Every year I put together a gift guide with the idea of helping that person on your gift list who wants to kick their productivity up a notch. That person might even be you.
What follows is a list of gift ideas that I’ve divided into six categories. I’ll add to this page as more ideas come to mind but will limit each category to only six suggestions. In some cases, when you purchase one of these gifts I’ll get a little bit of affiliate income, either directly from the creator of the product or from Amazon. But rest assured, I don’t recommend things for this guide that I haven’t personally put through the paces.
On that note, here’s The Productivityist 2021 Gift Guide!
Analog Productivity Tools
I’m a massive fan of quality analog tools as part of a productive workflow. Below are some I’ve used – and still use – that help me get the most out of my time. They really do draw attention to my intentions and even though I use digital tools as well, I’m a ‘hybrid’ productivity person that sees value in both types of tools.
The Monk Manual
I started using the Monk Manual this year as my primary analog planner (in conjunction with The Daily Driver) mainly because of how aligned it is with my own productivity sensibilities. This elegant planner does everything it can to actively link your intentions with your attention – which is what I believe really defines productivity at its core. Admittedly, it’s an investment but I believe your time, attention, and your intentions are worth it. And if you use this link and enter the code TIMECRAFTING at checkout you’ll get 10% off your order.
The NOW Year Wall 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 again 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 so they can craft it in the best way possible. You can get one here.
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 talked about it on my podcast. If you’ve got an analog productivity nerd in your life, then Analog is a gift worth giving them.
Digital Productivity Tools
As I mentioned above, I like my digital productivity tools. Here are just a few I’ve got in my own workflow – from to-do list to other types of timesaving apps – that allow me to deliver the goods time and time again.
When my former calendar of choice closed up shop, I was on the hunt for a new scheduling app. I put several through the paces but wound up falling in love with SavvyCal. It’s incredibly versatile, feature-rich, and is pleasing to use for both the person sending calendar links and for those receiving them. If you’re looking for a scheduling app so that you can avoid the email back and forth, give SavvyCal a look. Check out SavvyCal here.
This is the project management tool we use here at Productivityist. It allows everyone on the team to stay in sync and helps me keep things straight in my own head – especially considering all the things I need and want to do for the work here. We’ve streamlined our workflow to the point where almost every single thing we do for Productivityist happens inside of ClickUp. For example, this guide you’re reading right now was crafted and collaborated on in ClickUp. As someone who’s tested more project and task management tools than most, I can say with confidence that ClickUp is the most scalable, powerful, and versatile I’ve used. And that’s saying a lot. Check out ClickUp here.
Shift is a pretty awesome dashboard for multiple tools that you or your business may use. It allows you to have all of the apps and extensions you need and want to use in one spot – including email. There’s nothing quite like having less places to go and Shift gives you exactly that. Sure, you’ll need the discipline not to jump from app to extension to app, but that’s the kind of thing that I help you with, right? I recommend you give Shift a try if you’re looking for an all-in-one dashboard for the tools you need to get your work done. Check out Shift here.
If you’re trying to save time and you don’t have this If you’re trying to save time and you don’t have this time-saving superstar app from Smile, then you’re missing out. It’s grown in leaps and bounds over the years and is available for a wide variety of platforms. I consider it to be an indispensable tool in my productivity toolkit and if you want to save a ton of time with your typing – or you know someone on your gift list who does – then you should definitely check TextExpander out.
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. Todoist is my pick for a task management app for individuals – I use it rather than ClickUp for my personal tasks. It’s also a solid option for 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, flexible, and durable to-do list app, give them the gift of a Todoist Premium account.
You Need a Budget
While I may be great with time, I’m not so great with money. That’s why I use the You Need a Budget (aka YNAB) system and its software. I don’t just use it for work, either. YNAB is part of both my personal and professional money management workflow. And coupled with Mike Michalowicz’s “Profit First” I’ve found a killer combo that helps me keep my money in far better shape than it’s ever been. Check out YNAB here.
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. Then I went and bought the first batch of their Hemingway Edition so I can use it for long form writing at my standing desk in my study. I’m a fan of devices that do one thing well. The Freewrite does writing really well.
