My favorite part about being a blogger is that I get to test out tons of awesome products related to my niche. So, I get to use all of the big products and softwares in the productivity space in the name of research!
Here are the most notable studs and the duds from my testing.
Products I DON'T Recommend
I think it's only fair that I share the things that haven't worked for me first.
I'm a productivity junkie so I have pretty deep experience with the big name products out there. Here are the ones that didn't work out for me.
🛑 Gravity Blanket (Any Weighted Blanket)
I know a lot of people love these but I'm not one of them.
I'm what you might call a "hot sleeper." Adding 25 LBS on top of me caused me to lose pretty much every drop of fluid in my body.
Obviously, these are great for some people but I'd recommend you don't do what I do and buy the most expensive one on the market before you test out the concept with a lower cost one first.
🛑 Chilly Pad
This came very highly recommended from many of the people I follow and trust like Tim Ferriss.
But, it just didn't work out for me.
It was awkward and never really felt like it was cool enough. Next thing I knew, it was collecting dust in my closet and still sits there as I write this article.
🛑 Timeular Time Tracking Thingy
Another product that is so cool in theory but flopped for me in practice.
If you have the discipline to use it consistently, you may get better results than I did, it just wasn't for me.
🛑 Pavlok Shock Band
No, just no...
The Pavlok wristband attempts to use classical conditioning to help you quit bad habits such as smoking or biting your nails by having you shock yourself whenever you act on a negative impulse.
To say the science behind the product is weak is putting it nicely.
This sadistic little device isn't worth the price or the pain. It didn't work for me and didn't work for a lot of other users either.
If you need a good laugh, watch the sharks on Shark Tank shred the founder of this product when he came on the show.
Products I DO Recommend
Ok, enough negativity, let's get into the things I do recommend!
👍 Moleskin Reporter Style Notebook (pocket sized and ruled)
I've gone through more Moleskin notebooks than you'd believe.
"Why are you using paper when you have a phone, tablet and/or computer?" You ask...
Paper and pen bring out a high level of focus for me. I love the feeling of writing down notes, to-dos and random inspirations without the distractions of my shiny electronic devices.
This is the one I purchase every couple of months.
Pair these with your favorite pens and thank me later (I'm a Pilot G2 Extra Fine guy myself).
👍 Whoop Strap
Much more than a basic fitness accessory, the Whoop strap does more than analyze your activity, it analyzes your sleep quality and consistency.
I started using mine in 2019 and really enjoy it.
The one problem I had was I also use an Apple Watch and ditching that was nonnegotiable.
So, I bought a bicep band and it goes pretty much undetected.
If you want to track your sleep with something smaller, I've also heard good things about the Aura rings and I plan on testing one in 2020 as well.
👍 TextExpander (Software)
TextExpander has been a game changer for me. It allows me to key up any text with customized codes.
It can be something short or very long like a customer support email script.
Example, I can type "@facebookgroup" and it will return the long, ugly Facebook URL for my group.
Or, I could type, "RE:LogIn" and it would trigger a 400 word email reply with canned language helping customers with log in issues.
It's as powerful as you want to make it.
Read my full review and demo if you want more examples of how you'll use it.
If you're sold, don't forget that readers get 20% off with this link.
👍 Noise Cancelling Headphones
There's a reason the opposing teams fans at a basketball game scream and yell when the other team is shooting free throws!
Distractions hurt performance. Tune them out and invest in a nice pair of headphones. Take good care of them and they will last a long time.
The brand is up to you, I am a bit of an audiophile and indulge myself with whatever the latest and greatest are.
Currently, the Bose Q35 IIs for deep focus and the Apple Airpod Pros for the gym. and walking calls.
(Me) "Hi my name is Nate, and I'm a misplacer."
(Support group) "Hiiii Naaate..."
I am afraid to know how many hours I've wasted over my lifetime looking for things I misplaced.
Well, thanks to Tile, that doesn't have to happen as much.
You attach these little lifesavers the things you often lose and when you misplace them, you can make them ring from your Tile app.
Tile come in multiple types. I recommend you get a Slim for your wallet, Mates for your keys and then a handful of Tile Stickers for your miscellaneous items.
What gets measured gets managed.
I was absolutely shocked when I started tracking where I was spending my time online.
Rescuetime works on your desktop, tablet and smartphone and will give you a big picture idea of where your time is being spent.
It's eye opening to say the least!
Like Tile but for passwords.
Lastpass is a lifesaver if you have dozens of different logins you use (like most of us).
You can share passwords with others without letting them see them and you can revoke access whenever you want.
EntreResource readers get their first month free.
Last but not least, the Blinkist app.
Blinkist takes books and compresses them into their most important takeaways. No, this isn't supposed to completely replace reading books but it will help you get more bang for your time.
I like to read the Blinks to a book before I actually read the book itself. They also have audio versions of most of the books they offer (and they offer a LOT).
Maybe old school but I like Evernote.
Lee I used to love Evernote but I bought into all this propoganda that they were about to go out of business. Do you remember hearing that? I just didn’t want to make some beautifully elaborate system that I’d lose haha
Great article!I just signed up for rescue time. Looking forward to the results!
I discovered Blinkist earlier this year and LOVE it. I find that I retain a lot more if I listen while reading along, and I always increase the speed because speaking is so much slower than reading. The summaries are well written, and strike a good balance between detail and brevity. No fluff!
Nate totally has ADD. I do too. ? Last Pass is a lifesaver.
Yeah Blinkist is well worth the price. Even if I want to read a full book, I like to use it before to get a quick overview.
LOL yeah I definitely feel like I do
Great article! I too love writing things down as they come to me, I usually have a space pen in my pocket along with a Field Notes notebook. I always keep a larger journal type book in my bag as well.
I love the reporter notebook because it’s the same size as my phone haha I feel like I’m more focused with the offline version haha
Hi Nate does text expander work for smart phones too? does it have an app?thank you
Hey! Yeah it does. I don’t use it a lot but it is available. There are a few features that you’ll lose but it’s still pretty handy. It’s installed like a secondary keyboard.
Blinklist sounds interesting and very useful! I was actually thinking of providing a service similar to this as well, but always wondered how this could be legal. Do you know how they are legally able to operate their business when reviewing so many books? I can only imagine that some authors have copyright claims and wouldn’t want other people or websites sharing their knowledge in exchange for money with others. So really wondering how they made it work.