The 2013 Productivityist Holiday Gift Guide

This year I decided to offer holiday shoppers a bit more time to explore possible gift ideas for the productivity enthusiast — aka the “productivityist” — in their lives. After all, having four weeks to shop is far better than two…and it’s more than fitting for a productivityist (or someone shopping for one) to be as proactive as possible. The Productivityist Holiday Gift Guide for 2013 may be a long read, but it may just spark some gift ideas you hadn’t considered.

There are plenty of gift ideas for productivityists and non-productivityists alike (35 in all) ranging from tech gear to good old-fashioned analog stuff, and a few surprises in between. A few items are also making a return appearance from the 2012 guide. But enough with the preamble…let’s get started!

1. ioSafe Rugged Portable Drive

I recently reviewed the ioSafe N2 and even though I’m still getting to know it, I love the flexibility and security it offers. ioSafe doesn’t just make NAS devices, though. Its Rugged Portable drive is also safe and secure. If the productivityist in your life doesn’t need to have a server-style drive in their home or office, then the Rugged Portable offers similar safety features for their needs.

2. NeuYear Calendar

My analog calendar of choice. It’s taken my game to a whole new level, and anyone who gives the NeuYear Calendar a try will see that having a bird’s eye view of their year really is a game-changer. This year the price has dropped as well, making it an even better buy.

3. Drafts

If I’m not using paper to capture my stuff, I’m using Drafts. I’ve written about my love for this app before, and any productivityist (or writer) not using it on their iPhone ($2.99) or iPad($3.99) is really missing out. A no-brainer for the productivityist who has gone all-in on iOS.

4. SwiftKey

I’m exploring Android, and Myke Hurley suggested I look at SwiftKey to improve my typing experience on my device. I’m glad I did. I love the way the keyboard works on the device and it really speeds everything up for me on an OS that I’m still getting acquainted with right now. SwiftKey is definitely worth a look if you’ve got an Android user on your list.

5. Evernote Premium

Evernote has a great free service that works for just about everyone (new folks can get Evernote here), but if you know someone who wants to take their Evernote usage to new heights then you should get them Evernote Premium. For $45 a year, you’ll be giving more storage and more functionality, which is exactly what a productivityist needs — and wants.

6. Dispatch

This is my email client of choice ,regardless of platform. Why? It is action-oriented, meaning it gets my emails to where they need to be and gets me out of my inbox a hell of a lot faster. Sadly, Dispatch for iPhone only (priced at $4.99), but those of us who have that device should be using it…especially if you’re trying to be more efficient and effective with email.

7. Field Notes COLORS Subscription

Last year I suggested Field Notes, but this time around I’m suggesting you gift a subscription to its COLORS line of notebooks. I started mine up with the beer edition, Drink Local (I mean, I have a beer cellar after all), and the latest edition, Cold Horizon, features winter colours. For $97 per year, you’ll get four quarterly shipments of two limited-edition 3-Packs each. That means the recipient of this gift will never be at a loss for what to capture ideas, goals, projects, tasks, or sketchnotes in.

8. Ohto Rook Fountain Pen

This is the first fountain pen I’ve ever purchased, and I love it. Its size is ideal for on-the-go notetaking and it writes like a dream. I know there are other fountain pens out there, but if the pen-lover in your life is new to fountain pens and values flexibility along with the finer things in life, then the Ohto Rook Fountain Pen is a great gift idea.

9. The Authentic Swing

Steven Pressfield hit a hole in one with his latest book. I’ve reviewed it here and you can (and should) buy it here.

10. Plex Media Server

We recently upgraded the television in the Vardy household to an LG Smart TV, and I’ve used Plex Media Server to transfer media from our family’s MacBook Pro to it for the last couple of weeks. Syncing media has been a seamless experience and its organizational capabilities are far better than what I’ve used in the past.

11. Day One

My journaling app of choice. I’ve written about my journaling habit here and Day One is where I keep my primary journal, with a paper journal coming into play on rare (yet meaningful) occasions. Day One is available for the Mac for $9.99 and iOS for $4.99 — and it’s well worth the price to grab both so that you can journal anytime and anywhere.

12. The NOW Year

My newest eBook is getting a version update in early December, which will include the release of the EPUB and Amazon editions. But there’s no time like between November 29th at midnight Pacific until December 2nd at 11:59 pm to pick up The NOW Year for the person in your life who needs to get the most out of their calendar because it’s 50% off the regular price!

13. iPad Air/iPad Mini

I had an iPad Mini and then I returned it without even opening it. I wanted a bigger on-screen keyboard. Then the iPad Air arrived, and I’d decided that was going to be my new iPad. Then I met another writer who wrote an entire novel on the iPad Mini and loves it. So here’s the deal: both are great options. But if price is a concern and screen real estate isn’t, go with the iPad Mini. (Just get 32 GB of storage on whichever one you choose to gift…or keep.)

14. The Sketchnote Handbook

Mike Rohde’s book will make even those who steer clear of paper want to give using it a go. I’ve even used sketchnoting as a method of capturing tasks — and written about it here.

15. Dropbox

Using the free version of Dropbox is fine, but I’m suggesting you gift a subscription. Why? Well, Dropbox does cloud storage very well, and productivityist love to have ubiquity across all platforms. Dropbox provides that…and a whole lot more.

16. SodaStream

This is another gift idea that makes a return appearance in 2013, but this year there’s a new model being offered. The SodaStream Source makes the soda-making experience even better than before and at a price that is affordable and tough to ignore. Our Genesis is still going strong, but the Source is the next SodaStream device that will make an appearance on our kitchen counter.

17. The Front Nine

Since this book of mine professes that you can start the year you want anytime you want, it’s a gift that works at anytime of the year. That said, most people still attempt to kick off their year in January, and The Front Nine newsletter may just help them do that right (or figure out when the time is right for them to make that start).

