One of my ruthless targets this year is increasing my productivity and achieving my financial goals. So from time to time, I will bring you books that I have read and that have changed my life for the better.
#2 in this series is a book that has been recommended to me by Ken over at the Humble Penny.
Graham Allcott is a master at making life easier – he takes modern life for you and declutters it!
#2 How to Be a Productivity Ninja: Worry Less, Achieve More, and Love What You Do
My first impressions of this book were:
OMG – it's too thick for me to read just before bed – I usually read easy-going stuff like Agatha Christie or Jeffrey Deaver. The pages were interspersed, however, with the cutest diagrams and cartoons. So, cavewoman me decided to give this book a go!
I don't know about you, but I struggle to get the optimum out of my work and, to some extent, my home life because I get so easily distracted. One of my aims is to increase my productivity by around 50% this year. My target date to achieve this is June since it is my blog's first anniversary.
So what is productivity?
James Clear over at Jamesclear.com defines it like this:
Productivity is getting important things done consistently. And no matter what you are working on, there are only a few essential things.
Being productive is about maintaining a steady, average speed on a few things, not maximum speed on everything.
If you are serious about sorting out your productivity, this book is for you. Also, if you want to build awareness of when you are most productive and can get more things done. What I will do through each of these reviews is give you my blunt, honest opinion of the book and leave you links where you can buy it if you choose to. The links will provide me with a small commission, probably enough to keep my cat in cat food! Thanks for your support x
Chapter 1 – The Way of the Productivity Ninja
So this was a superb visual chapter of how to define ourselves as ninjas, ready to take on the modern world. Graham explains the traits of a productivity ninja in a fun way, which, at 11 p.m., is precisely what I needed.
I especially love the idea that this type of ninja always maintains a sense of humor and a relaxed air of calm. Graham tells you straight from the start that he isn't a guru type, who is perfect, who gets things done, and who is 100% productive. Some self-help books I've read in the past have been so out of touch with modern life or like someone who would need them like me.
Ways to Increase Productivity. Review of How to Be a Productivity Ninja by Graham Allcott
Getting things done – Actionable Strategies Straight Away.
The first chapter took me over a week to get through, but this is because it contains tasks to action straight away.
Like rating yourself:
When do you get most things done?
When do you concentrate best?
How long for?
When is the time to do things that require good thinking?
Making a Productivity Timetable
He rates these tasks as three different grades, then encourages you to make a timetable for yourself. The result is that you become more aware of what works for you and when.
I am most productive after an hour of arriving at work. So now, in my day job, I know I will do tasks that don't require concentration for this first hour. Then when I am awake, I will complete a task that needs deeper thinking for half an hour.
Small Steps to Success – Chunk it up
The key to success with this book and to increasing your productivity is to reality is to digest and action it in small manageable chunks. When I'm learning something new, if I try to do too many things at once, I forget all the crucial further information – the old habits can creep back in.
I will read it repeatedly until it sticks (especially as I remember an average goldfish).
Chapter 2 – Reasons we get stressed
Even in the not-so-distant future, when I am getting loads of stuff done, I will still reread this chapter again and again. Graham was a great source of comfort here. I found myself going …Ah yeh, yeh, I get that and realizing exactly how stressful modern life can be. He explained it so simply that things I didn't know were a block on getting things done became clear to me.
Three things that have helped me increase my productivity and decrease my stress levels as a result of this chapter:
- I turned off my work email notifications on my cell
- Planned 10 mins a day to check work email
- I adjusted my bedtime so I get enough sleep every night.
Chapter 4 – Ninja Email
This chapter is the one I am working through now. Email, I now know, is one of the main things that are a stressor to me. Graham makes it simple and bossily reorganizes your head for you.
To get things done with emails, you need to take action, he believes, rather than just constantly reading your inbox and not doing anything constructive. Oh, this was something I was so guilty of – with my primary job emails and my blog and personal emails.
Plan to Declutter Your Email
Graham doesn't just sit judging you for your lack of action and massively overloaded inboxes. He guides you through a tested strategy – first to declutter and then to stay that way! I get the book out daily and remind myself not to stress as I go through the declutter process. Just do 10 minutes a day, and soon you will be organized!
Honest Constructive Opinion
In terms of context, the only thing about this guide is that it is written first for people who work in offices.
That said, I am always open to new ideas, and the ideas were adaptable to my main job and blogging. So really, it's about being flexible in finding a fit for the strategies in your work environment, so you can get more tasks done every day.
This book is a super helpful buy for you if you want to increase your productivity, no matter your job. It needs a good read and contains no shortcuts to success. If you're going to see results from this book, you have to commit to the process of improvement and focus on this for a few months until the strategies are embedded. If you do this, your new habits will increase your productivity more than you thought possible. It has happened to me already. There's every reason it could give you the same results.
Two questions to focus you right in now:
What are your productivity goals?
How are you going to improve your life with increased productivity?