Monday, February 17, 2014

How To Be A Productivity Ninja by Graham Allcott

Apparently, there's something called "productivity porn", which is an addiction to articles about improving your productivity. I wonder if this book falls under this category, since I procrastinated for a few days after reading the book. But to be fair with the book, it does come with exercises (which I did not do) that is supposed to have you start working on your productivity right here and now.

This book can be split into roughly two sections: An analysis on what a productivity ninja is and why we aren't productive and then a method that you can use to increase your productivity.

My biggest takeaway from this book was actually the section on attention management. The book talks about three types of attention: Proactive Attention (where you are fully alert), Active Attention (doing ok, but not at your peak) and Inactive Attention (which most students go into once a lecture starts, um, I mean, which seems to occur frequently during boring classes. For example, in this state, I can do my best to take notes, but I end up with a bunch of notes and not much recollection of what happened. I have to revise the notes later to fully understand the topic).

Thinking about it, it is true that there are certain (and fairly consistent) times of day where I feel in the zone and accomplish a lot. And then there are times where I tend to stare at the computer after checking my email. Of course, this changes during exam season, where my concentration shoots up for the whole day.

The main method of being productive that this book teaches is called the CORD model. Capture and Collect, Organise, Review and Do. Basically, you collect all the information you get, organise and review it to find out what needs to be done, then do it. Organising means questioning what really needs to be done, and Reviewing is another way of saying "to do list." It actually sounds like what I do, although there are gaps in my Capture and Collect stage.

A nice touch to this book were the paperclip ninjas, made from office supplies. I found them really adorable.

I think this is an interesting and practical book on how to become more productive. It's worth reading, but only if you're sure that you will actually practice the CORD method instead of going on to read more articles about productivity and get into a time-suck.

Disclaimer: I got this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

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