Last Updated May 17th, 2020

Software

Roam Research: The bi-directional links, daily notes page, and graph structure of Roam really fit my brain. I’ve been a much more active notetaker and journaler since I’ve started using Roam, and it’s a key input for my general writing and thinking process.

  • Alternative: Evernote. I used to use Evernote, and I did like it as a general catchall for random notes. But I’m more and more interested in creating [[Evergreen]] notes, and Evernote’s structure promoted the use of notes as a [[bucket for scratch thoughts]] that I’d never look back at.

Whimsical: I find being able to express my thinking with flowcharts and mindmaps to significantly improve my thinking and communication. I now routinely insert into design docs and personal notes simple diagrams. Whimsical makes it easy with its extremely polished UI.

  • Alternative: YED. I used to use YED for this same purpose but compared to Whimsical it’s much clunkier. The difference between a few seconds of lagtime from thought -> expressed thought vs. several minutes is the line between a [[tool for thought]] and an annoyance.

Vimium: I love not having to lift my hand to move my mouse to navigate the web. It’s hard to describe the mental difference, but the reduction in friction is like the difference between 160 WPM and touchtyping.

Daylio: A mood tracking app with a beautiful and simple UI. I’ve found it helpful for practicing the skill of noticing and for serving as a “dashboard” to help point out when I’m getting burned out and what types of activities I actually enjoy.

Remember the Milk: The OG to do list app, gets all of the little things right and has been easy to integrate into my workflow.

Visual Studio Code: The debugging tools in VS code are excellent and the library of extensions make adding additional tooling easy.

Typora: A simple clean Markdown editor. I reserve it for longerform writing.

Not-Software

A Humidifier: It’s a lot more pleasant to sleep in a room w/ a moderate - 40% to 60% - humidity. I bought a $30 Amazon one that has been effective and seems robust.

Enamelon Toothpaste: I used to frequently get cavities - I started using a high fluoride toothpaste and I haven’t gotten one since.

Command Hooks: Add hooks everywhere. Instead of throwing towels on the ground, put it up on a hook. Hang your coat on a hook that now exists in your room. Double the amount of places-to-put-things by taking advantage of the Z-dimension. This is part of my broader strategy of treating myself as if I have ADHD and making my environment as easy to navigate as possible.

A Labelmaker: Same as above I’m treating “organizing” as a task that should be handled by my surroundings. Since a large part of my cognitive effort in organizing things is spent remembering where things should be, I’ve started partitioning my tables and workspaces into labeled sections (ex. here’s where haircare products are put, here’s where contact lenses go) and then I naturally start putting things into those sections.

Seriously though I think I’ve 3x’ed my cleanliness and general organization in no small part because of sub-$100 purchases like command hooks and labels.

A Squat Rack: This is mostly for doing pullups and acting as a pillar for gymnastic rings. It’s great to be able to do bodyweight fitness routines at home.

Gymnastic Rings: Same as above, I needed a way to do dips and rows, and these rings work well for that. Also it’s a lot of fun to do gymnastic style exercises.

Ketoade - Mio + Water + Salt: I found this ‘recipe’ browsing r/keto, where they recommend getting additional electrolytes by drinking water mixed w/ salt and using Mio for flavoring. I don’t follow a strict keto diet but I’ve found that drinking more salt has helped reduce my headaches and I think fatigue. I also enjoy drinking it which makes me think it’s giving my body something I need!

Instapot: I can make scrambled eggs or steak in a pan over the stove; everything else I use the instapot for. Set it and forget it style cooking works well for me.

An Ultrawide Monitor: The added screen space is absolutely worth it. I got an LG ultrawide - I love the additional space but wouldn’t recommend this particular monitor as the usb hub in back stopped working after a week. But do consider upgrading to the the ultrawide experience.

Noise Cancelling Headphones: I have Bose QuietComfort headphones, my girlfriend has the Airpod Pros - if I were buying now I’d probably go Airpods, but regardless I’ve found I really appreciate the reduction in background noise.

Aeropress: I use an aeropress every morning to make coffee. It’s much faster than a french press and easier to clean, and the coffee has a nice smoothness to it.