It’s no secret that the evolution of technology has provided many options for us to become more efficient, from management software, to virtual assistants, to storage devices. Becoming the most valuable you can be in your role depends on your ability to anticipate, acknowledge and adapt to the tech that helps you to run regular tasks and projects more efficiently. We have come up with a Top Ten List for the gadgets we recognize as must-haves for 2021:
Twelve South PlugBug Duo
There are never enough outlets for all our tech, least of all when we really need them. But you can bypass that issue, so long as you’re an Apple user, with the Twelve South PlugBug Duo. This clever device uses a single wall plug for up to three devices at a time, including a MacBook Pro and your choice of iPads, iPhones, and/or Apple Watches. And it even comes with alternative plug modules for those who travel internationally.
Yubico Yubikey 5 Series
It’s pretty easy nowadays to have your identity and/or information stolen. But it’s also equally easy to protect yourself with a hardware-based authentication solution — namely these Yubikeys made by Yubico. Better still, you can take a simple quiz on their site to figure out which one is best for you and they’re all small enough to stash on your keychain or tuck away in a corner of your bag.
Satechi Multi-Port Adapter V2
Despite the fact that we’re all using more high-tech gear in our daily and work lives than ever, computer manufacturers still haven’t started giving us more USB ports to plug them in. Well, Satechi has an elegant and handy solution in their Multi-Port Adapter V2, which comes with 4K HDMI, Ethernet, USB-C pass-through charging, and a trio of USB 3.0 ports. It even has a built-in SD/micro card reader.
Logitech MX Anywhere 3 Wireless Mouse
By the time the pandemic had kicked into high gear, everyone was quickly switching over to remote work — but that came with unique challenges. Logitech was hoping to solve one of those issues with their MX Anywhere 3 wireless mouse, which they touted as the “world’s best work-from-home” mouse, due largely to the fact that it can work on just about any surface. It’s that last bit that proves that their claim may very well be true.
Eve Energy Strip
While a power strip is a great way to maximize your outlets, many of them are not very efficient and even quite a bit wasteful. But the Eve Energy Strip is different, as this smart device will let you control all three outlets individually via an accompanying app and/or Siri voice commands. That means you can keep your energy conservation game strong and also conveniently power up whatever is plugged in at a moment’s notice.
Embery Mug 2
We know firsthand how easy it is to get caught up in your work. And we know that sometimes means that hot cup of coffee you were looking forward to is now a lukewarm gross-out. But that problem can be a thing of the past with the self-heating and heat-maintaining Ember Mug 2, which comes in your choice of 10- or 14-ounce capacities and either white or black finishes. It’s even waterproof, so you can clean it safely without worrying about damaging the built-in battery.
Nomad Base Station Pro Charging Pad
There was a time when our only juiced-up piece of tech was our smartphone. But now many people also have smartwatches, wireless headphones, and maybe even a second work phone. Well, you can charge all of them at the same time wirelessly with the Nomad Base Station Pro. Just drop your Qi-enabled device anywhere on its surface and — boom! — it will start charging. How’s that for convenience?
MICROSOFT SURFACE HEADPHONES 2
Headphones can simultaneously be a great means of piping in your favorite tunes or podcasts without bothering those around you and maintaining both focus and privacy. And while just about any wireless headphones or earbuds can manage those things relatively effectively, we’re fond of the Microsoft Surface 2 headphones for their abundance of other features. That includes things like a 20-hour battery life, intuitive touch controls, the ability to get an hour’s charge in just five minutes, and more.
AMAZON ECHO SHOW 10
Though often touted as a household-friendly organizational, communication, and informational tool (amongst other things), we’re firm believers in the Amazon Echo Show 10 as something excellent for office usage. This is because it can help you keep track of your calendar (sending reminders or setting appointments), is equipped with Amazon’s Alexa voice-controlled AI assistant, can play music or podcasts, and can even make video calls (while automatically following you to keep you in frame). It’s kind of like a high-tech secretary, actually.
Amazon Eero 6 Mesh System
There is nothing more frustrating than discovering you’ve got WiFi connectivity dead spots in your home or office. For this reason, we’re huge fans of mesh systems, specifically Amazon’s eero 6 you see here. This kit comes with a base router and a pair of extenders that will help you keep a lightning-fast wireless connection throughout your entire workspace. And if you still need to cover more space, you can always add in more extension modules to extend the coverage even further.
Dyson Lightcycle Desk Lamp
A desk lamp is just a desk lamp, right? Well, not if it’s the Dyson Lightcycle you see here, which was designed to last for 60+ years and will actually mimic the ebb and flow of natural light (AKA sunlight) and automatically adjust to your surroundings to help keep your body in its natural circadian rhythm. It also has a built-in motion sensor — so it will turn off automatically when you’re not around — and it was designed specifically to help reduce glare and eye strain. This ain’t your grandaddy’s desk lamp.
