David Allen, Author, Getting Things Done

David Allen, Author, Getting Things Done

David Allen is a Productivity Coach in the U.S. He is recognized as the World’s Most Influential Thinkers on Productivity. He has earned titles like Personal Productivity Guru.



People rarely discuss what productivity really means. In the traditional sense, productivity is about maximizing outputs, increasing profits, or both. But in the modern sense, when we say “productivity,” we often mean “personal productivity.” Personal productivity is ultimately about achieving goals. David Allen talks to us about personal productivity methodology that redefines how you approach your life and work.

[00:31] About David Allen, Author, Getting Things Done

David Allen is a Productivity Coach in the U.S. He is recognized as the World’s Most Influential Thinkers on Productivity. He has earned titles like Personal Productivity Guru. He has also presented at TEDx events. He is the author of Getting Things Done.

Getting Things Done is a global training and consulting company that specializes in organizational and personal productivity.

[01:32]  Explaining ‘Your mind is about having ideas, not holding them’

About 35 years ago, my mentor had me just dump everything out of my head that had my attention, and I felt so much better and different. Externalizing things that have your attention is a huge component of being able to be clear, be in control, and have sufficient space in your brain to be doing creative or strategic things.

[04:50] What made you stay in this area?

I was always involved in a lot of personal growth. I am someone who loves freedom. I was attracted to the idea of being present and available. I found out that if I do this, it keeps me clear when my life gets complex. I started my consulting practice in 1982, I was looking for techniques for myself, so I could stay still focused, and be clear.

[07:53] About Time Management

You don’t manage time, you manage how you deal with yourself. You’ve got 20 minutes, what are you going to do? It’s not time management, it’s about managing yourself, it’s managing where do I put my attention.

[09:01] What are the questions people ask themselves?

  • How do I set priorities?
  • How do I get rid of this overwhelm?
  • How do I deal with this influx of huge amounts of things?
  • How do I stay clear and focused?

[09:21] Is there a particular structure to find the answers?

There are five steps to take up any situation:

  1. Capture
  2. Clarify
  3. Organize
  4. Reflect
  5. Engage

[17:10] ‘Following your passion isn’t good enough beyond passion is peaceful,  purposefulness’

Passion is kind of overrated. If you have fun doing that, that’s fine, but as emotionally high as you get, that’s how depressed you will get when that stops.

[20:05] Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Mostly internally! There is a still small voice inside you, that you haven’t learned to listen to yet. Pay attention to your intuition, trust the inner small voice now. All you have to do is stop, be quiet, listen to what voice you hear, and you need to have some intention. If you just wanted to be passive and not think of anything, that’s okay too.

[26:04] Learnings from your failures

  • Don’t move too fast.
  • Don’t be pressured by your outside world to make decisions
  • Sometimes doing nothing is productive.


Visit Getting Things Done® – David Allen’s GTD® Methodology

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He is the founder of the David Allen Company, an executive coaching firm using his “Getting Things Done” methodology. David Allen Company presenters, not Allen, regularly give one-day public seminars on the methodology, and Allen himself occasionally gives lectures or sessions.

Allen was also one of the founders of Actioneer, a company specializing in productivity tools for the PalmPilot.

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