Oliver Starr served as editor to GTD Times from its launch, through March 2009.
Oliver Starr served as editor to GTD Times from its launch, through March 2009.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, this one basically says it all. What could better illustrate the value of GTD than someone like Steve Pugh, pictured below, on duty in Iraq with a copy of “Getting Things Done” at his fingertips.
Steve was just at the recent GTD Global Summit and took the time post event to write to the David Allen Company to let them know how much he enjoyed the experience and to share this image of himself at work.
The brief note that accompanied the photo is also below.
Attached is the picture we talked about at the summit. This is me, in an old Iraqi building, at my desk. I have my Beretta M9 on my leg and a copy of GTD on my desk. I was stationed at Balad Air Base which is about 30 minutes north of Baghdad. GTD really helped me keep my head cool in a totally new environment that had more intensity and stress than I ever imagined. Enjoy.
For many people this is the session they came to see. After years of reading, re-reading, listening to, watching and discussing “Getting Things Done: the art of stress-free productivity” people, especially the majority of the people at the Summit who are serious about practicing GTD – are ready for something new from David.
“Making it All Work: Winning at the Game of Work and the Business of Life” is that something. And I’m not just talking about the book, either. David has worked for years to clarify, refine, broaden, deepen and in some ways complete the work he began with his original program of GTD.
For most people I suspect that the abbreviated Making it All Work presentation that David delivered today felt both familiar yet new at the same time. That’s because it was.
I think that David retained much of the best of his original program but has fleshed out and added more material to those areas that people have occasionally said were not clear enough in the original.
Here are some basic outline notes from David’s slides for the presentation. They are pretty much self explanatory. The goal is to help you see more clearly what David means by each of the subcategories that he uses to define the various aspects of GTD.
They are as follows:
“If my brain had a brain I wouldn’t need a system.” – David Allen
Capture, Clarify, Organize, Reflect
This leads to having control and perspective
Control is simply cooperating with reality with conscious intent
Capture: write it down
Clarifying: what does this mean to me?
Organizing: put it where it goes
Reflecting: look through the whole
Purpose/ Principles – 50,000 How: how do I want to operate as a human being?
Vision – 40,000 Feet How do I see my self and my life
Goals – 30,000 Feet What do I want to accomplish both long term and in the next two years?
Responsibilities – 20,000 Feet What do I have to do
Projects – 10,000 Feet
Actions – Runway
System: build, fill, use
“You are here for a purpose. You are either on purpose or you’re not.” David Allen
“Focus on what has your attention and you’ll find out what really has your attention.” – David Allen
This post rambles a bit as it’s a live blogging effort to cover the real key questions and associated answers that this group of accomplished entrepreneurs provided during an hour plus panel discussion about the trials and tribulations of starting your own company.
Topics included what personality characteristics should you have to thrive as an entrepreneur. What are the most common mistakes that they see entrepreneurs making (or which they’ve made themselves). They discussed their biggest fears and how they’ve overcome them and even why right now is actually a really good time to begin planning an entrepreneurial venture.
Peter Gallant: serial entrepreneur, Pathogen Detection Systems
Execution is the biggest risk facing start up companies. The plan is usually not the problem. The execution is. Knowing when to do what needs to be done.
Recommended reading “The War of Art” it is very rare for entrepreneurs to really know what the milestones the must be achieved are. when they need to achieve those goals and how to forecast whether or not they are on track or behind or in real trouble.
He hasn’t met an entrepreneur that has a complete broad focus across all the horizons of focus
John de Souza, serial entrepreneur, founded the product that became Microsoft Messenger
Do you have the right temperment, the right skill set and is it the right timing. Once you are an entrepreneur, it gets going, you’re excited about it and suddently…what’s next? You need to get the company going and for this GTD can be extremely important.
How does being an entrepreneur impact your family? What if you fail? What if you have no money?
Buzz Bruggeman: Active Words. His belief is that computers should understand us. Problem: voice is not really a viable option. Active Words lets people name things. For example setting up the keystroke NT for directly navigation to New York Times. ( also like Quicksilver)
Frode Odegard: Founded several companies including one before he was 18. What is the nature of a true entrepreneur: restless by nature. potentially reckless, frequently fall into the “crazy maker” quadrant.
What’s important is that entrepreneurs tend to underestimate and possibly even feel resentful towards the needs to spend time simply thinking.
“If you don’t have a good framework to manage your commitments you will just drown”.
