There are a few moments in my year when I just want the world to slow down for a second so I can catch my breath. The more time passes, the more it feels like there's more work to do, less time to do it in and more things trying to grab our attention. It's 24/7, and it's leading to burnout and a decreasing sense of happiness.
At this point, we don't need more things that add stress, drain our happiness and lead to unhealthy habits and lifestyles. We need the antidotes to those very things. We need to find, and benefit from, things that build healthy habits or add enjoyment, productivity and calm. As a busy entrepreneur, I come across certain products and services that positively impact me, or that clearly impact others, in a good way. Whether big or small, their impact can help at home, at work and everywhere in between.
Here's a list of eight tools or technologies that make life easier, healthier, happier and more productive.
1. Varidesk Electric Standing Desk
We spend too much time sitting down at work, and there's research that indicates that sitting may increase our risk of death. One way to reduce that risk, while adding other benefits, is to switch to a standing desk. I recently switched to a Varidesk electric standing desk, and I will never go back. I am much more inclined to move around, or stretch, while working or taking calls at my standing desk. I also feel more energized and creative.
Tile is one of those products that you don't realize just how much you'll like it -- or need it -- until you use it. The small Bluetooth trackers offer the perfect way to find anything important to you -- mostly likely, your keys and phone. It's so easy to misplace things amidst the dizziness of a busy day, and it only takes a couple of seconds to use Tile to find your phone or keys. It's a refreshingly simple and effective tool that will prevent wasting time looking for your misplaced possessions.
3. The Difference
Your mental health is easy to ignore -- and even easier when you're busy. It's easy to put off booking an appointment with a coach or therapist. Bea Arthur, therapist and CEO of The Difference, is working to solve this problem. The Difference is a mental health service that connects to voice assistants (i.e., Amazon Echo/Alexa) and allows you to speak to a therapist.
4. Swoot Podcast App
Whether you're listening to learn something or for entertainment, there's no shortage of podcasts out there. Podcasts have become a wildly popular medium for consuming content, yet the tricky part is finding which podcasts deserve your attention. Swoot is a relatively new app that lets you discover new content based on what your friends listen to or recommend. It will help you save time and benefit from better content. Both good things.
5. Password Manager
Managing passwords has virtually become a full-time job. We either use precious neurons saving all these passwords to memory, or we keep lists that aren't very secure. Password managers make this easy by auto-populating your passwords into websites or apps, ensuring you only need to remember a single password. The best services have web and mobile app compatibility, making it simple to use across all your devices. Do your research; popular solutions include LastPass and 1Password.
6. Audible for Audiobooks
Learning is a shared activity among the most successful people. Audiobooks are a convenient way to read more books and learn on a regular basis. Audible makes the whole process easy, allowing you to listen to books across your mobile devices. A subscription service is a great way to push yourself to read a new book every month.
7. Noise-Canceling Headphones
Whether you're on a plane or working from a cafe, a pair of noise-canceling headphones will bring quiet and calm to a busy day. Most offerings provide wireless (Bluetooth) options, and there are a number of great choices across different budgets. While they're pricier than normal headphones, they can make the difference between actually hearing music or everyone around you -- especially on an airplane.
8. Flux / Night Shift
Sleep is necessary to maintain a happy and productive life, and your circadian rhythm is responsible for helping you get good sleep. The Flux app supports good sleeping rhythms by adjusting the brightness and hue of your screen to remove blue light. It works on laptops and some mobile devices. iOS users can take advantage of the built-in Night Shift feature to schedule when their screen will change. Flux and Night Shift have helped me sleep better for years, directly impacting my quality of life.
While they're all a little different, each product, service or technology on this list can impact your own quality of life. Some of these make a big difference, and others improve your life by making a few things easier or less stressful. Progress is all about small changes, so consider which of these solutions might make your life a little easier. Feel free to experiment -- you might discover even more ways to enjoy a sense of calm in a busy world.