Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Posts Tagged ‘David Allen

David Allen’s achievement

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Very interesting post this morning at Lifehack.org on the characteristics of good leadership through a brief discussion of the path that David Allen took on the way to developing his method of Getting Things done. Worth reading.

Written by Leisureguy

3 October 2007 at 8:30 am

Getting Things Done & David Allen

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I first discovered David Allen via James Fallows—who, it seems, always gives good advice. Although “Getting Things Done” is the title of several books, it is really David Allen who established the term and the acronym “GTD” by providing a systemic approach that works. You’ll note how valued is the book by the prices it commands in the used-book market: not many people are selling their copies.

Now Wired has a profile of Allen and a synopsis of his method. It begins:

The invention of the minute hand is often attributed to the great Swiss clock maker Joost Bürgi, whose work in the late 16th century coincided with a burst of technical innovation in clock making that would eventually bring whole new opportunities for guilt and shame. Along with all your other problems, you could now be late.

“There’s a big owie out there,” says David Allen, who specializes in curing the psychic pain caused by the pressure of time. Allen’s work has become the touchstone of the life-hacking movement, a loosely knit network of psychological self-experimenters who share tips about how small changes in human behavior can bring big rewards in happiness. Allen’s book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity has steadily climbed the best-seller lists since its release in 2001, but the best evidence of its influence is not the 600,000 copies in print but rather the endless network of spinoffs, how-to guides, software versions, and online commentaries by readers who interpret, criticize, and extend his theories.

Allen’s approach is not inspirational. Instead, it is detailed and dry. But within his advice about how to label a file folder or how many minutes to allot to an incoming email there is a spiritual promise. He says there is a state of blessed calm available to those who have taken careful measure of their habits and made all the changes suggested by reason. Nirvana comes by routine steps, as an algorithm drives a machine.

Allen is not a dramatic presenter. A fit, sandy-haired, soft- spoken man who only recently traded his glasses for contacts, he can be funny and wry, but his normal mode is discursive. “Our inspirational factor is a wink,” he explains one night over dinner in a small restaurant in Chicago. “We say, ‘Buy a labeler for your files and you will transform your life,’ wink.”

Allen is in Chicago to give one of his daylong seminars, for which several hundred people will pay nearly $600 each for help putting GTD, as his method is known, into practice. Many readers of Getting Things Done apply one or two of the book’s tricks, like the process Allen recommends for emptying an overstuffed email inbox, and then they stall. Some of them come to seminars like this. Allen himself is unsure if it helps. He realizes that his system can be difficult and that he’s often accused of going overboard with elaborate schemes. He responds with a shrug. “Look, the workings of an automatic transmission are more complicated than a manual transmission,” he says. “To simplify a complex event, you need a complex system.”

While the instructions in Getting Things Done are baroque, the underlying ideas can be summarized in an axiom and three rules:

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Written by Leisureguy

27 September 2007 at 10:06 am

Simple GTD

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In a comment on the post on the reminder tool, Joaquin comments:

I use http://www.simplegtd.com and I have set it as my “home page” so every time I log in, it comes up. It is almost too easy to get everything done.

Good thought. “GTD” = Getting Things Done, a reference to the book of the same title by David Allen.

Written by Leisureguy

22 September 2007 at 8:24 am

Posted in Business, Daily life, Software

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