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6 Mother’s Day Gift Tips for the Productive Lady in Your Life

6 Mother’s Day Gift Tips for the Productive Lady in Your Life

Mother\'s Day Gift

    The problem with picking a gift based purely on productivity is that most people like gifts that they won’t buy for themselves: people want something fun, something special — and your mother is no exception. And Mother’s Day is almost here: it falls on the on the second Sunday of May, which just happens to be this weekend. We each have only a few days to make sure that we don’t try to give Mom something as that drags down her productivity, clutters up her workspace or generally makes her wish she swapped us for more grateful children.

    Navigating the mall displays of gifts “Perfect for Mom!” can be incredibly difficult, But these tips can help simplify that last minute shopping spree you might be considering for Saturday night. Heck, with these tips (aside from the card), you might be able to check Mom’s gift off your to-do list right now.

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    1. Give the Gift of Time

    When I was a kid, I always made my mom coupons for Mother’s Day: she could cash them in on a couple of hours of babysitting for my little sisters, some help around the house — that sort of thing. And I still give her the gift of my time: right now, I’m working on teaching her how to run a blog. Offering up some of your time to help your mother complete pet projects can be an ideal way to give her something she’ll actually be able to use. A nice dinner out or a family get-together can fall into this category as well: just remember your time is valuable — valuable enough to make a good gift.

    2. Ditch the Gift Cards

    Conventional wisdom seems to say that everyone loves a nice gift card: you don’t have to worry about getting the right sizes or picking the right movie. But there are plenty of options that make for better gifts. After all, what’s the use of money that you can only use one place? Or money that you have to make a special trip to spend? There are some gift card options that allow you to provide money that can be used anywhere that takes Visa (or whatever card company you purchase through). It’s not a perfect solution, but it will save you from finding that gift card you purchased in your mom’s junk drawer sometime next year — a friend cleaned out his grandmother’s house and found, literally, a stack of gift cards. Her family had sent them for a number of occasions and she never used a single one.

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    3. Check for Gadgets They’re Lusting For

    Anyone who thinks that ladies don’t have just as much gadget lust as guys seem to is sadly mistaken. And, unless your mama really does enjoy spending time in the kitchen, skip the domestic gizmos. In the last month alone, my mother’s dropped hints about an iPhone, an iPod and a DVD player she can take in the car. I may not want to get my mother every gadget under the sun, but she’d be happy to get them — and she’s not all that into technology. She doesn’t follow it closely but she does hear about cool toys. If your mother has a favorite hobby, consider checking if there’s a gadget or tool she’s lacking for her pursuit. Sure, your gift may not make your mother anymore productive, but she’ll still enjoy it.

    4. Make a Donation in Your Mother’s Name

    My grandmother has made dire threats towards anyone thinking of bringing ‘clutter’ into her house. She doesn’t necessarily need anything and certainly would rather we spend time with her than mail off some present she doesn’t really want. We do want to honor her in some way, though, and she has directed us to her favorite charity. If you want to acknowledge your mother’s efforts in turning you into the wonderful individual you are today, consider making a donation to her favorite cause.

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    5. Share Your Memories

    This is the moment for all those family photos, recipes and everything else memorable that you’ve had stashed away. Pull out the photo albums and frame a few for your mother’s walls — or scan them and make a screensaver for your mom’s computer. There are so many possibilities you can try: turning a few favorite family recipes in to a cookbook, writing down a few favorite family stories and finding the accompanying photographs. Just a few fond memories can bring a smile to your mother’s face (and maybe remind her why she didn’t swap you in for a better behaved kid).

    6. Go in Together

    I have two sisters who I can team up with on a Mother’s Day present for my mom. I have seven cousins who I can go in with if I want to do something for my grandmother. To put it simply, not only can I get the benefit of my relatives’ ideas for gifts, but together we have more buying power as well. Mother’s Day isn’t (or shouldn’t be) about which relative can get the biggest, fanciest present. Instead, if you do want to get a relatively large present, it makes sense to make it a group effort. If it’s something nice and that Mom will like, your relatives will be glad to not have to worry about a gift on their own. (And, for those of us with the bad habit of waiting until the last moment, finding a relative to help out with the bill can cover your butt!)

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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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