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Colin’s “Best of 2017”: Books / Apps / Tools & Tricks

Colin’s “Best of 2017”: Books / Apps / Tools & Tricks

Here we are again...the end of one year and the beginning of a new one! 

As we prepare to turn the corner, here are some of the books, apps, and other tools & tricks that I have found most useful this year in keeping myself fit, focused, and efficient. 

I hope you get as much out of these as I have!!
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The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage 

No this is not the 5 seconds before you can pick something up off the floor! This is, however, the simplest concept you can use to become more effective in your life and push past your own mental blocks. 

In this book, Mel Robbins will not only share this simple trick, but also give you a whole lot more on why people struggle to take action even when we almost always know what we need to do to create the lives we want and what you can do to get past those limitations.

Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age

We all know that technology plays a huge role in our lives. And in a lot of ways, this has been a positive. But perhaps the biggest downside of technology is the ever increasing level of isolation that we all feel. 

In this book, Sherry Turkle does a great job of explaining what kinds of consequences we start to see when our phones start taking over our lives and what we can do to “reclaim” our conversations and our relationships.

Better Than Before

This is the book that I would have written if Gretchen Rubin had not already done such a great job. Your life is the exact result of your habits, so if you want something to change, you have to change your habits. 

The problem...habits are hard to change! The reason I love this book is because Gretchen does a great job of explaining all the ways that you can approach habit change. 

There is not just one way to get a habit to stick (or get rid of an old habit) and this will open your eyes to all the way to can approach this tricky, but powerful topic!

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Talk about a GAME CHANGER! Blinkist is amazing for anyone that has a stack of “must read” books that they will never actually get to. 

Like Cliff Notes, it takes books and condenses them into 15-30 minutes overviews. 

Unlike Cliff Notes (and why this is way better), blinkist does a great job of capturing the essence of the book, including examples, action steps, and insights that help you to understand the big takeaways. 

While there are still a lot of books that are best read in full, if there is a book that you have been “meaning” to read for the last year (decade?), blinkist is the way to go. 


If you are like me, no matter how often you hear that meditation is the best thing since sliced bread, you just cannot get into it. 

That is why I am such a big fan of I can actually meditate!! This may not work for everyone, but having someone to guide me through the process has been incredibly helpful.

In addition, you will also learn many of the principles behind meditation that will allow you to grow your skill. 


Have a habit you want to add into your life? Productive makes it simple. You set the habit, the time of day you want the reminder and then it will pop up everyday to keep you on track. 

The key to this (and any habit building) is that you have to keep it simple. Don’t try to add in 10 new habits. One or two is PLENTY. But it can be really great to have that daily reminder to get it done!

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Tools & Tricks:


If you spend most of your day on a computer, this is a must. RescueTime will track where you are spending your computer time (and how much time you are actually on it) and give you a report every week letting you know how efficient you were. 

This can be great if you feel like you “never get anything done.” You probably don’t if you keep getting distracted by email, messaging, facebook, shopping, etc. 

Set Your Minimum Allowable Dosage

One trick that I have really focused on this year is establishing “minimums” in my life. This means that in my exercise, sleep, and other areas, I have a rule that I do not break. 

For example, with exercise, I try to workout 5x/week. But, as we all know, life can get in the way sometimes, so I am not able to do my “planned” workout. 

But that does not mean that I can’t do anything. So, I set a minimum workout...meaning that even if I cannot complete my planned routine I will AT LEAST do 20 squats and 10 push ups. 

Why? Because the habit is more important than the work. It is when I miss it completely that I end up falling off track. If I at least do something, then it is easier to make sure I get in my normal workout the next time. 


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