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Holiday Gift Ideas for Your Co-Workers and Boss

Holiday Gift Ideas for Your Co-Workers and Boss

Doing a Secret Santa or holiday gift exchange at your office this year? Wondering what would make a thoughtful gift for your boss while still remaining professional? Panicking about finding a unique gift for every single one of your coworkers?

There’s no need to raise your blood pressure over gift-giving—the holidays are supposed to be about showing people you care for and appreciate them, and it really is the thought that counts more than the amount of money you spend.

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With that in mind, here are some thoughtful holiday gift ideas for your co-workers and boss that won’t break the bank.

For the Super Organized Coworker

Every office has a person (or two, or three) who thrive on a perfectly organized work space and have created elaborate spreadsheets and filing systems that make them the masters of efficiency. If you’re shopping for anyone who loves keeping things neat and tidy, consider getting them organization tools with a fun twist, like these Underwhelmed Task Clips or The Non-Planner Datebook.

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For the Super Disorganized Coworker

Know someone who could use a little more structure in their work environment? Opt for an organizational tool that will help them be more productive without offending them. Try something a little bit unusual like a mini filing cabinet or funny sticky notes. Maybe your gift won’t convince them to completely clean up their act, but it will help them move in the right direction.

For the Office Bookworm

If you work with someone who is a big reader, both in and out of the office, give them a gift to nurture their love of the written word. Scrabble magnets will allow them to get creative with the office refrigerator, while a personal library kit will allow them to leave their mark on the books they own. Alternatively, you could get them a one year subscription to a literary magazine like The New Yorker or McSweeney’s Quarterly.

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For the Company Prankster

Office gag gifts are never hard to come by and are bound to brighten the day of any lighthearted coworker. Office Playground has a great selection of fun mugs, including the Ninja Mug and the Donut Mug, so that your coworker can add some flair to their morning coffee routine. If they need more decorations for their workspace, consider getting them a framed print of a headline from America’s leading fake news source, The Onion.

For the Office Trivia Nut

Chances are, you work with someone who seems to know random facts about every imaginable subject and would be a great contender on Jeopardy. Help them expand their trivia knowledge even further by getting them a book from Mental Floss, like Science in Seconds or the entertaining but informative Mental Floss History of the United States.

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For the Office Foodie

The discerning foodie can be notoriously hard to please, but give any boss or coworker a thoughtful food gift basket and they’re sure to be happy. If you’re skilled in the kitchen, you can bake your own holiday treats or even put together the ingredients and provide recipes for winter meals that you love. If you’d rather go with a pre-assembled gift basket, Harry and David has some great offerings, and Gourmet Gift Baskets has a health food option if you’re shopping for someone who’s particularly concerned with nutrition.

For the Coworker/Boss Who Has Everything

The hardest people to shop for are the ones who already seem to have every cool gadget and material good imaginable. If you’re stuck on ideas, consider getting your coworker or boss something that will directly contribute to a charity. For example, if you buy one of these HOPE star ornaments, 20% of the cost will be donated to SickKids. You can also directly donate to a charity that you know your boss or coworker cares about. Oxfam has a great gift program that allows you to spend a small amount of money to buy livestock or vegetable gifts that will help someone in need, and your coworker or boss will get a personalized card telling them about what a difference their gift is making.

Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to the ideas on this list. You might consider other alternatives like making baked goods for everyone in the office or giving everyone a handmade card with a personalized message. Let your creative side shine through and think about what your bosses and coworkers will truly appreciate this holiday season.

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

I imagine that like me, you say that you never have enough time and that you just cannot cope with 60 dozen things all at once.

How on earth do you get out of that spiral?

Many people never sit down and look at how to work smarter, rather than harder and even longer hours. But not you, you’re smart enough to try to learn effective ways to work.

So how to work smarter not harder? Here are 12 smart ways you should be following:

1. Improve Your Time Management Skills

Easier said than done? Well, no actually, because there are a few simple rules that can really help you to manage time better.

For example, when setting up a top priority task, you need to switch off the phone and ignore your email first. Then you need to abandon any ideas of multitasking as that will slow you down and ruin your focus.

Finally, set a reasonable deadline and do everything in your power to meet it.

“When you’re born, you’re born with 30,000 days. That’s it. The best strategic planning I can give to you is to think about that.” — Sir Ray Avery

2. Speed up Your Typing and Use Shortcuts

These days we’re all keyboard slaves. So why not speed up your typing and try to get rid of the two finger syndrome. In fact, when you save 21 days per year just by typing fast!

