Lifestyle

5 Fun Desk Accessories Every Workaholic Needs

As a self-employed content creator, my days can sometimes feel long. Most of my time is spent sitting at a desk and staring at a monitor. While that's not necessarily a bad thing, there are those moments where I could use a pick-me-up. This is often achieved by focusing on a product or two that I choose to place on my desk.

The following are five items that I personally own and use myself. Perhaps you can use them to introduce some creativity into your daily workflow.

Google Home

Currently selling for $129, the Google Home is Google's answer to Amazon's Echo — often referred to as Alexa. The virtual home assistant uses Google to reference all kinds of information, making it quite useful on a whim. If research is your thing, then this definitely gives it the upper hand over the Echo.

Despite its small size, the Google Home puts out some decent audio. The highs and lows all sound great. And the bass? It's surprisingly impressive.

You can even customize the Google Home by purchasing additional bases. They are available in six varieties: Fabric/Mango, Fabric/Marine, Fabric/Violet, Metal/Carbon, Metal/Copper, and Metal/Snow


Divoom Aurabox Smart LED Speaker

If you're looking to add a bit of fun to your desk, then you are going to love the Aurabox Smart LED Speaker from Divoom. Being marketed as the world's first pixel art speaker, I didn't exactly buy this to play music on. Sure, that's great for some users, but I bought it for one reason...

Lights! When paired with an iOS or Android device, the Aurabox can display user-generated patterns and animations — as well as a few that are pre-programmed out of the box. It can also display social media notifications for Twitter and Facebook.

You can buy the Aurabox on Amazon for just $39. For me, it was easily worth the price. But then again, I'm a sucker for anything that uses LEDs.


Fake Plant

What better way to introduce some color into your setup than buy a fake plant? Yes, I'm being serious. This seems to be a trend nowadays, and I can easily see why.

First off, displaying a fake plant creates a nice accent — something that stands out from everything else. It provides balance. Because who doesn't enjoy a bit of color?

And secondly, you don't have to water it! As silly as that may sound, it's my favorite part about owning a fake plant. There's no responsibility involved whatsoever. Set the plant on your desk and just forget about it. I mean, you can water it if you want, but I don't suggest doing that.


Beverage Coasters

If you're like me, then you absolutely need some kind of beverage by your side while you work. For me, it's usually coffee. But of course, I'm not going to risk damaging my desk with spilled liquids. That's why I use a coaster.

Currently, I'm using a set of floppy disk coasters. They're affordable and they do their job. Oh, and they're geeky as hell. If floppy disks aren't your thing, there are so many more options available. Check out a few sets below that might grab your interest:

Vinyl Record Coasters | Super Mario Bros. Coasters | Elements Glowing Coasters


LED Strip Light Kit

If there is one way to ultimately improve the overall look of your desk, it would be to install an LED lighting kit. Typically sold as a reel of LEDs that is waterproof and flexible, you can cut the strip and adjust it to your liking. This is especially useful when working with desks of different sizes.

Having owned several LED kits over the years, my newest one is from OxyLED. I bought it for just $15. It's easily worth every penny. The kit also includes a remote, allowing you to change the colors of the LEDs and set up custom presets.


It's time to get creative! If you have a photo of your desk that you'd like to share with the community, simply comment below with a link. I'm always up for discovering new ideas to add to one of my many setups.

Why I Believe the iPad is Still Relevant

Yesterday I published a video about one of my favorite devices to ever exist — the iPad. Forever revolutionizing the tablet market, the iPad unarguably changed the game. While it hasn't made quite the impact like the iPhone has been doing for nearly the past ten years, it's difficult to ignore the iPad and how far its come since launch in 2010.

But is the iPad still relevant today? Considering how large the displays on our phones have become, that's a valid question. It also doesn't help that tablet sales have been on a decline lately. So, what's the deal?

To answer my own question, yes — I do believe the iPad is still relevant. And you know what? If the iPad Pro is anything to go by, the iPad brand as a whole is not going anywhere any time soon. Allow me to explain.

Tablets are not phones

Let's get the obvious out of the way... Tablets and phones? They're not the same thing. Sure, the iPad may seem like an oversized iPhone, but that one characteristic alone enables users to do things on a much grander scale. In other words, a larger display means more possibilities.

This especially applies to any app that encourages creativity or productivity. For example, try composing a Pages document on your iPhone. The convenience is certainly there, but when you attempt the same task on your iPad, you immediately notice the difference.

Tablets and phones have a nice way of complementing one another, but they each deserve to stand on their own.

Businesses love the iPad

This is something I regret not mentioning in my video, but I'm glad viewer Ryan Wells brought it up. He's absolutely right, by the way. Businesses do love the iPad, particularly in retail. It's a lot easier to present information to a customer on a tablet than it is on a notebook, primarily thanks to its lightweight and portable design.

Retail is just one example of how businesses can use tablets to their advantage. The iPad is widely used in medical facilities for inputting patient data, photographers have the opportunity to conveniently showcase their portfolio to potential clients, and restaurants are even using it to present what's on the menu.

