I’ve run across a few things over the past couple years that have made my life easier, more efficient, and/or generally more enjoyable. Today, I’m passing along these things to you. I hope they improve your life as well. You have very likely heard of some or all of these things; but I’m posting the list anyhow, because I’ve been surprised by how many people in real-life conversations have not heard of many of these items. Oh, and none of these are paid endorsements. I don’t do those.

1. When signing and dating documents this year, make sure to write out the full date.

For example, don’t write 01/25/20. Write 01/25/2020. If you write the former, it’s too easy for someone to backdate your signature to, say, 01/25/2018.

2. Amarillo friends: subscribe to Jason Boyett’s Hey Amarillo Podcast.

He paints a great picture of our city and the people who make it great. Click here to subscribe.

3. Finish 2020 calendar.

It’s simple, and that’s why I like it. Each day that I accomplish my checklist of daily goals, I put a nice, big, soul-satisfying red X on the day. Order one here: https://www.neuyear.net/products/finish-year

4. Iced caramel latte.

You guys. In the past couple years I’ve discovered this magical stuff called “coffee.” It’s amazing. When combined with cream and sugar, it’s even better. Who knew?

5. Slickdeals.net.

I visit this website before all big purchases. Slickdeals is a crowd-sourced site that scours the internet and physical world for the best available discounts on almost any item you can think of. Need to buy something? Search slickdeals.net for the best available deals before you buy.

Running has become a great stress-reliever for me. My next three recommendations are for my fellow runners out there.

6. Hoka One One shoes.

My dad introduced me to Hoka shoes. I’ve reached this horrible age where I worry about things like my knees, back, and longevity. Hoka shoes are great for all those things. I have some Bondis, Arahis, and Cliftons. They look kinda funny…like the footwear of an older, heftier fella…but my knees feel better after running in them than after running in any other shoes I’ve worn (including Brooks and Adidas).

7. Nike Vaporfly 4% and Vaporfly Next% Shoes.

I was skeptical at first. Now though, it’s hard for me to run in any other shoes. These things are incredible. I’m about 15 seconds per mile faster in these shoes than my others. Worth noting: Despite my newfound love of these shoes, I still run mostly in my aforementioned Hokas…because these Nikes do have a couple significant downsides. 1) They aren’t terribly durable; and, 2) they’re very pricey…so watch for sales.

8. Balega Hidden Comfort socks.

These are the best running socks out there. Period.

Ok, back to my general recommendations for you non-runners out there.

9. Use Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, etc. for memory assistance.

“Hey Siri, remind me to grab toothpaste next time I go to Walmart.”
“Hey Alexa, remind me to call Joe tomorrow at 1pm.”
“Hey Alexa, add butter to my shopping list.”
Super helpful.

10. Thompson Tees.

This will be gross to many of you, but I don’t care. I love these shirts so much that they’ve earned their spot on this list. There are few things I hate worse in life than wearing a nice blue dress shirt, looking down toward the end of a long day, and noticing that my armpits have decided to replace my dignity with dark blue wet circles. Thompson Tees undershirts solved that problem. No more risk of pit stains. Men: you’ll be able to wear blue dress shirts again. Thank me later. Here’s the site: https://thompsontee.com/

11. Church.

According to a 2018 study by Cigna, loneliness in America has reached epic proportions. Read a summary of the jaw-dropping findings here: https://www.cigna.com/assets/docs/newsroom/loneliness-survey-2018-updated-fact-sheet.pdf. 2 in 5 Americans sometimes or always feel that their relationships are not meaningful. 20% of people rarely or never feel close to people. God designed the church to eliminate this problem of loneliness and isolation. I’ll say this also: if you’re regularly attending a church and still feel consistently alone, something is broken. Try something else. Life’s too short to feel alone. If you haven’t the slightest clue where to start and you live in the Amarillo area, contact me. I would love to help you plug in somewhere.

12. Handheld Oregon Trail Game.

My sister bought me this for Christmas. Any day in grade school that we got to play Oregon Trail was the best day. Now, every day can be the best day. It’s never been so fun to get dysentery. Order one here: https://www.amazon.com/The-Oregon-Trail-Handheld-Game/dp/B07B61BFSW

13. The GoodRx app.

Download here: https://www.goodrx.com/mobile. The new normal for our family involves quite a lot of prescription medications. We’ve already saved a small fortune using this app. You can use it to search for the lowest prices in your area for a particular medication. Additionally, the app offers deep discounts on a wide variety of prescriptions. Try it out.

14. AirPods.

I know, I know. Everyone knows about AirPods. However, they make my list because some of you are probably still on the fence. Are they really worth the money? I was on the fence for a long time before finally trying them out. I thought it was stupid that anyone would ever spend more than $100 on earbuds. Apple changed my mind, and I no longer go anywhere without them. They’re that good. In related news…if you have the new “pro” version, I’d love to hear what you think. I’m so happy with the old version that I’m hesitant to splurge on the new ones. Are they worth it?

I love to read. A lot. The last 6 recommendations on my list are some of my favorite recently released books.

15. Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David Blight.

I’m ashamed to say that, prior to reading this book, my knowledge of Frederick Douglass was limited to what I learned about him in high school history and his cameo appearances in other biographies I’ve read. His story is as inspiring as it is eye-opening. The book paints a good (albeit sobering) picture of the America Frederick Douglass grew up in. It’s the best biography I’ve read in the past year. Order here: https://www.amazon.com/Frederick-Douglass-David-W-Blight/dp/1416590323

16. Release by Candy Gibbs.

Candy has a unique gift for inspiring parents to a life of better parenting…a life of more meaningful relationships with their kids…a life where amazing relationships with their teenagers is the norm rather than the anomaly. This book is aimed at you mommas out there, but dads will find it motivating as well. Feel like you’re fighting a losing battle raising kids in this messy world of ours? Read this book. Order here: https://shop.candygibbs.com/products/release

17. Finish by Jon Acuff.

This is the book all goal-setters need. Seeing as how, statistically speaking, most of us have already failed at our New Year’s Resolutions, this is the perfect book for the end of January. Learn how to finish the stuff you start…and finish those things well. Order here: https://www.amazon.com/Finish-Give-Yourself-Gift-Done/dp/0525537317/

18. Letters to the Church by Francis Chan.

I have a love/hate relationship with Francis Chan. He always makes me feel like a terrible person…in the best possible way. In this book, Chan articulates many internal struggles I’ve had with the modern American church. It is very well done. It’s a great book for discussion. In fact, if you’d like to discuss it after reading it, feel free to contact me and we can grab coffee sometime. Order here: https://www.amazon.com/Letters-Church-Francis-Chan/dp/0830776583

19. The 1-Page Marketing Plan by Allan Dib.

I’ve taken a ton of marketing courses–both at the undergraduate level and graduate level. I’ve read at least a dozen marketing books. That’s how I know this for certain: I’m not good at marketing. It’s not my thing. This book is the best synopsis of marketing I’ve run across. It’s packed full of useful information: whether you’re a gifted marketer…or marketing-challenged like myself. Order here: https://www.amazon.com/1-Page-Marketing-Plan-Customers-Money/dp/1941142990

20. Struggle Bus: The Van. The Myth. The Legend. by yours truly.

Last–and certainly very least–of my recommendations for 2020 is a shameless plug for my new book. You saw this coming, didn’t you? Order here: https://www.amazon.com/Struggle-Bus-Van-Myth-Legend/dp/1632963922