Why Inbox Zero Is The Best Way To Be

June 26, 2015

Productivity Ninja

Our ‘Getting Your Inbox To Zero’ In-House Workshops have been a big hit in offices across the world. By keeping our promise of having the whole team’s inbox to zero by the end of our email training, our Productivity Ninja’s have seen the relief on people’s faces when they realise that an empty inbox really is a thing.

The concept of ‘Inbox Zero’, introduced by Merlin Mann in an hour-long Google Tech Talk as an effective strategy for dealing with high volume email, has always been met with cynicism. Mann originally said that the best way to handle this inbox influx is to put “some kind of system in place that’s going to be simple and repeatable, and is going to allow you to have an actual life outside of email”. However, critics have said it was ‘easier said than done’.

They’re right, it is easier said than done, but once you’re in the habit and have had a few ‘ZERO EMAIL’ victories, you’ll inevitable say otherwise.

At Think Productive, we practice our own way of getting your inboxes down to zero – through @action, @read, @waiting and reference folders – and many more little tricks to make you feel on top of your work and not swallowed by your inbox. If you want to find out more, this post is a good place to start.


But don’t just take our word for it.

Kevin Henrikson, entrepreneur and co-founder of Acompli employs an Inbox Zero policy in his day-to-day email excursions. Our workshop attendee’s have also spoken about how significant the switch to an Inbox Zero lifestyle can be…


We asked our social media followers, too: Why is Inbox Zero the best way to be? This was our favourite answer…

fb response

Want to feel like Melissa? This Monday is The Inbox Zero One-Day Challenge!

Productivity Ninja Grace will be running a virtual training webinar (tickets available here) at 9:30am, before kicking off the challenge to claim your Inbox Zero badge. Winners to be announced at 4pm.

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Extreme Productivity Experiment: Fuel

Productivity Ninja

Graham Allcott, our founder and best-selling author of ‘How to be a Productivity Ninja’, spent 2013 delving into 12 different extreme productivity experiments. Those of you who follow our blog will know that we’ve been looking back at the experiments and asking Graham how they’ve made a difference to his own productivity two years on.

Last week, we looked at playing around with time constraints and attention management in June’s experiment, ‘Flipping The 9-5’. Now we’re looking at July’s experiment, focusing more on the idea of the brain and body being a tool, and how physical condition influences productivity. To narrow down this subject, Graham decided to look into Nutrition and how the food we eat affects our productivity.

Graham also spent part of the month fasting – an idea inspired by his friend Mohammed at ‘Productive Muslim’, which gave him a way of reflecting on productivity being affected by religious cultures and how he could stay productive whilst fasting.

We hope you feel inspired by Grahams recap of his extreme productivity experiment! Check back next week to hear all about August’s Experiment: The Abyss!

Read more on how to eat healthily (like a ninja).

Is your working day increasing your stress levels? Want to achieve more during your day in the office? Look into our Stress Less, Achieve More workshops.

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Extreme Productivity Experiments: Flipping The 9 To 5

June 18, 2015

Productivity Ninja

The summer was approaching and as he was getting half way through the calendar year, Graham decided to delve back into looking at how changing his working hours can affect productivity. It was time to flip the 9 to 5 working day that we all tend to work (As pointed out famously by music icon Dolly Parton) and work 5 to 9 – a 4 hour working day which seemed much more sustainable that the one hour working day he carried out in March.

‘When I did 5 ’til 9pm, I was finding that it wasn’t quite working and I wasn’t being as productive as I had hoped. Whereas when I did it in the morning I found it the complete opposite, getting up and going to my desk at 5am I found it a really playful and odd thing to be doing which kept me interested in doing it.’

We hope you feel inspired by Grahams recap of his extreme productivity experiment! Check back next Thursday to hear all about July’s Experiment.

Is your working day increasing your stress levels? Want to achieve more during your day in the office? Look into our ‘Stress Less, Achieve More’ workshops.

