Advertising
Advertising

The Lifehack Last-Minute Gift List for Productive (and Potentially Productive) People

The Lifehack Last-Minute Gift List for Productive (and Potentially Productive) People
Last-Minute Gift List for the Productive (and Potentially Productive)

    With less than a week left before Christmas, I thought it would be a good idea to list some of lifehack.org’s favorite gift ideas. Everything on this list would get a hearty smile from the productive person on your gift list. Most of the items shown here are available through Amazon, for fast delivery by Christmas if you hurry. Links here lead to Amazon.com and prices are given in US Dollars (insert deflating US dollar joke here, e.g. “divide by 48,000 to get price in your local currency”).

    Advertising

    Advertising

    Gifts that Get Stuff Done

    gtd
      Getting Things Done: Unabridged Audiobook by David Allen ($27)David Allen reads his productivity masterpiece. Perfect for introducing the disorganized people in your life to GTD principles, or for periodic inspiration for committed GTD’ers.
      4-hour-work-week
        The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy FerrisAudiobook version of Timothy Ferris’ acclaimed book. This was easily the most inspiring book I read this year, and will be greatly appreciated by the entrepreneurs (and would-be entrepreneurs) in your life.
        red-moleskine
          Limited Edition Moleskine 2008 Daily Planner ($24)It’s RED! Everyone loves Moleskine products — the creamy paper, the high-quality feel of the covers, even the hokey backstory. The planner has dated pages to help keep your loved one organized next year. And it’s red!Couple it with the red limited edition pocket diary for collecting thoughts on the go!
          space-pen
            Bullet Space Pen ($17)Capture your thoughts anywhere with the GTD-approved Space Pen. Cap clicks to back end to make a full-sized pen, writes at any angle, all-around useful pen. Also in chrome.Also check out the Lamy Pico pen, which expands to full size with a click and is recommended by David Allen.
            labeling-system
              Brother P-Touch PT-18R Rechargeable Labeling System ($102)Forget “label makers”, this is a Brother P-Touch PT-18R Rechargeable Labeling System and demands to be known as such. Sits in its recharging cradle when not in use, ready to be taken anywhere to make labels. Two-line preview, templates, symbols, everything a labeler needs, quick at hand. Connects to a PC, too, for specialty labeling.

              Style

              leather-messenger-bag
                David King Leather Porthole Brief ($110)Gorgeous Italian leather bag with room for a 15″ laptop, organizer pockets, id window, magnetic snap closures, and removable shoulder strap. Available in black or cafe (light brown).
                business-card-case
                  Leather Business Card Case ($22)This high-quality Napa leather business card case has two pockets and holds up to 30 cards. Available in 9 colors, from the professional to the playful.
                  front-pocket-wallet
                    Bosca Old Leather Front Pocket Wallet ($50)This is the wallet I us — I got one for my father for his birthday last year, and liked it so much he gave me one for Christmas! Soft, buttery leather (in dark brown or cognac) makes it a pleasure to handle. Has three credit card pockets, an ID card window, and a flap inside for keeping receipts, post-its, business cards, and other small papers; the back has a money clip for holding your cash. Perfect for anyone with a 6″ thick wallet ripping the seems out of their back pocket, Bosca’s front pocket wallet helps get rid of the clutter and carry only what you need.
                    bella-messenger-bag
                      Nicole WeatherTac Computer Messenger Bag ($69)Stylish, cool messenger bag with foam laptop compartment and plenty of other pockets for digital accessories, notepads, pens, and everything else. Intended for ladies, but I would totally carry this!
                      jimi-wallet
                        Jimi Wallet ($15)The wallet rethought! Stripped-down, molded plastic in several colors, carries a couple cards and some cash, and can be carried in your front pocket or on a lanyard around your neck for security.

                        For the Productive Person’s Office

                        wood-block-clock
                          Wood Block Clock ($20)I love this clock that looks like a block of wood with the date and time (it switches back and forth) appearing to float inside. It would look great in anyone’s office; since it doesn’t have an alarm, it’s probably not as useful as a bedside clock.
                          canon-laser-printer
                            Canon imageCLASS MF4150 Laser Duplex All-in-One ($200)A 21 ppm black-and-white laser printer, a scanner/copier with 35-page document feeder, full duplex printing so you can print on both sides automatically, and it’s under $200? Buy one for your sweetie and buy another for yourself!
                            stowaway
                              StowAway Bluetooth Keyboard for BlackBerry/PDA ($30)A full-size keyboard that folds up to about the same size as a PDA. Connects to most recent BlackBerry, Palm, and Pocket PC PDAs and SmartPhones, though you may have to download drivers from iGo.
                              lapinator
                                The Lapinator Lap Desk ($30 – $35)Thin and lightweight, the Lapinator is specially designed to block laptop heat without being bulky. A great gift for anyone who uses a laptop outside of the office — on the sofa, in the park, in bed, etc.
                                stapler
                                  Chrome Stapler ($19)Forget the red Swingline from Office Space — it’s old news, now (unless you have matching Moleskines). This is a chrome-plated, heavy-duty, 20-sheets-at-once, serious monster stapler! Imagine your gift partner’s look of satisfaction when she or he loads it up and gives it a hearty *whack* — brings tears to your eyes, don’t it?

