Welcome to Your New Computer

A little while ago I had to replace the hard drive in my computer and I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown. Even though I wasn’t exactly starting from scratch (I backed up everything onto an external drive beforehand). it reminded me of how it felt to get a new computer and how exciting and overwhelming the set-up process can be.

If you got a new computer over the holidays, or are looking to do a major overhaul like mine in the future, you want to consider doing the following:

  • Check the box and make sure you have all of the parts and accessories you need. It’s rare that something is missing, but you’re better safe than sorry.
  • Make sure you know what you’re getting into. Is there someone or somewhere you can call if you need more information? What does your warranty cover and who is responsible for covering it (the store, the manufacturer, third-party insurance, etc.)?
  • Check for updates. Depending on how long your computer sat on a shelf in a warehouse, it could be missing crucial software or system updates that should be installed after you fire up that baby for the first time.
  • Install the programs that you want and uninstall those you don’t need. There’s no sense in wasting extra hard drive space on things you don’t use. (Consider grabbing an uninstalling app to help you with the process.)
  • Consider safety. Some computers will come with pre-installed security software but you may want to do your own research and take additional safety measures based on your own needs.
  • Plan your user experience. What would you like to see every time you turn on your computer? How would you like your computer to be used? What can do you do to enhance your workflow? This may involve playing around with your user settings, installing plug-ins on your favourite apps, saving passwords or creating accounts.
  • Last, but not least, back it up. Make sure you have a way of saving information from your computer in a way that is safe and yet easily accessible to you. (Otherwise you really will have a nervous breakdown.)

Setting up and getting used to a new computer takes time and energy, so make sure you give yourself enough time to play around with it until everything feels right. And hey, if something doesn’t work at first, you can always change it. The beauty of the personal computer is that it was designed to be customized. All the possibilities are there so that you, the user, can have an enjoyable and productive experience. Take them!

That One Silly Thing


This is going to seem silly, but ever since I was a little girl I have wanted, no, longed for a coloring caddy. You know, one of those organizers designed to hold all of your different art supplies- they’re often available at office or craft supply stores, and sometimes come pre-filled with markers, pencil crayons and other coloring items. I’ve even seen caddies for other types of art supplies, like craft scissors with fancy edges.

Be still my beating heart.

It wasn’t that I suffered from a lack of art supplies; it’s just that the coloring caddy never really materialized. The years went by and my desire for the caddy faded and became this distant dream of mine, like having a gift wrap station in my apartment or meeting Ryan Gosling. These things would all be nice, sure, but are definitely unattainable.

That is, until Christmas 2015 when Santa arrived bearing a sack of coloring books, pencil crayons and markers. And they were all for me. (Cue evil laughter.) The idea of the caddy resurfaced in my mind. My recent change to an open-concept workspace meant I had virtually zero storage. Suddenly the caddy seemed less like a distant dream, and more like a logical solution.

It was after Christmas, and I was poor but neither of those things were going to stop me from seizing my crazy childhood dream of organizing all of my art supplies in that magical caddy. Sometimes when life gives you lemons you have to make lemonade.

My lemonade came in the form of an old metal shower caddy from IKEA that’s followed me from apartment to apartment and held everything from actual shower supplies, to towels- even baking supplies. Up until recently I had been hoarding it in a box destined for a garage sale but I decided to give it new purpose by adding felt feet to the bottom to prevent scratching, and a selection of glass jars I stole from my pantry.

It may not be the picture-perfect caddy that I always dreamed of, but it’s that one special item, that one silly thing that brightens up my day every time I look at it. The handle is perfect to cart it off to wherever I feel like working, whether it be working on my latest coloring book picture or making a birthday card for a friend.

My desk is where I spend the majority of my time and it’s worth it to me to surround myself with special things that make the ordinary tasks in my day feel extraordinary. It may be a foolish thing to wish for, but if that one silly thing increases my focus, improves my functionality and puts a smile on my face, I’m going to do it! My only regret is that I didn’t do it years sooner.

KBwB-BFlower-50Have you ever lusted after anything that seemed ridiculous? Have you D.I.Y’d anything for your desk? Do you also hoard old shower caddies like I do? I want to hear all about it. Drop me a line at keepingbusyb@gmail.com or comment below.

Looking for ways to change up your office and get happy? I talk about makeovers here, my office essentials here, and how to get to your organizing happy place here, here and here.


My Office Essentials


I have to tell you a funny story. It’s about one of my co-workers and how her obsession with office supplies actually got her into trouble.

In a busy, paper-based medical office, a lot of faxing and photocopying occurs. We use black pens when scheduling or writing memos simply because the pens with blue ink do not produce legible faxes or photocopies.

However, my co-worker just had to use the blue pens because they were part of her office essentials- the funny, little quirky preferences that we develop for certain stationary supplies or office gadgets that inexplicably make us feel more confident and more productive at our jobs.

Our office manager begged her until she was blue in the face (pun intended) to switch, but she just couldn’t. We eventually removed all of the blue pens from the office, but to this day my co-worker claims that writing with the blue pen just makes her feel better.

Don’t tell me you don’t have your favorite office supplies because I know that you do. And because I’m in the mood for sharing, and I love making lists, I’ve compiled a list of my office “essentials”- the supplies that I need on a daily basis that not only assist me in being productive and staying organized, but make my work honestly more enjoyable. I’d love for you to share yours as well by emailing me at keepingbusyb@gmail.com.

A paper-based agenda. Writing down my appointments and the time-sensitive actions in my calendar solidifies them in my memory, and I developed a system of storing my to-do lists in my agenda so I can access them on the fly. Bonus points if the agenda is pretty.

Colorful pens. I used to be so obsessed with color-coding that my classmates in first-year linguistics at university made up a verb to describe my unique brand style of transforming lecture notes into a crazy rainbow of reminders and possible study questions.

Pretty notebooks. Anyone notice a theme here? They’re essential for jotting down notes in a meeting or recording an idea you got while waiting for the street car. Much like my pens, I carry these babies around with me until they bite the dust. Or get filled up with ideas. Whichever comes first.

I’m constantly on the go so I am forced to manage most of my emails and phone calls through my Smartphone. It also has a copy of my calendar and a couple of apps I use to manage my time. And I also have the IKEA app which just sort of draws me into this universe of assembly-required furniture.

Highlighters. I make a ton of notes and use these often to color-coordinate tons of reminders, projects, etc. They also make my agenda look pretty. Bonus!

Blank notecards. Because. I. Believe. In. The. Power. Of. The. Handwritten. Note.

Post-Its. Flags, shapes, sizes, colors- I personally consider them to be one of the ultimate reminders- kind of like my nagging conscience, only prettier.

To others my essentials might seem frivolous or unnecessary, but to me, they’re what keeps me happy before, during and after the work day. After all, what’s a few dollars to spend on post-its if they make everything look pretty and organized?

KBwB-BFlower-50To check out more of my favorite office supplies? Some of the stuff I dig is featured on my Amazon store here, and I should tell you that I get a small (small!) kickback if you see something you like. Did I miss one of your favorites on my list? Comment below or drop me a line at keepingbusyb@gmail.com and set things straight!