especially apps that help me to be more productive and organized. I’ve recently found some really cool apps (productivity-based and otherwise) that I’d like to share with you because I really think they’re worth knowing about.

Here are 7 apps you should download right now…

1. Balanced is a really awesome reminder system that allows you to enter in tasks and reminders, and attach a frequency with which you need to do them, with the basic goal of helping you to keep your life “balanced”.

For instance, one of my daily reminders is to “Be thankful“. In general, I try to be cognizant and acknowledge the positive things in my life, but it doesn’t hurt to remind yourself on a regular basis!. 🙂 I also set a reminder to “Call an old friend” once a week because I don’t keep in touch with loved ones as much as I would like to.

Once you’ve completed a task, that task moves down to the bottom of the list and the next highest priority item moves to the top. When you are not keeping up with a particular task, the app reminds you that you’re late. I love the Balanced app, and I love how visual, simple, and easy it is to use.

Balanced-app

2. Songza is my favorite music app out there. There are tons of great ones on the market, but Songza  is my favorite because you can choose music based on your mood or activity. For instance, you can choose music for driving, music to work out to, music to energize you, music to wake up to, and more.

I am also highly impressed by their variety. I’ve been playing their Christmas stations non-stop, and get this: they have more than 50 different Christmas stations alone to choose from. I’ve been playing the Acoustic Guitar Christmas station a lot, but some others include Merry Indie Christmas!, Christmas at the Movies, Family Singalong Christmas, Cozy Christmas Classics, A Cosby Sweater Christmas…I could go on and on but you get the gist. There’s something for every taste.

Songza-app

3. A Beautiful Mess is brought to you by Emma and Elsie, the girls behind the blog with the same name. If you haven’t ever visited their blog, DO IT. They are two seriously creative ladies who’ve gained huge success with their lifestyle blog. Among other things, one of the topics the girls often post about is how to get creative with photography. This app is an awesome tool for adding embellishments and text to your photos to create your own work of art. For an example of how you can use the app, take a look at my last post with my wedding photos. I created that collage with the Beautiful Mess app! This is the only app on the list that isn’t free, but trust me it’s worth the 99 cents.

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4. Heyday is a hardworking little app that takes the photos you’ve saved to your camera roll, and makes them into a visual journal. It labels your photos with the date and location (the location can be changed if it’s not quite accurate), and allows you to add a brief description of the photo(s) – an easy way to keep track of life events and when they occurred.

heyday-app

5. Cloze has become my new best friend. If you follow people across multiple social channels, this app is for you. You can see emails, Facebook posts, tweets, and LinkedIn updates all in one convenient window, so you never miss what information the people you’re interested in are posting.

In addition, it aggregates the data for your social media accounts and suggests a list of “key people” in your life to keep up with,  can tell you who you’re losing touch with, if you have any social mentions, and lots more. Now I don’t need to switch back and forth between a bunch of different apps to know what’s going on! Loveeee.

cloze-app

6. Any.DO is like your own digital personal assistant. With this app, you can not only add your to-do items (which can be flagged for today, tomorrow, upcoming, or someday), you can also include notes, share with others, file it into a folder (personal, work, or any other you create), mark it as high importance, and set a deadline for completion.

any.do-app

When you start typing in a task, the app suggests several different possibilities for you. For instance, I typed in laundry and could choose from “fold laundry”, “laundry detergent”, “finish laundry”, “do laundry” and more.

It also greets you in the nicest way (see below)! Who doesn’t like being called beautiful…even if by an app? 🙂

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There’s so much you can do with this app, and I’m amazed that it’s free. It has really helped me keep on top of things!

7. Easily Do is similar to Any.DO in that it’s engineered to increase your productivity and organization, but what’s really cool about it is that it analyzes the information on your phone, and makes suggestions to you based on what it finds. For instance, it can remind you that you have a calendar item to  pick up a prescription, that you need to RSVP to an upcoming event, and   that it’s a friend’s birthday and you should post on their Facebook timeline. You can link to Facebook, your email, Twitter, LinkedIn, Evernote, Dropbox and much more. Here are just a few of the many settings you can enable to simplify and streamline your life.

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So these are the 7 apps I’m most enamored with right now – I hope you try them out and enjoy using them as much as I do!

What about you? What are your essential apps?

R

Free Printable: Favorite Recipes

Well hello again!

Today I thought I would share another free printable I’ve created…well 4 actually. My Favorite Recipes Reference List will help you to easily keep track of your favorite recipes and the cookbook or magazine it came from.

I broke my reference list into different categories:

Appetizers and Salads (click to download)

Breakfast and Dessert (click to download)

Vegetarian Entrees and Sides (click to download)

Pastas and Meat Entrees (click to download)

This is sure to come in handy on those busy nights when you need to come up with something quick.

I hope you enjoy these!

R

favorite-recipes-free-printables

Favorite Take Out Details FREE PRINTABLE for Home Management Binder

Hi All!

I’m really excited to share my first attempt at making my own home management printable with you. As you know, I created my first ever home management binder a few months back, culling the web for the most comprehensive printables I could find. But there were still some printables that I wanted to have in my binder that I couldn’t find on the web–like one where I could keep the contact information and other details for favorite takeout places. So I thought I would try making my own instead!

