The Top 10 Productivity Tools For the Holidays

A collection of holiday gifts for your favorite geek who knows the value of a good productivity tool. 

Stever Robbins
6-minute read
Episode #479

6. Yoink! Drag and drop savior.

Oh, Yoink! How I love thee! Yoink is an app for Mac desktop computers and for iPads that helps streamline drag and drop. When you start dragging something, a little drawer appears near your mouse. You drag the item onto the drawer and it then docks against the side of the screen. Then you go to your destination and drag the items out of Yoink into their final destination. I use Yoink about a million times a day. When someone sends a mail attachment, just drag it to Yoink. Collect all your attachments, and then later you can go to your project folders and drag each attachment to the folder where it belongs. The developer, Matthias at Eternal Storms software, is very responsive and will be donating some free Yoink licenses which I’ll be sending out over the @GetItDoneGuy twitter account.

7. Affinity Photo. Photoshop-killing image editor.

Affinity Photo is photo editing software that’s available for Mac, Windows, and iPad. It’s as advanced as Photoshop, but written from the ground up in 21st-century technology. It’s much easier to use than Photoshop, though still has a learning curve. They provide hundreds of free tutorial videos online teaching you how to use it. It can do sophisticated toning, blending, and RAW file processing for a tiny fraction of the cost of Photoshop. Plus, it’s a one-time purchase, so once you have it, they can’t jack up the price and hold your business hostage. Whether I have a sophisticated or simple photo editing task, Affinity Photo is my go-to app.

8. SpiderOak. Backup software.

SpiderOak One backup software is my main backup software. SpiderOak was designed from the ground up with “zero knowledge” encryption. That means that the good folks at SpiderOak might be evil fascist dictators, and it won’t matter, because your backup is encrypted before it ever leaves your computer, in a way that makes it impossible for it to be decrypted by anyone but you. It runs in the background and uploads files when you change them. 

I do all my writing using iA writer.

9. iA Writer. A distractionless Markdown editor.

iA Writer is a simply, distraction-free editor for your favorite writer who uses Mac OS. It lets you compose a text document using plain text and including Markdown formatting if you wish. Markdown is a way to notate headers, bold, italics, and tables when typing text. You can click here for my episode on using markdown. iA Writer allows you to concentrate solely on your writing, and has a preview mode that shows you what the markdown will look like if you’re choosing to use markdown formatting. It runs on the Mac and iOS, and is fully iCloud compatible, so you can edit your files on Mac or your iDevice and changes automagically appear on the other one. I do all my writing using iA writer.

10. Serial Box. Books!

And last, but not least, Serial Box! Serial Box is an app. And it’s a book. Or rather, it’s a lot of books.

Groups of writers get together and plot out a season’s worth of novellas all set in the same fictional universe. You purchase a season of a book, and you get monthly installments. In an astonishingly wonderful twist, the app lets you read or listen to extremely well-produced and voice-acted audiobook versions of each book. It’s all synchronized, so you can switch back and forth between the text and audio versions. Because the books are serialized novels, they have story arcs that span each chapter, and also the entire book. So far I’ve purchased and read the entire first season of Tremontaine, and am halfway through season two of BookBurners. Serial Box is my platform for leisure reading, reading at the gym, and on public transportation. It’s a fantastic idea for both the listeners and the writers!

Thomas looked up after I finished my list. “These will make really good gifts for my geek friends!” he happily exclaimed. And of course he’s right. I can only humbly assume that my Top 10 List of must-have tools is probably, well, astonishingly fitting for anyone who’s…just like me. And hopefully, they’ll be just good enough to help Thomas span that gap between awkward adolescent cyborg and real live teenager. However, we have a ways to go. Right now he’s happily explaining Yoink! to his best friend. The toaster.

I’m Stever Robbins. Follow GetItDoneGuy on Twitter and Facebook. Want great keynote speeches on productivity, Living an Extraordinary Life, or entrepreneurship? Hire me! Find me at http://SteverRobbins.com

Work Less, Do More, and have a Great Life!


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.