There’s a terrific new interview with David Allen and Tony Schwartz in the Harvard Business Review. It’s an in-depth discussion of the importance of having a system for making choices wisely and managing your energy effectively.
Being More ProductiveAn Interview with David Allen and Tony Schwartz by Daniel McGinn
Is the secret to effectiveness the right system or the right state of mind? Two leading experts weigh in.David Allen and Tony Schwartz knew of each other’s work for years, but they’d never met. . . . Then last summer Allen dropped in on a presentation that Schwartz was giving at a trade show. In the months since, they’ve gotten together several times to talk about their approaches to improving the performance of knowledge workers. In this edited conversation with HBR, they discuss the distractive pull of e-mail, how they’ve been influenced by each other, and why you should do your most important task first thing in the morning (even though only one of them does).
Most of us have far more reading material than we could ever possibly get to, even with the noblest of intentions. So what’s the best way to deal with this challenge, short of canceling all magazine subscriptions and running the other way when a colleague tries to give us yet another article or book to read?
One of the solutions I’ve found that often works for people is to divide reading material into 3 buckets. Here they are, along with a brief description of what they entail:
1. Critical Reading – This is reading that I am responsible for as part of my work; e.g., an article that was hand-delivered to me by my boss, a brief from a client, etc. These go onto my next actions list, and I am committing to reading them.
2. Of-Interest Reading – The “I’m REALLY interested in this, and it would be good for me to read it but I’m not committing to” stuff – a bit like Someday/Maybe for reading. This goes into my “Reading – of interest” bin and periodically, when I’m taking a short break or heading off to the airport, I’ll grab something from this stack. I have a rule that if it goes onto an airplane with me and I don’t read it, it goes into the trash rather than back into the bin. Every so often, I have to bite the bullet and purge. (Am I really going to read the October 2007 issue of The Economist? I don’t think so…)
3. Purely Recreational Reading – This usually lives by my bed, unless it’s a real page turner and I manage to read during the day while my eyes are still open.
If you’ve been overwhelmed by your reading stack in the past, I hope this will bring some much-needed relief your way. Good luck, and happy reading!
There are four stages to acquiring new skills. David Allen describes how they relate to learning GTD in his essay in the latest Productive Living.
DAVID’S FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Getting GTD onto cruise control
If you’re like most people who’ve begun the implementation of the GTD® methods, you’ve had some starts and stops in your journey. While my approach is really nothing more than advanced common sense, doing these practices consistently requires some re-grooving of your behavioral patterns. And some of those, though not optimally productive, are likely deeply rooted. How does “doing GTD” become second nature—something you live by but rarely even think about?
Subscribe to Productive Living. It’s free and sent about every 3 weeks. You’ll find essays from David Allen, thought-provoking quotes, and productivity tips you can use every day.
We are thrilled to announce a special opportunity for GTD Times readers. Join David Allen and Dave Logan on Monday, April 18th for a one-hour complimentary teleseminar. They will be discussing how the GTD methodology works with the organizational strategies featured in Dave Logan’s book Tribal Leadership.
Dave Logan, a longtime GTD enthusiast, is a professor of leadership and negotiation in the USC Executive MBA program, and co-founder and senior partner of CultureSync. His book Tribal Leadership is about leveraging the natural groups within a tribe to build a thriving organization.
During this teleseminar David Allen and Dave Logan will discuss:
Time: 10-11am PDT / 1-2pm EDT
Space is limited, so please sign up now!
Several GTD Times readers asked us to post this video of David Allen presenting at Google. This is a classic from David’s presentation at Google a couple of years ago.
Watch this special video presentation to hear what David has to say about GTD and the two keys to sustaining a healthy life and work style.
(The video is streaming from YouTube, so you may need to give it a moment to load.)
David Allen says that when you deal with surprise, “there are two major ingredients for an optimal response: (1) actively focused engagement, and (2) having a clear deck.”
You can read more in his guest blog on The Atlantic.
This is a Community Contribution from Mike Vardy
I’m a fan of gadgets. I love shiny new objects that promise to deliver bigger, stronger and faster results. The problem with a lot of these shiny new objects is that there is a learning curve for most (if not all) of them and even when the knowledge is set firmly in place, they are only part of the equation. It’s the other part that often lets us down. That other part is us.
We often get bogged down in the details, mired in a slew of hidden tasks that pile up in our electronic folders and leave us with our heads spinning. And as a bit of a technophile myself, I’ve had it happen to me on several occasions. When this happens, I turn over my trusted system to a device that I can trust with its implementation: paper.
Paper is a powerful device in its own right. It is simple in both design and execution. You write something down, and [Read more →]