                                  Gadgets

                                  eeepc
                                    Asus eeePC ($400)The tiny eeePC is perfect for working on the move — it’s longest side is less than 9 inches and it weighs 2 lbs. The 4GB flash hard drive might seem small, but the idea is to make use of web-based storage; the Linux-based desktop includes direct links to web services like Google Docs and Skype, which works perfectly with the integrated webcam.Lifehack.org leader Leon Ho has one, and he thinks it’s the bee’s knees! Perfect for mobile workers and your favorite lifehack.org gift list compilers :-)
                                    eye-fi
                                      Eye-Fi Card ($100)Install the included software on your home PC, put this 2GB SD card in your camera, and start taking pictures. The Eye-Fi uses your wireless network to automatically transfer pictures to your PC — as you take them, if you’re within range of the network, or as soon as you get home and turn on the camera if you move out of range. It will also automatically upload pictures to your preferred sharing site, if you want.Great gift for photo enthusiasts (but make sure their cameras use SD cards!)
                                      mogo-mouse
                                        Mogo Bluetooth Mouse & Bluetooth Adapter ($67)This credit card-sized mouse is surprisingly comfortable to use. It fits inside your laptop’s PC-card slot, allowing you to store it easily when on the go and to recharge it in minutes when the batteries run low.Available for a few dollars less for people who don’t need the bluetooth adapter.
                                        cordlesswave-flat-400
                                          Logitech Wave keyboard ($49 -$10 rebate)With it’s slightly padded body and keys ergonomically placed to conform to the hand’s curve and fingers’ spread, the Wave is a super-comfortable keyboard. This is what I want beneath my fingers when I have to spend long hours typing, instead of torturing my hands and wrists on the cheapie that came with my PC.
                                          kindle
                                            Der Kindle ($400)The most divisive gadget of the year, and also the second-hardest to get (after the Wii), but what a great gift for the über-reader in your life. Unfortunately, they’re backordered until after the first of the year, which means you have to do the picture-of-the-gift-in-the-card thing; for people who read a lot, it’s worth waiting a few weeks to get their cool new Kindle.Or you could get them a Sony Reader, which is also pretty cool but lacks the wireless link to Amazon’s store.
                                            olympus-voice-recorder
                                              Olympus VN2100PC Digital Voice Recorder ($50)With 64MB of built-in memory, this digital voice recorder can record up to 36 hours and download to your PC. Great for making quick voice notes on the go or for dictation.

                                              Just Plain Fun

                                              ugly-wage
                                                UglyDoll Wage ($18)Keep in the office for when it’s all too much. Perfect for your wage slave friends who dream of freedom someday.
                                                spy-video-car
                                                  Spy Video Car ($115)Remote control car with wireless mounted night-vision camera that broadcasts to included LCD goggles. Find out what’s happening anywhere in your domain!
                                                  lightwedge
                                                    Lightwedge LED Booklight ($22)Perfect for readers, the LightWedge covers the whole page in even, bright light — with little glare or leakage. Maybe not as fun as an RC car with a spy camera — unless you’re a hardcore reader!
                                                    t-for-trash
                                                      “File Under T for Trash” Stamp ($7)Give this to your fellow GTD’ers to help them keep up with the “delete” part of their inbox processing. Other stamps are available, but not all of them are as, um… family-friendly as this one is.
                                                      nuns-having-fun
                                                        Nuns Having Fun 2008 Wall Calendar ($15)Let me make myself perfectly clear, here: this is a 2008 wall calendar, which people need. It has pictures in it of nuns, having fun. Swinging, running, dancing, just being gosh-darn jolly. Which, as far as I can see, you also need.Buy one for yourself and one for every other person you know. Unless they’re a nun — nuns don’t need the calendar, they live it.


                                                        That about wraps up (pun not intended, but heartily appreciated!) the 2007 Lifehack.org Last-Minute Gift List for Productive (and Potentially Productive) People. Be sure to check out the excellent responses other lifehack.org readers are giving to this week’s “We Ask, You Answer” question: What advice do you have for someone looking to find something for that one difficult person on their list, the one they’ve been putting off until now, it’s almost too late?

                                                        Advertising

                                                        Have a happy holiday (if your significant holiday has already passed, then have had a happy holiday)!

                                                        Advertising

                                                        More by this author

                                                        Building Relationships: 11 Rules for Self-Promotion How to Become an Expert (And Spot out One Nearby) The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works) Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed Back to Basics: Your Calendar

                                                        Trending in Featured

                                                        1 Top 10 Ways to Lead More Effectively with Humor 2 9 Practical Ways to Achieve Work Life Balance in a Busy World 3 50 Ways to Increase Productivity and Achieve More in Less Time 4 8 Steps to Continuous Self Motivation Even During the Difficult Times 5 Where Am I Going? How to Put Your Life in Context

                                                        Read Next

                                                        Advertising
                                                        Advertising
                                                        Advertising

                                                        Last Updated on June 12, 2019

                                                        Top 10 Ways to Lead More Effectively with Humor

                                                        Top 10 Ways to Lead More Effectively with Humor

                                                        Humor and laughter provide so many rewards. Studies have shown 20 seconds of laughter yield the same benefits as 3 minutes of hard rowing. A Robert Half International study reported 84% of executives believe a worker with a good sense of humor does a better job. Incorporating humor more effectively in the workplace allows you to defuse difficult situations, reduce stress, create attention for new ideas, build rapport, and be a more approachable and memorable leader.

                                                        With those benefits, it behooves you to hone your workplace comedic skills. So in the tradition of David Letterman, here are the top 10 ways to more effectively lead with humor!

                                                        #10. Look for Joy in Life

                                                        An important step is continually looking for joy throughout your life. This happens in a variety of ways:

                                                        • Focus less on yourself and more on helping others. Need help? Read “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” the classic by Dale Carnegie.
                                                        • Laugh more – kids reportedly laugh 400 times per day vs. 15 times for adults. Aim for laughing 40 times daily to be at least 10% of your former self!
                                                        • Regularly read humorous comic strips and look for quips and funny comments in your reading.
                                                        • Even in challenging situations, hunt for something funny or humorous you can take away.

                                                        #9. Learn What Makes You Laugh

                                                        If you’re trying to laugh 40 times daily, it’s important to know what makes you laugh and have ready access to laugh-provokers. Figure out 107 things which make you laugh. Unrealistic? Hardly! Why 107? Because 107 is funnier than 100! Here’s a recipe for listing what makes you laugh by simply identifying:

                                                        • 13 Movies
                                                        • 11 TV Shows
                                                        • 5 Words or Phrases
                                                        • 19 Personal Stories
                                                        • 5 Cartoons
                                                        • 7 Audio or Video Pieces
                                                        • 11 Comedians
                                                        • 7 TV Personalities
                                                        • 7 Funny Photos
                                                        • 7 People You Know
                                                        • 15 of Anything Else
                                                        • TOTAL = 107 Funny Things

                                                        Collect & save these humor starters in a “Smile File” when you quickly need a laugh or comedic inspiration.

                                                        Advertising

                                                        #8. Use Your Own Comedic Material

                                                        Personal experiences are the most genuine humor sources for effective leadership. Look for humor in situations from your own life:

                                                        • Funny things you have said or others have said to you
                                                        • Pratfalls, be they mental, interpersonal, & physical
                                                        • Embarrassing moments or unexpected happenings
                                                        • Times of change or learning
                                                        • Difficult life events (yes, even these can be humor sources)

                                                        When turning personal situations into comedic material, remember lessons learned from a childhood humor staple: Knock-Knock Jokes. These simple jokes work because the knock-knock structure highlights familiar situations, uses only essential words and phrases, and clearly signals a laughing opportunity. They also demonstrate how humor springs from surprise. The laughs come from not knowing who or what exactly is behind the door based on the initial response to “Who’s there?”

                                                        #7. Adapt Somebody Else’s Material

                                                        Beyond your own experiences, there’s a tradition of “borrowing & adapting” (I didn’t say stealing) funny stuff from others. That’s why old-time comedian Milton Berle was called the “Thief of Bad Gags.”

                                                        Part of borrowing successfully is using easily accessible humor sources in ways many don’t consider. Beyond simply Googling “funny” in front of quotes, one-liners, definitions, pictures, or videos, here are two other common sources you can adapt:

                                                        • Cartoons – You can use cartoons in various ways by showing one in a presentation, telling the cartoon’s story (potentially making yourself a character) without any images, or using its punch line as a starting point for new humor.
                                                        • Comedians – Mainstream comedians’ jokes or catch phrases are another source to modify and adapt to your personality or work situation. Watch lots of comedians and learn how professionals do it so well.

