As Christmas is approaching, I thought I’d share a couple of things I bought this year, things that I’m now using every single day and that really made my life better.
Things are neither good or bad. It’s the way we use them that can make our lives better or worse.
1- A portable monitor: ASUS Zenscreen Go MB16AP 15.6″ Full HD
This one has made my work as a trader much easier and faster.
I’m definitely not the kind of trader who needs dozens of screens to monitor intraday fluctuations, or a big ass screen that would tie me to one location. Nope, I actually could definitely make do with my laptop alone.
However, having an additional screen really makes my process of scanning for trades, finding good looking charts, research, coding and my spreadsheet routine, a LOT faster.
There’s one thing I really like above all in trading, and it is the freedom to be able to work from anywhere. And having a huge trading setup or big ass monitor would just be a hindrance to my lifestyle. I didn’t quit the corporate world to be stuck in once place again.
This sweet 15.6″ monitor allows me to improve the quality of my work, all the while allowing me to work from anywhere.
It is light, it is thin, and only one cable is required, a USB type-C. No bulky charger.
It’s basically like an extremely thin and light laptop that doesn’t need any charger and that I can carry along with my real laptop in my backpack.
I just plug it to my laptop and can work from any Starbucks or Irish pub I enjoy working from. I even took it with me on my last cruise from Sydney to New Caledonia.
+ The smart cover allows you to set it up anywhere in a couple of seconds
+ Quality screen
+ Only one USB Type-C cable needed (cable provided)
+ Not cheap
+ Need to be careful when carrying in a suitcase (needs extra protection)
2- True wireless earbuds: Jabra Elite Active 65t
Since I run and workout everyday, I really needed durable sports earphones.
But I didn’t want just earphones. I wanted completely wireless earplugs.
As I went through all the characteristics of the different products available on the market, I finally shortlisted the Apple Airpods, the Jabra Elite Active 65t, and the Bose SoundSport Free Truly Wireless Sport Headphones.
And I went with the Jabra Elite Active 65t… and I’m never going back.
The main reason I chose them over the 2 others was that I found them much better looking that the Apple Airpods which make people look kinda funny (purely subjective opinion of course), and the most important part, they have noise isolation (through passive noise-cancelling), which neither of the other 2 competitors have.
I was worried at first that the earbuds would fall out, but after using the right Eargels size and running with them every single day for many months, I can tell you that they will not fall out of your ears.
Also, I live in the very hot and humid city of Bangkok, so even if you sweat profusely, they will still not fall out, or get damaged, since they have an IP rating of 56.
In terms of features, there are 4 things I really like about those:
1- Sounds quality
Although I’m no expert, I’ve been a musician for 30 years and in my humble opinion, it is great. They have very good bass, and the mid to upper range is well balanced.
Also taking calls with them on is very convenient as I can hear the caller very clearly (thanks to noise-cancelling), and the caller can also hear me quite well.
I realize I’ve been talking a lot about this feature, but it was a must-have for me, especially in this big noisy city I’m living in. Great for listening music, calls, audiobooks, podcasts, … and nature sounds for meditations which are available through their app
The noise-cancelling feature is great, except when someone is talking to you, or you need to pay more attention to your environment.
When you take the right earbud out of your ear, it will automatically pause any music/podcast you were listening to, and they’ll resume as soon as you put it back in.
4- Battery Life
This usually is the Achilles’ heels of true wireless earbuds. Well, those little guys can last more than 5 hours on a single charge which is more than enough for a marathon. And as soon as you put them back in their well-designed small carrying case, they’ll automatically recharge. The case can fully recharge the earbuds twice (so 5 hours x 3).
+ Nice design
+ Good battery life
– Easy to lose if you don’t put them back in their case
– You can’t hear anything else when you have them on
– A bit pricey
3- A pull-up bar
That’s definitely the most rewarding purchase I’ve made.
I couldn’t do 3 proper pull-ups in a row when I started back at beginning of this year.
I can now quite easily do 4 sets of 15. And I recently discovered that there actually not that many people that can pull that off (pun intended)!
Also, I always imagined myself in movies where the hero is hanging off the edge of a building or a cliff and has to pull himself up. Now, it wouldn’t be an issue for me anymore 🙂
I do a couple of pull ups after each half hour of work and right before taking a shower. It keeps the blood flowing and it is a great exercise for the back, the arms and the grip.
4- A smartwatch: Apple Watch Series 4 GPS & Cellular
Ok ok, I see you coming guys. Nope, I’m no Apple fanboy. But I have to say that my new Apple watch has changed my life for the better.
It all started with the need to get myself a running watch. They were so many choices that I postponed the purchase for many months. Then the Apple watch series 4 came out, and after reading reviews, I decided to buy it.
Well, I’m really happy I did.
Not only does it do a great job as a running/work out device, but with the plethora of apps available, I found new ways to greatly increase my productivity.
There are many greats running available such as Runkeeper or Runtastic. But I really liked Nike Run Club. It contains free guided runs created with awesome running coaches for every type of runners, newbies, intermediate, short runs, long runs, intervals, indoors… Awesome way to take your running to the next level.
And the built-in app also contains an option to alert you when you’re running below the pace you’ve set in. Great when you want to beat your record.
You don’t even need to have your bulky smartphone with you anymore. You can receive calls, send messages, listen to podcasts, listen to the radio (have to pay for that one), … directly on your watch.
I particularly like listening to “Chat with Traders” episodes while working out or running some errands.
This one was a real game changer. Thanks to the app “AutoSleep”, I now can check how many hours I slept, how long it took me to fall asleep, how many hours of quality sleep and deep sleep I got. And I have to say that the difference is HUGE!
Often overlooked, after a good night sleep, you will be in a much better mood for the whole day, you will be much more focused, more patient with your trading, your productivity will increase tremendously, you’ll have an awesome workout, …
And the long-term benefits are mind-boggling. If you want to know more on the benefits of sleeping well, I highly recommend you to read Matthew Walker’s book “Why We Sleep” and watch his interview on Joe Rogan’s podcast.
Build good habits with Streaks
This app, “Streaks”, is hands down the best app I’ve downloaded this year.
I almost haven’t missed any meditations and runs, for more than a month now, and my productivity went through the roof.
The app is extremely easy to use, yet very powerful.
You simply add the tasks you would like to execute or habits you would like to form, and as the day goes, once you’re done with a certain task, you simply check it off on your watch.
What I really like about it is its simplicity, and the fact that you have the flexibility to do the tasks whenever you feel it during the day. It leaves me a lot of time for creativity.
The 4 daily tasks I’ve imposed on me currently are:
2- work on trading (process + research)
3- read a book for at least 30 minutes
As a final word on the Apple watch, all the notifications I received were pretty annoying at first, but just go to settings and you turn off all the notifications you don’t really need.
And my smartphone screen time has dropped considerably since I have my watch, while my productivity has increased. What more could I ask for?
+ Nice looking smartwatch
+ Good for running
+ Great for creating better habits
+ Great for productivity
+ Listen to podcasts and music without needing your smartphone
+ Call/Receive calls
– Not cheap
– Battery only lasts me about 2 days
– Lack of advanced running features such as lactic threshold, stride length, cadence, VO2 max, …
That’s it for the 4 best things I bought this year.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas and an fantastic New Year, both inside and outside the charts!