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How To Be A Productivity Ninja

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  1,746 ratings  ·  161 reviews
In the age of information overload, traditional time management techniques simply don’t cut it when it comes to overflowing inboxes, ever-expanding to-do lists and endless, pointless meetings. Thankfully there is a better way: The Way of the Productivity Ninja.

Using techniques including Ruthlessness, Mindfulness, Zen-like Calm and Stealth & Camouflage you will get your inb
Paperback, 378 pages
Published July 5th 2012 by READ Press
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Zoffix Znet
Aug 26, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: garbage-books
I wanted to like this book. The Ninja theme and the drawings on the cover and on the initial pages were fun and they dragged me into reading this book up to page 90.

It is at that point I realized I still haven't learned a single useful thing from this book. All it did was introduce meaningless and vague metaphors and make ludicrous and simplistic assumptions. The Ninja is Ruthless, The Ninja is Mindful—well, that's freakin' great, but isn't helpful in the least. The assumption that we have a sta
Apr 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read a lot of books on Productivity over the years, but "How to be a Productivity Ninja" stands out as one of the best. It draws on famous productivity books such as Getting Things Done by David Allen and blends the advice within those well known books with the author Graham Allcott's own experiences and thoughts.

My favourite chapter was near the end of the book where the author looks at running an effective meeting. The advice within this chapter was worth the price of the book alone, and
Jan 16, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2014
Alcott is offering here a solution to the email overload, the tedious meetings, the office politics and the general bedlam that is the modern working life.

He offers methods of dealing with your working challenges in todays office. There are solutions for getting you email to zero, the best way to run a meeting, methods of getting organised and suggestions on the best way to deal with your work load.

A lot of it is very similar to the GTD religion method as developed by David Allen, but Allcott br
Henk-Jan van der Klis
Many books are written and courses are given about time management. Graham Allcott wants to go beyond that and learn you how to think and act like a Productivity Ninja. Allcott merges Getting Things Done (David Allen), The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (Stephen Covey), The War of Art (Stephen Pressfield), Meeting Together (Lois Graessle, George Gawlinski, Martin Farrell), Linchpin (Seth Godin) into his own practice, worth sharing. In the age of knowledge work and a never ending stream ...more
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wonder now why I bought this book as I am the most organised and efficient person I know but I was hoping there would be more tips and ideas of how I could improve further. Unfortunately a lot of the things suggested I already do or are not relevant as I don’t work in a typical office. That said I can speak from personal experience that a lot of them do help you become more productive. If you’re a person that struggles to get things done and you always feel stressed and overwhelmed by your wor ...more
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018
This is a massive collection of productivity hacks from authors and bloggers. I'm not sure if there is anything new here at all. I might appreciate this more if I wasn't familiar with the sources (which are cited, by the way, so no issue there).
Jan 14, 2017 rated it liked it
It was ok. I liked the chapter on how to process email effectively, that made the book worthwhile for me.
The entire book was just full of dragged-out metaphors and I gained absolutely nothing from it in the end. Realized that I wouldn't be a fan after about 100 pages, but I hate quitting, so I had to finish it. Also, it is so, so Outlook-focused, which really got on my nerves - I don't use Outlook and I do not think I will switch to it, ever. Ugh.

If you think about it, this book actually made me less productive, as I could have been doing something productive or at least something I enjoy instead o
Elise Edmonds
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a reread. My fav productivity book ever. I use some of the principles every day and fancied a refresh as my job has changed recently.
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reread
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cody Faldyn
Apr 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In his book Allcott combines all of his teachings from his public productivity workshops from all around the world into a simple, effective guide to working faster and smarter. The goal of the book is to teach you how to overcome procrastination, how to use email more efficiently, new ways to increase your personal time, and how to declutter an information overload.

For your convenience, I had Graham Allcott on my podcast, The Entrepreneurs Library, to give a deep dive on How To Be A Productivity
Drae Box
Jun 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
I bought this thinking from the reviews on Amazon that it might be useful, but in all honesty, if you have a handle on most things, it isn't. This book assumes you are in complete shambles with every element of your life, and then provides you with overly complicated processes to get things back under control.

It would be handy for someone looking for a way to get their life sorted, but there's also so much fluff (which though usually expected in non-ficiton, just continued throughout the book).
Suzi Dafnis
Feb 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Speed read this one for an interview with the author. Great guy. Great book. Very practical and loads of detail. The chapter on email management alone is worth getting the book for.
Jan 09, 2020 rated it liked it
This is not the best productivity book I have ever read, but it was worth reading. Most of the content derives from Dave Allen's "Getting Things Done" system. Read that if you just want the basics. That said, there is some useful value added.

The section on attention levels gave me a slap-hand-to-forehead moment when I realised that the reason I struggled to do weekly reviews was because they take a lot of active attention and I was scheduling them for a time in the week when I was at my lowest e
Claudia  -
May 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Time management is dead, long live attention management.

In the olden days, you got a stack of mail on your desk in the morning, which you dealt with and then went on to do your usual work. These days are well and truly over: internet, intranets, email and social media are with us 24/7 and we feel pressured to react and respond to everything at once.
Unfortunately, we all have only a finite amount of attention to give, which is easily frittered away in panicky attempts to do too much too ineffici
May 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'll start this in saying that I found the majority of this book great - but like a lot of self improvement books, not everything written is going to be relevant to everyone who reads it. For example, there was a whole chapter on meetings in this book that wasn't really of use to me at all.

That said, I took a lot of useful information from this title. Some of it might be said to be common sense such as doing your hardest task first thing to get it done and working with your attention flow rather
Jan 10, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is super specific in that almost every bit of advice is only applicable to a typical office based job. I did of course expect it to be based on that (not that it said anything about office work in the description) but my experience with such things in the past has been that the principles can be understood and applied in the context of my own life as a student.

