20100917

Natural Productivity Review: The ADD Productivity System in Depth

Disclaimer: I signed to be an affiliate for the sales of this ebook. For each sale that is made through the links in this post I get a commission (and the same goes for the sales of the iPhone app). Of course, I'd love if you bought it through these links, but I have tried my best to make my review faithful. I don't want anyone to come later at me and say they were tricked into buying the book or the application. Anyway, I won't get rich quickly by these sales, but they will work the normal upkeep of this blog.

This book, Natural Productivity explains Dragos Roua's ADD productivity method. In case you don't know, Dragos has a blog on self-improvement, productivity and the like, and I've been following his posts since one year ago. He writes very compelling content, and this is a review of his last ebook. ADD is the acronym of Assess-Decide-Do, the three main frames of mind of this system. Or realms, as is the usual name in the book. More on how the method works later (or buy the book!).

The book is divided in 3 sections: What is ADD?, Applied ADD and iADD: the iPhone and iPad app. In the first two sections, the framework for ADD is established and the last section is the down to earth application of it.

Personally, I found the first two sections a little fluffy, and the third section brilliantly clear. I asked Dragos about that, and he said that some people were completely in reverse, saying the first two chapters were eye opening and the third, boring. We guess it has something to do with analytical/emotional type of thinkers. I am pretty analytical, in case you wonder.

The first chapter dissects the method, giving the 5 parts of ADD: Assess, Decide, Do, Focus and Flow. The first three are the workflow, the two last are the spirit. In short:
  • Assess: You collect data for your task/project, split into sub-tasks, observe it from afar. When you run out of data, move on.

  • Decide: You line your tasks with a context, start date and due date. When everything is set, move on.

  • Do: Do this, and mark it as done. (*)

  • Focus: What you need to do assess your tasks, decide on your tasks and do your tasks

  • Flow: The state in which all this is done.

One interesting thing is that in every step you can move your project to a previous step. Maybe you need more data before deciding, maybe some unexpected errand ruined your afternoon and you need to re-decide your task.

In the section where Do is considered, a few hints on task management and prioritising is given. But, as Dragos writes: Do is where you are going to create miracles.

(*) One interesting thing is that when a project comes to Do, you can apply your usual time management techniques (timeboxing, continuous improvement) or use GTD on it without problems.

In part two, ADD is applied to some real life settings (relationships, dealing with interruptions, personal crisis management and how it applies to the inbox zero paradigm). Then comes a chapter redefining deadline which you can read it in Dragos' blog if you like, and to end this section, what factors make ADD the natural productivity method. I won't delve into these factors, you can buy the book if you like.

The final chapter is the one which enlightened me the most. How the method really worked, applied. It was so enlightening, in fact, that I promptly bought the app (you can buy it from here, if you like) and even gave Dragos a testimonial to put in his blog. It is definitely the application. It integrates into my natural workflow perfectly. I am ashamed I am not the author of this application. Okay, I'll stop the lavishing now. It is worth its price, from my point of view.

As an overall view, I found the book very worthwhile, tied together with the application if you have an iPhone (or iPod Touch, or iPad) and you use it every day for task keeping, or intend to do so. You can also use the system without an iPod, of course

Remember, these are the affiliate links in case you find the product appealing and want to help this blog grow:
Written by Ruben Berenguel