While I’ve not tried Zest Tea’s CBD offerings, I have tried their caffeinated teas. They’ve become a regular part of my afternoons when I want a bit of a boost in both energy and warmth during the rainy season here in Victoria. They offer a wide variety of teas, although I’m partial to the Blue Lady myself. Give Zest Tea a look here.
Mavic Mini Fly More Bundle
I have been looking at drones for a while that I could easily use here in Victoria both for filming for work, as well as something cool to do with my son. I finally discovered an affordable option with the DJI Mavic Mini bundle. It’s the total package for someone who is new to drones but wants a quality offering at a lower price point. Seriously… I got everything I needed in this bundle. My son and I are having a blast with it and I’ve only just started to get acquainted with it. Once I’m more experienced with flying it, it’ll be an even better buy. You can get one for yourself – or the person on your list looking to get into drones – here.
I get a lot out of my InstantPot. It’s proven to be a productivity powerhouse in the kitchen, allowing me to make healthy meals for my family without having to keep an eye on them for an extended period of time. I’ve even used it to make oatmeal overnight for my first meal of the day. If you don’t already own one, I recommend you get one here.
Anova Sous Vide Machine
Believe it or not, this device gets even more use than my InstantPot and has received a permanent spot on my counter space. I love to use it to prepare steak, fish, chicken, and other staples for dinner and I can monitor the entire process from my phone. Now that barbecue season is essentially over, The Anova Sous Vide Machine is the only way I’ll cook steak and pork chops. It works like a charm, saving me time and money. Buy one for yourself here.
I enjoy reading email newsletters because I learn plenty from them. But I don’t enjoy them hitting my email inbox in waves. Mailbrew has solved that problem for me – and even helped me optimize things that I never considered before. I can group videos from YouTube into an email from Mailbrew showcasing channels I like to watch, keeping me out of YouTube more often. I can even use its email address to have emails sent there so that they steer clear of my email app of choice (Front) altogether. Mailbrew has saved me time and allowed me to pay attention to content I enjoy when I’m ready to do so. It’s a real winner. Click here to check out Mailbrew.
While I read books in a variety of ways (Scribd being one tool that I use a lot), I turn to Blinkist on those occasions when I want to “get the gist” of a book either in preparation for content creation or when I can’t decide whether to purchase the actual book in paper or Kindle format. 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. There’s also audio versions of blinks that I enjoy. The bottom line: Blinkist allows me to read more and, in turn, learn more. Blinkist is a great gift for the reader in your life.
Sure, this could fall into the “digital productivity tools” category, but I actually use Brain.fm myself whenever I’m studying or trying to learn something. It amps up my focus and has kept me on task that I’ve been working on for an extended period of time. You can check out Brain.fm here.
MacSparky Field Guides
If you’re a Mac/iOS user, then I highly suggest you check out what David Sparks has to offer in his catalog of MacSparky field Guides. Whether you want to get better at dealing with photos, improve your automations, or dive deep into a specific app, these Field Guides are an incredible value. You can check them all out here.
The Vardy family is known to break out board and card games on a regular basis, and this game is the latest addition to the mix. I’m a football fan and when Adrienne Smith introduced me to the game she invented, it instantly piqued my curiosity. I’ve played it with my son and wife and once they familiarized themselves with some of the scoring in football (a nice side effect, by the way), they were hooked. Blitz Champz doesn’t just teach football scoring – it teaches strategy and quick math skills, as well. If you or someone on your list loves card games AND football, get them Blitz Champz.
Zero to Obsidian
My PKM (personal knowledge management) tool of choice is Obsidian. It’s quite robust and I’m still wrapping my head around it as I write this gift guide. That’s where Zero to Obsidian comes in. If you want to go from Obsidian signup to Obisidian leveling up as quickly as possible, then this course is going to be a huge help. Check it out.
One more thing…
Do you want to take your own intentions in the coming months and illuminate them so they have your attention more than ever? Then I encourage you to check out my newest program, The six. With The six, you’ll be able to draw sustainable attention to the things you need and want to do without forsaking or compromising the external demands of others. You can check out everything The Six has to offer – all for just $99 – here.