As any of my friends will tell you, I have a terrible memory. These days, I’m on a mission to do nothing twice, so that everything at least has a chance of lodging somewhere in my deeply flawed memory bank. But I remember vividly how I felt, on this day 20 years ago.

On 9/11, I was hosting a big meeting for volunteer-managers running volunteer programmes for young people. It was in the very fancy and historic surroundings of the debating chamber at the University of Birmingham Guild of Students. I was just a few weeks into my first proper…

You talk, you type, you stare into space. You drink coffee and somehow end up on the Daily Mail website but keep it a secret. Maybe you do all of this in your pyjamas sometimes.

It can be fun and rewarding, and other times it’s hard.

But it’s hardly the trenches, is it?

It was actually relatively recently, in the 1960s, that strategic planning first started becoming a thing. It’s pretty incredible to think how much of capitalism evolved without the need for strategy. Now don’t get me wrong, strategy is important, but the problem with “strategy” is that it’s…

Jason Fried has been at the thoughtful end of tech thought-leadership for 20-odd years. His company, Basecamp, is a leader in productivity software, and his books, including ‘ReWork’ have helped shape a more flexible, results-orientated and agile working culture that’s been adopted by thousands of entrepreneurs and small companies over the last 20 years.

However, on Monday he sent out a company memo that I thought was a huge mistake. It’s led to mass resignations at Basecamp and been described as tone-deaf and uncaring. If you don’t know what the hell I’m on about, you can read the original memo…

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

We’re now a year into covid and the WFH/Zoom era. Having worked mainly from home for the best part of a decade, I was fully expecting companies’ dependence on laborious meetings to wane this last year as people saw the advantages of the flexibility and space. Sadly, in lots of companies, it feels like the opposite has been true. Instead of being in back to back real meetings, it’s just constant Zoom, Slack and Teams connectivity.

I get asked a lot about managing meetings overload, so I thought I’d share a few thoughts with you.

Many people and organisations resort…

Seth Godin and Graham Allcott on the Beyond Busy Podcast

It was a privilege to have Seth Godin on my Beyond Busy podcast this week. I’ve been a fan of Seth’s work for a long time. His book ‘Linchpin’ has remained one of my favourite books about productivity and creativity and books like Tribes, Purple Cow and The Dip have made him one of the most authoritative leadership voices. He writes with a curiousity, a heart and a clarity of thought that is all too rare these days. I also love his playful side too, featured here in this underrated talk, “This is Broken”.

We talked about his book ‘The…

Reasons my brain tells me that going for a run* is a bad idea today:

I’ve got too much work on today

It’s raining

I’ll run tonight or tomorrow instead (hint: evidence suggests this is rarely the case)

I might get cold

I might catch a cold

There’s a slight twinge in my elbow

This phone call is more important

Something about Covid

I can just stay home but eat healthily

I’ll be sweaty afterwards for my zoom call

I’m on a deadline

I can start getting back on it tomorrow

The weather looks better tomorrow

I’m hungry

I just…

I’m really proud of my little podcast. From its’ humble beginnings as a side project in 2016 to its current status as one of the UK’s leading business podcasts, with a global audience and weekly marketing campaigns, it’s been quite a ride. Here are 10 reflections from the first 100 episodes:

1. You always need a ‘first follower’. In podcast terms, that’s about getting the first big name person to say “OK, I’ll be on your podcast”. It’s way easier to get people to say yes when you’ve already had people on your podcast that they’ve heard of. Having struggled…

So we’re almost through January already? Time is a tricky master, eh. If you still feel like you haven’t fully nailed that whole ‘new year, new you’ thing, don’t worry. I’m here to help.

Because of ‘Productivity Ninja’, I’m asked a lot about New Years’ Resolutions — the best way to think about them, how to make them stick, whether it’s all just a nonsense, whether I have some secret ‘hack’ for them… and so on. The focus of these discussions or articles is almost always on the resolutions themselves, rather than on the implementation. I think this misses the…

People’s Faces — Kae Tempest

It’s coming to pass
My country’s coming apart
The whole thing’s becoming such a bumbling farce

Was that a pivotal historical moment we just went stumbling past?
Well here we are
Dancing in the rumbling dark
So come a little closer
Give me something to grasp
Give me your beautiful, crumbling heart

Another disaster
Another half-discarded mirage
Another mask slips

I face off with the physical
My head’s ringing from the love of the stars

There is too much pretence here
And too much depends on the fragile wages and extortionate rents here


Happy New Year. I hope you had a good Christmas. Well, a good one in the circumstances. It felt rather short, didn’t it? Which means it’s time for the first Rev Up for the Week of 2021. So here are 21 questions designed to help you get clear on what 2021 is capable of bringing…

1. What are your 3 main priorities for the year ahead? (Not five, not eight…. three. If you have twelve priorities, you have no priorities).

2. What are you pretending won’t suck up time, but deep down you know it will?

3. Whose talents are…

Graham Allcott

Author of the global best-seller, "How to be a Productivity Ninja" and founder of Think Productive.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store