Guardian Unlimited Technology | Technology | Meet the man who can bring order to your universe
43F confidant Ben Hammersley does a great piece on David Allen and GTD for the Guardian UK. Terrific summary of why GTD works as well as some nice insight into David’s background (DA & I share an obscure alma mater, you know).
But Allen isn’t your usual prophet. A dapper, friendly man in his late 50s, he’s closer to a favourite professor than the usual big-teethed stadium-rocking personal development guru. Allen doesn’t talk elusive nonsense about self-esteem, crossing chasms or searching for excellence, and there’s no chest-beating, walking on hot coals, or team-building exercises. Rather, we attendees have paid $595 each to learn how, with a simple system of lists, folders and a labelling machine, we can get more stuff done.
This collection of uncompleted actions and stray stuff - open loops in the GTD lingo - does nothing, according to Allen, but create stress and block thinking. It rattles around in our heads and gets in the way. As we run from fire to fire, email to voicemail, meeting to meeting, modern life seems to be nothing but a fight against the rising tide of distracting stuff. We’re too busy trying to stay on top of what we have to do, that we don’t get to do any of it. Too worried about remembering that our brains are too tired to be creative or relax. It’s a vicious circle: the more things to do, the slower we’re able to do them, and the more they pile up. Sound familiar?