I’ve wanted to make a writeup of some of my absolute favorite things–recommended products, services, etc.–for a while.
I first shared this as a “Gift Guide” for the 2021 holiday season. But I realized it should live on as an ever-present set of recommendations.
Since then, I’ve added to it and evolved it over time.
As I do with many things, I’ll break these gifts down into a couple categories: Energy + Work + Love.
- Energy gifts are related to physical health + vitality in some way.
- Work gifts are about supporting peoples’ contributions in their chosen profession.
- Love gifts will support building deeper + more meaningful relationships with others–whether family, friends, intimate partners, or anyone else.
Ok! Let’s dive in.
(Note: Some of the links below are affiliate links and I will earn from qualifying purchases.)
My Favorite Energy Products
1 – Oura Ring
If you care about getting great sleep, get an Oura Ring. Full stop. It’s the best tracker on the market in the smallest package. I’ve been using mine since 2019, and it’s fundamentally improved my sleep by giving me consistent qualitative data to compare against the qualitative data of “how do I feel?”
(Note: Pairs well with Sleep 101 on Heroic.)
2 – Rasa
I’ve been drinking Rasa for years as part of my morning beverage routine. Originally created as a coffee substitute, I drink Rasa as more of a coffee supplement. As in, I still drink coffee, but I drink Rasa in addition because I feel better when I do.
I tend to feel a bit over-depleted if I only have coffee, daily, for too long. One of Rasa’s tag-lines, “fill your well,” captures it pretty well for me.
Me just drinking coffee = depleted.
But Coffee + Rasa? Much less so.
So…what is it? Basically, Rasa makes a bunch of different tonics out of adaptogenic herbs. You brew it in a french press, so it’s super easy to make. And I find them to be delicious.
My favorite blends are: Cacao and Bold (which I typically have together every day). Though I also enjoy Original, Super Happy Sunshine, Calm (for evenings!) They also sell a sampler pack which is great if you’re trying it out, or want a lil’ stocking stuffer for your friends + fam.
3 – MUD\WTR
MUD\WTR is another “coffee alternative” that I’ve been enjoying for a few years. Typically I have it on weekends when I de-load a bit from caffeine by having less coffee. This one is a blend of masala chai + a bunch of mushrooms + some other yummy stuff like cacao and cinnamon.
It’s been less in my rotation in the last year or two, but… I’m drinking it while I write this so I do still enjoy it!
This thing changed my life. For real. I struggled with a chronic case of plantar fasciitis for over 2 years, from ~2019 into 2021. This mat is the #1 thing that made the biggest impact for me. (I’ll write more about my journey overcoming that chronic condition at some point…)
And in addition to helping with my foot pain, it also feels AMAZING to lay down on for a 10-20-30 minute meditation. If you find yourself feeling a little jammed up or compressed from working at a desk, you might wanna grab one of these. I recommend it highly!
I ended up buying two of them. The first I use while standing at my standing desk (I put it on top of a yoga mat to make it more comfortable) and then the second I use to lay down on.
I love my Apple Watch–though I think smart watches, in general, can be great OR terrible. It all depends on how you use them.
I’m planning to write an article sometime about how I use mine. But the short story is: timers + alarms + fitness tracking = 90% of it. I’ve had a Series 3 for a few years and it still works just fine for me. (Though the new ones are probably awesome.)
BON CHARGE have the best blue light blocking glasses I’ve ever tried. Not saying I’ve tried all of them, but I used to use a pair of Swannies… and then got my wife a pair of this brand. After trying hers on, I immediately bought a second pair so I could have a set of my own.
I wear them most nights in the 60-90mins before bed. And if I’m on screens after sunset, I’ll wear them then. I know it makes a meaningful difference in my sleep quality.
I wear this pair of glasses in the afternoon while working on screens. And I also wear them when I’m out past sunset in artificial light–in an attempt to regulate my light exposure for a better circadian rhythm.
I love the quality of them and think they look really good too.
They have lots of different styles so you can find one that suits your fancy.
This is where my true nerd shines through. I wear this headlamp every night during my bedtime routine.
After sunset, I try to keep lights as dim as possible, and switch over to red lights to support a great circadian rhythm.
Wearing this headlamp on red mode–while brushing up, cleaning the kitchen, reading, journaling, etc.–helps me ease into sleep more effectively while still taking care of what needs doing.
Plus, if you like camping, like I do, it’s useful for all the “normal” purposes as well. 😂
I use this tape while I sleep to promote nasal breathing.
I know this might sound crazy, but hear me out…
Breathing through our nose is far superior to breathing through our mouths. Check out Optimal Breathing 101 on Heroic for the full story, but… the short version is that nasal breathing supports a whole host of positive benefits both physiologically and psychologically.
Note: Please do not attempt mouth taping without consulting your doctor. And definitely don’t do it if you have any breathing issues (or are experiencing obstructed nasal passages because of a cold, or any other reason). I am not a medical professional and this does not constitute medical advice. Try at your own risk.
