I love spending money on things that improve my quality of life, health, and productivity.
In this article, I list a bunch of these things. Maybe you’ll benefit from them too.
The benefits of strength training—for longevity, virility, and general wellbeing are unparalleled.
I’ve been going to the gym for almost a decade now. As the pandemic hit, and lockdowns happened, I realized that buying a home gym at some point was probably a good idea.
November of 2021 I built one out in my garage. It’s been a great decision for the following reasons:
- No commute to gym (save 20 mins per day)
- Don’t have to wait for racks/machines
- Can workout with no shirt on (insert: “guys for no reason” meme)
There are things I miss about going to an actual gym like the motivation you get from being around other people. And the ritual of driving there. But I’m glad I built a home gym.
Here’s my setup as of now:
- Force USA MyRack with Lat Pulldown/Cable Pulley attachment
- 180kg worth of weight plates (a mix of bumpers and irons)
- Force USA Olympic Barbell
- Resistance Band System
- Gym Mats to protect concrete in garage (I just got a bunch of 1cm thick ones from the NZ equivalent of Home Depot)
- Landmine Base/Attachment
I also have a Concept2 Rower which I’ll probably sell because I don’t use it enough.
Note: As good as the home gym is, I’ll probably sell it or keep it in storage as I plan to travel this year (and it’s difficult to travel with 400kg of gear—airlines don’t like it).
California King Bed + Mattress
I love my wife, and I also love space when I’m sleeping.
Upgrading from a queen bed to california king has been a game changer. My quality of sleep is much better, I wake up less, and there’s much more space.
It is an extra cost. It’s harder to find linen, etc. But I’m always eager to invest in improving my sleep (it’s what I spent 1/3rd of my time doing, so I want it to be good).
I use the Ecosa Bed Base and Ecosa Mattress.
Every place I’ve lived in has had zero air conditioning in the bedroom. This is fine in winter, but come summer time my sleep quality declines significantly. I overheat.
Using the Ooler has fixed that. It’s like a reverse-electric blanket, and can cool down your bed to whatever temperature you like.
I’ve scheduled it to turn on an hour before I go to bed so it gets cold enough.
Again, it’s not cheap, but I’m sleeping much better because of it. Positive ROI.
I’m in two minds about tracking health metrics like sleep.
For some people, it adds unnecessary stress and anxiety. They see that they haven’t slept well, and they convince themselves they’re more tired than they actually are.
Ultimately, you should judge the quality of your sleep off how you feel on a day to day basis.
With that said, I’ve used the Oura Ring for a few years and found it helpful in improving my sleep. I know that certain things (like alcohol—even if it’s one or two drinks) will significantly affect my sleep, and I try to avoid them now.
You sleep better in pitch blackness.
Blackout curtains are ideal, but if you can’t use them (like in my case—the place I’m renting only has blinds), a sleep mask is a must IMO.
I use the Manta Sleep Mask. It’s great.
I’ve taped my mouth while sleeping for the past month, and there’s definitely been an improvement.
My allergies have disappeared. I wake up with more energy. I fall asleep faster.
I just use standard papery surgical tape. I don’t know which brand. My wife bought it. You don’t need any fancy specific sleep tape. Just use whatever’s cheap.
I try not to over-do it here, but I take the following (not health advice):
- Vitamin D3 (I’ll take 5,000 IUs on days where I know I won’t get sun—maybe 3x per week)
- Magnesium (daily)
- Zinc (daily)
- K2 (3-4x week)
If accessible, it’s worth doing a full profile to see if you’re deficient in anything.
Software: Craft + Reminders + Fantastical
This is my entire productivity setup (minus Notion for a few business/team things).
Apple Reminders isn’t paid, the others are (if you want the premium versions).
Macbook M1 Pro 16”
Speaks for itself.
Chose the 16” option and it was the right decision. I don’t think I could go back to a 13” again. Yes, it’s heavier. Just get stronger. No big deal.
Logitech Brio Webcam
I look better on Zoom meetings.
Positive ROI because people like me better?
In all seriousness, for a few hundred $ you can have a much better image on video calls, podcasts, and anything else you don’t want to use a DSLR for.
Samsung Odyssey G9
I was hesitant to buy this because it’s so damn expensive, but it’s been one of the best purchases I’ve made for work and productivity in the last few years.
The screen is massive. It is 49”—very wide.
But the ability to have 3 windows open side by side is incredible.
I don’t regret it one bit. You get used to the curve and the width.
Logitech MX Keys + MX Mouse
A good upgrade from the stock mac keyboard + mouse.
The ability to quickly switch between devices, the comfort of the mouse… it’s just better.
Herman Miller Aeron Chair
Yes, it’s a disgusting amount of money to spend on a chair.
But if you’re like me and spend 8+ hours a day in front of the computer, it’s worth the investment.
It’s also a “buy it for life” thing. $1200 US for a chair is a lot of money upfront, but if you use it for 10 years it’s $120 per year. Not bad for less back problems and better productivity.
Autonomous Standing Desk
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t use the “standing” feature of my standing desk as much as I should.
But when I had a manual standing desk, I hardly ever stood up. Call me lazy, but there’s a decent amount of friction when you have to wind the thing up and down.
Upgrading to an electric desk has removed that friction. That, and it’s a beautiful looking desk. Aesthetics are important. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Bose QuietComfort II
I bought these a few years ago when I had a few long haul flights scheduled and I’d happily pay 3x the price for them.
They have decent noise-cancelling (great for productivity if you’re in a shared office or WFH with family around). They’re comfortable. They sound good.
There we go. A bunch of items that have significantly improved my productivity, health and quality of life.
I’ll add to this list if I find anything else.