August 21, 2019
I realized a few years ago that most of my little decisions throughout the day are made on a track. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t really have daily routines. Instead, the eight-year-old homeschooler wearing inside out sweatpants who runs my brain chooses to operate within what I call “rhythms”. It’s a corny way of saying that I maximize my time when I’ve got a loose framework around my day, but not a set routine.
Still, I’ve found that I’m a creature of habit — I constantly make decisions without even thinking. And, while I feel like I’m wearing a pair of suffocating, 2007, Hot Topic skinny jeans when defined schedules enter my life, I’ve learned that I operate best when I pre-determine my “unthought about” decisions.
There’s a lot more that goes into pre-thinking habits, but part of setting myself up for this kind of habit creation is finding products and items that make those decisions easy. My goal is to keep myself “not thinking” about those decisions. I want my habits to continue to be “subconscious” in the moment, so I can focus on more important things. And one of the best ways to do that has been to stock my closet with clothes I want to wear, fill my bathroom cabinet with products I actual enjoy using, and to go to work with gear that is genuinely helpful.
Whether or not you operate like I do, I wanted to share with you nine items that have become part of my rhythms. Each of these products are something I use daily without even thinking. It took me awhile to settle on each one of these products. I wanted to make the well-considered decision before I entered them into my life, so that I don’t have to make a conscious choice when I’m getting ready in the morning or trekking through my workday. It’s been a process of trial and error that nearly drove my wife nuts, but I’m better for it today, and I hope you will be, too.
1. FLOSS – A lot of dentists will probably tell you this isn’t the best way to floss your teeth, but if you’re starting at a 0.3 % daily floss rate (“DFR” — trademark pending), then this is the best way to start. Just start by forcing yourself to use this after you brush your teeth, but before you rinse so you can get your tooth paste between your teeth, and you’ll be on your way to full-on daily adulting. (You may feel like people should know this stuff, but not long ago, I didn’t, so I’m not here to judge.)
2. HAIR CREAM – I don’t enjoy hair maintenance, but I also don’t enjoy being asked if I straighten my hair, Pete Wentz style. Enter Layrite. It takes about 30 seconds to apply, I don’t have to use a ton of it, and it washes off my hands easily — low key, very important. The goal with hair products should be to make me forget I used any in the first place. I can move my hair during the day, but I also don’t have any straggler hairs ruining my life. In other words, I want to find a balance between Ross Geller and using nothing at all, and Layrite does the trick.
3. BODY POWDER – Is there any component more vital to male comfort than making sure your down-belows are taken care of? If you’ve used GoldBond or still use it in some capacity, please do yourself a favor by stepping up to this version of it. It’s… truly magical. It genuinely keeps you dry, doesn’t leave you with a paste-y result that can come with other powders, and it smells nice, too. I legitimately can’t recommend any other type of below-the-belt powder more than this one.
4. T-SHIRT – This has become my favorite find in years. Amazon has these Comfort Color tees for less than $10 in virtually any color (long sleeve and pocket t versions, too). I’ve got a handful of these in various colors and styles that I use for pretty much everything — work, going out, workouts, and laying around the apartment doing absolutely nothing. They are incredibly soft, the quality is way more solid than $10 shirts you’d buy at other stores, and they don’t shrink on you at all. It’s also a bonus that some colors give you the vintage “90’s” vibe some brands charge you $50 for.
*Tip: If they don’t have a color or size you want, then just search on Amazon again (“Comfort Colors Shirt”). Several different sellers on Amazon carry these shirts and sell at a similar price. I wear a size large for a comfortable, roomy (but not K-Fed oversized) fit.
5. SOCKS – In the age of the white crew sock, you need a pair or three of these. If you prefer no shows or ankle socks, I get it. But 3 pairs for $9 is an easy way to get versatile and trendy socks that are comfortable, durable, and don’t go so far up your calf that you have to scrunch them down just to avoid looking like your grandfather.
6. CROPPED CHINOS – For me, pants are a necessary evil. If I could become a dictator and institute one policy, it would be a global “pants optional” mandate. It’s not about other people, it’s truly just for my freedom. Alas, I’m not, so I still have to put up with pants getting in the way of my shoes. I don’t care about most clothing items, but I do want my shoes to be clearly visible regardless of my pant choice.
I’m 5’10”, and I have thicc thighs that don’t quit. That combined with my desire to have my shoes unencumbered by pant bottoms means pants and jeans don’t always fit me the way the pants’ creators intended. I often have to roll most pairs of jeans or pants at the cuff. It’s a struggle to find pants that hit at the right point of my leg so I can avoid those roll situations. And if I do find the right fit on the inseam, then that’s often paired with a constricting “cabin” area, and no one wants that.
These pants have been a game-changer for me, because they pair the right length, with the right “cabin pressure”, and still maintain a tailored, tapered look down the leg. I own two pairs, and I’m waiting for ASOS to release more colors so I can stock up. This choice is admittedly specific to my body type and style preferences, but they’re still a choice I go to almost every day.
*Tip: Size up on length. These have stretch in the waistline, but the length is a bit shorter than most people are used to. I wear 31 (W) x 34 (L) in these, when normally I wear 32 x 30 in pants, jeans, and chinos.
7. BACKPACK – I was looking for a dependable backpack that I could take to work every day but that I could also use for travel as a carry-on. This bag is $100 (and I don’t typically spend that much on backpacks), but it’s worth every penny because of how versatile it is.
I originally was looking to buy a backpack for work AND a weekend bag for trips with Anna, but I found this to replace the two bags with one. It has enough space to hold just about anything you’d need for a weekend trip, but it doesn’t feel bulky when you’ve only got a laptop and a few pens in it. The intentional design of the straps and back wall also keeps it from feeling heavy or hot on your back when you’re wearing it for long stints. It’s also Carhartt, which gives it a “cool” factor to go with the expected quality.
Bonus: It’s waterproof and the color isn’t boring but avoids being childish or flashy, if that matters to you.
8. CHARGER – This is the greatest portable charger I’ve ever used, bar none. Anna and I own three of them, and I carry one in my backpack every day. It’s about the size of your wallet (not your dad’s wallet that has 8 credit cards he’s never used, his middle school library card, and a stamp card from subway that they haven’t honored in 6 years), and it charges up over night with enough power to charge your phone four times during the day. As a millennial, this is a must-own at $30.
Two things I love about these glasses: