The Perfect Gift: Part 1

What to get the Product Manager in your life.

By Ahren Brunow

Gifts for in the office:

Design support ($0 cash outlay, but incalculable value)

The hardest to track down, but maybe the most valuable item on the list… Are you a visual designer? Well, your skills are much desired. Ask any product manager if they have a document they’d like designed and they will, without hesitation, have something top of mind. A status update document, a workflow process diagram, or a user scenario map. If you don’t know what to design and you want to keep it a surprise, just design a personal card outlining how many hours of design support your gifting. It’s a thoughtful and useful gesture that is sure to be remembered.

Relaxing tea & supplementary ingredients ($10-$15)

When you have a lot of balls in the air, the last thing you want to do is get sick. I find you often get sick right when you get through a particularly strenuous period of work/life. And who wants to get sick right when there is some much needed downtime coming up? The perfect remedy whenever you feel a cold coming on is a ginger, turmeric, lemon and honey concoction.

Orange Naturals Focus ($19.99)

As noted earlier, product managers and strategists are constantly balancing a lot of different inputs. Stakeholders, designers, developers, and users. When you have a constant barrage of tasks and needs competing for your attention, it is easy to lose your ability to focus. This tincture provides a gentle boost to your brain power. According to Well.ca, “[it’s] a supportive remedy to balance moods. Orange Naturals Focus is an all natural way to help ease the effects of concentration challenges.”

TeuxDeux subscription ($24 USD)

Most product folks are natural list makers. Sometimes this can lead to physical piles of paper spread out here, there and everywhere. It can be hard to keep track of every lingering task with to-dos spread across so many piles. But no more, TeuxDeux is a simple yet effective digital to-do list that makes sure important to-dos are never lost again. Warning, this gift may cause extreme happiness and joy.

Gifts for outside the office:

Meditation gift card ($17.99 — one month)

Meditation is one of those skills that once you learn and begin to practice, you start to wonder why you didn’t learn about it earlier. Product managers face an ever changing flow of requests that can feel overwhelming. Meditation helps you face chaos with a calm and level-headed fortitude.

Meditation bench ($10-$50ish)

Maybe the product person in your life already has some practice meditating. In that case, helping them create a comfortable home practice could be a great gift to help encourage more down time and turning the switch “off”.

Yoga gift card ($33 — $50ish — one month)

Movement is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and it’s especially important for those who sit at a desk for a living. Yoga is a great activity to get the product person in your life moving and to practice mindfulness. Most yoga studios have a special introductory deal for new students (here’s an offer from a local Toronto studio, for example), and it’s a great thing to do with others. Having a buddy to do it with means even when they’re exhausted, the product person will get themselves to a class and inevitably feel calmer, more relaxed, and better able to face challenges at work and beyond.

Brain calm ($37.12)

One of the best things any of us can do for ourselves to stave off burnout is prioritize a good night’s sleep. But as mentioned earlier, product managers tend to have busy minds that are constantly processing, even as they try to fall asleep. It can be hard to rest even when you try to. I’ve found that this supplement can be helpful. I take it to naturally calm the nervous system, which helps me fall asleep faster and avoid tossing and turning.

Essential oil diffuser ($37.99)

The gift of aromatherapy at home can have lasting effects for their workday. A diffuser allows you to reap the benefits of essential oils like eucalyptus and bergamot at home. Not only do diffusers produce a relaxing scent, most function as a quasi-humidifier to improve air quality, and, when used with oils like eucalyptus and bergamot, strengthen the immune system.

Sleep mask ($41.95)

This is great to use as a part of a normal sleep routine, but it’s also great as a travel tool so you can catch some zzz’s even when it’s the middle of the day. Essentially this is a silk pillow that gently pushes on your eyes to promote comfort and relaxation. There aren’t a lot of opportunities to disconnect, but flying across the country (or an ocean) to visit clients on site can be a good forced opportunity to take a break. This sleep mask is ideal for helping you maximize that opportunity.

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