The Unorthodox Productivity Ninja

I’ve always liked to approach my work with an unorthodox twist and I’m attracted to others who do the same.  Why?  Because, I thrive on learning to find better ways of doing things to help myself and others, be the best they can be.  In my work, I usually find that there is nothing new under the sun, so to stand out from the crowd, little twists are required.  Unorthodoxy is a key Productivity Ninja trait addressed in our workshops and books with the aim of finding better ways of doing things. 

I foster this trait by looking for ideas everywhere.  As suggested in How to be a Productivity Ninja, I carry a notebook and use my iPhone and iPad (Trello, Evernote and Pinterest) for parking good ideas.  I review regularly to see what I can apply to my work and personal tasks.  Some things I do are:

Read widely…
…including books not necessarily work or productivity related which have ideas that can be translated into work / personal life tips and techniques.  Some of my favorite are:

The Desire Map.  Laporte suggests first get clear on how you want to feel, then generate your goals to achieve your feelings.  Its goal setting in a new way that helps you stay more motivated and happier.

Simple Abundance  and Simple Abundance Companion  in the daily essays by Banbreathnach you learn how to nurture your creativity, create your own style and organise your life.  There are some great exercises to use for coaching and also in The Sound of Paper by Julia Cameron.

Scared Space.  Linn combines world traditions to bring practical exercises for balancing physical, emotional and spiritual energies in your home and office.  I use this for setting up spaces for meetings and gatherings.

An exercise I give participants in leadership programmes is to read biographies / autobiographies asking “What I can learn from this person to apply to my own work and life?”

Productivity Ninjas embrace Unorthodoxy

Listen to inspiring Podcasts and webinars
Two favourites are:

Urban Monk –  Dr Shojai  (Doctor of Oriental Medicine,  Taoist Priest, Qi Gong Master,  film maker, author, and  Kung Fu world traveler)  has free-flowing conversations with guests exploring what it means to live with balance in the 21st century.

Beautiful Writers – interviews with authors focusing on how they get things done.

I also get inspired by many TED talks and Think Productive’s own, Graham Allcott’s Beyond Busy.

Productivity Ninjas embrace Unorthodoxy

Try new activities
For coaching and leadership programs I start with the end in mind, then think of non- work related activities for people to hone skills and behaviors.  For example: develop patience by trying fishing or tai chi;  increase confidence through a belly dancing or impromptu acting course;  develop financial skills acting as treasurer  for your local club;  and for marketing competence,  volunteer to  organize charity events.

Collect layouts, pictures, phrases
My work involves designing and delivering learning programs.  So I collect layouts, pictures, phrases, quotes and color schemes from magazines, books, billboards and social media posts.  These are useful for layout ideas, content and my own marketing materials.  You can use them for reports and presentations.

Pinterest has some great hacks to help you get through your daily routine efficiently. It also has lots of infographics to help you get a message across to a group visually.

Bend the rules
In How to be a Productivity Ninja Graham Allcott says don’t be afraid to rip up the rule book and trash some old bureaucracy along the way.   I bend the rules to suit my outcome if I can by tweaking processes and procedures to be more efficient.

We’d love to hear how you do ‘unorthodoxy’ @thinkproductive 

By Julia Richards 


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