Last year, I made a video for my YouTube channel recommending 10 gift ideas for the (aspiring) productive person in your life. But that was last year. It’s 2020 and it’s time for a new holiday gift guide.
This year, I’ve got 20 other ideas for you – some ideas that you may want to steal and buy for yourself this holiday season!
Let’s start with books. I’ve been reading more in the past twelve months than I can ever remember doing before, so it’s no wonder that I’ve recommended more books in this gift guide than anything else.
The Practice by Seth Godin
The latest book from the prolific author of The Dip, Linchpin, The Purple Cow, and more has delivered another solid read. I had the pleasure of speaking with Seth for an episode of The Productivityist Podcast. You can view our conversation here. If you know someone who enjoys Seth’s daily blog, then they’ll like The Practice.
How to Decide by Annie Duke
I just received this book, and I’m enjoying it. Decision fatigue is a real drain on people. That drain affects our ability to invest our attention in the things we intend to do. How to Decide offers, as its subtitle suggests, “simple tools for making better choices.” Getting this book as a gift for someone would be a good choice.
Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey
I’ve been raving about this book since I first heard Matthew McConaughey discuss it with Tim Ferriss on Tim’s podcast. I own both the Audible and hardcover editions. It’s much more than a memoir, so if you want to gift a book to someone in your life who enjoys memoirs, then Greenlights is the book to give them. It’s fantastic.
Punch Failure in the Face (Then Buy it a Beer) by David Knapp-Fisher
When my friend David Knapp-Fisher asked me to read his book as he was putting the finishing touches on it, I was more than happy to oblige. Once I read it, I knew that endorsing it would be the least I could do—I wound up writing the foreword for it! It’s a great read, sharing stories from David’s life and lessons he’s learned along the way. David’s approach to failure – embracing it – might be something you’ve read about before, but the way David writes about it is a real treat.
Start Finishing by Charlie Gilkey
I’ve been friends with Charlie for years, and when he told me he had this book in the works, I knew he’d knock it out of the park. He did just that. Starting something is one thing – finishing it is something else. I’m grateful that he tackled that subject and did it so well.
Hell Yeah or No by Derek Sivers
I’ve been a fan of Derek’s work for a long time and was grateful when he made an appearance on The Productivityist Podcast to talk about his work with me. He’s written several books already (all of which I own). When he shared that Hell Yeah or No was on its way, I jumped at the chance to order it. It’s well worth your time to share it with someone you care about… or to give it a read (or a listen) yourself.
Keep Going by Austin Kleon
Austin is another author I’ve kept up with for years. I had him on my podcast as well, specifically to talk about this book. The title is especially relevant in today’s climate – and the text within the book is always going to be relevant. Keep Going is a timeless book that deserves a spot on more bookshelves.
Technology moves at such a rapid pace that I’ve only listed one item in this holiday gift guide that I’d say fits the idea of tech. The rest are timeless, which is why I love all of them and encourage you to check them out.
Letters to the Future Special Edition Confidant
I love Baronfig products. I’ve not exactly kept that a secret over the years. I’m also a fan of journaling. I wrote a letter to my future self a couple of years ago, and I still have a couple of years before I get to open it. Boy, do I wish this Baronfig product was available when I wrote that letter. I suppose I’ll have to use it for even more future versions of myself!
Simple, elegant, portable, brilliant. All of these words can be applied to Analog. Jeff Sheldon of Ugmonk has built something special with Analog. We even talk about it on The Productivityist Podcast. If you’ve got an analog productivity nerd in your life, then Analog is a gift worth giving them.
I had a chance to test drive the original Freewrite and decided to purchase the Freewrite Traveler because of its small footprint, portability, and e-ink display so that I can write without eye strain on my back deck. Sure, you can use an iPad for writing if you want (I still do occasionally), but I’m a fan of devices that do one thing well. The Freewrite does writing really well.
The Time-Block Planner
Cal Newport has championed time blocking for years. Now he’s developed and released a planner to support those who want to put it to practice without having to design it themselves. I’ve picked it up, and it is a solid entry in the paper planner space.