EDS: Entrepreneurial Dysfunction Syndrome
Buzz: the single biggest problem for him is the weekly review. Part of it is the issue of having the time to make an appointment with himself.
Once you’re an entrepreneur and you have built the product you are faced with two new problems: Distribution and Adoption.
They’re talking to HP so Buzz emails every single person from HP that downloaded their application and he asks them for help
If you can’t handle rejection you should probably just work for a big company.
If there’s anything you wished you knew earlier
1. The inventor should NOT be the CEO
2. Take Smart Money of Just Money
3. Use GTD to maintain sufficient discipline to keep wandering to a minimum
1. Having the right revenue model. Understanding what works in a given economy
Frode: My biggest fear is relationships. Can I trust these people? What are their intentions
Buzz: Biggest Fear: The serious maybe…
de Souza: Hiring the wrong senior person. As soon as you realize there’s a problem take action.
Gallant: making a wrong effort from a time, talent or investment perspective
Odegard: What’s your definition of success for an experience?
Gallant: A call to action: imagine that you’ve lost your job. What sort of entrepreneurial venture would you start next? This is a great time to be planning a start-up company. There’s sufficient cash, it is simply that the VC’s are being especially cautious.
Buzz: If I did not have a partner with a skill set he didn’t have they would have been dead.
For those of you that would like a voyeuristic view into the GTD Global Summit, I present for your lengthy reading pleasure all of the tweets from the legions of twitterers that are attending the summit. (And there are many, at least half the audience is on twitter).
These are in reverse chronological order so you can take a trip back in time from present moment to last night’s cocktail party or you can start at the bottom and work your way forward in time to see the event blossom in the way that it actually has. Either way there are some wonderful pearls here as many of the tweets are actual quotes from the speakers presenting at the conference.
Tweets are here as a PDF: twitters_eye_view_gtdsummit
After more than a year of planning thousands of hours of meetings and more emails, phone calls, and late night conversations than anyone cares to think about let alone remember, the GTD Global Summit has come to life in a huge way.
I’m wearing several hats here so my coverage will be as real time as I can deliver it. I’ll also try to get some coverage over on Qik if bandwidth allows.
David’s powerful initial remarks to put this event and GTD in context. If you have never seen David speak you simply cannot imagine the incredible authenticity and integrity of this man. I have attended literally hundreds of conferences and heard perhaps thousands of speakers yet he is by far the most genuine, transparent and honest speaker that I have ever had the good fortune to hear.
His opening remarks were testimony to this as one of the first things he mentioned was the fact that just before we did this conference he had to cut 40% of his workforce. … He said that for this conference he wanted to look for the silver lining in this current crisis. To find that silver lining and learn how self improvement is even more essential in times of crisis…that’s the overarching theme for the summit.
Keynote Interview with Guy Kawasaki to Follow
Eric Mack, the individual behind David Allen’s new favorite tool, eProductivity, has got a pretty amazing promotion going over at his site right now. The first ten people to take advantage of his special offer will get a free pass to the GTD Global Summit.
If you want to get eProductivity at the best price ever and you want to go to the GTD Global Summit without having to pay the regular admission, you’d better move fast. I wouldn’t be surprised if Eric has already given out all ten passes by the middle of the day today.
If you were one of the folks we heard from who wished to attend the GTD Global Summit but simply couldn’t get away for both days this should be some welcome news. In response to a surprising number of requests that we make passes available for each of the two days of the Summit, the David Allen Company is happy to respond in the affirmative. You can now buy a pass for either day, and of course for both days too.
The GTD Summit is only three weeks away, can you really afford NOT to attend? If you or your team are one of the many people that are suddenly being asked to do more with less, attending the GTD Global Summit might actually be one of the most important investments you could make.
The knowledge you can acquire from the world-class line up of experts on not only GTD, but also entrepreneurship, creativity, productivity in general, life hacking, military strategy, leadership, ethics and more will be far more enduring than any other use of funds we can imagine.
Nevertheless, we understand that for some people it simply isn’t possible to take two days off from your job, school, or family, while for others, the full price of the summit might simply be out of reach at this time.
Regardless of your reasons, the team at the David Allen Company is sensitive to your situation. It should go without saying that David’s commitment to helping people achieve more, learn more and get more out of life goes far beyond any financial element and this attitude permeates the entire company. It is for this reason that the team decided that unlike many conferences that are an all-or-nothing sort of affair, the GTD Global Summit will be different and will offer people the ability to attend just a single day of their choice if that is what someone wants to do.
