One of my ruthless targets for this year is to increase my productivity and take a hold of 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 really declutters it!
Disclosure: Please note that this page contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission (at no additional cost to you) if you choose to purchase. Also, please understand that I only recommend products that I truly believe will benefit you. Whether or not I earn a commission, these are products I would still recommend. There isn’t anything on this page that I haven’t tried and/or personally verified. Thank you so much for supporting my blog!
#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 normally 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 getting the optimum out of my work and to some extent my home life because I get so distracted sooo easily. One of my aims this year is to increase my productivity by around 50% this year. My target date to achieve this is June, since it is my blog’s one year 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 things that are truly important.
Being productive is about maintaining a steady, average speed on a few things, not maximum speed on everything.
If you are really serious about sorting out your productivity, then this is the book 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 give me 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 I thought 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 o’clock at night, is exactly what I needed.
I especially love the idea that this type of ninja always maintains a level of sense of humour 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 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 really need them like me.
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 proper 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.
Personally I found that I am most productive after an hour of arriving at work. So now in my day job, I know that I will do tasks that don’t require any 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 increase your productivity is to really is to digest and action it in small manageable chunks. When I’m learning something new, I find that if I try to do too many things at once, that I forget all the crucial new information – the old habits can creep back in.
I will definitely be reading it again and again until it sticks (especially as I have the memory of an average goldfish).
Chapter 2 – Reasons we get stressed
Even when, in the not-so-distant future, when I am getting loads of stuff done, I am still going to 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 realising exactly how stressful modern life can be. He explains it so simply that things I didn’t realise 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:
- Turned off my work email notifications on my cell
- Planned in 10 mins a day to check work email
- 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 reorganises 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 soo guilty of – with my main job emails, but also with 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 just get the book out daily and remind myself not to stress, as I go throught the declutter process. Just do 10 minutes a day and soon you will be organised!
Honest Constructive Opinion
In terms of context, the only thing about this guide, is that it is written firstly for people who work in offices.
That said, I am always open to new ideas and I found that the ideas were so adaptable to my main job and also to blogging. So really, it’s just about being flexible, to find a fit for the strategies in your work environment, so you can get more tasks done every day.
This book is a super useful buy for you if you want to increase your productivity, no matter what job you do. It needs a proper read though and contains no shortcuts to success. If you really want to see results from this book, you really 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 far 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?
Feel free to leave your thoughts on the book, if you have already read it, or if you have bought this through my link and are in the process of actioning the strategies.