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5 Best Ways To Celebrate Inbox Zero

June 5, 2015

Productivity Ninja

Inbox Zero is not a myth, just a form of email management that not everyone either knows about or is committed to. It’s hard to keep total control over your inbox when you have a flood of emails pounding their way through your screen. There are ways to deal with that, mind you, but we’ll leave that for another post.

Whenever anyone gets to Inbox Zero, there’s always a sigh of relief and immediate feeling of calm and control. Battling through all those emails in a ruthless manner deserves a reward – and we’ve come up with our favourites.

1. Bake

Productivity Ninja Baking

An empty inbox equals a lot less stress, and nothing can be calmer and more peaceful than baking.

2.Go To The Pub

Pub Wine Celebrate Productivity Ninja

You’ve worked hard all week, and you pass and resist around 20 pubs on the commute to and from work every evening. Celebrate Inbox Zero like the true champion you are with a celebratory drink down with your co-workers, family or friends.

3. Eat Cake

Cake Love Productivity Ninja

Who doesn’t like cake? And if you’ve baked it yourself, you can enjoy it even more!

4. High Five Everyone In The Office

Office High Five Boss Productivity Ninja

Challenge accepted.(Extra points if you manage to high five the boss!)

5. Go Zorbing

Zorb Celebrate Productivity Ninja

For the adrenaline junkies amongst us, nothing says that you’ve cleared your inbox quite like screaming it at the top of your lungs as you roll down a steep muddy hill in an inflatable ball…

Still struggling with reaching Inbox Zero? Book on to our Inbox Zero workshop, where we can get your entire team’s inbox to zero in just three hours.

You can check out more ideas we’ve had for ways to celebrate reaching inbox zero on our Fun Point Treats pinterest board

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Knowledge Ninja – Amazon Deal Of The Week!

June 4, 2015

Productivity Ninja

Graham Allcott’s latest productivity book for students is already proving a huge success on university and colleges campuses. For this week only, you can study smarter, focus better and achieve more for less!

Knowledge Ninja

Exciting times for us all here at Think Productive, as Graham Allcott’s latest book ‘How To Be A Knowledge Ninja’ has been selected by Amazon to be one of their Deals Of The Week. You can grab Knowledge Ninja at the bargain price of £6.50 (RRP £12.99) until midnight on Sunday June 7th 2015. Perfect to help students during exam season this month or to prepare them in the run up to university or college in the autumn.

Don’t just take our word for it though! Read some of the glowing reviews the books been getting from students all across the globe:

Jam packed full of tips so there’s something that works for everyone’ – Amber Love

‘I want to be able to come back to this book time and time again, there’s a lot in How To Be A Knowledge Ninja that stood out to me!’ – Kelly, This Northern Gal

‘I would seriously recommend this to all the students out there, as well as anyone who needs to regularly sit exams or those who just love learning! It’s a fantastic read.’ – Charlotte, Colours and Carousels

So get that knowledge ninja game on and get to Amazon and buy it now! Only £6.99 until Sunday 7th June.

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Extreme Productivity Experiments: Maynia

Productivity Ninja

On the fifth month of the year of Graham’s Extreme Productivity Experiments in 2013, for an experiment with a negative twist too it: Maynia!

This month, Graham tried to throw out everything that him and Think Productive usually preaches by being as disorganised as possible and go with the flow of how things go, for example by locking himself out of toodle do, not keeping his inbox at zero and taking as few notes as possible.

‘I lived the month by the seat of my pants, I just wanted to see what would happen, go with the flow and being really reactive to what I found on the way. I tried to resist the temptation to write things down, make lists and it made the month really stressful.’

We hope you feel inspired by Grahams recap of his extreme productivity experiment! Check back next Thursday to hear all about June’s Experiment: Flipping the 9-5!

Do you feel like you’re constantly in a state of Maynia? Our Stress Less, Achieve More workshops will help you out of it. We host these for both teams and individuals. Chat to us on the website or give us a call (01273913217), email (hello@thinkproductive.co.uk) or tweet (@thinkproductive) to find out more information.

