Friday, September 28, 2012

My Visit to the David Allen Company

This past Tuesday, I had the privilege of visiting the David Allen Company in Ojai, California. 

If you're not yet familiar with the name, David Allen wrote an incredible book in 2001 called Getting Things Done, which, quite literally, is the key to stress-free productivity.   It's the book that changed my entire way of organizing . . . and enabled me to finally enjoy my family while getting more projects and tasks accomplished--in less time. 

I loved the book so much that I spent more than 1,000 hours developing a program for mothers based on the principles of GTD.  That's what we call Mind Organization for Moms at The Power of Moms. And over the past few years, I've been teaching workshops on the process and providing online coaching to thousands of mothers on how to apply this system to their homes and families.

Through some guest posts on GTD Times and a series of emails over the past couple of years, I've gotten to know a few of the amazing people who work at the David Allen Company, and they were kind enough to invite me to Ojai for a couple of hours to visit them in person.  (To say I was excited would be an understatement. My husband keeps teasing me about how I compared it to Disneyland.)

This is the fantastic new CEO of the company, Mike Williams (who recently transitioned from his role as a Senior Business Leader for GE Healthcare), and the extraordinary Marian Bateman, who has worked with David Allen from the beginning and is now responsible for overseeing GTD Solutions for Individuals.  (I just read this post about how she helped an editor at Business Week get organized, and I am continually impressed with the excellent work being done.)  We also got to talk with Meg Edwards, a key presenter and coach, who joined us via video-cam from Maine, and after hearing her voice on so many webinars and podcasts, it was a thrill to talk with her face to face.

Mike Williams, April Perry, and Marian Bateman at the David Allen Company - September 25, 2012
We gathered in Mike's office and had a great visit.  I got to hear more about what they're doing in their company, get a sense for where they're planning to go with it, and share a bit about the work I'm doing at The Power of Moms.  I also had the chance to tell them how revolutionary their work has been in my life, and I explained how the mothers of the world are hungry for this.

They said that they like to meet new people and feel of their energy for the system because it reminds them what a jewel they have.  So many people are struggling every day with endless to-do lists, overwhelming projects, and piles of paper and "stuff" on every surface. There are too many pointless meetings, too much time wasted on the computer, and too many families that are literally falling apart because they can't withstand the pressure.

The David Allen Company has practical, effective, proven solutions to help people get out of this mess in a simple, elegant way.  That is why I am totally on board.  This company strengthens families.

There are hundreds of thousands (if not more) GTD-ers out there--enthusiasts for the work who are excited to share it, teach it, and live it.  Everyone applies the principles in their own unique way.  Mike describes it as "an art."  

I consider myself very fortunate to know about this company, to have a platform from which I can teach it to others, and to be acquainted with such a powerful group of others who feel the same way.

After the meeting, Mike was kind enough to take me on a tour of the office, and he was gracious enough to let me take pictures of just about everything. 

Like these beautiful ceilings:

 

And this infinity fountain right in the entryway (Mike said that they put rubber duckies in there sometimes):


The company actually uses four buildings for their operations, so we got to walk around outside and enjoy a bit of the gorgeous Ojai weather.  This is a nice lunch spot right outside their kitchen:


And this is Darren, who works in their design center.  It is such a beautiful, friendly, productive environment.  (My kids were excited when I told them that people there get to bring their dogs to work!  There are little dog beds in the corners of several offices.)


This is their warehouse/shipping center, and Bettina and Alex do a great job receiving all the orders and getting them out to all the excited customers waiting to transform their lives.


I LOVED this room.  It's where they record their audio downloads, and when you put your head into that box, the sound quality is amazing.  I asked Eric if he would build one of those for me in my office, and he said, "Sure!"


I have the GTD Workflow Map printed out, but now I have a HUGE one to hang on my wall and admire (Thanks, Mike!).  The ideas here are transforming.  Please, if you haven't looked into this system, it is a MUST.  You will thank me forever for telling you about it.


After the office tour, I said goodbye to my new friends and stopped at this darling cafe, Agave Maria's) for lunch.  


And then I drove around Ojai and took a few pictures.  (It's times like this that I wish I were a photographer.) 


That town is so quaint, so gorgeous, and so friendly.  I was just waving and smiling at everyone, and they would wave and smile back.


But then I needed to put my camera down and get on my way so I could get back to my husband and children who wanted to hear all about my day.

I am honestly so grateful for people who live their lives purposely, who create websites and programs and resources for those who are looking for hope and leadership.  That's the kind of person I want to be, and I am absolutely thrilled to have such fine examples as Mike, Marian, and Meg.






5 comments:

  1. April,


    Mike here. I enjoyed our visit too. Thank you for your enthusiasm for the Getting Things Done work.


    And to all the moms out there... thank you for all that you do. My mom passed away this past year and I am bless by all the sacrifices she made for me, the example she set for me and the spirit for life she instilled in me. Having two kids of my own (10 & 14) I know how crazy life can get. Getting Things Done has saved my bacon more than once and increased my presence (body and mind) with my family. I wish you well on your parenthood journey.


    Best wishes to all,


    Mike

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  2. So glad you were able to go visit with them! I hope they realize what an what a great opportunity it was for THEM to talk to YOU! After your MOM workshop my husband got the getting things done book and now we're both listening to the audio book. It is so awesome. I'm glad I was able to hear your presentation first to give me context and a bit of practice before trying to understand his version! Good work saving the world and clearing the counters of America!

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  3. Thanks so much Marinda! You've been such a cheerleader for The Power of Moms, and I think you are wonderful. I'd love to hear more about how your husband applies GTD when he's able to see how you're doing M.O.M. The book is amazing. I recommend it to people all the time. Hope to see you soon!

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  4. So very cool, April. I had the same thought as Marinda. They are some lucky people to have been able to meet YOU! I hope they realized what a genius mind you have. Allen just told me a couple days ago that he bought GTD to listen to on his phone because he knew it would make me happy. I think it's funny that I got teary eyed because I thought it was SO sweet. He's 5 chapters into the book so I'm excited to see how we can merge our systems soon.

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  5. What a fun thing for you to visit the Mecca of "Getting Things Done!" What a treat! I am still trying to implement the system in my home (having 9 kids makes it hard to even find one second to do anything other than meet the urgent needs-- but I'm not giving up! My paper piles ARE smaller already!). I KNOW this is the system for me (it was introduced to me in 3 different avenues all within a short period of time, WAY too amazing to be a coincidence!), and I am super excited that you have built it up for use by moms, and that you share it and bless lives with it! Bless you, April! I hope our paths cross again someday (I met you at the Park City POM and MOM retreat in May 2011). Keep up the great work!

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