Ruud Questions: David Allen

by Ruud Hein May 7th, 2010 

To define common knowledge components of life management (see: your dads shopping list) and piece them together into a seamless streamlined process where the whole is larger than the parts its made of " thats a pretty cool feat.

David Allen accomplished it with his Getting Things Done and I was intrigued by what someone like that would answer to some of my questions.

I asked for, and got, an interview.

Your organizational system more or less replaced the Franklin/Covey method. What, if anything, do you think might come after you? What's the next evolution?

David Allen (1) Integrating the vertical horizons of focus that I identified more fully with the horizontal keep-control factors of the day-to-day; and

(2) incorporating positive, creative-thinking ecosystems into our self-management processes.

Recent research showed, somewhat surprisingly, that people also procrastinate on pleasant experiences indicating it's not the task itself that's at issue. Is procrastination then simply a function of time: deadline 1 week away = delay work?

David AllenChange and the unknown are key factors in undermining the motivation to move forward, either positive or negative.

The key is a sense of possibility of successful engagement from the start, or a fear of failure to live up to the expectation.

Big carrot or big stick, plus the belief that you can (or must) make it happen. The more that is derivative from the positive push (vs. crisis motivation), the more sustainable the process you ingrain as habit.

Pretend I don't know what you're talking about — and then answer; how's a next action list different from a to do list?

David Allen90+ % of to-do lists I've seen are incomplete inventories of still-unclear things.

no ambiguity
about
the next
visible physical activity
required to
move something forward
The next-action definition (if you're really down to no ambiguity about the next visible physical activity required to move something forward), actually finishes the thinking you've implicitly agreed with yourself to do.

"Mom," translated into "Celebrate mom's birthday with a party" as an outcome and "Call my sister about what we should do for mom's birthday" as the next action. "Mom" still triggers stress, when you look at it on a list. "Call Sis…" triggers action and positive engagement.

Tons of quotes and statements by David Allen get communicated around the web.

Which do you find the most valuable — and for which would you want to be remembered?

David AllenIf you don't pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.

You were coming of age in the mid 1960's. Bloody Sunday. Space. Vietnam. And of course falling in love and all that. What stands out from that 1965-ish to 1975-ish era for you?

The experience and validation of metaphysical realities, along with a process with which to explore it further.

Both you and your wife, Kathryn, practice GTD. Does that translate to the relationship level? Should it or could it? Would "Establish stronger bond with Kathryn", to give but one example, be a valid project?

David AllenAbsolutely. Great example of the much more subtle levels the kinds of projects most people aren't willing to acknowledge and deal with
as concrete commitments
that GTD can constructively address.

And "Resolve…" "Look into…." "Get closure on…." are the kinds of projects most people aren't willing to acknowledge and deal with as concrete commitments, but represent some of the greatest value when the GTD process is applied to them.

You were there early with blog, RSS feeds. Forum.

You expanded the forum into a (premium) community before that was the hot thing to do.

And now we find you on Twitter as GTDGuy.

Why do you "do" social networking?

David AllenWhy go to a cocktail party?

You've build a popular, celebrated system and company. Looking back, especially to the 2002-2004/5 period, what stands out as valuable and important?

David AllenStaying true to the quality of the content, its expression, and, derivatively, to the brand.

If you had a moment to talk with  a young, unemployed person … what would you say? how would you try to be the difference in their life?

David AllenJust to let them know that there are some simple behaviors and habits, which they already know how to do, that when applied will make whatever they want to do clearer and more achievable.

Ruud Hein

My paid passion at Search Engine People sees me applying my passions and knowledge to a wide array of problems, ones I usually experience as challenges. People who know me know I love coffee.

Ruud Hein

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4 Responses to “Ruud Questions: David Allen”

  1. [...] leave a comment » “If you don't pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves. — David Allen” via Ruud Questions: David Allen | searchenginepeople.com [...]

  2. While this system has merit, I will not take it as a replacement for the Covey method. The Covey method is less obtuse and makes direction very clear in your life.
    .-= Richard Cummings recently posted: How To Redirect Web Image Results To Web Page =-.

  3. Luke says:

    @Richard, agreed. Covey method all the way!

    • Ruud Hein says:

      Covey is excellent, Luke. I kind of use both things.

      David Allen's GTD to me is a system, a process, of dealing with incoming "stuff" and deciding what to do with it. It's a lot like the TRAF(Trash Refer Act File) setup.

      Covey is great for figuring out what to do, where your values are, what's important to do.

      I reread both books once in a while.

      Do you use anything else, Luke?