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Top Tips For Staying Productive At Work Before Your Holiday

June 3, 2015

Productivity Ninja

How To Stay Productive At Work Just

We’re now into June and the holiday season is creeping ever nearer. Whether you are going abroad or staying in the UK, there is nothing more distracting in the weeks leading up to going away than crossing absolutely everything off your checklist and making sure that you remember to take everything you could ever possibly need for any situation that might pop up.

Whether you’re off to tan on a Mediterranean beach, get lost in a foreign city or even just get muddy at Glastonbury for the weekend, there’s no doubt that your productivity might slip as your mind wanders onto thinking about what you’ll be doing this time in a few weeks. Fear not, we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve that can keep motivated at your office desk before heading off.

Our Four Favourite Tips For Maintaining Productivity Before We Hit The Beach

Tip #1: Holiday Fun Points!

Tp Sheepie Beach

If you’ve read Knowledge Ninja, then you will already be familiar with the fun points technique that we talked about in this book. Have a think about how you can relate this to your holiday checklist. Reached inbox zero on Friday afternoon? Reward yourself with going out and getting that new pair of sunglasses you wanted. Beaten the project deadline? Reward yourself with booking an excursion to do on your trip when you get home that evening. The list is customisable and endless, but should help with getting that release of Dopamine going and lifting your mood before your holiday!

Tip #2: Inbox Zero! 


Whether you are going away for a long weekend, a week or even lucky enough to be going away for a fortnight, we all know that there is going to be a worryingly larger than expected amount of emails waiting for us for when we return. Try and help this by keeping your inbox as clear as possible before you go, the last thing you want is the added pressure of knowing that you have old tasks waiting to be done whilst you’re out enjoying yourself!

Learn the secrets to inbox zero for 99p with Graham’s ‘Get Your Inbox To Zero’ ebook.

Tip #3: More done now, means less to do later 

TP Sheepie updates wallplanner

While realistically in some jobs this maybe unlikely, its good to try and think this way anyway. Simply put: the more work and effort you put in now, the less projects you will have on your desk waiting for you when you come back. The last thing you want to be doing when you’ve got the holiday blues is picking up the bits of work that you couldn’t find the motivation to do before you left!

Tip #4: Get the Summer body going whilst in the office

Deskercise (1)

Try out the exercises we put in our Deskercise blog post the other day and get started on that summer body whilst in the office!

Got any more tips you think we should add? Leave a comment below or tweet us at @thinkproductive.


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Office Sports Day

June 2, 2015

Productivity Ninja

Regular exercise is key for sustainable productivity, as is making sure that your team are happy at work. To add to our post on the ‘Top 10 Ways To Stay Happy At Work’, we’ve come up with a few new ways to combine both exercise and office happiness…

Remember the good old days of school sports days where you could just sit in the sun, cheering on your fellow classmates and laughing about how bad you were at the egg and spoon race?  Unfortunately for many of us now, days spent lounging around in P.E and school seem a long distant memory. But for those of us looking to liven up the office during these hot months, we’ve come up with a great idea – The Office Sports Day!

TP ping pong

Desk Table Tennis

One of these miniature sets will only set you back a few pounds and at the end of the day, who doesn’t want to be the office table tennis champion? (See TP Sheepie, above, for inspiration.)

Stapling Race

Need to get all that stapling done before you go home? Get your co-workers involved and see who can do it fastest! Everyone needs to start out with the same amount remember!

Office Chair Race

It helps to have a large office and a chair with a good set of wheels for this one…

Rubber and Ruler Race

Replacing the old faithful Egg and Spoon race with something a bit more office friendly.

Photocopying Race

Much like the stapling race at the start of the list, this is productive and useful aswell as competitive. Ever wondered who is able to photocopy 20 sheets of paper the quickest? You are now…

Ruler Javelin

Probably best to do this in a safe environment! Mark the agreed throwing line, and see who can make that 30cm piece of plastic fly through the air the furthest.

