Today we’re sharing with you our top 10 physical devices and tools that we use. These help us get things done, build habits, improve how we work, and overall makes our life a lot easier. If there’s anything that you think we should add, do let us know in the comments.
1. Kindle Paperwhite
I love books and I love to smell the pages of books (I know I’m weird). I have a collection of books at home that I display on my B&B shelf (Books & Booze, not kidding) but I also have a Kindle Paperwhite that I use (mostly) when I am not at home. e-Books are perfect when you want to read on the go or if you want reading materials anywhere you go. Whenever I have to wait for my daughter to finish her class, I just whip out my Kindle and read away. Anywhere I go if I have a suspicion that I will be waiting, I will always have my Kindle.
The Kindle Paperwhite is handy, portable, works well even with low light and bright lights. I still use a slightly older model (2016 edition) and I love it. I don’t have any reason to upgrade yet. I also got the Kindle Unlimited service.
If you’re wondering why not just use the free Kindle app for the iOS or Android, three reasons:
- phone battery life
- no notifications on the Kindle, I can focus on what I am reading
- because the Kindle Paperwhite is side-lit, and not backlit like phones and regular tablets, it’s a lot easier on my eyes (I have terrible eyesight)
2. CableCreation 2-in-1 (Lightning + micro USB)
This is extremely handy when you travel because you don’t have to bring multiple cables. A perfect example is if you have an Apple phone and then you have a Kindle, just like Thanh. He has a couple of these cables around his apartment as well as in his bags.
Additional life hack: have a separate set of cables that’s always in your travel/portable bag. This way, all you need to put in your bag is your laptop and then you’re off.
Do you have wifi dead spots in your house? Or if not a dead spot, just an area where the wifi seems to be really slow? eero will solve that for you. They have the eero Pro (1500 sq ft) that you connect with your modem and with it, you can add an eero Beacon that adds an additional 1000 sq ft of wifi coverage. You can add more Beacons if you want your wifi to reach other areas inside your house or even your backyard.
Allow me to geek out a bit. eero is a smart router that adapts to your home and usage. It also has built-in security features that you don’t have to worry (or remember) about installing security patches.
Did I mention it has parental controls? You can create profiles for your kids and have the option to turn off their wifi access when it’s bedtime and also turn safety filters on as well.
eero was recently purchased by Amazon and if you’re not too keen on that, we do have an alternative and it’s the Netgear Orbi which has similar features to the eero.
4. Gunnar glasses
Blue light, although environmentally friendly, is the enemy of sleep. That’s why we always tell you (our readers) to stop using your gadgets or look at screens an hour before sleeping. Or else, you’d end up tossing and turning (and then looking at your phone screen again) for an hours before you finally get some shut-eye.
But it’s not always possible! Whether for work or for leisure, there are times when we just can’t help it. In my case, I work in front of a computer until 1 AM and it was such a pain trying to fall asleep. I would always envy people who would lie down and then within 5 minutes are already sleeping. I mentioned this to Thanh, in passing, during one of our team meet-ups and he immediately gave me his Gunnar glasses (he had an extra pair).
I use it regularly, starting at 6 PM so that I can sleep immediately after I work. I also noticed that my sleep disruption percentage (using SleepWatch) is also lower when I use it as well as better sleep quality. You can know more about how to optimize your sleep for maximum efficiency in this blog post.
They are pretty stylish (in my opinion) since it reminds me of Bono from U2. So you can definitely wear them around town.
Sonos is a smart wireless sound system that you can control using voice commands and has Amazon Alexa is built-in. You can even connect several Sonos for the best experience. Thanh is so obsessed with the Sonos that he has 6 in his apartment!
6. Oura ring
This is something that Thanh and several of our Dojo members (our productivity community) use as a fitness tracker. There are a lot of fitness trackers around but the Oura ring is literally a ring that you wear on your finger so you don’t have to worry about it being cumbersome (especially if you are not a fan of wearing a watch).
Although it’s well known for tracking sleep, it does more than that. It tracks your heart rate, number of steps you’ve taken, body temperature, and other metrics that the Apple Watch or the Fitbit also does–but in ring form. Thanh, in particular, likes the Oura ring energy feature and he talks about this in our podcast.
You can wear it 24/7! Well, except when you’re charging it.
7. Withings Steel HR Hybrid Smartwatch
It’s a smartwatch that doesn’t look like a smartwatch. With its sleek design, you wouldn’t expect it to track your heart rate, steps, distance, sleep. It also has smart notifications for calls, texts, events, and even app notifications.
If you want a smartwatch tracker but you’re not really a fan of how it looks, the Withing Steel HR Hybrid Smartwatch is perfect for you. Brooks bought one after a number of our Dojo members recommended it to him and he absolutely loves it. You can use it even when you are wearing formal clothes because they have several designs that you can choose from. The best part? It lasts up to 25 days on a single charge.
When the AirPods first came out, I literally went “Why Apple?”. However, Apple got the last laugh because the AirPods became a hit. It’s not the best when you’re working out but it’s really great for phone calls, meetings, and even podcast recordings. You can wear them together or wear just one.
If you want to use your AirPods with your Mac, install Tooth Fairy to make it work seamlessly.
9. Logitech Keys-to-Go Portable Keyboard
Typing directly on your iPad is okay when you’re just browsing. But when you’re writing hundreds of words, then it’s a different experience altogether. This portable keyboard is the answer. It’s lightweight and can easily slip into your bag’s compartment. An added bonus is it’s spill resistant.
10. Montblanc pen
Do you know what never goes out of style? Hand-written notes for someone. It can be a simple thank you note or a simple event reminder. The Montblanc pen is a personal favorite of Thanh since he uses it a lot especially when he journals. It might not be your cup of tea, but there is something awesome when you use a beautiful pen when you write your notes down.
This is also one of those things that you can actually hand down to someone else for generations since they have refills. If you can’t hand down a Breguet Marie-Antoinette Grande Complication Pocket Watch, then you can hand down the Montblanc pen.
Those are our top 10 favorite physical devices and tools. Next, pick one tool or device that you think will improve your life greatly and use it for the next 2 weeks and let us know how it goes!
If there’s anything you think we missed, let us know in the comments.
I can’t do without my Leatherman Wave. If I don’t have it in my pocket, I feel like I left a part of me at home. From opening packages, to snipping a loose thread to tightening a loose screw, I feel like I can take on anything!
Does anyone know a good cable management tool to sit on my desk? It feels messy with cable spaghetti’ed on the desk (I have a USB and powerpoint outlet built in to the surface of my desk).