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The 50 Most Productive Christmas Gift Ideas For Your Friends

The 50 Most Productive Christmas Gift Ideas For Your Friends

Some friends are just impossible to buy for, but if you want to give the gift of productivity this year, here are 50 killer productive Christmas gift ideas for your friends!

Gifts to get more done

‘Getting Things Done’ book $10

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    In my opinion, if there’s one book that will make your friend more productive, it’s Getting Things Done by David Allen. If you want to give the gift of productivity this year, I can’t imagine a better book or gift.

    Aeropress coffee maker $26

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      You haven’t tasted coffee until you’ve tasted coffee from an Aeropress. This extraordinary simple coffee maker forces hot water through a filter to produce an espresso-style shot that you can combine with milk to make into a latte, or combine with water to make an American coffee. Great for traveling.

      Variable temperature tea kettle $56

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        Did you know that different tea needs to be brewed at different temperatures? For example, green tea needs to be brewed at a lower temperature so it doesn’t taste bitter. This fancy kettle heats water to different temperatures depending on what tea your brewing!

        Tonx coffee subscription $24+

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          If you have a friend that loves coffee, Tonx might just be the perfect gift for them. This subscription coffee service will deliver a fresh bag of beans to their door every other week (you can pick what size of bag they’d like).

          Blue Apron Subscription $60

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            For your friend who has very little time, Blue Apron is the perfect gift. The service will deliver fresh ingredients to your friend’s home, along with an easy-to-follow recipe and pre-portioned ingredients.

            2014 dry erase calendar $24

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              This massive, 2014 wall calendar is the perfect gift for anyone who wants to become more productive and organized. The calendar has a vertical or horizontal orientation, is beautifully designed, and starts on Monday.

              Evernote moleskine notebook $30

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                If you have a productivity-loving friend, chances are they’ll love the Evernote classic notebook by Moleskine. The notebook was designed by both Moleskine and Evernote to work with the app, and features “Evernote ruled” and “Evernote squared” page styles with dotted lines designed to ensure a clean image when you digitally capture your notebook.

                Chalkboard paint $10

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                  If your friend is a visual thinker, they’ll  love this gift. Rust-Oleum chalk paint converts any surface–metal, wood, drywall, plaster, and concrete included–into a usable chalkboard surface.

                  Ghost whiteboard $10-105

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                    Much like the aforementioned chalkboard paint, Ghost Whiteyboard converts pretty much any flat surface into a dry erase board, but without altering its appearance!

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                    Field Notes Expedition 3-Pack $10

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                      This might just be the most rugged notebook out there. The Field Notes Expedition 3-pack are waterproof, tear proof, and even resistant to fire and acid. You know, for all those times you dump acid on your notebooks.

                      Waterproof notepad $8

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                        This awesome waterproof notepad will help your friend capture all of their awesome ideas that they come up with in the shower.

                        Simple Hacks

                        CableDrop cordlets $10

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                          These things are genius, and I love them. After you mount a CableDrop to your desk, wall, or other flat surface, you can store your cables without having to worry about them falling to the floor every time you untether.

                          Lace anchors $10

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                            Lace anchors eliminate bows and knots from the inside and outside of your shoes allowing you to simply slip your shoes on on every time. An ingenious buy for $10.

                            The Wally Bottle Opener $10

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                              This simple yet elegant stainless steel bottle opener fits perfectly in a wallet or purse, until it’s go-time. At $10 it’s an awesome gift idea for any beer lover in your life.

                              Hide-a-Spare-Key Fake Rock $6

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                                Instead of keeping a spare key under your doormat like a chump, stash your key inside this authentic looking rock!

                                Obol $15

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                                  Who doesn’t hate soggy cereal? The “Obol” keeps your milk and cereal separate so your friends can focus and be productive without worrying about soggy breakfast cereal.

                                  Pocket Cutlery Set $12

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                                    Great for picnics, road trips, and hiking, this swiss army knife-like apparatus features a fork, knife, spoon, and bottle opener all in one compact device.

                                    Flask tie $27

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                                      This stealthy tie holds up to 8oz of your favourite beverage to keep your favourite drink close whenever you need it.

                                      USB drink cooler/warmer $19

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                                        This USB-powered, one-can/cup holder keeps a drink cool or warm for you. Everyone in your friend’s office will be jealous.

                                        Freehands gloves $20

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                                          If your friend lives someplace cold, these clever gloves will let them use their smartphone in the winter. Each pair of gloves features a forefinger and thumb that folds back, allowing you quick access to your pointing devices.

