The Weapon-Savvy Ninja

25/3/2014 |

The mindset of a ninja offers us some very useful ways to approach our work. Over the next several months we will introduce you to each of the Think Productive Ninjas. All reflective of a characteristic to nurture and improve upon to become more productive in our day to day lives. We aim to help you boost productivity, reduce stress and remain calm by embracing your inner ninja.

This is the fourth in a series of posts defining the characteristics of a Productivity Ninja…

As demands on our attention increase and decisions get more complex, our reliance on tools to assist our thinking and keep us organized becomes more important. The right tools support a Productivity Ninja to be effective or weapon-savvy, able to adapt on the fly and scale for business growth or increased responsibilities.

I recently hit a wall with my own task management system – a combination of Teux Deux + MS Outlook. Rapid growth, new staff, new processes and extensive travel introduced complexities and challenges that my system was not designed to bear. So, I happily set out to explore some options. I thoroughly enjoy researching productivity tools – after all it is part of my job as a productivity Ninja to know what apps will work for my clients too. Really, I could spend weeks just playing with ‘to do list’ and project management apps, since that is often more fun than many of the tasks that end up inside these apps!

The growth of Think Productive, now 1 year old in Canada, means I am no longer tracking just my own stuff. I needed a more robust tool to allow for better project management, delegation, staff collaboration, and the ability to stay on top of a much higher volume of tasks.

My criteria for finding the best task app included:

  • Accessibility from all devices (for me that includes: Windows PC, Android Phone and iPad).
  • Free option to try it out for a few months
  • Ability to view both projects & tasks separately
  • Organizing tasks by due date and also by context
  • Email integration
  • Simple to use
  • Pleasing aesthetics (not cluttered looking)
  • Collaboration + delegation capability

The short list of contenders consisted of: Todoist, Drop Task, Toodledo and Nozbe. And the winner is Nozbe! I’ve been on board fully for a week, and so far I am very pleased. Not only is the tool excellent, intuitive and robust, but the website is also well done with lots of support and helpful tips.

Don’t be a systems addict

Unlike me, you might not be able to justify spending days (OK, maybe weeks) playing with apps. And the reality is that the tool is less important than your underlying system and habits for managing your workflow. From Microsoft Outlook (my favourite tool for 9 years) to iPhone apps, to the humble daytimer, there are many ways to be organized. The trick is to find the balance between fussing with your task app and actually doing the work; this ensures that the time spent on getting organized receives the optimum payoff in increased productivity, rather than being a drain on your time and attention.

Modelling decision-making for agility

At the heart of the weapon-savvy Productivity Ninja is improving our ability to make decisions, keeping on top of priorities and feeling in control of our work. If your task tool – even if its paper based – is well utilized and reflects all the potential work you could act on, this will support you to continually improve and innovate. The quality, quantity and speed of your decisions will increase. Remember that informed and clear decision-making is our aim.

Task management tools that support our thinking can help boost our mental agility. Just make sure you are plugging the right information into your tools.

Get in touch with us to find out about our Time Management Training options that help cement your ideal productivity tool kit and positive workflow habits.

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