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Upgrade your life OS

Here are 16 ‘gadgets’ that will make you successful in 2019


By Jay Michael Jaboneta

I have been studying human nature and technology as far back as I can remember and it is time we stretch the definition of a gadget as we enter a new year.

These days we are swamped with too many choices in terms of computing devices from desktop computers to laptops to mobile phones, and everything else in between.

There’s also a plethora of choices for computer programs, and web, social and mobile applications. And with the emergence of immersive technologies such as Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Mixed Reality—we’re going to see more programs and applications for work, business, gaming, and entertainment, among many others.


But what about you and me?

Our computing devices’ hardware and software systems get updated at least once a year and our smartphone applications weekly. But why don’t we update or even upgrade our own systems for living every year as well?

For the coming year, resolve to upgrade and not just update your internal operating system—this is the living architecture that you use to succeed in the world and it’s important that you’re growing every year, too.

In his groundbreaking book, Deep Work, Cal Newport outlines some ways on how we can do more and, with hope, achieve more in life.

According to his research, there are three kinds of people who will survive and prosper in the coming age:

  • Owners of capital and those who have access to it
  • Those who can work with intelligent machines and technology
  • And superstars in their field of work

Most of us fall in the third category and so we need to develop two key skill sets: the ability to quickly master hard things and the ability to produce at an elite level, in terms of both quality and speed.

The new law of productivity can be simplified into:

High-Quality Work Produced = (Time Spent) x (Intensity of Focus)


For the coming year, resolve to upgrade and not just update your internal operating system—this is the living architecture that you use to succeed in the world and it’s important that you’re growing every year, too.

Deep work is about working smarter, not harder

To succeed, we need to learn how to distinguish between deep work and shallow work, embrace rest time, and limit the time we spend on social media.

So how do we go about achieving this?


  • Choose Your Deep Work Philosophy – involves creating the system to do deep work, decide how you can create a routine everyday to produce or create (content, art, code, etc.), the focus is on creation not consumption
  • Make Deep Work a Habit – figure out the best environment or working style that allows you to do deep work (where, time duration, how, and support system)
  • Execute Like a Business – knowing what to do and how to do it are two very different things. To effectively do more, focus on the wildly important, build behaviors that make you successful, keep a compelling scoreboard, and create a system for accountability
  • Remove Distractions – constant task switching lessens our capacity to focus so remove distractions like notifications while doing deep work
  • Use Downtime to Enhance Deep Work Efforts – we can be fully focused for only about four hours a day. Long stretches of intense concentration should be balanced with quality rest. Rest is something that everyone does. But mastering the skill of rest can transform your life and make you more productive

It is my belief that it is time we adopt some of the systems that work for our tools and gadgets, and apply it in our own lives.

Through this lens, I bring you this coming year’s list of “gadgets”:

Operating System (OS) and Software (Spirit and Mind)

OS refers to updates and upgrade to our understanding of the world, our environment, and how we interact with others and the planet. Frequency: At least once a year.

Software refers to updates and upgrades on specific areas of our lives. Frequency: As needed.

Training & Growth

  1. We live in a new age and coding has become an essential skill. They’re now teaching it in grade school, too.

Recommendations: iOS development by PowerMacCenter, Android programming from Google

  1. Leadership Development and Entrepreneurship. Pursue personal and professional growth not only through your employer but also through your own efforts. Entrepreneurship is a key skill that even employees should now learn.

Recommendations: Courses at DTI’s QBO Hub, explore online courses at Udemy, Coursera, and Khan Academy

  1. Spiritual. Whatever your religion is, we are spiritual beings and require sustenance and growth in this area.

Recommendations: Visit your local church or pastor.


Applications and Games

  1. Music. Music helps improve our mental state and can be inspirational.

Recommendations: Subscribe to Spotify or Apple Music

  1. Downtime is critical to working smarter. We need the mind to be entertained and relaxed. Make sure to watch not just funny videos but also those that teach something.

Recommendations: Subscribe to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or DisneyLife


  1. Deep Work by Cal Newport. Cal Newport illustrates the skills that we need to develop to win in the 21st
  2. It Doesn’t Need To Be Crazy At Work by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried. I never thought a dream workplace can be created but these “business rebels” seem to have shown a way to build just that, a model that maximizes and sustains its workforce and the planet.


  1. Vacation time. Rest recharges us and allows us to gain new perspectives. It can be a space to unwind, read, and recover.

Recommendations: Hit the beach, fly to an ASEAN country (visa free)

  1. Arts and culture. New experiences give us fresh insights and might enlighten us of new possibilities.

Recommendations: Experience the beauty of Banaue Rice Terraces, visit the new National Museum


Hardware (Body)

Updates and upgrade on our biological and physical health or system. Frequency: As needed.



  1. Nutrition. Eat healthy.

Recommendations: Eat more vegetable and fruits, consult your doctor or nutritionist

  1. Exercise. Keeping fit allows us to function at our best.

Recommendations: Going to the gym, walking 30 minutes daily

  1. Meditation. Both breathing exercises and meditation allow us to unclutter our mind and gain clarity.

Recommendations: 10 minutes meditation every morning daily, yoga sessions



  1. Smartphone. While I personally believe that the smartphone will soon be replaced by a gadget that frees our hands, it remains a powerful computing device and a convenient tool to stay connected with family, friends, and work colleagues. Recommendations: iPhone XS or XS Max, Samsung Note9
  2. Unless you’re a hardcore gamer, animator, or filmmaker, any other laptop will be able to fulfill your everyday needs—creating documents, spreadsheets, and presentation files.

Recommendations: MacBook Air, Microsoft Surface Laptop

  1. Gaming Devices. Play-time is a productive use of our mind and allows us to unwind and explore different perspectives.

Recommendations: Nintendo Switch, Oculus Go, Oculus Quest

  1. Smarthome device. For emerging tech aficionados, getting an IoT (Internet of Things) device for your home or office (or even your car) might interest you. Recommendation: Amazon Echo


This is, by no means, a comprehensive list but it gives you the right foundation as you try to build a better and more productive 2019. Good luck!



Would love to hear your comments and inputs, please email at iamvrpanda@gmail.com.


Jay Jaboneta is the chief panda at I Am VR Panda.

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