As you’ll know from Productivity Ninja Unorthodoxy, productivity and creativity go hand in hand. In fact, they are so tightly connected that we’ve developed a Creative Thinking and Innovation Workshop and have had the pleasure to discuss all things productivity with our Productivity Ninja, James Allen. James chats to us about attention management, email processing and productivity tools.
Occupation: Creative Thinking & Innovation Specialist
Company: Think Productive
Location: United Kingdom
Other job titles in life: Super Dad, Loving Husband, Doting Son
What’s important about your workspace?
I like to work from lots of different places: cafes, armchairs, co-working spaces, trains, aeroplanes, the occasional beach. Some places help me focus, others inspire me. I’m very lucky!
Which Ninja characteristic have you got nailed the most?
It would be a mix of Unorthodoxy and Agility. Creative thinking involves coming up with unexpected, original ideas, and being agile and flexible with it.
Which Ninja characteristic are you still working on the most?
Ruthlessness – I can be easily attracted by new, shiny projects and ideas – sometimes I need to say no to distractions and stay on track.
Which five apps could you not live without?
Todoist – all my work & personal tasks go in there
Gmail – with standard inbox
Strava – for recording running & cycling stats
Kindle & Audible – I always have 3 or 4 books on the go
What’s your favorite piece of stationery?
Sharpies and post-it notes (essential for creative brainstorms).
When in the day do you have the most proactive attention?
In the morning.
What’s your trick for when you’re tired or struggling with attention in the day?
I’ve learned not to struggle for too long – once I notice I’m losing focus, I need to quickly get up and about, do something different and then come back to the task feeling refreshed.
What’s your best advice for reducing stress?
What’s your email regime?
I tend to stay on top of my inbox – I never let it go to two pages. If something doesn’t need an immediate reply I turn it into a task in Todoist, and archive the email until I need it later.
What’s your favorite way to take a break in the middle of the day?
I tend to eat lunch early and go for a run mid-afternoon. After that I’ll clear up any outstanding emails or tasks for 30 minutes or so before knocking off for the day at 5pm.
What’s the secret to your productivity?
I try and get up early and spend quite a lot of time prioritizing things. I focus on a few important things and make sure I do them really well.