BLOG: David Allen: Why does he (still) do it?
When I heard that David Allen was coming to Australia on a speaking tour, I couldn’t wait to see him. As a fan of his methodology, a practitioner of 15 years, and a GTD certified trainer-in-training, I was keen to see what I might learn from the master himself.
I sat in the front row, and listened keenly to what he had to say. I realised I understood the content of his presentation well from my years of GTD study and practice. But I became very curious about why David Allen is still delivering this material after 35 years? While many of his peers are playing rounds of golf or settling into comfortable retirement, David (now 72) continues to travel the globe, speaking, teaching, and answering people’s questions and dilemmas about the art of stress-free productivity.
GTD Trainers Stephan Jenner and Annette Corrigan had the opportunity to hang out with David Allen during lunch at the Brisbane event.
As luck would have it, I had a chance to actually ask him what drives him. His answer was that it’s the same thing that has driven him for all the years he has developed and shared Getting Things Done: his desire to help people have a better life.
Through some personal transformation work he did in California in the 1970s, David experienced insights about his character and life. At that time, he had not settled into a steady career (he says he had 35 jobs before the age of 35), but he knew he wanted to have an impact on the world. He says he realised that the work of spiritual transformation was only going to attract a relatively small number of people, and so with ambitions of reaching a greater number of humans, he chose to take his talents, wisdom and insight to the business world.
So, what’s so transformational about Getting Things Done?
When we start learning GTD, we learn about the five steps of gaining control: capturing, clarifying, organising, reflecting and engaging. We also begin to understand the five horizons of focus – the perspectives that guide our decisions, choices and priorities. And when, through practice and commitment, we tie it all together into the matrix of self-management, our focus on the important things gives us effectiveness and our implementation and follow-through give us incredible efficiency. That’s what’s transformational!
David Allen is a walking, talking example of the “art of stress-free productivity”. He is relaxed, focused and full of humour. He is clearly the captain and commander of his own life, and an inspiration to all of us seeking to achieve the same.
Note: David Allen’s tour of Australia was organised and facilitated by The Growth Faculty and Getting Things Done. David presented a series of three seminars in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane in May 2018.
About the author
Annette Corrigan is a trainer and coach in business writing. She helps businesses create writing that is clear, straightforward, easy-to-read and easy-to-use. She has been a GTD practitioner for 15 years, and is currently training to become a GTD certified trainer. She is based in Brisbane, Australia. You can connect with Annette on LinkedIn.
only 20% of managers believe that their systems for managing commitments across silos, work well all or most of the timeWhy Strategy Execution Unravels, HBR - 2015
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