Day passes are now available for each of the two days. Pick one day or two.
Each day pass includes:
Autographed copy of David’s new book.
Coach’s Corner – your chance to sit down with a GTD coach one on one
Coach’s Theater – “how to” presentations from senior GTD facilitators
Breakout sessions with high impact presenters and moderators
All meals and beverages
The Best Part?
You will see and hear from some of the world’s leading minds on productivity, making change and adapting to our changing world. Intelligent conversations. Compelling speakers. And more.
DAY ONE PASS – MARCH 12th
David Allen & Guy Kawasaki: Welcome & Keynote
James Fallows, Marshall Goldsmith and General Randy Fullhart
Breakout Session One
Self Management as Strategy: GTD and Leadership
Good Things Getting Done: GTD Serving Service
GTD at Home: From the Boardroom to the Living Room
Breakout Session Two
A GTD Workforce – Is There a New Industry Standard?
Innovation – Getting New Stuff Done.
GTD as Super Charger and Safety Net: Life Transitions and Transformations.
Breakout Session Three
Entrepreneurs and GTD – Making it up and Making it Happen
GTD and Education: Reading, Writing. Arithmetic and GTD
The Virtual Workplace – Does it Work?
Book Signing – David and other authors
Exhibitor Expo Wine and Cheese Reception.
DAY TWO PASS – MARCH 13th
David Allen presents “GTD Making It All Work”
Plenary Session – How the world works, and should we care?
Breakout Session Four
Best Practices to Good Habits: Can I Make GTD Stick?
Your Brain on GTD: Why it Works
Productivity Tech: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Breakout Session Five
Critical Behaviors in the Crunch – GTD and Organizational Change
GTD and Sales. Customers and Relationships
Creativity and Clear Space – Inseparable, or Mutually Exclusive?
David Allen Final Remarks
Book Signing – David and other authors
Exhibitor Expo Wine and Cheese Reception.
Register here for your Friday, March 13th Day Pass
HOW TO REGISTER:
Pick the day that works best for you and register now. A limited number of day passes are available. See you there!
Day Pass for Thursday, March 12th
Editor’s Note: Over the next two weeks we’ll be providing some advanced coverage of the GTD Global Summit so that you can get some idea of what to expect (and what those of you foolish enough to miss this event will be missing) as well as whom to expect it from. Following a brief bio of Major General Randall Fullhart is a summary of a recent meeting the our own Director of Business Development, Phillip Martin, had with the General. Not only is Major General Fullhart an incredibly accomplished military man, from Phillip’s report he also sounds like quite a guy. I can’t wait to hear him speak at the Summit.
Maj. Gen. Randal D. “Randy” Fullhart is Director, Global Reach Programs, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. As the capability director, General Fullhart is responsible to the Air Force acquisition executive for airlift, air refueling, training and special operations programs. You can read more of Major General Fullhart’s biography here.
Meeting Details: Wednesday, Feb 18 from 1:30pm – 2:30pm in his office in Roslyn.
Upon arriving and going through security, I was escorted upstairs to his waiting area. The General walked out into the waiting area to greet me (as opposed to having his assistant usher me into his office…like a lot of high ranking officers and others in business, government, and academia do….this was a big deal to me..very cool and classy on his part)
As I entered his office, he was working at his conference table and had 50+ copies of GTD stacked on it. I loved it! He did too. He was excited for me to see them all. I took his picture with them all (see below) He was getting ready to teach a Leadership course. We had a instantaneous “connection”.
He opened by asking me how I got involved with DAC. I told him the story. We were right across from the Marriott Key Bridge where I first met David and Kathryn on Sept 30. I shared with him the new outside sales initiative. He asked me about my target audience. I told him of the “three-legged stool”: Government, Private Sector, and Associations. He loved it and concurred, and added, “I’m surprised you didn’t mention Colleges & Universities.” To which I told him of our pilot under way at Champlain and some of the discussions with Graduate Schools in Business. I told him David has it for now on his “Someday/Maybe” list. General Fullhart is very interested in this sector, and likely will want to talk with David about it in San Francisco.
He is really enthused about speaking at the Summit. He shared with me his outline for his eight minute address. Said he thinks now David has him leading off. “NO pressure”, he remarked laughingly. He said he is most anxious to meet Kathryn.