                                          Tech gifts

                                          Photojojo iPhone and Android Lens Series from $20

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                                            These camera lenses attach directly onto your iPhone or Android device and will allow your friend to take way better pictures. Photojojo offers individual lenses (fisheye, super fisheye, telephoto, wide angle, macro, and polarizing), as well as lens kits which contain several lenses.

                                            White noise generator $55

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                                              White noise has been proven to help you focus better. The long-named, Marpac Dohm-DS Dual Speed Sound Conditioner, produces a comfortable background sound that helps anyone be much more productive.

                                              iTunes Gift Card / Google Play Card

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                                                As much as some friends love and use their phones, they often really hate buying apps. But your phone can make you way more productive–the Apple App store features tens of thousands of apps in the Productivity category alone! Gift cards are often a bit of a cop-out when it comes to buying a gift, but for some friends an app gift card is perfect.

                                                Jawbone Mini Jambox $150

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                                                  At $150 the The Jawbone Mini Jambox isn’t cheap, but for a music loving friend, it can’t be beat. In my opinion, this is the best sounding portable speaker that fits in your pocket.

                                                  Jawbone Up $129

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                                                    The Jawbone Up, like the Nike Fuelband ($150) and the Fitbit Flex ($99), will track your friend’s sleeping routines, workout activity, and even eating habits with its build-in accelerometer, and will provide your friend with powerful data so they can improve their habits and become more productive.

                                                    Evernote pro subscription ($45)

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                                                      If you have a friend that relies on Evernote to be productive, gifting them Evernote Premium will give them the tools they need to become way more productive. Evernote Premium features offline notebooks, much smarter searching (including inside of PDFs), enables collaboration, and will up the monthly upload capacity on your friend’s account.

                                                      Scansnap scanner $160

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                                                        This portable scanner is the most expensive item on the list, but if you want to drop $160 bucks on a friend who deals with a lot of documents, I can’t imagine a better gift. This scanner automatically converts all scans to a PDF, includes auto-image correcting, is great for traveling, extracts the most important information from business cards, and a whole lot more.

                                                        Pivot power genius $30

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                                                          Power strips can be annoying, but this is definitely not one of them. It pivots, zig-zags, and bends to fit around furniture and tight spaces and make make more room for your friend’s larger power adapters.

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                                                          USB rechargable batteries $19

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                                                            These AA-sized batteries will recharge from a USB port, and are perfect for traveling. They can be recharged hundreds of times, saving your friends time and money.

                                                            WeMo Insight power switch $60

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                                                              It doesn’t look like much, but this item is my personal favorite out of all of the ones on the list. This wifi-enabled power switch connects to a Wifi network, allowing you to remotely turn devices on and off, and read how much energy a device is using in real time. You can even set up notifications, like for when your laundry is finished.

                                                              WeMo light switch $50

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                                                                This wifi-enabled light switch will allow you to turn your lights on and off from across the room, across the city, or half-way around the world.

                                                                WeMo baby monitor $70

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                                                                  Made by the same company as the WeMo Insight and the WeMo Light Switch, this baby monitor connects to wifi and turns your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch into a portable baby monitor. The device can even send push notifications based on certain triggers.

                                                                  Simple Braun alarm clock $50

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                                                                    Technology can be needlessly complicated, but this alarm clock isn’t. It tells the time, has a nice back light and works as an alarm. It’s also won numerous design awards and, in my opinion, looks simply stunning.

                                                                    8000 mAh Dual Port Battery Pack and Charger $36

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                                                                      For your friend who is always on their phone or tablet. This relatively inexpensive USB charger is the perfect gift for your friend who is always on the go, and always in need of more juice.

                                                                      Wake up light $90

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                                                                        Alarm clocks are jarring, but this wake up light will wake your friend’s body up naturally and slowly. It’s been scientifically shown to make waking up more pleasant, and includes two natural wake-up sounds.

                                                                        Bluetooth handset gloves $60

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                                                                          These gloves might look a bit dorky when in use, but they have a freaking bluetooth headset built in! They connect wirelessly to your phone, and let you talk on the phone when you expand your forefinger and pinky.

                                                                          Coin $100

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                                                                            Coin allows you (or your friend) to combine all of your cards into one easy-to-use, convenient card. It’s secure, and even locks when your phone is out of range.

                                                                            Powerpod $89

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                                                                              The PowerPod not only converts one outlet into six, but also doubles as a stylish storage tray for pencils and other small desk items.

                                                                              Self-improvement

                                                                              Meditation cushion $45

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                                                                                It might sound strange that sitting on a cushion and doing absolutely nothing will make you or your friend more productive, but trust me, it will.

