Categories | David Allen | Getting Things Done | Implementation | Inspiration | Interviews
This is a different spin on email overload, from David Allen’s interview with Wade Roush of Xconomy.
Punching the “Clear Your Head” Button
Xconomy: To me one of the most obvious irritants today is e-mail. The average number of emails that an office worker gets is around 125 a day and is going up at 15 percent per year. Do you feel that your system is capable of coping with that level of incoming volume?
DA: As opposed to what? Stopping getting it? Or letting it pile up and blow up on you? What are your options?
X: It just seems to me that e-mail overload presents an opportunity for innovation.
DA: Well, here’s another spin that you could put on this. People ask, is GTD for the individual, or do you have GTD for the organization? It is actually a false question. GTD for the individual is for the individual’s intersections with everybody. If you are the last person on the planet, you don’t need GTD. You only need it to manage your intersections.
It gets subtle—it’s your intersections not just with other people, but with projects, with things to do, and with yourself. It’s really about how do I manage those kinds of intersections. If you improve all of your intersections, it moves all of those up the food chain at least slightly. All of those e-mails simply represent intersections. If you are allowing yourself to have all of those interesections now, are you going to deal with all of them? If you don’t want them to take up more of your psyche than they deserve, then don’t handle them. In other words, if you don’t give more of your attention to that e-mail that doesn’t deserve your attention, it won’t take more of your attention than it deserves.
All I did was discover the algorithm about, what does appropriate attention require so that it does not take up any more psychic space. Because you only have a certain amount. You are not going to take on any more. You can’t do that. You either need to lower your standard about this, or get better keyboard skills. It takes less energy to maintain a backlog of zero than it does to maintain a backlog of 3,000.
The full interview is here.