6 Holiday Gifts to Rock Your Productivity


What would you like for Christmas? I don’t know about you, but the question strikes fear into my heart and often leaves me stumbling for something to say. The real reason for my noncompliance on the gift question is that I don’t feel I can credibly tell the truth, which is…

“Well I don’t really need anything, and I have too much stuff anyway and if I wanted anything it would be an ocean-side vacation home on the Big Island of Hawaii, an all-expenses-paid trip to India or a new Kate Spade designer purse. But I’m guessing you just don’t have that much spare change lying around and besides we’re not that close.” Or something like that.

If you’re in a similar dilemma about what to get or what to give this holiday season, check out this list of productivity-enhancing presents. They’re all good for business, but won’t break the bank.

  1. The Portable Charging Valet: What web worker has not known the horror of running out of battery juice just at the critical moment of closing the deal or putting the final touches on a technical solution? The Portable Charging Valet from The Sharper Image keeps three of the electronic devices you can’t live without morning, noon or night charged up and ready to go. The charger is compatible with your favorite handheld devices including cell phones, PDAs, portable games, iPods/iPhones (s aapl) and Bluetooth headsets. Available at Best Buy, Kohl’s, Amazon.com, Beall’s and Boscov’s: $39.99.
  2. The Brain Fitness Program: For Generation Xers and baby boomers alike, keeping your mind sharp and focused is a path to long-term productivity. These challenging programs from brain fitness software company Posit Science can help keep your mind agile, even in the hectic world of Web 2.0. Available from Posit Science, $300 per program.
  3. Washable keyboards and mice: OK, true confessions time. If you have never spilled a. a diet Coke, b. a decaf chai latte or c. a martini on your computer keyboard, raise your hand. I thought so. Yes, Virginia, there is now a keyboard that you can dump a whole can of soda on and not bring your work life to a standstill. The Seal Shield washable products can be put in the dishwasher or washed in a sink of warm, soapy water. As a bonus, they incorporate an antimicrobial protection that inhibits the spread of bacteria — so if you share a keyboard with a family member or co-worker, there’s less chance of passing the flu, cold or other nasty bugs between you. Available from Seal Shield, $39.99 each
  4. Mini monitors: Is your desktop overcrowded with high-tech gizmos, piles of paper and oversized monitors? If so, why not offload your social media tools, iTunes, photo managers, instant messenger windows, etc. onto a separate monitor? The Mimo 710-S “Mobile Slider” Model can help make your dream of a cleaner, more organized desktop come true. Available from Mimo Monitors, $149.99
  5. Etre Touchy gloves: Just because it’s 20 below out, snowing and you can barely move your frozen fingers is no excuse for shirking your texting responsibilities.  These gloves keep your hands warm and dry while using mobile phones, portable game systems, music players and other electronic devices. The missing thumb and index fingertips on the gloves allow you to touch, tap, stroke, slide and pinch these devices. So snow or no, you’re out of reasons for not getting back to that touchy client. Available from Etre Touchy, $32.56
  6. The Voyager Pro Bluetooth headset: Voted Editor’s Choice by PC Magazine and CNET for not one, not two, but three layers of wind protection, the Voyager Pro is Plantronics’ top-of-the-line noise-canceling headset. In the interest of true and honest disclosure, I was sent this headset years ago to test and I’ve used it ever since. If you spend hours glued to the phone, this handy device can provide Long-term comfort and quiet. Available from Plantronics, $99.99

From tuning up your brain to clearing off your desk, these six holiday suggestions would fill the stockings of any self-respecting web worker. So write your note to Santa (or Chanukah Harry) and tell him you’ve been really nice this year — or at least plan to be next year — and see what awaits you under the tree or round the menorah.

What gifts are you hoping for this year?


Maria Helm

A premium membership to Evernote. It’s a great organization tool to keep anything that you need to remember easily accessible online using your laptop or phone.


Wow those mini monitors are something. No need to run a y-cable out the back of your monitor port? It all goes through the USB? Many times I’ve wanted to watch a TV show I’ve downloaded and surf/chat. (Ah, multitasking!) I’ve considered buying a smaller monitor for my laptop and a y-cable. But I don’t have a lot of desk space (by desk I mean my dining room table). This seems like a perfect solution. I wonder if they’re for sale in Canada.

And yeah a washable keyboard would be a great thing. I’m. Messy. I like using a USB keyboard with my laptop. I found this great keyboard in Korea with dedicated cut/copy/paste buttons right where you can access them with your left pinkie quite naturally as a touch typist. I’ve never seen this button arrangement on any keyboard in North America.

brain training pro

A brain training gift seems like a great idea – these all seem like great ideas – but I would expect that many people can’t afford $300. Mind Sparke has a great brain training system available that is much more affordable (plus you could still get it in time for a gift, since it comes as a download link!)

Anne H

I haven’t tried Posit Science, but I have used Luminosity. Their brain games are web based and have one for the iPhone.

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