Christmas Buying Guide: The Top 20 Gifts For the Productivity Geek on Your List

by Brad Isaac on December 8, 2007

Forget the *yawn* boring gift cards this Christmas and give the productivity geek in your life what he or she really wants – gear that makes them more productive! In case you don’t know what to get them, here’s 20 great ideas to add to your list unless they’ve been naughty ;)

Fisher Matte Black Bullet Space Pen With Clip The space pen is a durable, compact pen to fit in your pocket. You can take it virtually anywhere. The marketers tout you can write upside down with it which I’ve never done, but I have used it to write ideas in bed. Which with a standard ballpoint never seems to work very well.

You can read my full review here.

canon_camera_.jpgCanon SD700IS camera – The great thing about this camera is its jitter free feature. If you don’t have a tripod or solid surface to set the camera during your picture, don’t worry. Like magic, the gyroscopes inside the camera make sure that any shakiness of your hands don’t show up as photos. I’ve tested this for fun and it takes some pretty good shaking to mess up a photo.

Handbook to Higher Consciousness -I’ve mentioned this handbook in previous posts. You can read more about it here, but if your friend is going through a hard time, or simply wants to live a happier existence, the mental habits in this book will definitely lift spirits.

AeroGarden – What started out as a wish on my wish list, his turned in to a recycling amount of basil and I can take home almost every day. The other herbs are urged catching up with the basil very quickly now, so I expect to be enjoying some dill, cilantro, parsley, chives and mint very soon very at the Aero Garden is a great conversation piece, and reminds that productivity geek that every now and again you need to stop and smell the flowers herbs.

Evernote software – Evernote is one of my more recent finds. It is a software application that lets you copy, capture, archive, search and review notes of just about any type. It is well-designed software that does many things very well. it lets you create a folder on your desktop to drop text files for photos where ever note checks and immediately pops your item into your notes list. For me, ever notes power comes from not feeling the need to categorize upfront. Let me give you an example: lets say an important business call is returned to you. But you don’t have a files related to the call handy. In fact, you don’t have a notepad handy either. Instead of shuffling around looking for the files or a particular spot to place the information they are telling you, simply start typing in Evernote. you can categorize later. Also a timestamp is placed on your note so that it this person calls back and refers to specific date you can use the handy date scroll on the right of the screen to go directly to that date. I find myself recording just about everything right now into the software and it has already paid for itself.

Achieve-IT! software – Written by yours truly, I built this software to do two things. 1. To provide a simple to use and organized method of keeping your goals. 2. To train Achieve-IT! users on the fundamentals of goal setting so that success becomes a habit. Over the years, it has evolved to include increased functionality like the popular Motivate Me feature. While still retaining its proven formula.

Pocket Informant Smartphone and Pocket PC Organizer software – If the productivity geek on your Christmas list owns a Pocket PC or smart phone, Pocket Informant is a no-brainer. This is as close to carrying Outlook in your pocket as possible without having to put your computer into a trash compactor.

Pocket informant has calendar, tasks, notes and a great contact list manager. In fact, there are so many features to explore the productivity geek can get lost in curious wonder at the number of tweaks and customization.

Xbox 360 – While parents far and wide are clawing for Wii consoles, you can casually walk into a Best Buy and pick up a 360. Just for unwinding an Xbox 360 with Team Fortress 2 – Having played the original Team Fortress Classic for many years, Team Fortress 2 was a no brainer. I get up before everyone else just to get in a round or two. This version is in a word…thrilling to play. I almost don’t want to leave the house – better than coffee in that it wakes me up and calms me down.

The Xbox Live network has many History and Discovery channel series in their entirety to pick from, So it doesn’t have to be all fun and games, it can be an R&D tool too. That’s my story anyway and I’m sticking to it. ;)

art_of_exceptional_living.pngJim Rohn’s Art of Exceptional Living – If your geek is constantly searching for the perfect motivational tool, I recommend you start here. Jim Rohn’s delivery gets under your skin and gets you off your butt. He just has a way of putting things that when you think about it, you realize how much better you can become.

gtd_for_outlook.pngGTD for Outlook – Perfect for turning emails into appointments, tasks and projects, GTD for Outlook does the trick. When going through your inbox and deciding what to keep and throw out, you can click a button to convert those niggling emails and schedule appointments with other people. You can snooze the emails too for an inbox so clean it gives off a warm glow.

Speedfiler Professional for Outlook – Speedfiler is similar to GTD for Outlook – but different. If your inbox has over 100 emails in it, Speedfiler will help you file everything in mere minutes. It will also auto-file emails from certain people or companies. Overall, it is a good compliment to the GTD software because GTD for Outlook has a very cumbersome filing process. You’d be better manually filing each email than using GTD’s feature. You can read my full review here.

mental_floss.pngSubscription to Mental Floss – i.e. brainfood. Each issue of mental floss is packed with the information that makes you are geeky geek. Questions are answered such as which American town has been on fire since the mid-60s, tidbits like where the concept of vampires comes from and urban legends. – odd and fascinating subjects indeed. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. :)

stowaway_bluetooth_keyboard.pngStowaway iGo bluetooth keyboard – The stowaway Bluetooth keyboard is small enough that it can be folded up and put into a back pants pocket. It is my preferred way of entering text when I’m on the go. Where other people are lugging around huge laptops, laptop bags gear mouse keyboard, I get away with packing everything into my pockets. All you need is a Bluetooth phone or Bluetooth enabled PDA and you’re ready to blog away. Oh and one more thing, whenever I’m in a restaurant typing away on this Bluetooth keyboard, a least one person stops to marvel at it and ask questions. To quote comedian Brian Regan, “Are you from the future?” Why yes I am.

