(This post contains affiliate hyperlinks. Please read my full disclosure.
Graham Allcott, author of How To Be A Productivity Ninja, writes that time management is dead. He says that the old time management methods don’t work anymore because we don’t have the same working environment.
There are more information sources available, so we have to be able to manage more jobs and more complex tasks while our jobs are less clear. All of this means that you must accept the fact that you will never be able to do everything.
It’s depressing when you think about it this way.
How to be a Productivity Ninja is the solution to all your time management problems. This book is a comprehensive guide that explains how to squeeze more from your day without working longer hours.
Attention management is one of his major interests.
Managing your attention
Allcott speaks out about attention management and not time management. This means focusing your attention on the right things because your attention span is much shorter than the time you have available.
Your attention can wander all day and you can’t stay focused at a high level of focus. Mumsnet’s ‘Am I Being Unreasonable?’ forum is my personal productivity killer. forum.
Allcott says attention management is key to productivity. What can you do when you aren’t paying attention?
Online ordering stationery and other items
Emails can be deleted
Don’t keep any paperwork!
Meetings that you cannot get out of, but you know you can add no value.
These ideas are great! You can make time for it during the day, even if you don’t feel like it. Keep the list handy. I also WhatsApp my friends, as it’s a way to stay in touch and we all need that personal connection.
Three of the best productivity tips
The tips were one of my favorite things about this book. Every page seems to have something useful. Here are a few of my favorites.
1. Trust your systems
You must have faith that your processes will work, and that you won’t be disappointed.
You will save time by investing in systems now.
2. Get organized
You must be organized so that you don’t get slowed down by not finding the important information you need.
3. Lower your expectations
It is impossible to do it all so don’t even try. You can be confident that you are making the right choices about what you work on.
After the birth of our children, we did a lot of these things, and to some extent still do.
Do we need to stay out of the way?
I disagreed with his advice. Allcott writes, “One of the worst things that you can do is to not make yourself available.” This allows distractions and interruptions to intrude, so Allcott advises that you keep your distance until you have something to offer or a kind of collaboration to complete.
You can either close your office door or find a private space away from the rest. This might work if you have something important to focus on, but I don’t think it would work for me every day.
He also has a lot to say about “Inbox Zero”, which is how to filter your mail into folders that can be read, acted upon, and monitored.
Allcott states that your inbox should not be your to-do list. My inbox is, and it works for my. I have only 22 items in there right now, and I can see what needs to be done quickly.
The second brain
Allcott believes in having systems and putting them into place before you need them. He cites the example of Victorians building sewers and the Tube network being designed with 10x the capacity at the time. They did, and we would have major civil engineering right now.
The second brain’s purpose is to get stuff out your head in order to promote clear thinness.