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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”).

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    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?

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

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                                                        1 How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive 2 Simple Productivity: 10 Ways to Do More by Focusing on the Essentials 3 Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed 4 12 Rules for Self-Management 5 How to Take Notes Effectively: Powerful Note-Taking Techniques

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                                                        Last Updated on November 5, 2019

                                                        How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

                                                        How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

                                                        Assuming the public school system didn’t crush your soul, learning is a great activity. It expands your viewpoint. It gives you new knowledge you can use to improve your life. It is important for your personal growth. Even if you discount the worldly benefits, the act of learning can be a source of enjoyment.

                                                        “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” — Mark Twain

                                                        But in a busy world, it can often be hard to fit in time to learn anything that isn’t essential. The only things learned are those that need to be. Everything beyond that is considered frivolous. Even those who do appreciate the practice of lifelong learning, can find it difficult to make the effort.

                                                        Here are some tips for installing the habit of continuous learning:

                                                        1. Always Have a Book

                                                        It doesn’t matter if it takes you a year or a week to read a book. Always strive to have a book that you are reading through, and take it with you so you can read it when you have time.

                                                        Just by shaving off a few minutes in-between activities in my day I can read about a book per week. That’s at least fifty each year.

                                                        2. Keep a “To-Learn” List

                                                        We all have to-do lists. These are the tasks we need to accomplish. Try to also have a “to-learn” list. On it you can write ideas for new areas of study.

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                                                        Maybe you would like to take up a new language, learn a skill or read the collective works of Shakespeare. Whatever motivates you, write it down.

                                                        3. Get More Intellectual Friends

                                                        Start spending more time with people who think. Not just people who are smart, but people who actually invest much of their time in learning new skills. Their habits will rub off on you.

                                                        Even better, they will probably share some of their knowledge with you.

                                                        4. Guided Thinking

                                                        Albert Einstein once said,

                                                        “Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.”

                                                        Simply studying the wisdom of others isn’t enough, you have to think through ideas yourself. Spend time journaling, meditating or contemplating over ideas you have learned.

                                                        5. Put it Into Practice

                                                        Skill based learning is useless if it isn’t applied. Reading a book on C++ isn’t the same thing as writing a program. Studying painting isn’t the same as picking up a brush.

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                                                        If your knowledge can be applied, put it into practice.

                                                        In this information age, we’re all exposed to a lot of information, it’s important to re-learn how to learn so as to put the knowledge into practice.

                                                        6. Teach Others

                                                        You learn what you teach. If you have an outlet of communicating ideas to others, you are more likely to solidify that learning.

                                                        Start a blog, mentor someone or even discuss ideas with a friend.

                                                        7. Clean Your Input

                                                        Some forms of learning are easy to digest, but often lack substance.

                                                        I make a point of regularly cleaning out my feed reader for blogs I subscribe to. Great blogs can be a powerful source of new ideas. But every few months, I realize I’m collecting posts from blogs that I am simply skimming.

                                                        Every few months, purify your input to save time and focus on what counts.

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                                                        8. Learn in Groups

                                                        Lifelong learning doesn’t mean condemning yourself to a stack of dusty textbooks. Join organizations that teach skills.

                                                        Workshops and group learning events can make educating yourself a fun, social experience.

                                                        9. Unlearn Assumptions

                                                        You can’t add water to a full cup. I always try to maintain a distance away from any idea. Too many convictions simply mean too few paths for new ideas.

                                                        Actively seek out information that contradicts your worldview.

                                                        Our minds can’t be trusted, but this is what we can do about it to be wiser.

                                                        10. Find Jobs that Encourage Learning

                                                        Pick a career that encourages continual learning. If you are in a job that doesn’t have much intellectual freedom, consider switching to one that does.

                                                        Don’t spend forty hours of your week in a job that doesn’t challenge you.

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                                                        11. Start a Project

                                                        Set out to do something you don’t know how. Forced learning in this way can be fun and challenging.

                                                        If you don’t know anything about computers, try building one. If you consider yourself a horrible artist, try a painting.

                                                        12. Follow Your Intuition

                                                        Lifelong learning is like wandering through the wilderness. You can’t be sure what to expect and there isn’t always an end goal in mind.

                                                        Letting your intuition guide you can make self-education more enjoyable. Most of our lives have been broken down to completely logical decisions, that making choices on a whim has been stamped out.

                                                        13. The Morning Fifteen

                                                        Productive people always wake up early. Use the first fifteen minutes of your morning as a period for education.

                                                        If you find yourself too groggy, you might want to wait a short time. Just don’t put it off later in the day where urgent activities will push it out of the way.

                                                        14. Reap the Rewards

                                                        Learn information you can use. Understanding the basics of programming allows me to handle projects that other people would require outside help. Meeting a situation that makes use of your educational efforts can be a source of pride.

                                                        15. Make Learning a Priority

                                                        Few external forces are going to persuade you to learn. The desire has to come from within. Once you decide you want to make lifelong learning a habit, it is up to you to make it a priority in your life.

                                                        More About Continuous Learning

                                                        Featured photo credit: Paul Schafer via unsplash.com

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