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6 things every successful career woman should keep at her desk


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Glancing around your desk, chances are you’ll find a computer (duh), water (hey, hydration is important even when you’re not working out), and maybe a pretty succulent. But is there something missing that the most successful women swear by (be it for productivity, or just a mood boost)?

To find out, I asked six wellness execs—all heading up booming businesses— the same question: Which one item do you keep with you at work at all times? Here, they reveal the must-have items that help inspire their best ideas, aid them in handling workplace stress, and even enable them to squeeze in a workout.

Keep reading for the office accessories they can’t live without—you might just be inspired to put something unexpected next to that water bottle.
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notebook and pen
Photo: Stocksy/Guille Faingold

1. Notepad and pen

Sure, you could technically type all your genius ideas into a Google Doc or iPhone memo, but there’s something about an old-school pen and paper that Dona Chai co-founder Amy Rothstein finds refreshing. “My day is scattered, so I’ll often have an idea that pops up at a random time or place,” she says. “If I don’t write it down, I’ll lose track.” She’s on to something—science has shown that the act of scribbling down your ideas helps you remember them better than typing them (or even better: drawing them).

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inspiration board
Photo: Stocksy/Guille Faingold

2. An inspiration board

There’s a reason why a certain quote or photo sticks out to you—even if you don’t know it at the time. Two words: major inspiration. It’s why Purely Elizabeth founder Elizabeth Stein is a huge proponent of keeping images encompassing your #goals all around your desk. “I still have the vision board in my office that I made in 2009 prior to launching [my company],” she says. Hmm, think there was a photo of probiotics next to one of granola on there?

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glasses
Photo: Stocksy/Lumina

3. Blue-light blocking glasses

Are your eyes glued to a computer nine hours a day? NAO Nutrition founder Nikki Ostrower does, too—which is why she keeps a pair of Gunnar glasses right next to her keyboard. “They help keep your eyes from straining, which can cause headaches and fatigue,” she says.

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essential oils
Photo: Stocksy/Leandro Crespi

4. Stress-reducing essential oils

The side effect of having a job (or, you know, being alive) is feeling stressed out from time to time. But keeping a certain secret weapon up your sleeve—almost literally—is the key to staying completely Zen amidst office chaos. “Our Aromatic Irritability Treatment is my work must-have,” says Tata Harper’s namesake founder. “Typically, work is where [the most] irritating situations in our lives are happening: we’re under pressure, there are time constraints, and for me personally, meeting after meeting. So [that essential oil] is probably what helps me the most on a day-to-day basis.” Plus, it smells amazing (hello, office oasis). 

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coconut oil
Photo: Stocksy/Milles Studio

5. Coconut oil

Epic Provisions co-founder Katie Forrest’s must-have is the cult fave beauty and kitchen go-to: “[I use it] as a lip balm, skin moisturizer, coffee booster, in my salad, and to wipe mascara from my eyes,” she says. “It’s so magical!” The jet-setting exec adds that you can also throw it right in your purse, which is a major benefit if your job requires you to be on-the-go a lot.

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sneakers and gym bag
Photo: Stocksy/Lumina

6. Sneakers and workout gear

Flywheel Sports CEO Sarah Robb O’Hagan says she always has her workout gear with her. “You just never know when a meeting will get canceled or all your colleagues leave work early, giving you the chance to get a workout in,” she says. Hey, even if you’re using those kicks for a walk on your lunch break (or a moving meditation), it could be the one thing that transforms your day.

Now that your desk is about to reach #girlboss status, here’s how to score that promotion you want. Plus, some key tips for getting ahead at work, according to your sign.