You can download the free printable by clicking on the image below. If you like this, come back to visit again as there will be more free printables to come!

Hope you enjoy!

R

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25 Uses for Mason Jars

Do you all love mason jars as much as I do? I mean seriously, they’re one of the most versatile little numbers I’ve ever seen and right now they’re having a moment. They’re no longer relegated only to canning fruits and vegetables…people are coming up with tons of unique ways to use and decorate them.

Just last weekend I bought myself some of the limited edition blue ones from Target (gorgeous, right?), which I’m planning to incorporate as decorative fixtures at my upcoming birthday party.

mason jars

Source

So what are some of the cooler ways you can use the humble mason jar? Here are some of my favorite ideas!

  1. Storing grains, beans, granola, etc in the pantry
  2. As the centerpiece at a wedding, shower, or other gathering
  3. As a favor – e.g. cookie mix, cocoa mix, etc
  4. As a pencil holder
  5. For storing spools of thread
  6. For storing q-tips, cotton balls, and other bathroom odds and ends
  7. Turn it into a soap dispenser
  8. To hold tea bags
  9. To hold small snacks, like granola bars or fruit leather
  10. To gift sweets and cookies
  11. To hold homemade gifts like body scrubs
  12. To corral hair accessories
  13. As a candle holder
  14. A simple vase
  15. Rustic party drinkware
  16. Organizing loose buttons
  17. Manicure in a jar gift
  18. To store homemade laundry detergent
  19. For holding painter’s brushes
  20. To use as a small time capsule
  21. To store loose change
  22. As creative outdoor lighting
  23. Storing matches
  24. As a small flower pot
  25. For securely toting your lunch to work

And to add a little pizzazz to your mason jars, here are some awesome free mason jar printables I’ve come across…

Source: Limeshot Design
Source: Limeshot Design
Source: The Passionate Penny Pincher
Source: The Passionate Penny Pincher
Source: Drifter and the Gypsy
Source: Drifter and the Gypsy

 

You can find more cool free printables on my Pinterest board

R

An Organized Mail Center

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Hi Y’all!

Last week I talked about how to reduce paper clutter in your home, and I also mentioned that I had recently implemented a mailing center that was really helping me manage my own paperwork.

I’m really excited to finally share my new mail center with all of you. The inspiration for this came from A Bowl Full of Lemons. I needed something compact, that could hold a lot, that I could add many categories to, and that was easily transportable.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve tried other methods for organizing my mail—I used one that I could hang on the wall, I used another free-standing one but found that it was too small for my use and couldn’t function in the way I needed it to.

This mail station was extremely easy to create and also budget-friendly, which is always something I keep in mind. It was an excuse to return to pretty much my favorite place on earth, also known as Target. If I could spend every day in Target I would. I found these adorable file folders in the office supplies section. They are from Greenroom, like the adorable binder I used to create my own Home Management Binder last month.

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I also purchased a simple wire hanging file folder basket and then used some bright hanging file folders as well.

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Why did I use both regular folders AND hanging file folders, you may wonder? You certainly don’t have to, but I prefer it. Being able to pull the floral folders right out and carry them with me, say, to my study where I file items is extremely handy. Or, say, if I want to pay a bunch of bills at once.

I really love the folder labels, which I found on World Label’s blog. What a fantastic resource for free printables—if you haven’t been there, check it out. The folder labels are editable, so I created them and then printed them out on label paper.

Source: World Label
Source: World Label

I decided that I needed 8 different folders for my ideal mail station. I needed one for:

  • Incoming Mail
  • Outgoing Mail
  • Bills to Pay
  • Items to File
  • Me (Rebecca)
  • Fiancé (Jeff)
  • Receipts
  • Coupons

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So far this system has worked really well for me. It’s easy for my fiancé and I to use, and it’s great because if I’m really busy I can get away with sorting through it once a week. At the end of the week, I can carry it over to my living room coffee table, sift through the contents, and then file, pay, or write correspondence as I need to.

Do you also have a dedicated mail center for your incoming mail? What type of method are you using and how does it work for you?

R

Spring Clean Your Life: Step 10 – Reduce Paper Clutter in 9 Steps

Hi There!

I hope you you’re all having a fantastic weekend however you’re spending it. I’m enjoying a nice “quiet” Sunday morning after a pretty lively past few days. I started working on this post a week ago and really wanted to finish it before Friday — the official day of summer. But alas, the past several days were just too jam-packed and so here I am with this post a couple days into summer. I hope you all understand.

For the past couple of months, I have taken you through the first 9 steps of the “Spring Clean Your Life” series. We have finally reached the last step — the dreaded monster that is paper clutter. If you are not one of the many who suffer from this difficult-to-tame beast, please tell me your secrets!! If, like me, you’re working on establishing a system that will work for you, please take a look at the suggestions and tips below. They will definitely help you to take back some control and reduce the paper trail in your home.

1. Create a mail sorting center

I have found that if you address your mail immediately as it enters your home, you can cut down on about 80% of your overall paper clutter. What has been most effective for me has been to create a mail “command” center. Having one place where all my mail is deposited (that is NOT the coffee table, kitchen counter, or dining table) has been tremendously helpful.

