Monthly Archives: February 2017

inkello desk calendar - things I love

Things I Love: Focus and Productivity Edition

I believe that beyond the basics and key tools, “things” actually don’t improve one’s life dramatically or at all. That said, here are a few things that I use daily and really appreciate.

inkello Matchbook Calendar

Yes, all computers have calendars, but a small physical calendar is a huge benefit to me. I don’t have to load a calendar up on the computer, go forward a month, and hope the calendar doesn’t go away when I click on another window.

I buy three inkello mini calendars each year and keep them on the current, previous and upcoming month.

They are beautifully made and quick to reference. They take up very little space and are always there.

I make many scheduling decisions and have to communicate those to the teams. Being able to see days and dates quickly is just awesome. Also, these calendars are made in my neighborhood in Lawrence, Kansas.

Bose QC 35 Headphones

I was cheapskate audiophile in my college and post-college years, so I had a slightly negative impression of Bose. When I was even younger, Paul Harvey selling their $400 radio as the ultimate audio experience didn’t sit well with me. But I now have been converted; I love these wireless, sound suppressing headphones.

The sound isolation is amazing. Actual silence. Certainly if someone yells in the room you are in or adjacent to you will hear it, but the low buzz that comes from fans, electronics, etc goes away. For a year my wife’s sister and her family lived with us. They were amazing house guests, but the ability to isolate myself off from sounds, really helped with focus. The family has left to live in their own home, but I still spend 2-3 hour a day with these headphones on. Either with no music or low volume music in the background. Also I will occasionally use them for podcasts when I am doing things around the house.

For air travel, I would consider them borderline essential. I travel primarily for leisure and learning, but even my three trips a year are so much better without airplane engine noise and the constant chatter in airports. For airplanes, Bose has a cable you can attach when Bluetooth isn’t an option.

Speaking of… wireless is a benefit that I didn’t know how much I would appreciate. I put my phone in my pocket and no matter where I go in the house or outside, the music goes with. Having no wires doesn’t seem that beneficial until you use wired headphones again. The contrast is more “death-by-thousand-cuts”, but to sum it up, you just don’t have to think about it.

They are expensive, but if you have the budget and use case similar to above, I would recommend.

Blank Black Screen

What seems like a lifetime ago, I used to be a derivatives trader. I had a seven monitor setup that was actually needed and not just for show. Now I need to be able to focus and concentrate on key tasks and strategic thinking. I have gone back and forth between two and three monitor setups. In both cases, I use this simple web page that displays nothing but a black screen to keep me focused on what I am working on. Any group of tabs that currently aren’t in use, have the above url setup on them as a tab. I can still keep key browser tabs open, but am not distracted by anything visual on my screens. I pair this page with a black wall paper to complete my own “focused view”.

I have shared the above tip with colleagues and a couple of them started using it in their routine. It is very simple, but that make it easy to test.

If you have things that help you at work or in your life, I would love to hear about them. You can comment below or send me a tweet.