How many times has it happened? A hard headed peer, partner or boss has “made up their mind” not to make an effort on your behalf – they won’t even offer a fair opportunity for you to present a case for something that you’re confident could provide a much needed solution to an area of opportunity. How do you get through to them? We are going to explore some strategies for sharpening your skills when it comes to professional persuasion.
Let’s talk about Steve Jobs for a moment. Not only was he lauded as a great innovator, but he was a fantastic leader and artist of persuasion. It’s hard to think that there was a time when people didn’t pay any attention to the great ideas and concepts that he presented, yet as we are aware, eventually he made it – and made it big. How? He was able to use the strength of his convictions and passion to bend the world to his vision. Not only that, but he had a strong team of innovators that played a part in persuading him to consider products that he was initially against – did you know that Steve Jobs insisted that he would never make a phone? That’s the butterfly effect of persuasion.
How to Persuade Effectively
Pride and arrogance are the biggest obstacles in changing someone’s mind. No one wants to admit when they’re wrong or that they should take another look at something after they have explicitly communicated that they won’t. Leaders in particular can be overconfident and sometimes too proud to listen to their team (never a good trait to begin with), but rather than call out their ignorance directly, create a scenario where they are able to recognize the gaps in their understanding.
What about dealing with stubbornness? It can seem almost impossible to get someone to change their mind when it appears to be set in stone, but if you hand them a chisel you may notice that stone chip away. Stubborn people tend to believe in internal control, so craft the conversation to suggest your ideas with the supporting data and then hand them the controls.
Finally, let’s talk about narcissists. It’s often said that narcissists have low self-esteem – but research has proven that they actually have unstable self-esteem. They crave status and approval and become hostile when their fragile egos are threatened. So, by appealing to their desire to be admired, you can counteract their knee-jerk tendency to reject a difference of opinion as criticism.
It’s Not an Easy Skill
Persuasion takes time and often it takes practice. Start with small things, trying out your skill on different types of people and situations to see how they react. It’s a lot about reading people and discovering what will soften their attitude and open them up to the possibilities that others present.
It’s a familiar feeling – usually the hump. It’s the middle of the day, week, month, year… Something about it just has you feeling caught between desperately wanting to be productive, yet also a little exhausted. When this happens, and assuredly it will on occasion, it’s a great time to remind yourself that there’s no such thing as an overnight success.
Even with that reminder, those thoughts can still creep into our minds making us wonder: Is my plan not working, or just not working yet? If there is one thing for sure, it is that this pandemic has never ceased to plant doubt in our heads, so when you feel this way force yourself to step away for a minute and give yourself a breather – whether it’s a few minutes or a good solid day.
Take a look at your environment and current routine – see if you can pinpoint things that are either wearing you out, causing stress or just taking a toll. Writing them out can help you to take that 10,000 foot view of everything and become more aware. Is it the amount of hours you are putting in – are they more than normal or more stressful than usual? Is there a strange social or relationship dynamic that is dragging you down – a tension or conflict that needs to be addressed? How about your selfcare – and this is a big one that we often overlook – how have you been eating lately, or when was the last time you spent 20 minutes exercising? Think about your coping mechanisms – smoking, drinking, etc. – a lot of these things can cause momentary relief from the general feeling of stress but inevitably wreak havoc on you physically.
We know that anxiety brought on by stressful situations can cause you to feel overwhelmed and oftentimes just hopeless, so after you take inventory of your circumstances, see if there is anything you can resolve or modify that would help you to move forward with your energy. Perhaps you have just been in the same monotonous routine for too long and need to rearrange, throw some sparkle in there. Add in some “me-time” or extra time to have a special night out with friends or your partner. Boredom can be a sneaky little antagonist, because on the surface nothing really seems wrong, but being bored in your routine can subtly leave things feeling pointless and dull, sucking the motivation from you.
A great way to shake things up and wake up your motivation is to invest your attention and your time into things that grow your mind. Make a list of ways that you can grow in your role professionally, as well as ways that you can expand your mind in your personal life.
Bottom line, the key to getting unstuck is to stop what you are doing, take a moment to breath and pinpoint any potential hazards, then come up with solutions to try with each problem so you can feel yourself working out of your slump.
Need ideas for inspiration? We offer courses designed to elevate your skills and get your mind sparking again. Keep an eye out for our upcoming courses and check out our current resources – or just schedule a consultation. Sometimes a brainstorm is just the thing you need!
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