Building the Right Office for You

Having a good set up in your office is essential for keeping your productivity high and your motivation higher. Without a comfortable and familiar setting in your office, why would you have any will or umph to get stuff done? I sure know I need familiarity, style, and a personalized environment that fits my working mood.

For example, I’ve recently added a couch to my office in order to keep it “homey” but also just to fill space. The more space there is that’s empty in my office, the more I just feel . . . meh. But with an environment more conducive to relaxing every now and then, I feel like I can knock a lot of work out at once at my desk and then kick back on my couch for 30 minutes to wind down and reset for another productive bout of work.

So, now that I’ve got that locked down, I’ve been looking at new desks, office chairs, and desk lamps. As it stands, my desk is pretty plain and my chair is alright. And I have no desk lamp. Things could be spiced up with more drawers, better (and prettier) wood, and a more comfortable chair. I really feel like these things will allow me to knock out even more things during the periods I’m at my desk for a long time.

Additionally, I just got myself a great new mouse. Before, I was simply using my track pad on my laptop. It wasn’t that great, and I’ve been pretty in need of something better. Luckily, I just found a $50 mouse on sale for $30. I’ve mapped a lot of different buttons to things like controlling my volume for the music I play while also including different “productive” buttons like cut, copy, and paste. This, I feel, will give me a big turnaround in productivity as well. No longer do I have to worry about my stupid track pad actually registering me highlighting an entire paragraph for which I can copy and paste. Instead, I’ve got a reliable piece of technology that won’t leave me frustrated.

From here, it’s really just decorating the rest of my office with interesting trinkets and useful office and shipping supplies like staplers, new pens, and abundant tape. In fact, having the appropriate amount and kinds of office and shipping supplies will help me to remember I’m at work and not in my living room, considering I’ll be quite comfortable once I’ve got the dream set up of an office.

So, in all, it’s all about surrounding yourself with enough stuff to feel familiar with the office and comfortable where you work while also remembering to stay quite productive throughout the day. It’s a balance to maintain for sure, but one that’s worth striving for and buying a few extra items to attain.

Super Bowl Ads Are Coming Soon

(Mention shipping boxes in regards to advertising of delivery products and subscription boxes)

With this weekend’s culmination, the next two teams to head to the Super Bowl have been determined. Say what you will about the way the Rams and Saints game ended and talk as much smack as you want about the Patriots, but none of that will change the outcome of who our next contenders will be for this Super Bowl: the Rams and the Patriots.

A lot of times, people like to meet up with friends, family, and even coworkers to watch the Super Bowl. Finger foods are prepared and thoroughly enjoyed, fans become ravenous for a win, and those who aren’t invested in the game wonder why the heck it’s such an American tradition to watch the silly game.

But perhaps one of the biggest things people talk about concerning the Super Bowl in the last decade or so is commercial presence.

Super Bowl ads become hugely discussed in early February simply because of how many people watch the game each year. It’s a no brainer for companies to spend tons of money just to secure a spot, but it ends up paying off big time considering the tens of millions of eyes who are watching their commercial.

So this year, we wanted to make a game out of the commercials. Count how many times you see shipping boxes throughout the 3 to 4 hour event.

Some companies like to show their national and even international presence by showing packages shipped to new areas. Others are simply showcasing their brand identity through their shipping boxes. And even other companies want to highlight the presence of a new fad: monthly subscription boxes.

I’m here to say that I fully expect to count at least ten instances of cardboard boxes showing up in Super Bowl commercials. With at least 50+ companies slinging their ads at your eyes, you’re bound to see some of the things I’ve mentioned. Just keep your eyes peeled and watching for the likes of parcels and packages on the go.

And no matter what happens, enjoy the game for what it means: bringing together friends and family. It’s a good way to follow up the winter holidays and will tide you over to those on the horizon. Considering there aren’t any major holidays for awhile, a lot of Americans like to regard the Super Bowl as a faux holiday. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t as well.

Getting Started on Your Goals for the Year

Getting started on goals, be they life changing or minor goals you want to get yourself to conquer, can be tough simply because it means going away from your daily routine to tackle new things. And for the most part, the majority of people fail their set goals because they never even attempt them in the first place.

But who can blame those people? That’s the normal thing to do. With good intentions in their minds, they write down goals and feel all excited about what they’ve written down. They feel good about getting the pen to paper. But when it comes down to it, they say they don’t have enough time, enough money, or enough energy at the end of the day.