                                                        #6. Understand Your Audience

                                                        Using humor in a leadership position requires understanding boundaries on its proper use. It all starts with really understanding your audience by:

                                                        Advertising

                                                        • Paying attention to top management’s attitudes toward humor.
                                                        • Knowing the audience’s composition – this directly affects which humor types are appropriate.
                                                        • Loving your audience as much or more than you poke fun at them.
                                                        • Inviting others into humor since you can’t assume they share your same humor sensibilities.

                                                        In case you’re contemplating using ad lib humor, completely knowing your audience is even more vital. Ad-libs have the potential for going horribly wrong because audience sensibilities have been misjudged. It’s very beneficial to actually plan and rehearse ad libs. It may sound odd, but identify common work situations you encounter and think through what usually goes wrong or provides a source for potential humor. Work out some “safe” funny comebacks to use as “planned” ad libs.

                                                        #5. Know the Rules and Boundaries

                                                        There are blatant humor no-no’s in the workplace which are quite acceptable for an onstage comedian. At work, avoid harmful practical jokes or pranks, heavily sarcastic comments, and humor rooted in religious, sexual, ethnic, or racial themes. Think you know your work setting well enough to tread on this dangerous ground? Here’s some advice: DON’T. The way questionable humor will be perceived by a workplace audience is too much of an unknown to take big risks when your career is at stake.

                                                        Use this checkpoint to actually see if your intended workplace humor is SAFE. To pass the SAFE test, all of these statements need to be true regarding your joke, comment, or image:

                                                        • I can Say/Show this to my mother.
                                                        • It wouldn’t Anger me if I were the butt of the joke.
                                                        • This wouldn’t trigger an FCC violation
                                                        • Everyone in the audience will be able to get it.

                                                        With even a hint of one false answer, dramatically modify your idea or better yet, abandon it and start over.

                                                        #4. Get over Yourself

                                                        Effective leaders don’t take themselves too seriously. They’re comfortable laughing at themselves and letting others be funny as well. Leaders should become adept at appropriately using self-deprecating humor, i.e., self-directed humor downplaying your own talents, stature, or accomplishments

                                                        Advertising

                                                        You don’t want to use self-deprecating humor on simply any topic, however. It’s most effectively & appropriately used in:

                                                        • Situations where you’re comfortable & self-confident
                                                        • Areas where your credibility & competence are clearly established
                                                        • Ways that fit your known personality & sensibilities

                                                        Remember – when trying to borrow someone else’s self-deprecating humor, you need to share that person’s perspective & situation. If not, it’s simply deprecating! I once heard a decidedly non-technical Marketing VP call out “data geeks” in the audience. While that’s what they called themselves, she wasn’t a part of their group, and her comment, intended to build affiliation, fell completely flat.

                                                        #3. Need Humor Ideas? Just Look Around

                                                        The workplace is filled with situations lending themselves to comedy. Humor springs from exaggeration, wordplay, misunderstandings, ambiguity, contradictions, paradoxes, pain, and inconsistencies. If you work in any type of business or organizational setting, there are plenty of these situations to go around!

                                                        As a leader, it’s your role to use the proper opptunities to encourage and employ humor successfully by ensuring that:

                                                        • Your humor makes others feel good about themselves.
                                                        • Hurtful fun isn’t made of those less tenured than you in the organization.
                                                        • You don’t use humor when agitated since it can lead to apparent meanness.

                                                        #2. Surround Yourself with Joy

                                                        If you’re looking for more joy and levity in leadership, surround yourself with joyful people. These are people who are funny, easily spur laughter, and routinely cheer people up through their presence.

                                                        Advertising

                                                        Cultivate relationships with these types of people. Spend time with them, learn from their successful uses of humor, and emulate elements of their approaches that work for you.

                                                        Beyond basking in the joy these people create, select 3 or 4 of them to be an informal comedy team. As your comedy team, solicit their opinions to help you generate and refine humor ideas. They can also provide perspectives on potentially questionable humor material that makes it through the SAFE test, but still feels like it might not be right for a workplace audience.

                                                        #1. Dive into the Fun

                                                        Ultimately, the most important part of successfully using humor as a leader is actually sharing it in the workplace. Here are a few final tips to keep in mind:

                                                        • Practice your humor in appropriate, low-risk settings to find out what works before trying it out with a bigger audience.
                                                        • Signal a laughing opportunity through your words, actions, and tone. It’s also a good practice to give people “permission” to laugh in the workplace.
                                                        • Finally, be earnest in using humor; don’t focus on laughs so much as lightening and adding fun into work settings.

                                                        Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

                                                        Read Next