Nope! Categorising stuff into thinking work or doing work does not remotely stand up next to the work of a student. Despite him maki
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read quite a lot of books about productivity, how to stop procrastinating, getting things done etc. But this is the first time I was actually enticed to follow some of the recommended actions, as they were straightforward, easy to comprehend and solution-focussed. Obviously a lot of these books are just common sense collections of dealing with stuff, this one no exception. But while most are often too theoretical or analytical this one actually gives actionable advice. Not everything will ...more
The Idle Woman
Aug 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fun, engaging, with plenty of diagrams and a perky British sense of humour, this is one of the better productivity books I've come across. As others have noted in reviews, I felt that Allcott relied quite heavily on principles developed by earlier writers - David Allen's "Getting Things Done" loomed large, as always - and there's a far amount of simple common sense. Nevertheless, he brings it together in a playful fashion that is very much aimed at a UK audience. I always really appreciate this, ...more
Vinka Maharani
Finally finished this full-packed book. It contains not only explanations but also exercises to achieve the goal to be a Productivity Ninja.

Being productive is like a goal in this era. As a millenials, borrowing Anne Helen Petersen's term, I am included in "The Burnout Generation". Non stop stimulation from social media, labels & stigmas pasted on us, make me want to achieve higher and higher but in limited capacity. Suffering & struggling is normalized. Deep inside, I know there's something wro
An Te
Jul 18, 2020 rated it liked it
A helpful book oriented around handling one's attention levels, finite as they are. If you find you're struggling from distractions, this is a helpful book for you. Consider it, read it and apply it. Yet, I do feel 'attention' is a strange matter that is not uniform as the book treats it. For instance attention can be influenced by how many breaks you have, the sleep you had the previous few nights, how stressed you are etc. I won't deconstruct the book heavily but just give it a light nudge to ...more
Sam Cross
Oct 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: help
I loved that the book was so (painfully!) relatable, clear, and reassuring. I wish it had been more concise, memorable, and less repetitive. Don't get me wrong - I would rate it 3.75 stars because I really did appreciate it - Graham's tips have definitely shaped the way I work, and I'm excited to see how it continues to influence my habits. But I'll need to use it as a reference. I didn't come away with an "ah-HA!" as much as, "there was a system for this - what was it, again?" There are a few t ...more
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I liked this a lot more than I've liked most productivity books, probably because 1) I listened to the audiobook, which is read by the author in his pleasantly soothing british accent, and 2) it's very much a buffet menu of options with lots of examples of how you might apply them to your own situation.

Thus, I've come away with a bit of a OneNote notebook that keeps me more or less on track and where I write down stuff I want to remember, organised haphazardly for my convenience, and the light-
Samta Shukla
Graham Allcott convinces you that instead of managing time we should seek to manage attention. With a managed attention, one gets a sense of calm and control, which, besides increasing productivity, also makes you act in a measured way -- a skill that goes a long way in surviving workplace politics. He outlines a 4- step plan to maximize attention -- Ruthlessness, Mindfulness, Zen-like Calm, and Stealth & Camouflage. I figured I have already been practicing parts of many of these in my workflow, ...more
Pawel Grzybek
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is about making sense of all the tasks floating around our brain during a busy day. About storing and filtering things that matter the most and ignoring the noise. I like the strong emphasis on keeping the body in a good shape as it reflects the shape of our brain. One of my favourite parts of this book is the lesson about accepting the failure in a process. Throughout the book, we hear a lot of obvious bits of advice like creating a todo list and keeping your inbox-zero, but it’s also ...more
Titus Hjelm
This is the kind of how to book that I like best. It is not the research-focused with lots of references and sidelines into academic debate, nor is it the new agey 'you can do it!' kind that is too fluffy. Taken piecemeal, there is plenty of sensible advice here, especially about managing emails. Interestingly, I had been intuitively doing something similar myself (sans the fancy names for lists and processes). Overall, I didn't quite work out the whole system, which seemed to me very complicate ...more
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
This is the least engaging book I've read in recent times. 376 pages too long! You could summarise all this rubbish into a 10min read article.
Full with useless "advice" and silly references like "are you a ninja" :rolling_eyes.
There's no real base for the suggestions they make on this book, it's all silly practices that probably work for the writer and are very particular to specific types of jobs.
Use your periods of high attention carefully, avoid interruptions on those periods and meditate are
Wiktoria Imrak
Jul 06, 2020 rated it did not like it
"plan doing what you need to do, and then do it while using your common sense" is a much better piece of advice than anything contained in the book. it overcomplicates methods for achieving productivity and seems to add many confusing items to your to-do list, rather than simplifying it.

it also appears to be marketed to an audience of younger people, who could be looking to apply techniques for productivity across a wide range of areas. why then, is most of the advice directed specifically at st
Joshua McDowell
Mar 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: business
Here's my ADD Book Review for How to be a Productivity Ninja, by Graham Allcott. This book probably held my attention for 2 hours instead of 1 like usual. There's a ton here. I do feel like it is a collection of a "Productivity Consultant's" workshop notes but it is worth-wild anyway. I specifically enjoyed the ideas about Attention Management, CORE, and e-mail big buckets versus smaller buckets.
Amanda Youngs
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Easy to read and understand, very straightforward strategies to feel and *be* more in control of your paperwork, your projects, even those great ideas you have but never remember to follow through with them. I still favour marginally David Allen's "Getting Things Done" (possibly because I think the "ninja" idea is a bit silly), but this is well worth the time it takes to read - and implement (because if you don't actually DO what he suggests, you'l be no further forward).
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