                                                                                Lynda gift subscription ($25-375)

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                                                                                  Lynda is a subscription website that will give your friend access to over 2,000 high-quality online video courses. Why not give the gift of learning this year?

                                                                                  Audible.com gift membership ($45-150)

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                                                                                    If you have a friend that loves books, they’re bound to love audiobooks as well. Audible is my favorite audiobook website. You can gift memberships that range from $45 for three months ($15/month), to $150 for 12 months ($12.50/month).

                                                                                    Fun stuff

                                                                                    Paper notifications $10

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                                                                                      These are so fun. All day you receive notifications on your phone, but now you can put them on anything! The perfect way to leave a note for someone.

                                                                                      A Tenota Tea Note $5

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                                                                                        For $5, the Tenota tea service will send a bag of tea to your friend along with a customized note!

                                                                                        Netflix gift subscription $8-96

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                                                                                          After your friend is done being productive for the day, how about a nice Netflix subscription for them to kick back and recharge their batteries to be productive the next day? Netflix subscriptions can be purchased for 1, 2, 3, 6, or 12 months.

                                                                                          Hometown Aerial Map Jigsaw Puzzle $45

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                                                                                            Let your friend explore whatever area you pick with this puzzle. Just type in a ZIP code and choose a puzzle size, and The New York Times Store will print off a customized puzzle with a satellite view of that location! Pretty cool stuff.

                                                                                            USB powered lightbulb $12

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                                                                                              This simple USB-powered lightbulb will provide your friend with a nice dose of extra light wherever they travel! The light is an LED so it will illuminate for a long time, and the light even glows in the dark when you’re not using it.

                                                                                              Radioactive elements coaster set $20

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                                                                                                Why not learn a few elements while having a drink or two? These cool coasters even light up when you put a drink on them.

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                                                                                                Last Updated on March 15, 2019

                                                                                                How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

                                                                                                How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

                                                                                                When I began managing people 15 years ago, I thought having a fancy title was synonymous with influence. Over time, I learned that power is conferred based on likeability, authenticity, courage, relationships and consistent behavior. When leaders cultivate these attributes, they earn power, which really means influence.

                                                                                                Understanding influence is essential to professional growth, and companies rise and fall based on the quality of their leadership.

                                                                                                In this article, we will look into the essentials of effective leadership and how to be a leader who is inspiring and influential.

                                                                                                What Makes a Leader Fail?

                                                                                                A host of factors influence a leader’s ability to succeed. To the extent that leaders fail to outline a compelling vision and strategy, they risk losing the trust and confidence of their teams. Employees want to know where a company is going and the strategy for how they will get there. Having this information enables employees to feel safe, and it allows them to see mistakes as part of the learning journey versus as fatal occurrences.

                                                                                                If employees and customers do not believe a company’s leadership is authentic and inspiring, they may disengage, or they may be less inclined to offer constructive criticism that can help a company innovate or help a leader improve.

                                                                                                And it is not just the leadership at the top that matters. Middle managers play a distinct role in guiding teams. Depending on the company’s size, employees may have more access to mid-level managers than they do members of the C-suite, meaning their supervisors and managers have greater influence on the employee and the customer experience.

                                                                                                What Is Effective Leadership?

                                                                                                Effective leadership is inspiring, and it is influential. Cultivating inspiring and influential leaders requires building relationships across the company.

                                                                                                Leaders must be connected to both the teams they lead as well as to their own colleagues and managers. This is key as titles do not make a person a leader, nor do they automatically confer influence. These are earned through trusting relationships. This explains why some leaders can get more out of their teams than others and why some leaders experience soaring profits and engagement while others sizzle out.

                                                                                                Eric Garton said in an April 25, 2017, Harvard Business Review article:[1]

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                                                                                                “… inspiring leaders are those who use their unique combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions – and hold them accountable for results. And they unlock higher performance through empowerment, not command and control.”

                                                                                                How to Be an Inspiring and Influential Leader

                                                                                                To be an inspiring and influential leader requires:

                                                                                                1. Courage

                                                                                                The late poet Maya Angelou once said,

                                                                                                “Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

                                                                                                Courage is required in the workplace when implementing new strategies, especially when they go against professional norms.

                                                                                                For instance, I heard Lisa TerKeurst, bestselling author and founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, explain her decision to move away from her company’s magazine. While the organization had long had a magazine, she saw a future where it didn’t exist.

                                                                                                In order to make the switch, she risked angering her team members and customers. She took a chance, and what started out as a monthly newsletter, has grown into a multi-dimensional organization boasting half a million followers. Had Lisa not found the courage to change the direction of her organization, they undoubtedly would not have been able to experience such exponential growth.

