Do you have a Ninja mindset?

I am pretty sure I don’t. Nore am I a unicorn or a jedi, I am more of a bolder with plenty of inertia and a tendency to start crushing things when I start moving in the right direction, but that is a whole other article.

Productivity Ninja is a series of actions and processes to help you improve your productivity. It’s not fantastic going when you keep putting the book down as you don’t have time to do whatever action is advocated ‘right now’ which I find a little frustrating. It is also very much advocating a very narrow system of actions, rather than more general approaches that can be adapted as I have seen in different books. Admittedly there are a lot of caveats about adapting the exercises and I do like systems, so I have persevered.

Throughout the book it has been interesting to hear familiar ideas reiterated: the Prato principal is mentioned repeatedly, but two other ideas that I have started to hear mentioned are also covered, Parkingson’s Law; work expands to fill the time available and Hofstader’s Law; work takes twice as long as you originally anticipated, even when taking into account Hofstader’s Law. Both of these ideas are interesting takes on your capacity to do work, but are used as illustrations in the wider theme of the Productivity Ninja, separating planning from doing.

Eat that Frog is very much about planning, as are the 10 habits of highly successful people, so overall it is nothing new here as a meta idea. Do the systems it suggests work for me? I am not sure they do. I do like the idea presented of getting all of my inputs down to nothing, no email, empty in-tray, no more nagging thoughts about getting the guttering cleaned out. The challenge is that it requires what the author describes as a ruthless Ninja mindset to process it all; splitting out actions and information, capturing everything in the master to-do list and filing or discarding all the scraps of information you are holding onto, just in case.

It also requires you to be ruthless about staying on top of these, carving out time to manage the constant flow of information, which is easier said than done.

On the whole Productivity Ninja brought nothing outstanding, with a fairly prescriptive view of what is right in productivity and a series of quick Ninja hacks that may or may not work for you. For me it is one to pass on.