Moleskine Notebook – personally I find that when I use different systems to record my ideas, I do better at idea generation. In other words sometimes I like typing on a keyboard. The next day I might like writing in my notebook. The day after, just simply talking into Dragon naturally speaking to enter text. All of these keep me keep the activity fresh so that I don’t get is bored as quickly. The Moleskine notebooks are very high quality and just feel good to use. Bring along your space pen and you’re set. I prefer carrying the smallest model with me to make little journal entries and write down ideas as they occur to me. There are times when flipping out the stowaway keyboard is not handy. Added bonus, the Moleskine notebooks are not very expensive. Good if you have many productivity addicts on your shopping list.

ifi_for_ipod.pngKlipsch iFi Speaker System for iPod – When you’re listening to self-development audio on your iPod, nothing is better than the Klipsch iFi Speaker System. I got mine about two years ago for my birthday and both music and self-development audio sound amazing when played to the speakers. They look great, sound even better than they loved Natta warm to to the music or other audio that simply isn’t available in comparably priced speaker systems. I know several audio dealers who have heard these speakers and can attest to their fan Tabula’s sound.

dragon_naturally_speaking.pngDragon Naturally Speaking Pro – Dragon NaturallySpeaking Pro is one of the other utilities I rely on to get me through all of the writing I have to do when I don’t feel like typing. Last month, I turned 40 years old. I’m not going to belabor my age, but I will say that typing for many hours does have its drawbacks.

I sometimes develop pain in my fingers from typing. I can also build up tention in my neck and shoulders from sitting at the keyboard. Dragon NaturallySpeaking, lets me sit, recline, stand, and sometimes I even watch TV as I dictate into the computer. In fact, I am dictating right now…

Can I type faster than manually entering words via the keyboard? Why yes I can, probably three to four times faster. The only drawback, it is it is not 100% accurate – Just like typing. You will make mistakes and you will have to go back and correct them.

The only drawback to this software is when you do make a mistake. Unfortunately, sometimes, editing your own work in this way is not as easy as it sounds. Usually the error is well hidden, like the word an used instead of and. It’s simple to breeze over errors in your dictating and not see them because they are so small.

The way I have found around this is to take a break for 20 minutes and then go back and do my edits. Reading from scratch in this way usually reveals these little gremlins.

So if the productivity nerd on your list is hoping for a simple way to do a whole lot of typing of reports e-mails, blog posts or simply the great and the American novel you can’t Dragon for the way it helps you get text into your computer fast and accurately.

nuvi_gps.pngGARMIN Nuvi 770 Auto Navigation System – Okay I do not have this particular GPS unit – a friend of mine does and it rocks. This is something that would make a productivity geek’s Christmas. This GPS system has an integrated Bluetooth kit with an FM transmitter so if you have a phone with Bluetooth capabilities, simply set it on your dashboard or leave it on your belt you can use the GPS navigator as your speakerphone. It also has a radio traffic receiver and although I have not tested it, it is supposed to navigate you around traffic jams. Which if you read my post the other day, you know I don’t really care if I’m in a traffic jam or not, but he got to admit that is really cool.

Look at it this way, you can’t be productive if you are lost out in the middle of nowhere.

herman_miller_mirra.pngThe Herman Miller Mirra chair – productivity nerds far and wide spend a lot of time at their desks planning, organizing, doing their work. A Herman Miller chair will help them sit at the desk more comfortably. This tech friendly chair, feels like a counterbalances your weight to make you more comparable whether you’re sitting up straight, leaning back using the arm rests or placing your arms on the table. It feels good for long periods of coding sessions or long report writing sessions. Although a little pricey, you can’t come very close without approaching the same price so you might as will go ahead and get the real thing.

lapdesk.pngLapdesk – I built my own lap desk several years ago. This one at Barnes and Noble is just as nice. It’s got padding underneath it and a hardwoods surface on top sanded smooth for comfortable writing. A lapdesk is handy for doing work on a notebook computer, writing thank you and birthday cards, you can even use it as a small table if you are at home sick in bed – trust me, I know.

churchill_stand_up_desk.pngStandup desk — Winston Churchill said “why stand when you can sit?” Yet he is one of the historical figures known for working from a standup desk. Go figure! A standup desk is great in that no matter how tired you feel if you get on your feet you can still squeak out a little bit more productivity. It’s difficult to fall asleep or you’re standing up although I have come fairly close at times,. Plus, standing up adds new energy to the tasks you are working on. It’s difficult to explain except to point out that very few non-desk oriented professions involve sitting. Chefs do not sit down as they prepare food. Surgeons do not sit as they cut into their patients. And car mechanics rarely sit as they work on your engine. Why is that?

So give the productivity geek another perspective with a stand up desk.

Note: Not all, but a few of the links above are affiliates. But they are all things I use regularly and recommend wholeheartedly. If you decide to purchase one of the items, please consider clicking my affiliate link – all proceeds (with the exception of A.I. Software) go toward Achieve-IT! blog hosting, bandwidth and maintenance.

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{ 1 comment }

Scarlett Tarjick December 10, 2007 at 12:34 pm

Hi Brad,
Great list of unique gifts for the holidays! I especially like the AeroGarden:) Hey if you are looking to make some extra money with your blog, you should check us out at LinWorth. We have a product called linkpost that would work well for you. Let me know if you have any questions.
Happy Holidays!
Scarlett Tarjick
LinkWorth Staff

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