“Productivity is creating the most change for the least effort”
There are only so many courses you can go on or books you can read about managing your time before you give up, thinking you’re just not up to the job of being ‘productive’. The problem really is that time management isn’t productivity and finally Graham Allcott has written a book that can really help us all to make a difference.
I used to work with Graham when he was a consultant at NCVO and even then – before he’d founded Think Productive – there was always talk of ‘getting things done’, ‘weekly reviews’ and ‘inbox zero’. Little did we know that he was out to change the way we all look at our work.
The book starts out by helping we ninjas in training to understand more about what makes us tick; when do we work best? what distracts us? why do we put off work? what cause the stress? The tools and methods that are then covered work alongside those triggers to help us be at our most effective.
All of Think Productive’s work is based around the CORD productivity model and it’s actually pretty easy to build into your everyday routine.
C is for capturing and collecting. It’s having a system in place to capture all of those little tasks, to-dos, reminders, questions that are coming into your life. I use Remember the Milk as my tool for capturing and it’s amazing how it really does free up your mind for having ideas when it’s not busy storing them (as quoted by GTD guru David Allen).
O is for organise and that’s really about being able to sort everything you’ve captured into rubbish, reference, to dos etc. Within my Remember the Milk, tasks are organised by project (including some personal ones), given a priority order, assigned dates and even tagged with useful contexts, like email, phone call etc.
R is for review and this is where you turn all your capturing and organising into something practical. I – along with lots of other people who follow a sort of GTD model – do a weekly review which is where I go to my Remember the Milk, check if there’s anything else to add and then look at whether my organisation is still correct. It then gives me an opportunity to plan and prepare for the week ahead.
Finally, D is for do. The whole reason for looking at your productivity is to actually get stuff done and working through the book helps you to understand what times, places and methods work best for your different types of tasks.
The thing I really like about this book is that it takes all of the heavy thinking from people like David Allen and creates a resource you can actually work through and use. More importantly it gives you tools to use every day to make your life that bit easier…. and of course, productive.
There is a lot more about the book and a link to buy at http://www.productivityninja.co.uk/.
(Note: I’ve been sent a free e-copy of this book for the purpose of this review).