In this episode, I interview entrepreneur and author Graham Allcott. He talks about his book, How to be a Productivity Ninja, and shares his insights on productivity, developing routines and ways to be efficient.
Graham Allcott is an entrepreneur, author, speaker and podcaster.
He is the founder of Think Productive, one of the world’s leading providers of personal productivity training and consultancy, with offices in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands.
Graham is the author of three books, including the global best-seller “How to be a Productivity Ninja”, and has recently launched a new podcast “Beyond Busy”, which explores the issues of productivity, work/life balance and how people define happiness in their lives, profiling interesting people from Olympic gold medallists to tech entrepreneurs to clowns.
Previous roles include Chief Executive of Student Volunteering England, Head of Volunteering at the University of Birmingham and an advisor to UK Governments red and blue on youth volunteering policy.
Graham lives in Brighton. Despite an intolerance of failure elsewhere in his life, he is an Aston Villa season ticket holder.
(02:45) When you hear the word successful, who’s the first person that comes to mind and why?
(04:35) In our global society today, it seems like success is tied to financial success. Did you have to unlearn that and really focus it on lifestyle? Or have you always grown up with the idea that money can be the leader towards lifestyle changes and happiness?
Ask yourself what the first 2 or 3 memories you have about money. And then ask yourself: What story does that tell you about how you see money?
(08:22) Graham’s background
(11:17) It sounds like you had a strong work ethic from the get-go. It sounds like we have a lot in common… Money is a safety thing for me as well. I wonder if that has something to do with the work ethic that you developed because you’re always looking for that safety.
(13:50) To give the listeners some context here, Graham runs a company that gives workshops around UK and globally called Think Productive. You’ve written 3 books. And the book that we’ll focus on most today is How to be a Productivity Ninja: Worry Less, Achieve More and Love What You Do… How did you come about that theme?
(18:12) I’m interested in the term “ninja.” You really designed this book well. What was it about that term that you decided to wrap the book around that concept?
(21:34) Good for you. What a great story that is. Doing things on your terms and ended up… you drove the right readership and then you ended up with a book deal anyway.
(23:32) Let’s dive into the nine concepts that you talk about in the book.
- Zen-like Calm
- Stealth and camouflage
- A productivity ninja is human, not a superhero
“Monotasking, doing one thing at a time, is way more powerful than multi-tasking.”
“Leave the most difficult pieces of work until you have the best attention.”
(31:57) What would you say is the most difficult component of your system that people have a lot of difficulty putting into action?
(34:06) What are the best practices for the weekly check-in? Is it something that you do at the end of your week or at the beginning of your week? What’s the benchmark for that?
(35:47) That’s the key, I think you said it there. Making some time for deep thinking.
(38:26) A lot of this is really doing a lot of deep thinking on who we are individually, right?
(40:45) Let’s dive into the 4-step process for executing on this. Can you talk about those 4 steps and how you came to them?
- Capture and Collect
(44:07) It occurs to me that the two (processes) that I think many people struggle with the most are Organize and Review because that actually takes time and effort.
(46:54) Do you have 1 or 2 books that have most influenced you? Can you talk about them?
- Getting Things Done by David Allen
- How I Escaped My Certain Fate by Stewart Lee
- Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
(50:00) If you could have dinner with one person you admire, past or present, who would it be and why?
How to be a Productivity Ninja: Worry Less, Achieve More and Love What You Do by Graham Allcott