Excuses. These are excuses to get out of accomplishing a new goal. It does take more time, more money, or more energy to get ahold of a new task, wrestle with it, and defeat it. It does, and that’s the whole point. You’ll never accomplish goals by conserving time and energy. Never. You have to go above and beyond and dedicate more of yourself to grow yourself. That’s the entire point of it all.

If you have to grab a roll of tape or other shipping supplies just to tape up a to-do list to your fridge or cabinets or wall (anywhere visible, really), then do it. Get messy, cheap, or dirty, it doesn’t matter. Those shipping supplies will be the best things you ever had so long as your list of goals are visible to you every single day. Multiple times a day. Whatever it takes, get it in front of your eyes so that those goals are staring you down every single day.

When you think about it, who out there ever felt good about accomplishing a task they put no effort into? No one. If you didn’t do it yourself, put in the sweat and blood, then there’s not much reward or payoff in terms of feel-good emotions. You may feel efficient, sure. But it doesn’t feel as good to finally get there.

So I’m here to tell you that accomplishing your goals is hard work and that’s why most people don’t ever get around to it. Because they don’t change up the way they’re living. Don’t be a part of the minority, though. Do it for yourself and because you know it’ll feel all the sweeter once you’re done.

The Past, Present, and Future of Shipping

Goods that are shipped across the country and internationally are something relatively new in the history of trade. It was only a century ago that most things were bought and sold in a brick and mortar shop. Sure, people would send items long distance, but those were almost exclusively to friends or family members, not for business.

The problem wasn’t that we didn’t have the technology to ship containers or boxes or parcels. It was the technology of payment that was lacking. Think about it. Why would a company want to send you a product if you couldn’t pay them until after you received it? Similarly, why would you want to pay for something across the country and only be sent it after they received your check or cash?

The internet, however, has solved this problem. Credit cards make it easy to put in your payment information in a matter of seconds, and before you know it, your items are being packaged in shipping boxes and loaded up in a truck to start their journey to your house.

It’s taken quite a bit of time for our conception of trade to evolve to the state it has, but it begs the question: What will our business model be like in another 50 or 100 years? Will shipping be twice as quick? Will things remain as they are since our transportation is pretty high speed and efficient as it can get as is? It’s too early to tell what will happen, but I can bet that autonomous vehicles will be a cog in the system that speeds the process up even more. Sure, everyone seems to be a bit timid or even afraid of the idea of vehicles driving themselves, but by taking the human component out of the model, business is actually faster, more efficient, and more objective. (Yes, we’re gonna leave the whole can of worms that is jobs vs. AI out of this article.)

So, what do you think? Will our idea of shipping boxes evolve in the next century, too? Will cardboard be outdated by a newer, cheaper, sturdier substance that is just as eco-friendly? Will shipping become a cheaper thing overall, or will prices rise simply because the efficiency will increase?

If only we could peer just a few decades into the future, I’m sure a lot of these questions would be answered in short fashion.

3 Essential Office Supplies You Need for the New Year

The new year marks a great time to restock on a lot of your supplies within your office or your home. At this point, you’ve probably neglected a lot of your stock anyway or run out completely without having noticed.

Just think about the times when you’ve run out of staples or other essentials. It kind of sucks when your lack of supplies forces you to make a trip to the local office supplies store, right?

Well, you’re not alone in the masses. Whether or not you realize it, a lot of households shirk their duties to keep up-to-date on office supplies in the home. The thing is, you can use these items in a lot of different ways outside of the office. Whether you’re intending to ship something to a distant family member during their birthday or just keep your office space tidy for work at home, you’re sure to benefit from this list of essential shipping supplies items. Here are three essential items you need, especially for the new year:

Packaging tape. A staple in any home, packaging tape seals the deal when it comes to remedying a lot of things. No matter what, though, it allows you to wrap birthday gifts, seal up boxes to be put in storage, and tape up items to be shipped off at your local shipping store. Having some strong packing tape handy is one of the most important items to have stocked in your office.

Black markers. No matter if you’re reading this and think you don’t really “need” most of these items for shipping, everyone can benefit from a black marker. Bottom line: These things are what everyone (mostly!) uses during the holidays to address a gift to someone else, especially because you can write it directly on a package.

Manila envelopes. You can send random items in these things. You can apply to jobs with them. You can store important documents in them. Whatever the case, almost everyone past the age of 18 has used a manila envelope. As a bonus, they’re useful for shipping smaller packages to distant family members around the holidays.

While this list is great for the holidays, you can definitely benefit from having a surplus of shipping supplies year-round. Whether it’s for the office, your kids’ school endeavors, or simply keeping in touch with the family, keeping your desk at home or work office stocked with the appropriate supplies is important.