We then discussed our shared interest in Civil War history and Leadership development. We went back and forth on similar stories of Joshua Chamberlain, Robert E. Lee, and many others. He asked me to send him my “Leadership Lessons from the Civil War” podcasts and a copy of my powerpoint slides on Gettysburg.
He told me about his very close association with Frances Hezzelblein and her work on Leadership. He also likes The Goal (by Dr. Eliyahu M. Goldratt) and The Effective Executive (by Peter Drucker) both mentioned in his “In Conversation” CD.
He also recommended Leading in a World That’s Round (by Robert Greenleaf) He spent 20 minutes drawing out his concept on paper and discussing his views on the new organization charts and communication in leading-edge organizations.
He has a giant ornamental sword on his desk. It must be 4-5 feet long and it is inscribed and engraved with scenes and sayings from Don Quixote. He is very proud of it. It is from his time at the National Security Agency. He offered to speak at some prospect organizations. I have followed up with him and he has already written me.
I am also attaching a Video of a recent interview he did on our local Defense Industry television channel three weeks ago.
Fokke Kooistra, author of the popular “Productivity 101” blog as well as a former contributor to GTDtimes recently attended one of David’s new “Making it All Work” seminars recently. Below is an excerpt of his thoughts on this experience. To read his full review, please visit Fokke’s site directly at right here.
was visiting the Making it all Work seminar featuring David Allen in Amsterdam yesterday. The seminar was organized by the David Allen Company and Life Architect. It was my third time that I visited one of David Allen’s seminars. I also listen regularly to the audio version of the seminar. It was as usual a very good seminar, relaxed, focused and entertaining. It looks like it doesn’t cost him any energy. Because I know what it is to have to present in a different time zone, it is amazing how he does it. With humor but with great persuasion he tells his story about productivity. You can read elsewhere on Internet about the content of the seminar.
There are two things I want to write about in this post regarding the seminar. First, David demoed his own system with Lotus Notes with the eProductivity add-on from Eric Mack. He also showed his extensive use of MindManager. By doing this he showed first hand how it works in his own personal and professional life. I must say this was quite powerful. It resembled much of how I have set up my own system in Evernote.
If you haven’t been to a seminar that is personally lead by David Allen you are missing an experience that at a minimum is an exceptional learning opportunity and for many people is literally transformational. Of course for a truly transformational experience you should consider attending the GTD Global Summit which is taking place in San Francisco March 11th-13th of this year.
In addition to David Allen, Guy Kawasaki will be delivering a keynote and there will be presentations by other notable GTD’ers, entrepreneurs, and experts on everything from technology to entrepreneurship. You’ll also have the chance to meet and mingle with a couple hundred other like minded people from companies both big and small. Already, the summit has registrations for individuals from companies like Meade, Xerox, UPS, Federal Express (those last two probably know a few things about how to get things done, eh?) and many more.
Latest word is that for people registering in groups of 2 or more there’s a sliding scale of discounts that can be quite significant, especially for groups of 5 plus. If you’ve got a couple of friends that you think could benefit from a few days of intensive GTD therapy, this is a great chance to get them on board and at a serious reduction from the standard price for the event.
A new study conducted jointly by Harris Interactive and Xerox indicate that reducing information overload can yield better use of time – particularly for those working in government positions. This in turn is associated with the possibility that additional cost savings can be realized as a result.
David Allen has long been aware of this association and it has been an underlying premise of all of his work even that which predates his first book; “Getting Things Done: the art of stress free productivity”.
As the economic crises becomes deeper and as it cuts across an even broader swath of the global community, corporate leaders are becoming more and more acutely aware of the fact that people simply have to do more with fewer resources, at the same time they understand that putting more pressure on already pressured people might make things worse, not better.
Some of the savviest managers realize that the only way around this inherent conflict of getting people to do more with less while at the same time not applying pressure is to do what less savvy individuals find unthinkable in a recession. Invest in training. They have learned – and studies such as the one below bear this out – that investments in training can make the difference between getting more out of a calm, controlled and productive employee and one that is going crazy and making those around him crazy as a result.
One event where you can get training of this sort for your employees and for yourself is the upcoming GTD Global Summit the 11th-13th of March at the Hotel Intercontinental in San Francisco. You can find more details by clicking the link above.