My Favorite Work Products
1 – Heroic Premium
Before I worked at Heroic, it was BY FAR the #1 resource that had most changed my life. Not just in work, but in my health + relationships too. But I gotta say, the way I approach work has been forever changed for the better by what I’ve learned through Brian and Heroic.
I wrote an article over here about why Heroic Premium is my all-time favorite resource for personal development. Check that out for the full story.
You can try Heroic free for 30 days to see if you like it.
And once you join, check out the categories on Productivity, Focus, Purpose, Leadership, Habits, Peak Performance, Creativity, Conquering Procrastination, and Conquering Perfectionism if you’re looking to take your work performance to the next level.
2 – Heroic Coach
And as much as the broader Heroic wisdom library (that you get access to in the membership, above) changed my life, the Heroic Coach program was what REALLY took my day-to-day energy, productivity, confidence, habits, sleep, movement, and so many other things to the next level.
Half the people who go through Heroic Coach are (or want to be) in the business of helping others–as professional coaches, therapists, counselors, etc. The other half just want to be the best version of themselves in service to others–whether as a business leader, parent, entrepreneur, government leader, athlete, artist, musician, etc.
I’ve seen time and time again how powerful this program can be, and strongly encourage it to anyone into personal development who wants to make some big strides in energy + work + love in a single year.
This is my daily driver notebook. I love it.
Perfect size pages, easy to carry.
I get the expanded one so it lasts longer.
4 – A Standing Desk
Doesn’t matter which one you get, just get a standing desk.
If you’re working a desk job, and aren’t switching back and forth between sitting and standing during the day…your world is about to get SO much better!
I feel somewhere between 20% and 50% better in the day because I switch from sitting to standing a bunch of times vs. just sitting all day long.
This little guy helps elevate your laptop up off the desk to a higher + more ergonomic position.
It’s super compact and folds up easily for travel.
I used to use it on its own with a wireless keyboard + mouse (which is still great while traveling) but now I use it side-by-side with my external monitor.
This mouse keeps your hand in a more natural position while you’re working to keep your hand + wrist happier in the long run. I first learned about this type of vertical mouse from a colleague at my first job. At the time I thought they were crazy looking, but now I’ve grown to absolutely love it.
I used to have a different mouse that was similar, but this is by far the best vertical mouse I’ve tried.
7 – Timey 3
I absolutely love this little app. It’s a simple timer that sits in the upper menu of my mac every day.
At the beginning of each block of work, I start it up. Then, at the end of my work block, I pause it and make a note in my journal about how much focused work I just completed.
This is the easiest + most reliable way I’ve personally used to keep clear track of my time blocks throughout the day. Which helps me (a) honor my ultradian rhythms, (b) understand how long different tasks/projects take me, and (c) celebrate the quantity of focused attention I’ve brought to my work in a given day.
8 – Building a Second Brain (Online Course)
I’ve always been interested in learning systems and tools to make myself more productive and organized. Building a Second Brain is the best I’ve taken related to digital note-taking and personal knowledge management.
My system is far from perfect, but Tiago’s framework has helped me come a long way in gaining clarity and organization in my digital life to make me more creative and productive.
My Favorite Love Products
1 – The Truth in Dating Card Game by Susan Campbell
My wife and I used these conversation cards at the beginning of our relationship, and it rapidly accelerated our exploration of deeper, more meaningful topics that may have taken months or years (or decades?!) to come up organically.
If you’re dating, or are in a relationship, and want to deepen the conversations you’re having with your partner, I truly can’t recommend these highly enough.
(Look past the cheesy/outdated branding and website–these cards are seriously good!!)
2 – The Getting Real Card Game by Susan Campbell
This card deck is like the above, but for all relationships–not just romantic ones!
We like to break them out when with friends (and occasionally with family) to accelerate our arrival at more meaningful conversations. Equally highly recommended.
(We’ve gone through maybe seven different conversation card decks in the last couple years, and those two above are undoubtedly my favorite.)
3 – Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by John Gottman PHD, Julie Schwartz Gottman PHD, Doug Abrams, and Rachel Carlton Abrams, MD
This book is awesome.
Wise, well-researched, and extremely practical, it’s an exploration of eight different themes of successful relationships.
Each chapter goes through a different one, which includes some exercises, GREAT conversation starters, and more.
Similar to #1 above, this was a connection catalyst for my wife and I in the first 6 months or so of our relationship.
4 – A Year of Us: A Couples Journal: One Question a Day to Spark Fun and Meaningful Conversations by Alicia Muñoz LPC
Similar to the themes above, this book is a daily journal with 365 great questions.
The idea is that you and your partner connect over one of these questions, every day, for an entire year.
We didn’t use it every single day, but it’s become a multiple-times-a-week ritual–typically during dinner–that we really enjoyed.
5 – Marco Polo
This app has become a primary way that I stay in touch with my nuclear family.
I really love it.
It brings the life and energy of live video calls into an asynchronous format.
Basically, it’s like texting but exclusively with video messages. And it’s become my favorite way to connect with others. (I truly wish more of my friends used the app!)
That’s all for now!
I hope you get some value out of those recommendations above. If you do, I’d love to hear what you purchase + like!