Waste Paper Shot-put

Put a waste paper bin a good distance away and see who is able to get their scrunched up piece of paper in from the furthest distance.

Standing long jump

Who can jump over the furthest amount of pens or rulers from a standing start? Plus this should be: relatively safe to do…right?…

Three Legged Race (with Sellotape)

Another office themed take on a sports day classic, just make sure that you don’t use too strong sellotape or you may find yourself stuck to the other person for a bit longer than you thought!

Desk Hurdles

For those brave souls among us willing to risk everything, see how far you can get hurdling those sturdy office desks from one side of the office to the other. Be warned – this probably won’t end well! Prepare to minus points for everything you knock off a desk too.

So there you have it, a few ideas of events to get you started on organising your very own office sports day over the summer. Who said that office staff can’t have all the fun?

Disclaimer: Any issues you may face by doing these events is in no way our fault… 

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Extreme Productivity Experiments: Pay Attention

May 28, 2015

Productivity Ninja

Sit up and pay attention! It’s time for us to delve back again through the archives and re-live Grahams Extreme Productivity Experiment series that he took part in during 2013. In the month of April, Graham wanted to look into different ways that we can increase our attention and productivity during the working day.

‘By taking time to have a 10 minute meditation by using apps, such as Headspace and Buddhify, meant that for the rest of the hour I was completely able to focus on what I was doing and not feel tempted by distractions. I was really able to feel in the moment and just get on with what I needed to do.’

We hope you feel inspired by Grahams recap of his extreme productivity experiment. Make sure you check back next Thursday to hear all about Mays experiment: Maynia!

You can read Grahams reflection blog post that he wrote after he completed his Pay Attention experiment here.

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Deskercise: Five Exercises You Can Do From Your Desk

May 27, 2015

Productivity Ninja

Summer is on the way yet you still feel chained to your office chair – unable to get outdoors and keep fit whilst everyone out your office window is exercising out in the sun. Don’t worry though, we’ve listed our top five ‘deskercises’ that you can do from your desk which will help keep your mind and body active – no matter how many spreadsheets you have to work through today!

1) Walk, don’t email!

Instead of sending an email reply to the person sitting across the room from you or in their office just down the corridor – get up from your desk and go over to them! This not only resolves problems face to face and stops your email overload but also will give you a moment to stretch those legs and get up and out of your chair for a few minutes.

2) Got one of those fun swivel chairs at your desk?  Then you can easily give your torso and abs a good workout!

Start by having your back stretched and upright against the back of your chair, and then hold the edge of your desk with your fingers and thumbs. From there, keep your feet flat on the ground, suck your stomach in and use your body core as the axis to swivel the chair from left to right and back again.  Do four – five sets of twenty rotations (1 rotation being left – right – left) and hey presto! You’ve worked out without even leaving your chair! (reference: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/ab-exercises-at-your-desk.html)

3. Use the stairs!

Simple yet effective. Avoid the need of waiting for the lift or having to make awkward small talk with your co-workers by ‘elevating’ (see what we did there!) your heart rate! Time how long it takes and see if you can beat it each time you walk up!

kaboompics.com_Close-up of a woman's sport shoes

Courtesy of Karolina/kaboompics.com

4.  Stand at your desk!

As we wrote in our previous blog post on sitting being the new smoking, the constant sitting down at work is wreaking havoc on our health with every two hours of sitting down reducing blood flow, raising blood sugars and dropping cholesterol levels by 20% so just by doing something as simple as standing up at your desk, can be so superficial towards balancing our health.

5. Seated leg raise.

Whilst seated at your desk, lift one or both legs and hold it there for five seconds, then lower your leg(s) back down to the floor without letting them touch the ground. Then repeat for 15 reps. A way to do a secret workout without many people knowing and not having to leave your desk – plus you can add weight to your legs (rucksack/handbag/briefcase) to increase the pressure and workout.

Need more tips like these? Follow our ninja exercise board on pinterest.

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