                                                                                                It also takes courage to give and receive feedback. When leaders see employees who are not living into the company’s mission or who are engaging in behavior that may undermine their long-term success, one must risk temporary angst and speak candidly with the colleague in question.

                                                                                                Similarly, it takes courage to hear constructive criticism and try to change. In business, as in life, courage is necessary for being an inspiring and influential leader.

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                                                                                                2. A Commitment to Face Your Internal Demons.

                                                                                                If you feel great about yourself, enter a leadership position. You are likely to be triggered in ways you didn’t think possible. You are also likely to receive feedback that may leave you second-guessing yourself and your leadership skills.

                                                                                                The truth about leading others is that you get to a point where you realize that it is difficult to take people to places where you yourself haven’t gone.

                                                                                                To be an influential and inspiring leader, you have to face your own demons and vow to continually improve. Influential leaders take their personal evolution serious, and they invest in coaching, therapy and mindfulness to ensure that their personal struggles do not overshadow their professional development.

                                                                                                3. A Willingness to Accept Feedback

                                                                                                Inspiring and influential leaders are not afraid to accept feedback. In fact, they actively solicit it. They understand that everyone in their life has a lesson to teach them, and they are willing to accept it.

                                                                                                Inspirational leaders understand that feedback is neither good nor bad but rather an offering that is critical to growth. Even when it hurts or is an affront to the ego, influential leaders understand that feedback is critical to their ability to lead.

                                                                                                4. Likability

                                                                                                Some people will argue that leaders need not worry about being liked but should instead focus on being respected. I disagree. Both are important.

                                                                                                When team members like their boss and believe their boss likes them, they are more likely to go the extra mile to fulfill departmental or organizational goals. Likable leaders are moved to the front of the line when it comes to being influential.

                                                                                                Relatedly, when colleagues feel management dislikes them, they experience internal stress and can spend unnecessary time focusing on the source of their manager’s discontent versus the work they have been hired to do.

                                                                                                So, likability is important for both the leader and the people she leads.

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                                                                                                5. Vulnerability

                                                                                                Vulnerability is critical for being an inspiring leader. People want the truth. They admire leaders who can occasionally demonstrate vulnerability. It promotes deeper relationships and inspires trust.

                                                                                                When leaders can showcase vulnerability appropriately, they destroy the illusion that one must be perfect to be a leader. They also demonstrate that vulnerability is not a dirty word; they too can be vulnerable and ask for a helping hand when necessary.

                                                                                                6. Authenticity

                                                                                                Authenticity is about living up to one’s stated values in public and behind closed doors.

                                                                                                Influential leaders are authentic. They set to live out their values and use those values to guide their decisions. The interesting thing about leadership is that people are not looking for perfect leaders. They are, in part, looking for leaders who are authentic.

                                                                                                7. A True Understanding of Inspiration

                                                                                                Effective leaders are inspirational. They understand the power of words and deeds and use both strategically.

                                                                                                Inspiring leaders appropriately use stories and narratives to enable the teams around them to see common situations in an entirely new light.

                                                                                                Inspirational leaders also showcase grit and triumph while convincing the people around them that success and victory are attainable.

                                                                                                Finally, inspiring leaders encourage the teams they lead to tap into their own genius. They convince others that genius is not reserved for a select few but that most people have it in them.

                                                                                                As explained in the article True Leadership: What Separates a Leader from a Boss:

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                                                                                                “A leader creates visions and motivates team members to work together towards the same goal.”

                                                                                                8. An Ability to See the Humanity in Others

                                                                                                Inspiring and influential leaders see the humanity in others. Rather than treating their teams as mere tools to accomplish organizational goals, they believe the people around them are unique beings with inherent value.

                                                                                                This means knowing when to pause to address personal challenges and dispelling with the myth that the personal is separate from the professional.

                                                                                                9. A Passion for Continual Learning

                                                                                                Inspiring and influential leaders are committed to continual learning. They invest in their own development and take responsibility for their professional growth.

                                                                                                These leaders understand that like a college campus, the workplace is a laboratory for learning. They believe that they can learn from multiple generations in the workplace as well as from people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

                                                                                                Influential leaders proactively seek out opportunities for learning.

                                                                                                The Bottom Line

                                                                                                No one said leadership was easy, but it is also a joy. Influencing others to action and positively impacting the lives of others is a reward unto itself.

                                                                                                Since leadership abounds, there is an abundance of resources to help you grow into the type of leader who inspires and influences others.

                                                                                                More Resources About Effective Leadership

                                                                                                Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

                                                                                                Reference

                                                                                                [1] Harvard Business Review: How to Be an Inspiring Leader

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