Back to Work Checklist

FamilyBack to SchoolBack to Work Checklist
Back to Work Checklist

It’s time to get excited about getting back to routine after a (hopefully) somewhat laid-back summer! We like to treat it as a fresh start—a chance to get a little more organized, a little healthier (thanks to packed lunches and snacks!) and ultimately, more productive. We’ve got a checklist of things to help you embrace the work grind.

Back to Work Checklist

Back to Work Checklist

For the Backpack/Tote

  • Stylish backpack or tote: No more packing your bag with heavy textbooks and homework piles (thank goodness), so style and comfort are key for the perfect bag for work. Matt & Nat and Pixie Mood have beautiful backpacks and totes that are all made from animal-friendly vegan leather. If you’re strictly interested in backpacks, Fjallraven, Toci, and Baggu all have more great options. For other functional tote options, check out Ogio’s bags or Buffalo David Bitton’s messenger bags.
  • Laptop case: Some backpacks come with laptop sleeves built in, but the best way to keep your laptop protected on route is with a sturdy, padded laptop sleeve. Parkland Pilot Laptop Sleeves are available for 13 inch and 15 inch laptops and are even lined with fleece on the inside for extra protection. For other stylish options, MYTAGALONGS has sleeves in cute quartz, metallic, and quilted prints.
  • Planner: Get a good daily planner, and treat it like your new best friend. With all of the meetings, deadlines, appointments, events, holidays and birthdays that happen, planners are essential for staying organized. Monthly planners will help you visualize the bigger picture—this cute unicorn planner will be a life saver.
  • Headphones: Don’t forget to bring your headphones along with you every day. Listening to your favourite music on the way to work (or at work, if your office allows) is a great way to put a pep in your step and keep your mind clear. To avoid annoying tangled headphones, get an earbud case from MYTAGALONGS—there are lots of cute colours to choose from! For easier one-handed texting, try adding a Popsocket phone grip to your phone—a blessing for those times when you’re carrying coffee on-the-go.
  • Sticky notes: Write down notes or reminders on sticky notes and stick them in your planner, on your desk, or even on your computer. Some offices provide sticky notes, but it’s a good idea to bring your own larger Post-It Lined Note Pads in case you need to write longer reminders or notes for yourself. If you’re conscious of paper waste, opt for recycled Post-It Notes—no new trees were used in the making of these sticky notes!
  • Notebook: Having an extra notebook or two at work is a good idea so you can jot notes down in important meetings, or get your thoughts down on paper before typing them. Hilroy and Blueline have your basic notebooks covered, but check out Studio Oh! if you prefer cute and trendy prints like mermaids, plants, and sloths.
  • Travel mug: BYOTM—Bring Your Own Travel Mug—everywhere! Along with water bottles, it’s one of the easiest ways to reduce plastic waste. Most coffee cups are lined with a special coating that prevents them from being fully recyclable, so just opt for a reusable one. Insulated stainless steel mugs are a popular choice—S’well and Corkcicle have beautiful tumblers that you’ll be happy to carry around with you. If you lose your travel mugs often (or they’re stolen from other family members), opt for one from Contigo or Klean Kanteen. If you prefer glass over stainless steel, try one from Keepcup.
  • Stain remover pen: There are going to be days where you’ll spill coffee on yourself (better your shirt than your computer!) so arm yourself with the Tide to Go Stain Remover Pen. If you prefer a more natural option, try Method’s stain remover stick—complete with a scrubby brush to get rid of stubborn stains.
  • Deodorant: Even if you have air conditioning at work, a stressful meeting or presentation can make you break a sweat! Keep an extra deodorant in your bag or desk just in case. For super quick fixes, try a spray deodorant or deodorant wipes.

For Lunch

For Health

Just in Case

  • Protein snacks: If you steer clear from protein bars at work because you associate them with working out, try protein snacks instead! Snack on cookies, nut spreads, raw energy balls, gummies or even chips for healthy options that will keep you full until your next meal.
  • Disinfecting wipes: Keep your work area nice and clean with disinfecting wipes. If you want to keep it chemical-free, opt for Seventh Generation Disinfecting Wipes.
  • Travel bag: Want to get to the gym more? Bring a bag with a change of workout clothes to work so you can go at the end of the day—no excuses! Lug has wonderful bags with lots of storage. Or choose a small duffle from Parkland, or anything from Baggu.
  • Pencil holder: Want to colour code your notes with highlighters to really stay organized? Well you’d better bring a pencil holder to keep them all within reach. Kikkerland has a unicorn pencil holder that will make your desk area magical. You can also stash your pens, pencils and highlighters in a pencil case.
  • Desk organizer: Looking to create the workspace of your dreams with an organized desk? Any of these desk organizers will help, especially the Safco Mesh Desk Organizer if you deal with papers, files or reports.
  • Picture frame: Keep your loved ones close by with a cute photo in a picture frame from Umbra. Phone wallpapers aren’t enough when things gets stressful, so having a little reminder of a special moment will help give you a boost when you need it most.
  • Shoe deodorizer: Nobody wants to be known as the co-worker with stinky feet! Keep a bottle of Shoe-Pourri with you to freshen your shoes up throughout the day. If you like to keep an extra pair of shoes at work, keep them fresh with Ever Bamboo’s Reusable Shoe Deodorizers.
  • Hot/cold packs: Sore muscles are definitely not something you want to deal with at work. Hot and cold packs help relieve muscle pains and are more common in the office than you might think. For more discreet relief, opt for patches that can be worn under clothing. If you’re dealing with neck or upper back pain from sitting all day, try the Magic Bag Neck-to-Back—a top-rated product for quick pain relief.
  • Reusable grocery bag: Don’t get caught at the grocery store without a reusable bag, it’s one of the easiest ways to help reduce plastic waste. Baggu’s bags are a fantastic option as they can fold up into a flat 5 inches by 5 inches pouch, are fully machine washable, and can hold up to 50 pounds (and they come in the cutest prints!). Dans le Sac is a great new Canadian brand that has reusable bags made from 100% natural cotton. If you have a longer commute and are transporting goods that need to be kept chilled, try one of PackIt’s new freezable grocery bags!
  • Desk plant: Last but not least, a fun way to upgrade your work space and set yourself up for a better year is with a desk plant! No need for a green thumb either. Modern Sprout has great self-watering garden jars that will grow on their own—just add water and set in a sunny spot. That’s it!

September might not be about school for you anymore—but that doesn’t mean you can’t treat it like a new year and a fresh start! Bookmark this list to be prepared with everything you need to kick it off in the best possible way. You got this!

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