Tips for Packing Christmas Gifts

Christmas is almost upon us! That means many of us will be shipping gifts far and wide as we send presents to our friends and relatives. The last thing any of us would want would be for our hand picked gifts to arrive broken or damaged. Here’s some tips for packaging your gifts in a way that ensure they arrive safe and sound.

1) Choosing your shipping boxes.

The best rule of thumb is that the box you use should be the smallest possible box that still fits your item. The larger the box, the more likely your gift is to shift and shake during transportation. And the more shaking, the more likely there will be damage. Additionally, using the smallest box possible will also cut down on your shipping costs! Some mail providers even have boxes of various sizes with a flat shipping cost, no matter how much the box weighs.

2) Choosing a filler.

Even if you choose a small shipping boxes, it’s unlikely that your item will fit perfectly. There will probably be some areas of empty space. It’s important to fill this empty space up using a cheap, light filler. In a pinch, balled up newspaper will do the trick, but there are also other options like bubble wrap. Crinkle cut paper strips can be a great way to add some filler to a box, while also making your gift look inviting and festive. You can typically find crinkle cut paper at a local craft store. Regardless of what you use, fill the box as tightly as you reasonably can. Having tightly packed filler will also prevent your gift from shifting around in the box during transport.

3) Tape.

You know how they say the more the merrier? That’s totally true with tape too. Tape keeps your package closed during its journey and so it’s best to use a lot of it. Admittedly, your gift recipient may be a bit annoyed at the amount of work they have to go through to get to your gift, but better to have it arrive safe than damaged!

4) Insurance.

When you send your package, most places will ask you if you’d like to add insurance to your shipping. Really, this is up to you. But, if you’re sending an expensive gift, adding insurance can ensure that, if your package ends up damaged or lost, you’ll be compensated accordingly.

Hopefully, following these four tips will make sure that all of your Christmas gifts make it to their intended recipients safe and sound!

3 Things for Your Home That Have Multiple Uses

Choice is the essence of humanity. If we were all forced to do one thing and one thing only, we’d go mad, dying out from boredom alone.

Decorating your home is no different. And having useful tools within your home is just the same. You want versatile, useful, and interesting things in your house that you can use for not just one reason, but multiple. Check out these things that you didn’t know you’ve been missing out on for your home.

Cheap moving boxes.
Yes, these aren’t necessarily things you decorate with or use daily, but they’re amazing for storing or transporting your picture frames, lamps, or even dishes. Did you know that there were boxes specifically made to protect those exact items? I’m not sure about you, but lamps seem awkward to ship or store, and yet there are cheap moving boxes to get the job done for these very things.

 

Ottoman.

Growing up, I found these things amazing. As a kid I would ride around on it with my brother pushing me from behind.

Okay, I know that’s not the main (or even secondary use) for an ottoman, but it serves to highlight just how versatile these things are. With that said, these are so perfect for storage. Blankets, pillows, slippers, and even chargers for your technology can be stored within your ottoman. If that’s not enough for how great these are, they’re the perfect footrests and extensions to your furniture without having to spend more for a chase when you foot the bill for your brand new couch.

Convertible standing desk.
The new thing in a lot of startup companies, standing desks that can convert down to a seated desk are all the rage. Who doesn’t like having the option to stand or sit when they’re working on their computer? Sometimes it’s just more comfortable to stand up and get your body stretched out and in use from time to time, especially if your computer chair is overly comfy.

Anything that’s a hybrid usually gets better use simply because you have the choice. And as humans, we love our choices on how to use things. The standing desk is no different. In fact, I’m thinking about getting a new desk for my office, and a convertible desk is at the top of my list so that I can be more productive while feeling healthier by standing from time to time.

 

 

Using Cardboard as Insulation

Extreme conditions in the weather can really make us quite uncomfortable, especially if we’re exposed to them during long periods of time.

When it’s seriously hot out, sweating happens, making us extremely uncomfortable. But so long as we drink plenty of water, we are, for the most part, able to survive just fine. Perhaps the sun can be pretty bad with UV rays, but again, with any layer of clothing covering your skin or proper application of sunblock lotion, humans are fine.

When it comes to the cold, however, things aren’t as easy. No longer is the temperature extreme just “uncomfortable.” Rather, it’s dangerous. While we eventually begin to lose feeling in our extremities, meaning you don’t feel as much one way or the other, this is bad soon after in that frostbite can occur and your body can begin to shut down. So, having proper gear is extremely important when the weather turns freezing.

The thing is, a lot of that appropriate gear can be quite costly. From heavy duty snow boots and gloves to insulated tents, clothing, and materials for your vehicle on the road, your expense can begin to rack up just preparing for cold weather.

