Friday, September 26, 2014

The Tile GPS Tracker - Find Your Keys!


When is the last time you misplaced your keys or wallet? It may have happened this AM or maybe it doesn't have too frequently. Regardless of how many times you lose your belongings, it's always alleviating to quickly relocate them.

In an effort to help keys and belongings be rightfully returned to their owners, Tile, a GPS tracking device, has launched new Bluetooth GPS device to help users locate their belongings. Launched from a Kickstarter campaign last fall, Tile started shipping its device to early founders this summer. I received mine a a month ago and have enjoyed testing it out.

From the past month's experience, here is my initial feedback:

Pros:
  • Easy to Set-Up: I was able to sync the Title to my phone in a matter for a few minutes.  
  • Connect Multiple Tiles: Users are able to connect up to 8 Tiles to their devices.
  • Seamless Application Interface: The iOS application's interface is clean and easy to navigate. 
  • Helpful: I did use Tile once to locate my keys, which were in my front door.

Cons: 
  • Novelty: Although, I did user the application once to locate my keys, the other two times I used the application was to demonstrate how it worked.  
  • Size: Although the size is slightly larger than a quarter, it's still fairly large and cannot fit comfortably in other personal items, such as a wallet.  
  • Volume: The alarm sound of the keys is still fairly quiet, which requires users to be close by when the keys are in locate mode. 
  • Lifespan: This is my largest complaint, as the Tile is only guaranteed to last one year. It may be part of Tile's business model to encourage users to repurchase each year. However, if I only use the functionaly once or twice during the year, I may not renew. If electronic car keys are able to work for 8-10 years without replacing the batery, the same technology should work be integrated into the Tile to increase the product's life cycle.
  • Not Waterproof: If you accidentally wash your jeans and your Tile is in your pants, you're out of luck!

If you are interested in checking out the Tile for yourself, get yours here.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Your Morning Routine

Every year, various periodicals and magazines publish articles about successful people's morning routines. The articles generally highlight a mixture of a healthy breakfast, checking late breaking news or mediation and/or exercise, including yoga, running or swimming.

Through the titles, the articles inadvertently imply that successful people wake up early. I'm sure there are countless successful people who either wake up later or don't even wake up in the morning, because they are either night owls or just prefer it. However for the most of us who work a 40-60 hour/week job, it's typically for us to not have a morning routine.

As our morning lives are ofter intertwined with preparing lunch, cooking breakfast, completing the dishes, sorting through the laundry, checking email, sending the children off to school, showering, sneaking in a game of Candy Crush, or finding the perfect outfit for the day, it can be difficult to have a regular morning routine.

Lately, as I've been trying to cherish the earliness of the morning hour and not just rush off to work, I've found the easiest way to add a morning routine is to take the few minutes when the coffee pot is brewing. I turn on the pot and use these 5-8 minutes as "me" time and mentally prepare myself for the day; by stretching and focusing on the day ahead. I remove myself from electronic distractions, such as TV, cell phones and the radio and completely focus on the day ahead as I stretch out my body and awaken to the world around me. Since I'm an early riser, there is typically no one else up on my street and I'm able to enjoy the peacefulness of the neighborhood. 

5-8 minutes may not sound like a lot of time, but it's a short enough period of time to easily integrate into your life, yet long enough to get a good boost of personal reflection to help power you through the day.

Tips to help find "Me" time: 
  • It can take 60 days to develop a habit. At first, It may be challenging to remind yourself to take "me" time at first. However, using the time it takes for your coffee to brew is a good reminder. If you don't brew coffee in the morning, use the time that it takes for your tea to get ready or simply just pause and reflect for 5 minutes.  
 
  • Unplug, remember we already spend on average 11 hours a day with digital media. If you can't pull yourself away from your iPhone in the AM, check out the application, "CALM." It has short 5-10 minute guided meditations and nature sounds to "add a sanctuary in your pocket." 

  • It can wait. The dishes, laundry and urgent emails will still be there in 5-8 minutes; it's okay to put them on hold and wait until you get your day started. 

 What's your morning routine? Leave a comment and share any helpful tips below. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Cell Phone Roulette

Americans spend 11 hours A Day with Electronic Media, Source Mashable

According to a recent Nielsen study, the average American spends 11 hours a day with electronic media. Let's pause at that statistic for a moment! It's almost a 1/2 a day of our lives that we spend checking email, sending texts, browsing Facebook or watching TV.

Now this statistic may not hold true for you, but think about it for a moment. How much of your day do you spend just on your smartphone?

In today's digital era of hyper connectivity, the need to stay connected or entertained descends so far our lives that can impact the time we spend developing and maintaining real life relationships. Often the need to capture the perfect moment to post on Instagram or Facebook, can distract from the perfect moment that we are spending with our friends and family.

In 2014, it's rare to spend 1 hour with a group of friends, where one person hasn't snapped a picture for Snapchat, responded to an email, sent out a group text or checked for a sports update. The need to check the phone is so pervasive that it has become second nature in group social settings, including time at the beach or eating out at a restaurant.

The next time you are at a restaurant with a group of friends, I challenge you to play Cell Phone Roulette, where each of you places their phone in the center of the table. If one person reaches for a phone and checks it during the meal, then he or she pays the entire bill. If the group makes it through the meal without checking or reaching for their phone, then group equally splits the meal.

I tried it with a group of friends over the weekend. The first time we were trying to cohere each to look at each others phones, however by the second, third and fourth time, we were engaging in deep conversation, making eye contact the entire meal and staying unnplugged. We may have missed a few posts on Instagram, but the conversation and relationship building far outweighed any missed calls, texts or social media likes.

Now, it's your turn to give it a try!