Fast Company Magazine has called author and consultant David Allen “one of the world’s most influential thinkers” on productivity. We talk to Allen about the best ways to organize our desks, inboxes and the information in our heads to make for a more stress-free work environment.

Allen is the author of “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity.”

David Allen: ‘Getting Things Done’ 29 July,2011forum

David Allen, author, productivity consultant, lecturer and CEO of David Allen Company

  • Tim

    Love the idea of externalizing the “project list,” however I find that since the items on the list aren’t necessarily listed in chronological order a list can be confusing for those of us who don’t think linearly. 
    I would suggest tracking this “Project List” using a mind-map, which not only organizes the items in a non-linear way but also allows you to group sub-items according to how they relate rather than as they come to your mind.  This can be done on the computer but also on a big piece of paper on the wall.

    • Fay

      I know of Tony Buzan’s mind maps (the British author’s way of taking notes), but I am unaware of how youd do that on a computer.

      • Chanler

        There are a couple of programs out there, just search for mind maps.  Thought there was a free one you could play with, but didn’t find in quick search.

        • Chanler

          Evernote seem popular, also have the free personal “TheBrain” software.  Good luck!

        • Alex

          Freemind is the name of the software (and it is ‘free’ – open source). I find it very useful:

  • organize

    I agree writing things down on paper can take less time than typing them into a computer program. 

  • Rajiv

    hi Scott, David queation, I love the quadrant….but I have trouble with using it everyday….any suggestions?

    Rajiv, san Ramon

    • Rajiv

      Expanding on the question, I use the quadrant only when there is a crisis not on a routine basis


      • Rajiv

        Hey Scott

        Pls ask my question to David…would be very helpful if he can give me tips..

        • David Allen Company Staff

          Hello Rajov,

          A good place to post your question, where you can get input from the David Allen Company Coaches and others doing GTD, is our Community Forum:

  • Shelley

    I very deadline oriented so I can turn around projects in a time frame my clients expect. But this never let’s me get ahead; even if I have the time, I won’t work on projects w more distant deadlines. It makes the distant deadlines feel like they’re on the maybe someday list but they must be done! And the sooner the better. Do you have any recommendations?

  • Vinia bright

    I’d like to know more about the data that back up David’s claims. Where
    can I find these references? Also I’d like David to discuss his ties to
    the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness. Many people who’ve become
    involved in GTD have ended their involvement when they discovered GTD is
    just a front to lure people into an exploitative new age group.

    Google him and see for yourself. This is not someone who deserves the platform of the usually excellent Forum.



    • Jkorentayer

      Either the principles of GTD stand on their own 2 feet, or they don’t. I (along with millions of others) claim that they do.

    • Mr4192

      I’ve been following David Allen for years, read all his books and I’ve never been “lured” into any type of exploitative new age group! That claim is a JOKE!

  • Faith from East Bay, SF

    It sounds like David Allen has many lists to break things down, but my question is, how do you keep track of all these different lists?  Have you ever remembered one list and forgotten the other?

    • Cwaugh

      check out ‘things’ for mac.  A great piece of software that does this AND connects to your iphone… awesome for those 3am ideas. 

  • Tuanle 2020

     Great show! I am ordering his book sooon

  • Faith from EAST Bay, SF

    I have a 4-month old baby, being able to concentrate on one thing for a required period of time is not a given.  I suppose it’s just like people at work keeps getting interrupted by phone calls.  The question is, how do I keep my lists, organise them and actually act on them with a young baby?

    • Evernote? 🙂

    • coconut

      What I found when I had a 4mo was that time to myself was often limited to 5 minute increments–very challenging. Some things I did were:

      –Know that this time in your child’s life is relatively short and as your child matures, you’ll likely have more time and more ability to focus. It’s good if you can reduce your expectations of non-child oriented goals where possible. My son is now almost 6yo and it is still rare to have 1 or 2 hours to myself unless it’s the wee hours.

      –Brainstormed and wrote a list of tasks that I could do in 5-, 10-, 15- etc. minute increments.

      –Kept a kit of stuff I liked to do close at hand to do while nursing/feeding (reading, filing my nails, etc.).

      –Strap baby to you and do as much as you can that way.

  • PageLarkin

    Best idea to get organized? A Personal aAssistant – once a week  she arrives and – magically- I’m organized and happy

  • Jeannine

    Large volume of email is so much easier to handle using this method.

  • Always a good listen. #GTD

  • Outstanding ~ as always ~~> ‘The Strategic Value of Clear Space’

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