Asian Efficiency is known for sharing productivity tips that we personally use because we are confident that it will help you out too. We have helped over 13000 people (maybe you are one of them!) take back their time and helped them focus on what was important.
This is why we are going to share 10 of our favorite tools that will not only help with your productivity but will also make your life a little bit more convenient and it won’t break the bank. You might still want to either get your wallet ready or make sure it’s far away from you.
These tools have been tried and tested by some (if not all) of the Asian Efficiency team. We will not be discussing apps because we already have a ton of that in the blog.
Asian Efficiency’s Top 10 Tools Below $100
Technology is constantly evolving and sometimes, some of our tools are not always compatible or is late to the evolving game. One example would be the new MacBook Pro which has USB-C ports and does not have any USB-A port at all. Now, if you connect a lot of stuff to your laptop using the old USB port, it can be quite frustrating since you would have to use a lot of dongles (think of your ethernet cable, printer cable, flash drives, external HDD, at a lot more). It’s not only an eyesore, it’s also a recipe for “Oh my, I left my dongle at home!”
The HyperDrive USB C Hub is perfect for the new MacBookPro because it attaches itself beautifully (yes, this is how I’m going to describe it since the opposite is just ugly) to the side of your MBP. I mean–look at it!
It occupies two USB-C ports and before you go, what?!?!?! Don’t worry about it because the hub contains:
- 2 USB-C ports (makes up for the two it occupies!)
- Gigabit Ethernet Port
- Micro SD
- USB-A (hooray!)
- Thunderbolt 3
You can always purchase two and put one in your laptop bag for good measure.
Tell me of a day that you were not able to look at a screen? It could be a TV, computer, mobile phone, tablet… I think I haven’t gone on a “screen-less” day for the past 20 years. I earned a degree in computer programming so since I was in college, my face was basically in front of a computer every single day.
Now that we are (hopefully) more informed, we know that screens emit Bluelight that’s harmful to our retina, cataracts, and also increases your risk of getting a sleeping disorder.
There’s a reason why we always tell our readers that if you need to sleep make sure you stop using the computer or your phone an hour before bedtime–it’s the Bluelight.
But what if you don’t have that one hour? Since I work night shifts, I am directly in front of the computer up until I log out and then sleep. It’s a great thing that Thanh gave me a pair because it has been a lifesaver (or sleep saver). Right now, even if I am using my computer until the last minute before hitting the sack, I don’t have trouble falling asleep. Before, I would toss and turn for at least 30 minutes before I would finally fall asleep. We all know that sleep is a very important factor when it comes to productivity.
Aside from blocking harmful Bluelight and UV light, it also reduces eye strain. When you are facing the computer for at least 4 hours a day–you know what I am talking about.
Before you say “I don’t need another travel mug”, hear me out. You will never appreciate the importance of having an auto seal travel mug until such time that you end up with coffee on your pants or your shirt.
Yes. It’s AUTO SEAL. Meaning, after you take a sip, it auto seals itself. You don’t need two hands to drink and close since you only need to press one button. If you don’t press the button, no liquid will come out.
You only need to make sure that you close it properly when you fill it up and you can put it inside your bag without worrying that it’s going to spill.
Hot drinks stay hot for 5 hours and then 12 hours for cold drinks. It comes in three sizes and more than 15 colors.
4. Electrolyte powders – $20
As morbid as it sounds, dehydration is a silent killer. It’s also bad for your productivity since it lowers down your output. Did you know that if you are dehydrated even by just 3%-4%, your productivity is lowered down to 25%-50%? Mental ability or performance also decreases. This is also the same when you engage in physical activities like sports or when you regularly work out. If you are dehydrated, your physical performance also suffers.
So if you want to stay on top of your productivity and maintain peak physical performance, you need to keep yourself hydrated and electrolyte powders can help you with this.
Electrolytes not only make the most of your water, it also helps your body maintain its proper functions. If you get bored drinking plain water (trust me, there are people like that), then electrolyte powders can help since it’s flavored. Thanh’s favorite brands are Vega Sports Hydrator and LMNT.
Be like MacGyver by getting this multi-tool that has needle-nose spring-loaded pliers, wirecutter, fine-edge blade, retail package opener, scissors, medium flat driver, crosshead driver, bottle opener, tweezers, and a file. It’s made out of stainless steel and is compact and lightweight. It will fit perfectly inside your pocket but be careful that you don’t take this with you when you fly coz this will end up in the airport bin.
Having one handy means that you don’t have to go through your toolbox to look for one tool and if you’re not that organized, you might end up spending a lot of time just looking for it.
It comes in seven colors too. I mean, why get the black one when there’s also purple and red!
Another speaker? No, it’s not. Well, yes it is a speaker but it’s definitely more than that. When you have the Amazon Echo, you do not have to have your phone with you all the time when you are just at home. You can have the echo do stuff that you usually get your phone for.
Here are ‘some’ of the things that the Amazon Echo can do for you:
- set an alarm
- set a timer
- answer your questions (What time is it in Japan? When is the All-Star Game?)
- control your music
- get the latest news
- track your fitness
- and it’s always evolving…
You can literally say that you can get things done hands-free. I just have to warn you that you might end up purchasing more than one. Think of the kitchen, bedroom, living room, garage… The possibilities are endless.
We all use our online calendars and they are really helpful. But one thing it’s not good at is showing us a bird’s eye view of what has happened previously and what we have planned for, for the future.
For example, you want to know how long it has been since you went to the lake to just relax. You can check your digital calendar but it will take a few (or several clicks) before you see it. It doesn’t let you do the “one glance and you see it” head turn.
That’s why we recommend that you get the NeuYear calendar because it’s huge and it shows you the entire year with just one glance at it. How huge? It’s 27″ x 39″.
It comes in dry-erase and paper surface options.
Do you have a sleep mask that you can honest to goodness say that it’s comfortable? Personally, I would have to say no. Not only do they not fit well, I always feel like its poking my eyeballs or pushing my eyeballs in.
The Manta Sleep Mask is something that Thanh swears by and he carries it everywhere and even wears it at home when he takes a nap.
You can adjust it so that it will fit you perfectly. It’s made of breathable material so it wouldn’t seem like your head is inside a sauna room. Since it’s 100% blackout, you don’t have to worry about waking up in the middle of your deep sleep. We all know sleep is important if we want to be productive. This is definitely a no-brainer purchase. Meaning, don’t think about why you should get one or why not. Just get one.
Thirty years ago, utility bags were mostly make-up pouches. But now, small utility bags are needed because of all the gadgets we own. Laptops, mobile phones, tablets, earphones, headphones, smartwatches, and a lot more. However, not all bags are made the same. The Snake Charmer is more of an organizer pouch because of the compartments that you can use. The great thing about this bag is the heavy-duty mesh on each side. This allows you to actually see what’s inside.
It’s handy when you travel or even when you just decide to work in a coffee shop, you have all your wires in one place. You can also use it as a vanity pack. It comes in different sizes and colors. I’m pretty sure you’ll find one that you will like (my personal choice is the Viridian 210 Ballistic).
It’s a water bottle that’s not really shaped like a bottle. The Memo water bottle looks like…
If you carry a briefcase or a slim bag, carrying the regular water bottle will make your bag bulge. It doesn’t only look weird but your bag might get damaged or deformed in the long run.
It’s made of recycled plastic and is also leak-proof and freezer proof. Win!
There you have it, our top 10 tools below $100 that helps with our productivity and life in general. Are there any tools that you use that’s less than $100? Let us know in the comments! We will surely check those out.