Bring Gratitude Cards
My friend Karl Staib of Dig to Fly developed these cards a while back, but I have only put them to consistent use this year. Gratitude can be a wellspring for greater productivity, clarifying your intentions, and focusing your attention on those intentions. These cards offer a gratitude jumpstart. They’re a thoughtful and practical gift that I believe is worth gifting this holiday season (or anytime, really).
Sailor Compass 1911 Fountain Pen
I do like my pens. I know I’m not the only one. Fountain pens are a bit of a luxury for me, but the fine folks at Goldspot have given me a few to put through the paces (I’ll have reviews on all of them up soon). This one stood out as a pen I could write with as often as I use my collection of Baronfig Squires. Its ink flows well, it has a soft touch on paper, and green happens to be my favorite color. Goldspot offers plenty of quality products. The Sailor Compass 1911 fountain pen is an excellent place to start.
This wouldn’t be a gift guide if I didn’t include some software solutions. All of these are going to boost productivity, some in more unconventional ways that others.
I’ve been using Todoist for years, and it keeps getting better with age. That’s something that I can’t say for some to-do list apps I’ve used. While I don’t think it’s the best option for large teams (yet), Todoist is my pick for a task management app for individuals and smaller teams. It sports a lengthy list of features, and it won’t empty your wallet, either. If you know someone who needs a simple and flexible to-do list app, give them the gift of a Todoist Premium account.
I can’t even tell you how many deals on apps I’ve found through AppSumo. Stock photo services. Marketing tools. Other types of software solutions. Giving the gift of AppSumo to someone opens the door to a wide array of possibilities for them. I know it’s done that for me.
I mentioned earlier in this guide how much I’ve been reading. Well, with Blinkist, I’ve been able to “preview” books before deciding whether or not I want to own them outright. Blinkist delivers condensed takeaways from the books in their library (called “blinks”), and I use those to decide what book I might want to add to my library at home. It also allows me to read more as a result. Blinkist is a great gift for the reader in your life.
Got someone on your list that wants to save time writing repetitive emails and other written copy? Then TextExpander is the gift for them. I’ve found TextExpander to be an indispensable tool for many years, saving me time and energy along the way. TextExpander may not be the sexiest gift I’m recommending in this guide, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a great gift.
I know, I know—another reading tool. But I love Scribd. With Scribd, you can read all the books, audiobooks, and magazines you want! Better still, the person you’re gifting Scribd to can read all the books, audiobooks, and magazines they want! Scribd is the reading app I use the most. It’s the reading app that my 10-year-old son uses the most. It’s THAT good.
The last 4 ideas I have on this gift guide are of my own design. All of them will help those in your life benefit from my work. (And who knows? Maybe you can buy one of these as a gift to yourself this holiday season.)
TimeCrafting Trust Membership
I’ve put together a collective of people working with me (and working together) to get better at crafting their time. Members of TimeCrafting Trust get access to all of my courses (even retired ones), paid workshops, biweekly focused work sessions with me, and more. All for $9/month or $99/year. TimeCrafting Trust is my flagship offering, and I’m bringing the best of myself to this community. I’d love to have more people be part of it. Perhaps one of those people is someone you know. Perhaps one of those people is you.
The NOW Year Calendar
The wall calendar I’ve developed with the NeuYear team is available once again in tall and wide sizes (I got the tall one this year). It features several elements of TimeCrafting and gives you a full view of your calendar year at a glance. This is the perfect gift for someone who wants to see the shape of their year to craft it to be the best year possible. Until December 1, you’ll get 10% off when you use this link to buy it.
The Front Nine: How to Start the Year You Want Anytime You Want
While you wait for my next traditionally published book to come out, why not grab my first published book for someone who wants to start the year they want anytime they want? I think it’s particularly relevant – and needed – right now.
The Productivityist Playbook
You can’t get this book anywhere else than Amazon or if you’re a member of TimeCrafting Trust. It’s my most recent book, and you’ll find it contains the best current collection of TimeCrafting in one place. It also features tactics (in the form of “plays”) that the reader can use today.
That’s it for this year’s holiday gift guide. As always, some of these links are affiliate links. That means I’ll get a little bit of money if you use them to purchase anything… at no additional cost to you.
Here’s to a happy – and productive – shopping experience!
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