Anyone who’s been in the business world over the course of the past 30 years has heard of Getting Things Done (GTD), the productivity approach that David Allen revealed in his incredible book by the same name. Anthony points to the GTD approach as the one thing that has turned around both his desire and his ability to be truly productive day in and day out – a massively needed thing for his busy life. Today’s episode features a conversation between Anthony and David that gets into some of the history of the GTD approach and how David applies the system to his own life. You’ll get some high level and very practical things in this episode with one of the most influential people in the realm of action and effectiveness.
Your favorite sports teams do it, why don’t you?
Think of your favorite sports team right now – any sport. Do you imagine that they spend the majority of their time doing what they want and then preparing for their games only a few hours before gametime? That’s ridiculous, right? But most of us handle our lives in exactly that way. We wake, take care of personal hygiene, etc. – then head to the office and dive right in. We wind up putting out fires all day long and responding to whatever comes up instead of being truly productive. David Allen says that one of the keys to the GTD system is that it requires a daily review time BEFORE you actually get started with the day. It’s a time to assess what’s possible, what’s on your lists, and what you will take action on for the day. It’s the only way he knows that successful people truly get things done. Find out how to implement your own daily review on this episode.
What is your next action? That’s one of the most important questions you can ask.
During their conversation for this episode of the podcast Anthony asked David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, why it’s so difficult for people to choose their next action. The simple answer is that it’s hard work to figure out much of the time. But it’s also the most important thing you can do to align your daily activity with the things that are truly the most important to you. On this episode David tells how you can think through your life and your life goals to ensure that your decisions about next actions are the ones that will move you ahead most effectively. Be sure you carve out the time to listen. Who knows, this may be YOUR best “next action.”
Make better decisions by raising yourself up to a higher level.
Many times the decisions we make are reactionary, simple responses to the things that happen throughout the course of life. Sometimes that’s necessary and helpful, but much of the time it’s nothing more than a distraction to the truly important things. On this episode of In The Arena, David and Anthony discuss how a brief moment of “higher level” thinking – consideration of the decision in light of your life’s higher goals – can help you decide whether to delay certain tasks, delegate them, or not do them at all. It’s a very helpful, simple, but profound way of looking at the tasks that crop up each day. You’ll get a lot out of this part of the conversation.
Why do you live in your inbox?
It’s a pretty common thing in the business world to see professionals checking their email repeatedly within a short matter of time. It’s one thing to check email just before going into an important meeting so you can go in prepared with last minute information. It’s quite another to live in your inbox, checking it multiple times every hour. David Allen suggests that you’d never do that if it was “real” mail, in a physical mailbox outside your house. You’d get on with the more important things in life and check your mail once a day. Rethinking the tools and making them work for you is one of the most important things you can do to get a handle on your productivity and you can learn from David Allen, the master of Getting Things Done, on this episode.
Outline of this great episode
- How our lives are more complicated and involved than ever.
- The impact GTD (Getting Things Done) had on Anthony’s life.
- How David came to understand the GTD philosophy.
- When David figured out that GTD was big enough to be his life’s work.
- What causes such difficulty in deciding on a next action?
- How moving up to a higher level of consideration helps in making decisions.
- What does it mean to be productive? What is productivity?
- The baggage around the world “efficiency.”
- Are people experiencing a greater sense of stress today than back in the 80s?
- Does technology offer answers to the stress and overwhelm people feel?
- What does neuroscience tell us about focus and attention?
- What’s the price we pay for being constantly distracted?
- What’s the root cause of procrastination and how can it be fixed?
- GTD across the globe and dealing with cultures when it comes to productivity.
- The type of people who use and need GTD (everybody).
- The power and importance of the weekly review.
- Last book David read and the most influential books he’s read.
- The people who have had the most influence on David.
- The most important thing David has learned in life.
- What job would David want to do if he wasn’t doing what he does now?
- What David wants to be remembered for.
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Resources & Links mentioned in this episode
The theme song “Into the Arena” is written and produced by Chris Sernel. You can find it on Soundcloud
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