This is exactly what I am doing now, so I cannot honestly say I am practicing what I preach!

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But help is at hand. Try some of these apps and games to help you type fast: 8 Most Effective Games and Apps to Learn to Type Fast

Using shortcuts on the keyboard is another time saver and can speed up your work.

For example, press F2 to rename a selected file, while CTRL + I will put selected text in italics.

There are so many of these. If you make the effort to learn them, they really can be helpful.

3. Learn How to Use Productivity Tools

It is well worth downloading all the useful tools and apps that can highly boost your productivity. Take a look at these 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools and install whatever fits your needs.

Now that is really a great way of working smarter, not harder.

4. Use Your Phone Wisely

Instead of writing emails, sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone and talk to the person responsible. It saves time, especially for important or urgent discussions.

If that colleague works in the same office, it is even better to go and talk to him or her. It gives you a break, you get some exercise and you actually make human contact which is becoming quite rare in this electronic world.

5. Keep a Tab on Your Tabs

If you are like me, you might well find that you have a ton of tabs open at the top of your browser.

In order to find the one you want, you have to search for them as they are off screen. Having all these tabs open slows down your browser too.

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One solution is to use OneTab which can keep a neat list on the screen of all these tabs when you want to quickly get to one of them or you want to remind yourself which ones you have open.

6. Use a “To Don’t” List

We all know about to do lists and I find that they are generally great. They give me a great sense of achievement as I cross off the tasks done.

But often, I find that we are doing non-essential tasks or ones that can easily be postponed. That is why many people recommend the to don’t list.[1]

Some people prefer to savagely prune the to do list while others prefer to have two separate lists, to do and to don’t. You just have to work out what works best for you when you are trying to save precious time to become more productive.

7. Expect Failure and Fight Paranoia

When failure rears its ugly head, some people get a bit paranoid and fear that this may become a trend.

Projects will go wrong and failure should be expected rather than feared. Learning lessons from failure and analyzing what went wrong is the best way forward.

“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” — Richard Branson

And here you can find 10 Great Lessons Highly Successful People Have Learned From Failure.

8. Be Concise

Rambling on at meetings, in emails and even when introducing yourself to new clients can waste a lot of people’s time.

One way is to practice and sharpen your “elevator speech,”[2] which tells people in 30 seconds or less why they need your skills and how they can benefit from doing business with you.

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Just think of the many situations where this could be useful:

  • Making new contacts
  • Talking about yourself at a job interview
  • Meeting people at conferences or parties
  • Phone calls to new clients

9. Ask the Right Questions

“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” — Naguib Mahfouz

How do you get feedback? The secret is to ask the right questions at the right time.

When you do this, you are gathering the information you need to help in decision making. This will save you time and you will be able to cut meetings to a minimum.

Forbes magazine reports on research that they carried out on asking the right questions.[3] When that happens, the positive effects are increased by 400%. There are also other benefits in staff motivation and a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.

Lifehack’s CEO Leon has shared about how to ask for feedback to learn faster: How to Learn Quickly And Master Any Skill You Want

10. Learn as Much as You Can

You should always be on a steep learning curve. Look at your skills profile and determine where you need to fill a gap. Talk to important connections and network in your niche.

Keep up to date on trends and developments. It is a fact-changing world. When an opportunity arises, you will be the best equipped to seize it because you have never stopped learning. Just another way of working smarter.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi

11. Look After Your Greatest Resource

No, your greatest resource is not time. It is YOU.

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If you do not get enough sleep, exercise and relaxation, you find that you become less and less productive. You begin to work longer and longer hours, which is the exact opposite of what you want.

What you should be doing is making sure you are in the best shape. It is useful to remember that you need a break of 15 minutes after every one and a half hours of work.[4]

Taking breaks and getting fresh air and exercise is one of the best ways of working smarter, not harder.

12. Don’t Fall into the Trap of Working Smarter and Harder

As a society, we are obsessed with doing everything smarter so we are more efficient and we save time all around.[5]

But the most important thing to remember is to accept when we are ready to switch off that computer and not fill up the time with even more work!

The Bottom Line

The key to greater productivity is to work smarter, not harder. Working smarter saves precious time and energy for the things that really matter — your life goals, your personal growth, your health and your relationships.

Stop working for more hours and start working smarter!

More About Working Smart

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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