But what if I said that a common, everyday material would suffice as insulation? What if cardboard happened to be that material?

Because corrugated cardboard has pockets of air within its walls, it makes quite an amazing insulator. You may be padding your tent walls and ground space with cardboard (which also helps to make a more comfortable floor in the tent to sleep on), which would be smart in colder, mountainous, and snowy areas. You may also just have cardboard in your vehicle in case the need arises.

There’s a reason that people who are homeless sleep on and in cardboard, and it’s not just because it’s free. The insulating properties of old shipping boxes and other pieces of cardboard is amazing, as it keeps the coldness of the ground from seeping into someone’s body.

Similarly, you can use it in your vehicle if you had to sleep in it on a long road trip, as it’ll do some good to keep a vehicle warm after the heater and vehicle have been turned off.

No matter the case, old cardboard from shipping boxes or packaging boxes should be appreciated for the uniqueness and versatility they possess in all of their various uses.

Organizing Your Home Entertainment System

A lot of us like to splurge a little bit when it comes to having an entertainment system in our living rooms. We get a large HDTV with a sound bar (and sometimes peripheral speakers). We convince ourselves we need the cabinets and stand. And we even include things like old record players, DVD racks, book cases, video game systems, and decorations. Well, at least I do.

But the one thing everyone knows when it comes to these electronic masterpieces is how dang messy the cords and plugins can be. Things become tangled of their own accord. Plugs pop out of their sockets. Extension cords are in abundance just to be able to reach an outlet that’s farther away than you’d like it to be. Everything is in a state of disarray, and it only becomes worse if you don’t get it all organized from the get go.

We’ve got a few quick tips on taming the beast that is home entertainment system hookups, and it takes less time than fixing it all months down the road.

Bind your cords.

This is one of the most important and useful tips I can give when it comes to organizing your home entertainment system. If you have any cheap shipping supplies lying around like labeling tape, zip ties (these work best), or even twine, get to using them on your cords.

One thing I will note is that you’ll want to bind together like cords. So, having your video game console cords bound together separate from your TV cords is a smart idea. You can even go so far as to color code them if you want. Some electrical tape is colored and would do the trick here.

Use an outlet extension.

And no, not the two outlet brown cord we all seem to have lying around. Get yourself a heavy duty extension cord that has a power button and at least 5 to 6 outlets on the strip. These will allow you keep everything in its proper place and have an extension cord that’s grounded. Without this useful tool, powering your entire entertainment system is nigh impossible.

Keep it hidden behind the system.

You don’t want unsightly cords and the shipping supplies you used to bind them all to be all over the place, do you? Keep it all hidden and away behind your TV stand and cabinets so that it looks clean and organized up front.

Practicing Proper Boxcutter Safety

Boxcutters are an essential item for cutting cardboard, especially on items like shipping boxes or other cheap moving boxes. However, though most people have seen them and likely used them, an overwhelming amount don’t practice boxcutter safety because they’re always in a hurry or simply don’t know how to use it correctly. Check out these safety tips below.

Always point the blade away from your body.

And be sure no one else is around you when you make your cut. This is the first thing most people will teach you about boxcutters, and yet it’s something people still fail to heed. Cutting away from your body is much easier to do in the first place, but it also ensures that you don’t cut yourself (or any of your clothing, for that matter).


Make sure your other hand or other parts of your body aren’t in the path of the knife.

This is especially true for your fingers. It’s easy to get used to cutting shipping boxes and other cardboard with a boxcutter, but don’t ever slip up and hold a part of the box in the direct line of the cutter’s path.


Keep your eye on the blade as you’re cutting at all times.

Rather than watch where you’re going to be cutting, watch the blade itself as you move it along the box. This ensures you don’t accidentally misjudge where the knife’s blade is because you’re looking ahead. Avoid messing up your cut or, worse, cutting yourself and simply keep your gaze on the boxcutter’s blade.

Store boxcutters in a safe place when you’re not using them.

If the blade is retractable, which most are, make sure the blade is fully covered and locked if it has a locking option. You don’t want to reach in a drawer for something else and cut yourself because you left the blade exposed. It takes no time at all.


Don’t toss a boxcutter to another person.

Even if you think the blade is closed or fully retracted, you should safely hand boxcutters to other workers or people with the handle first.


Don’t try to catch a falling boxcutter.

Just move out of the way and let it fall to the ground if it falls when you’re using it. Whether or not you think the blade is retracted, it could come loose and cut you if you attempt to grab it. Most boxcutters are cheap enough that if they break, it’s not a big deal to get a new one.