Every December I pull together some of my favourite holiday gifts for the Learning & Development (L&D) professional in your life. This year is no different!
- Noise Cancelling Headphones – Last year I wrote about my love for my Bose QuietComfort noise cancelling headphones, and nothing has changed there. I still love these, and have since begun using them on my dog walks and to listen to podcasts before bed. These are great for helping you focus or if you work in a busier or shared office space.
- Smart Speakers – Last year I received a bluetooth speaker and it revolutionized my bathroom relaxation routine. This year, we picked up the Sonos Beam and a couple of Sonos Ones, and boy oh boy does it make a difference. Our TV viewing experience has been greatly enhanced, but one of the things I really enjoy is that I have a one in my office, and now I can tell Alexa to pause whatever it is I’m listening to when a call comes through on Teams! I am fully aware that I am behind the times on this one, but it’s definitely worth investing in things that make your work life more efficient.
- More Displays – One of my coworkers this year picked up a USB monitor, and it seems to have come in handy! This would be especially handy for anyone who travels a lot.
I’m a firm believer that you should invest in things you spend a lot of time doing, for me it’s sitting at a desk, sleeping, and traveling. Here are some of the best travel items I have come across that make my conference experience much better:
A Good Suitcase – Suitcases are a pain in the butt to purchase (because they’re not a fun purchase). I went through a bunch of suitcases that just didn’t survive my travels before I finally invested in Away suitcases several years ago. Now these are pricier pieces of luggage, but they might be the last suitcases I ever have to purchase! I have The Carry On and The Medium; the carry on is perfect for short travel (5-7 days) that doesn’t require a lot of packing, it fits on every single aircraft I have been on, and it has a charging pack so you can charge your devices without having to stalk down plugs or outlets in the airport. The Medium is great for travel of more than 7 days or if you’re doing a short trip with two people. Oh! And the wheels. are. heavenly.
Packing Pods – I’m a late adopter of packing pods, but they really do make all the difference. I can fit so much more in my suitcase when I use these things.
Universal Adapter – No real explanation needed here. Just an adapter to ensure that your devices work regardless of the country you’re traveling in.
Gaming Console – Several years back, I purchased the Nintendo Switch. It was a pricey purchase at the time, but IT HAS GOTTEN SO MUCH USE! I love having it with me when I travel as a nice way to bide time on flights or to decompress after a stressful day. I will caution you: make sure you purchase a nice case for it though. TSA once demolished the nubs of my joy con and I had to purchase a new one :/
Neck Pillow – Being comfortable when you’re traveling is essential. Especially if you’re traveling a long distance or you get stuck in the dreaded middle seat. The Trtl came to the rescue when I was stranded in the middle seat of a red eye flight from Vegas to Newark. I put the neck brace under my chin and was able to sleep without worrying about waking up on the shoulder of a stranger!
I’m always asked about good books to purchase on L&D topics, so here is my recommendation for this year:
- The Elearning Designer’s Handbook by Tim Slade
- The L&D Scenes: You’re not alone…and it’s okay to cry by Clint Clarkson
- DataStory: Explain Data and Inspire Action Through Story by Nancy Duarte
- Fully Compliant: Compliance Training to Change Behaviour by Travis Waugh
If you’d prefer to let your L&D pal choose their own gift, I’d recommend gift cards to places like Amazon, BestBuy, Apple, or Creative Market, just to name a few.