Relief for Government Workers: Easing Information Overload Will Uncover
Cost Savings, Relieve Stress
NORWALK, Conn., Feb., 19, 2009 – More efficient management of the
increasing influx of information may be an untapped opportunity for
government and education cost savings, according to a new survey of the
U.S. public sector conducted jointly by Xerox Corporation (NYSE: XRX)
and Harris Interactive.
Findings indicated that 58 percent of surveyed U.S. government and
education workers said they spend nearly half of their average workday
filing, deleting or sorting paper or digital information. According to
Basex, a knowledge economy research firm, this amounts to at least $31
billion spent managing information each year by local, state and federal
“Government agencies are being asked to maintain the same level of
service to constituents while staring at severely slashed budgets,” said
Jonathan Spira, chief analyst of Basex. “Tackling the information
overload problem is a good place to start recapturing some of those
Other responses from the survey suggest taking steps to ease information
overload will help speed up work processes, reduce employee stress and
ultimately save time and money for government and education agencies.
Of the workers surveyed:
* 57 percent say not finding the right information for their jobs
is more frustrating than being stuck in a traffic jam
* 38 percent said they have had to redo reports or other work
* 24 percent said they have used the wrong information
* 23 percent missed deadlines as a result of inefficient
* 37 percent strongly to somewhat agree that their organizations
are drowning in paper
* 50 percent strongly to somewhat agree that their organization’s
business processes are paper-based
* 45 percent felt increased stress and anxiety about their work
“Information overload is creating huge challenges for knowledge workers
in both the public and private sectors,” said Greg Jones, senior vice
president of Public Service Operations, Xerox Corporation. “With the
current economic pressures, it is critical for businesses to address the
gaps in their work processes and implement smarter strategies that
Businesses in both the public and private sector have uncovered
significant cost savings by working with Xerox to streamline information
* The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission boosted productivity
by up to 35 percent after implementing a paperless claims process using
Xerox DocuShare(r), a web-based content management software solution.
Instead of manually storing and retrieving employment, insurance and tax
data, workers now instantly access a database of more than two million
* Penn State’s Multimedia and Print Center, inundated with
requests to print, duplicate and distribute volumes of paperwork, used
Xerox digital presses and production printers, and a Web portal
storefront, to streamline its operations – improving the bottom line by
* The Wilkes Barre School District in Pennsylvania simplified the
student registration process with Xerox DocuShare, reducing time spent
from two weeks per child to just 30 minutes.
Moving into the digital age
The survey, which polled government and education workers across the
U.S., revealed that workers see paper as a facilitator of information
overload and are looking to technology to help manage it. When
considering a technology investment to bring them into the digital age,
almost half (42 percent) ranked improved efficiency as the number one
priority for doing so. For those surveyed that have started the digital
migration, 63 percent somewhat to strongly disagree that their
organization is completely digital, leaving room for improvement down
After launching the “sharing” era with the first xerographic copier 70
years ago, Xerox now helps customers navigate the flood of information.
The company has kept pace with innovations that help clear the path
between paper and digital content, cut through the clutter and make
information relevant again. For more on information overload, visit:
http://www.infooverload.com; for information about Xerox, visit:
This Information Overload Survey was conducted online within the U.S. by
Harris Interactive on behalf of Xerox between October 13 and October 30,
2008 among 316 full time employees working in education or government
industries. All respondents are employed full time with 25 percent
holding C-level titles and 85 percent sharing in the decisions for
document management technology at their organization. Results are not
All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability
sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often
not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage
error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question
wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments.
Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words “margin of error” as they
are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible
sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted,
random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical
because no published polls come close to this ideal.
Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have
agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. Because the sample
is based on those who agreed to be invited to participate in the Harris
Interactive online research panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling
error can be calculated.
About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is a global leader in custom market research. With a
long and rich history in multimodal research, powered by our science and
technology, we assist clients in achieving business results. Harris
Interactive serves clients globally through our North American, European
and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms.
For more information, please visit http://www.harrisinteractive.com/.
Michael Moeller, Xerox Corporation, +1-203-849-2469,
Elissa Nesbitt, Xerox Corporation, +1-585-423-3591,
Note: For more information on Xerox, visit
http://www.xerox.com/innovation or http://www.infooverload.com. For
open commentary and industry perspectives, visit
http://www.xerox.com/blogs or http://www.xerox.com/podcasts.
Xerox(r), DocuShare(r), the Xerox wordmark and the spherical connection
symbol are trademarks of Xerox Corporation in the United States and/or