I tried a few different options before finding the one that worked right for me. I will not recommend one particular system over another to you because we are all different and a sorting system that may work great for me may not work best for someone else. That said, I will share with you some of the cool ones I’ve seen and will also share what’s working well for me in a future post if you’re curious. Here are some of my favorites:

Source: Hi Sugarplum!
Source: Hi Sugarplum!
Source: Sweet Home Style
Source: Sweet Home Style
Source: Better Homes & Gardens
Source: Better Homes & Gardens
Source: Everything in its Place
Source: Everything in its Place
Source: Romer Family Ramblings
Source: Romer Family Ramblings

2. Make a magazine system

In my home, the biggest clutter offender is my magazines. Reading magazines of all kinds is one of my favorite hobbies. But unfortunately I haven’t been able to read them as quickly as I would like to, and they end up just piling up everywhere around the house. If you have the same problem, here is what I would recommend:

  1. Take stock of which magazines you’re actually reading and enjoying. If a few of them aren’t making the cut, unsubscribe. There’s no point in receiving them if you’re not getting any benefit and they’re only adding to the paper chaos.
  2. For the magazines you have received but haven’t yet had a chance to read, corral them all together in a basket or bin that is strictly dedicated to them. Don’t just put them out of sight, though, because as they say – out of sight, out of mind. Make sure you store them somewhere you’ll still notice them but out of the way of the most heavily trafficked areas of your home. I keep a basket beside my nightstand which holds my magazines because I usually get to do my reading right before bed.
  3. Absolutely do not keep any magazines that are over a year old, even if it’s one of your favorites. Believe me, I’ve done that thinking that I would most certainly need to reference them again–guess how many I’ve actually referenced after I’ve read them? Ze-ro. If you’re having trouble parting with a particularly juicy issue, tear out the articles that most interest you and stick them in a binder to reference later. But chuck the  rest. No good can come of piles and piles of magazines all over your home. It’ll only add to your anxiety.

3. Reduce junk mail

So much of what is showing up in my mailbox on a daily basis is complete crap that I have no use for and didn’t even ask for. It’s maddening and end up standing over the trash can for several minutes tearing all the useful junk up. What a waste of time…and paper.

Try a site like Catalog Choice, which allows you to opt out of receiving tons of junk mail from different companies. You should also take a look at the helpful Consumer Information from the Federal Trade Commission on how to stop unsolicited mail, phone calls, and email.

Doing so will at least reduce the amount of mail you receive, as well as the quality of what you’re receiving. You’ll spend your time sorting through the stuff that actually matters instead of grumbling about what doesn’t.

4. Request e-statements

You can also cut the amount of paper mail coming into your home by opting to receive monthly e-statements from your bank instead of paper versions. There are many credit card companies and utility companies that can do the same if you’d rather shift completely to paperless.

5. Make a recipe binder

Instead of the piles of random recipes you’ve torn out of above-mentioned magazines, why not house them in one place for reference? A recipe binder is the perfect solution. You can either make your own with the help of tons of free templates that are available online or purchase one. These are massively helpful at organizing all the recipes from various publications you know you want to try someday.

Source: Etsy shop 1canoe2 - Letterpress Recipe Card Binder Kit
Source: Etsy shop 1canoe2 – Letterpress Recipe Card Binder Kit

6. Organize with document boxes

Document boxes are seriously genius! Especially ones like the below version offered from Paper Source, which has a label nameplate on the outside making it incredibly easy to discern the box’s contents from afar. These are excellent tools to use in your home office space to organize your documents and other papers in a visually appealing – but out of the way – manner. I’ll also show you another excellent use for document boxes in a future blog post. Stay tuned!

Source: Paper Source
Source: Paper Source

7. Empty your purse contents daily

This sounds incredibly obvious, right? But how many of us actually empty our purse contents of all the receipts and other miscellaneous paper items that weight it down on a daily basis and address it all immediately? I can say that I. Do. Not. But five minutes is all it takes, and don’t we have five minutes to spare? I can give myself give minutes for the sake of peace of mind and an orderly life. At the end of the day, take a quick look through your purse and remove any paper. Don’t just set it in a pile on your dresser. Throw away anything unneeded right away. File receipts you need to hang onto. There. How easy was that?

8. Invest in a shredder

If you do not already have a shredder, get thee to a Target or Staples or Office Max to pick one up immediately! They’re reasonably priced and very convenient. They’ll make ridding yourself of information-sensitive and other papers a breeze. And there’s something almost therapeutic about the act of using a shredder. Consider it meditative!

9. Use online aggregating websites to your advantage

Last but not least, instead of keeping notebooks and lists galore (even though you know I’m a fan of both), why not try using Pinterest or Evernote to organize your ideas for different projects? Let them take up your virtual computer space, not your actual space.

What other methods for containing paper clutter do you swear by?

R

Resource Links

Curb Paper Clutter At Home – Woman’s Day

What to Shred – About.com Personal Organizing

How Long to Keep Documents – About.com Personal Organizing