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Lifehack Readers’ Last-Minute Gift Suggestions

Lifehack Readers’ Last-Minute Gift Suggestions
Last-Minute Gift Ideas

Last week I asked for your best last-miute Christmas gift suggestion and once again you came through. Usually I give my response to the question first, but I’ve already done that with my Lifehack Last-Minute Gift List for Productive (and Potentially Productive) People last Wednesday.

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There’s not a lot of time left for Christmas shopping, but there’s plenty here for someone still shopping, even today! Here’s some of the responses from last week thata might still be doable:

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  • Email Gift Cards: I’d never heard of these — it’s a gift card code sent by email to your recipient. Amazon does this, and I’m sure plenty of other retailers do as well. (via Bob)
  • Oxfam Unwrapped: You fund charitable gifts in your recipients’ name. It’s too late to have a card sent to your recipient, but you can still give and have an Oxfam Unwrapped e-card sent. (via Ingrid)
  • Fund a Heifer.org Project: Same idea as Oxfam — you fund a project in your recipient’s name. (via Neha)
  • Photo Collages: Attractive picture frames stuffed with collages of photos, ticket stubs, and other memorabilia recapturing the last year with your friends and loved ones. (via Lloyd)
  • Custom Hampers/Baskets: A nice basket filled with your recipient’s favorite foods, wine, and other consumables. Could be candles, bath goods, or something else, too. (also via Lloyd)
  • A Life Experience: Like a gift card with a twist, how about a trip on a hot air balloon, a lesson at a race track, or if you’re feeling especially generous, a ride on the space shuttle, a Virgin Space reservation, or just a walk on the beach (in the Spring). (via Veteran Military Wife)
  • A Huge Block of Quality Cheese: Not grocery store stuff — how about a block of cave-aged gruyere, or even grass-fed cheddar. (via timgray)
  • Gift Subscription: Go to the bookstore, pick out a magazine they’d like, drop the gift subscription card in the mail, and wrap the magazine. Piece of cake! (via Lauea)

Most of this you can still manage if you get rocking right now. And none of these ideas are Christmas-only – keep them in mind for the next difficult birthday, anniversary, or other occasion.

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Good giving!

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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