How to Be a Productivity Ninja

How to Be a Productivity Ninja © Graham Allcott
How to Be a Productivity Ninja © Graham Allcott

It’s January, and I think I’m not being too outlandish in saying that most of us are trying to initiate some kind of change in our lives.

Some of us might be trying to quit smoking, we might be joining a gym, or considering enrolling on a course to help bolster our career prospects. Whatever it is we’re trying to achieve, one of the most important things we can do toward it is maximizing our productivity. How to Be a Productivity Ninja by Graham Allcott aims to help us do that by training us in new ways to actually get stuff done.

There are plenty of books, like this, on the market but Productivity Ninja differs slightly by changing the general approach. Rather than focusing on time management, instead it focuses on attention management. It helps you separate “boss mode” (time spent planning and researching) from “worker mode” (time spent actually doing whatever it is your job entails). By analyzing your personal patterns of attention, the book helps you figure out the best times to get each activity done. It also advises some rather radical practices such as unplugging your wi-fi during worker time so you are not distracted by new emails or tweets that could pull you away from that task and into researching something new. I’ve not quite managed to do that one yet…

Cover of How to Be a Productivity Ninja © Graham Allcott
Cover of How to Be a Productivity Ninja © Graham Allcott

However, I do know that I’ve not been making the most use out of my time, partly because I’m a world class procrastinator with an amazing ability to fall down the rabbit warrens of Pinterest and BuzzFeed when I’m supposed to be producing something worthwhile.

I also know that I am capable of very high levels of productivity. I completed NaNoWriMo last year after all. After reading the book, I started looking at my available time and thinking of how I could make the best use of it. One of the things I wanted to start doing in January was exercising more, specifically I was keen on running. Rather than adding that as yet another thing to do in the limited time while my son is at school, I decided that it would be more efficient to run on the way home from dropping him off; I would already be out and having to walk home anyway so this would make better use of that time. By getting dressed straight into my running gear in the morning for the school run, I can be home from my run, showered and ready to work by 10am. This is the way of the ninja.

The ninja way is repeated throughout the book and focuses on nine key elements. These include Stealth & Camouflage (delegating, disconnecting, screening calls), Ruthlessness (saying “no” and ignoring distractions), and maintaining a Zen-Like Calm (lowering expectations, being prepared and organised). Unlike many similar books, everything Graham suggests is feasible; in fact the ninth–and maybe most important–step on his ninja path is remembering that ninjas are not superhuman. They are simply very well trained and capable of handling anything thrown their way.

Of course reading a very good idea is a very different thing from putting that idea into practice. I’ll be interested to see how well I do at using the ideas I’ve read about in my own work and how much more productive I can become as a result. If you think you might benefit from the way of the ninja, you can read over 50 pages of How To Be a Productivity Ninja on Book 2 Look, and check out Graham’s CORD Productivity Model diagram on his website. The site also features a guest post by Leanne Dal Santo on the ways she incorporated ideas from the book into her life as a busy mum, something I think we can all identify with.

 GeekMom received this item for review purposes.

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