For the average consumer, it just works

One of the best things about the iPad is that it works exactly as intended. Unlike traditional computers, using an iPad makes sense to just about everyone. You typically don't have to worry about software updates, security is pretty tight, and there's an app for almost every task at hand. I say 'almost' for a reason.

We are not at the point yet where tablets can completely replace the need for notebooks, but for the average user, the iPad does enough.

And finally, the iPad Pro could be huge

Apple's take on the professional side of the tablet market began with the iPad Pro in September 2015. While it wasn't anything radically different from what we were already used to, it did introduce two new devices that are worth paying attention to — the Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil. Combine these accessories with multitasking in iOS, and you've got yourself a different kind of iPad.

Considering all the Facebook advertising that Apple has been doing lately for the iPad Pro, I'm thinking this is the beginning of something huge. It gives me confidence in saying that Apple has a plan in the works. What that plan is, we'll have to wait and see. Perhaps we'll see something new at WWDC 2017.

I can only imagine what the iPad Pro will turn into just a few years from now. Anyone have a time machine I can borrow?

Why Blogging is Not Dead

Remember the early days of the Internet when blogging was all the rage? Everybody seemed to have something to say, and the need to share it with the world. Most people, including myself, seemed to enjoy platforms like Blogger for posting occasional updates — while those who enjoyed writing daily turned to websites such as LiveJournal.

And then YouTube happened. Not a day goes by that I don't think about the giant video platform, and for good reason. It has quite literally changed the way we're able to create and share video content. I mean, c'mon — look at me. I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for YouTube.

What can I say? I'm incredibly grateful for what YouTube has brought into my life. But there's something very important that most people seem to overlook nowadays. The Internet doesn't stop at YouTube. There's actually so much more to enjoy. You just need to know where to look.

Besides video, what else is there?

Let's talk about blogging — which, in my opinion, is just as effective as any video platform currently available. Sure, reading something may not be as exciting as watching a video, but that doesn't change whether the content is good or not. It's simply an alternative way of consuming said content. And besides, reading is good for the mind.

Okay, I'll admit... I rarely open a book. However, if I come across something online that I find interesting, then I'm going to read it — whether it be an article or blog post. This especially applies to information that has to do with anything entrepreneurship related, such as running your own business.

Simply put, a good blog comes down to sharing quality content that can help pique readers' interests. And as long as people continue to crave good content (which they always will), then blogging as we know it will be around for quite some time.

So, bloggers, you have nothing to worry about.

What to blog about

If you are new to blogging, you might be wondering where to begin. This can vary depending on whether you have existing content on other platforms. If you do, then it's simple. Your blog can be an extension of what you already know, but in textual form.

Let's use YouTube as an example. It's an incredible platform that enables creators to upload videos about any topic they desire. But why stop there? Take your video content and apply it to your blog. Not only can you easily embed videos on any blogging platform nowadays, but you can also add textual content whenever you feel the need to.

In a way, blogging is limitless. A blog post is never truly complete until you say it is. Make it your own. 

Where to blog

Choosing a reliable platform to use as your blog is easy, but that doesn't mean you should stick to the first one you come across. Your choice can also depend on whether you're willing to pay a small fee. Most new bloggers tend to prefer free, so don't be afraid to go that route in the beginning.

However, I do recommend that you choose a platform that seems like it's going to be around for a while. My two favorites are Squarespace (what you're seeing now) and WordPress. Each platform has its own unique take on blogging, and content management in general.

If spending money is something you don't want to do, then definitely go the WordPress route. It's completely free to use and open-source. This means that the CMS (Content Management System) is free to the public, but it can also be openly modified at any given moment — hence why you're likely to see quite a number of software updates over time.

While WordPress may be free to use, you'll want to look into purchasing yourself some affordable web hosting. For my WordPress websites, I use Bluehost. They do require that you pay upfront for an annual plan, but consider this a form of motivation to keep going with your project.

On the other side of the spectrum is Squarespace. It's a much more premium and controlled platform, but it's also the web host — meaning it does both. If you prefer to focus on your content and not worry about whether a plug-in update is going to break your site, then Squarespace is probably your best bet. 

Either way you look at it, you simply cannot go wrong. Squarespace and WordPress both offer an awesome experience. And if for whatever reason you choose to switch platforms at a later date, that will not be a problem. Each platform offers the ability to export your site's blog content and import it into the other.

And finally, the biggest question of them all

What if you don't already have an audience? Well, I could lie to you and say creating a blog is guaranteed to bring in traffic — but that's not realistic. Sure, you could try, but it's going to be really difficult with nothing else to fall back on.

If you're in the situation of having no one to read your blog, then my best advice is to start elsewhere. It's far easier to build an audience on a platform like YouTube that has millions of potential viewers than it is with a blog with zero dedicated readers. And you know what? There's nothing wrong with that, whatsoever. Everybody has to start somewhere. 

You will always have the opportunity to start a blog at some point. But until then, it's best to concentrate on creating the best content possible and building an audience in the process. And then from there, you can begin directing your new audience to other content mediums that you find yourself involved in — such as your future blog.

Just remember, success doesn't happen overnight. The best things in life take time.