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Smart Travel: The 10 Best Gadgets for Your Vacation

Smart Travel: The 10 Best Gadgets for Your Vacation

When you travel, it’s essential that you carry gadgets to make your trip go smoother. After all, if you didn’t have gadgets to entertain you, you’d probably have to settle for watching awful in-flight movies or listening to wailing infants. Here are a few gadgets that you shouldn’t travel without.

Over-the-Ear Headphones

Never, ever underestimate the value of an amazing pair of headphones. When you’re on the plane, it’s loud. Not just from the engines but also from the occasional annoying passenger that you just want to drown out.

A great pair of over-the-ear headphones will block out all most of the noise coming from the passengers around you  (although the engine may be too loud to drown out). At the very least, you’ll be able to put your headphones on and close your eyes and relax a bit. A pair of Bose’s AE2i Over-the-Ear headphones costs $179.95 and might be well worth the investment if you fly often.

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Portable Chargers for Emergencies

This isn’t 2007 and you shouldn’t have to wait to get to an outlet or USB port to charge your phone. The Innergie PocketCell, which costs $80, can usually hold enough energy to power a tablet halfway. The same amount of energy will also charge a smartphone — twice. Be sure to charge both the portable charger and your phone every night. Most functions will drain the smartphone battery at an alarming rate, but with the Innergie PocketCell, you can use your phone without worrying about it dying on you.

A Laptop

One of the most important things to have with you when you travel is a laptop. Whether or not you think you can achieve everything you want with a smartphone, it’s better to be safe than sorry. A newer model Macbook starts at $1,199, but they’re worth it. If you’re not comfortable with OSX, lucky for you OSX has a program built into it that will essentially allow your Macbook to run Windows.

A Wedge Touch Mouse

When using a laptop, there’s nothing worse than using a trackpad (or worse, a tiny nub), to navigate around. Do yourself a favor and buy yourself a portable wedge touch mouse. The portable wedge connects to your laptop or tablet via Bluetooth and functions as a normal mouse. You’re able to navigate the screen or use it to double-click on web links. The wedge, made by Microsoft, will cost you $70.00, a small price to pay for the ease and functionality it gives you when you travel.

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A Portable Wireless Router

It’s time to cut the cord from hotel internet. Priced at $99, the Airport Express, Apple’s wireless router, is the perfect solution. It serves as both a repeater, which extends the range of a Wi-Fi signal, or a wireless base station. Take the hotel’s ethernet cable and plug it into the box, then plug the box into an AC outlet, and you’re good to go. Don’t worry about incompatibility — while the Airport Express was designed with the Mac in mind, it’s completely compatible with a PC.

A Fully Charged Smartphone

Without a doubt, your smartphone is an indispensable vacation gadget because it can be used in all stages of the vacation process. You’ll download an app to get cheap tickets, listen to your music while you fly, jot down all of your notes in the built-in notepad app, and many more tasks. There’s even apps that are useful for overseas traveling, like translation apps, currency converters, and more.

Keep in mind, though, that these apps and features may use data. If you’re out of the cell network, you may end up paying a significant charge. If you go overseas, disable all cell service and set your phone to only operate when you’re connected to a Wi-Fi zone.

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A Kindle Paperwhite

A smartphone can do the trick, sure, but you’ll be straining your eyes trying to read a book. Instead, grab a Kindle Paperwhite. With the new screens that prevent glare, you’ll be able to read your favorite novels, regardless of whether you’re in ideal lighting conditions. Even better, you won’t have to worry about battery drain, because unlike the Kindle Fire, which is meant to be used primarily as a tablet, the Kindle’s battery is built to last for a long time since it is designed specifically to be an e-book reader.

An In-Car GPS

Sure, you can use the GPS on your phone, but it’ll destroy your battery. If you fly overseas, you’re out of luck, because you’re out of your mobile phone provider’s areas. If you have a TomTom GPS, though, you’ll be able to navigate the area without worrying about extra charges. These GPS units can run as low as $100, but you’ll get tons of use out of them. Just make sure to update it before you leave.

A DSLR Camera

Your phone or a simple point-and-shoot won’t capture the beauty of your trip. To completely capture the beauty of the moment, you’ll need either a high-end DSLR camera, preferably a Nikon or Canon with a large zoom lens. These aren’t cheap — they’ll set you back well over $500, and that’s just for the base camera. You may want to add additional lenses, carrying cases, memory cards, or even a tripod. If you buy one that has Wi-Fi connectivity, you can send photographs to your phone or computer. You can also use your smartphone to capture shots remotely, which could make for some great landscape shots.

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A Portable Gaming System

Regardless of where you go, it’s inevitable that you’ll get bored. For situations like this, turn to games. Simple smartphone games are fine to waste a few minutes, but you’ll burn through battery quickly. In times like these, you need a true portable gaming system. You really have two options here: The Nintendo 3DS XL or the Playstation Vita.

Each system offers advantages over the other, from exclusive games to battery life. The only way to choose which one is right for you is to do a bit of research and see which one offers the most benefit to you. Both systems can connect online, so if you’re bored of playing by yourself, you can quickly hop online and play against opponents worldwide. The systems can range anywhere from $199 to $250. If you choose to go with the new Nintendo 2DS, Nintendo’s system that has all of the features of the 3DS but doesn’t display in 3D, you’re only going to spend $129.

Regardless of where your travels take you, these gadgets will assist you in your journey in one way or another. What’s your go-to gadget for a long travel?

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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