18. Blue Spark Digital Microphone

I picked this bad boy up at Macworld and I really enjoy using it. It has a much better sound to it than my old Snowball and also works with my iPad for portable recording. Blue makes some killer microphones and the Blue Spark Digital is no exception. (For those new to podcasting, the Nessie is a quality no-nonsense choice.)

19. Jawbone JAMBOX

I got my Jawbone JAMBOX in early 2012, and I absolutely love it. Great sound. No wires. Portable. It’s all I could ever want (or need) in a speaker. Some people may want the bigger model, but the one I’ve got is perfect for my workspace and my lifestyle. Either model would make a really great gift.

20. Velodyne vQuiets

Am I ever glad I had the Velodyne vQuiet Noise-Cancelling Headphones with me on my cross-country travels last month. They really are a great set of over-ear headphones, and they are priced right too. I wrote about them before, and I like them even more now.

21. The Productivityist Workbook

This gift idea would be perfect for the budding productivityist in your life. While it won’t be going on sale for long during the holiday season, from November 29th at midnight Pacific until December 2nd at 11:59 pm, you can get it for 50% off. (That said, the regular $5 price point for this productivity primer is hard to beat.) The Productivityist Workbook covers four critical components of personal and professional productivity, and comes in a variety of formats (and free updates until the end of 2014).

22. The Insider

Not the movie, but a very cool shelf that I’ve incorporated into my workspace to create a standing desk. I’m thinking of picking up another Insider for the living room, although the iLoveHandles Plank might win out instead. Still, this little innovation has allowed me to create a very cool workspace without changing my desk once again, so it makes the list.

23. Mophie Juice Pack

C.C. Chapman has one of these and during the proceedings at Social Media Camp, he let me borrow it to charge my iPhone 4S. I was sold. I bought one right away and never looked back. During any sort of travel my iPhone’s battery life lasted longer and since the Mophie Juice Pack used a similar cable as my Kobo Mini (which made last year’s guide, by the way), I had one less cable to take with me. If you’ve got an iPhone 5 or 5S, here’s where you can get a Helium (lighter, less powerful), Plus (heavier, more powerful), and Air (the “middle ground” model).

24. Grid-It Organizer

I did a lot of traveling this year, and the Grid-It came in handy. I eliminated cable mess and kept it in my suitcase for quick packing when I needed to go out of town for work. It’s a simple little thing, but it saves me time, energy, and mess, which makes it a worthy addition to this gift guide.

25. Collapsible water bottle

I picked up two of these on the event floor at Book Expo America this year, and i’m glad I did. I keep one in my suitcase for travel and the other is used whenever we go out as a family and want to carry as little as possible. These things will roll up nicely once empty, which is ideal for camping, travel, or day trips. Vapur makes some great ones, and the more you can get at once, the better.

26. Dopp Kit

What’s a Dopp Kit? Well, it’s a toiletry bag for men, and this one by Parker (makers of the travel safety razor mentioned in #46) is a great gift idea for the productivityist in your life who wants to be prepared for travel well in advance. (If you want to know what else you can add to make your Dopp Kit gift complete, check out this post over at The Art of Manliness.)

27. Dollar Shave Club

I have saved a ton of time (and money) through the use of Dollar Shave Club since I joined, and that;s the main reason it’s returning to the gift guide in 2013. The razor does the job well and I don’t need to spend a fortune on blades — or worry about running out of them either. (I’ve got the bi-monthly option going since I don’t need to shave every day.) Harry’s is another great option for those who can subscribe to its service (Canadians can’t as of this writing), and they offer cream as well as razors. As for a safety razor shaving experience, I’m going with the travel razor and brush offered by my local barber, UOMO Modern Barber, so I can have the same shaving experience at home and on the road.

28. Madden 25 or NHL 14

When I watched the movie The Nines, I noticed that the Ryan Reynolds character (or at least one of them) like to play video games when he took breaks from writing. I’m not a shoot ’em up kind of guy — and I like my games to have an ending when I’m only trying to take a quick break from the stuff I’m working on. That’s why I like to play sports games on my XBOX 360. The Madden and NHL series are by far my favourites, and Madden 25 and NHL 14 are the newest additions to each series. With my Bengals doing better this year and Martin Brodeur on the cover of the iconic hockey video game franchise for the first time, I’m enjoying game time more than ever.

29. Lantern Rings/Superhero Stuff

Last year I was pleasantly surprised with a top-notch Green Lantern ring for Christmas. In July at the World Domination Summit I was further surprised when I met someone who had read The Front Nine went out and bought a Lantern Corps ring of their own. (That “someone” is Travis Collier, and we’ve not only gone on to become friends but he’s since added to his inventory of Lantern Corps rings). If you want to find a ring that is meaningful to you then check out Arroba Silver, which is where you’ll find the best selection of superhero-based jewelry online. If you just want to gift some superhero gear, then Superhero Stuff is worth checking out.

30. Scrivener

Another returning gift idea. I have written all of my books using Scrivener, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Whether you are writing long form, short form, or all forms in between, Scrivener is far and away the best digital writing tool an author can have in his arsenal. (Now if only that highly anticipated Scrivener iOS app would arrive on the scene…)

(Note: Many of the links above are affiliate links. I have written that I use them in a blanket statement over at the Start Here page, but the sheer number of them here compelled me to mention it here as well. Also, I’ve not listed pricing as it can vary from country to country. If you visit the corresponding links, you’ll get a good idea of what it will cost you where you are, and shipping — where applicable — can be better calculated as well.)

There you have it. Happy (and productive) shopping!

Photo credit: Eqilshay via SXC.HU