Female customer decides for a product in a pharmacyThe 40-hour workweek used to sound like a good deal of work, until it crept up to the 46-hour workweek. That’s the equivalent to working three extra 8-hour days per month. We spend a lot of time at work, and we aren’t exactly in a bubble. Matters will arise, lunch dates will happen and you need to be prepared.

These are the 5 must-have items for any desk, which probably aren’t in yours:

Thank You Cards $7

The multi-purpose lifesaver! Truly, if you get nothing else on this list, get a stack of thank you cards. Nothing shows appreciation more than an unexpected, hand-written thank you note. Your co-workers are far more likely to be there for you in the future when they know that you value their help and input. From assistance with a project, to acknowledging a recommendation, thank you cards are great for fostering strong professional relationships.

Protein $5

I don’t know about you, but at least once a month I’m headed out the door and my lunch options are a can of tuna and some expired oatmeal. Whether you get a lunch break or not, there are going to be those days when you are either too busy to leave work, or your blood sugar feels like it’s tied to a bowling ball. Have a stash of nuts, jerky or even a jar of peanut butter in your desk for quick pick-me-ups throughout the day. If you see someone dragging, and you know they’re buried in work, offer them a bag of peanuts and watch their eyes light up like you just gave them an iPad mini.

Headphones $8

Sometimes you just have to “go under”. Have you ever been on an airplane and put your ear buds in just so that no one would talk to you? It’s the universal sign for “go away”. Every day, every hour at work there are multiple distractions. We’re used to it for the most part, but sometimes it’s crunch time. No distractions, just getting work done! They are also great to have on hand for hands-free calls. And please feel free to send me a thank you note when you win that radio contest, and you and your boss are going to the super bowl.

Hygiene Products $6

It happens to the best of us, the cleanest of us even: the afternoon funk. Three simple things will keep you from being the smelly guy: mints or gum, deodorant and wet wipes. Whether you need to freshen up before a client lunch meeting, or your coffee breath is kickin’, $6 worth of products can keep you fresh at work. Smelling good and feeling fresh are serious game changers for confidence levels at work. Ever had to give a presentation when you were “unsure”? It’s the absolute worst.

A To-Do List $0

I prefer to use “notes” on my Apple devices. That way, my to-do list is refreshed across all of my devices, and it is always with me. Be sure that this list is prioritized and constantly in front of you. If you prefer an old school pen and paper, be sure to have a notebook dedicated specifically to this purpose. Having five sheets of random paper with various tasks written on them doesn’t do anyone any good.

One trip to Walgreens may not change your life, but it can make the office a far better place to be. We spend a considerable amount of time at work; why not make it better for you and those around you with these simple and cheap items? Try being the grateful, good smelling, go-to co-worker. I think you’ll like it.

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