Wednesday, August 7, 2013

My "Standing Ovation" for David Allen's TED Talk

If you haven't yet watched this TED talk by David Allen, the author of Getting Things Done, it is absolutely worth your time. This blog post is my symbolic standing ovation.

I first heard about Getting Things Done from my friend Saren, who recommended it casually as a book I might enjoy.  I then saw it at the library the following week and picked it up--thinking I might glean an organization tip or two as I flipped through the pages. 

Well, that book flipped my organization/life management strategy upside down and gave me the tools and perspective I needed to accomplish way more in much less time (while enjoying my family in an un-distracted way that I'd only dreamed about).

I now teach GTD for Moms in a program called Mind Organization for Moms.  If you haven't checked it out yet, please do.  I LOVE this program and use it every single day.

Here are some of the key ideas from the TED talk above that really resonated with me:
  • Appropriate engagement: Our goal isn't just to get a whole lot of stuff "done."  Our goal is to be appropriately engaged with our lives.  We want to spend the right amount of time on the right things--and not waste our precious hours procrastinating or being stressed out.
  • NOTHING should be in our heads.  Writing each idea, project, and commitment on paper gives us space in our minds to be more creative, more productive, and happier overall.  Putting all those papers into trusted systems allows our minds to rest, and that opens the world to us.
  • Sophisticated Spontaneity: Isn't that a beautiful term?  When our commitments and projects are clearly defined and put into a seamless system, we can then be that "spontaneous" person who runs off on a romantic getaway for a weekend or sits at the kitchen table for an hour playing Legos.  Our minds know what they are not doing, so there's no stress.  We'll just pick up where we left off.
  • More time won't solve our problems.  We might think "just two more hours" will give us that peace and order we desire.  But more time (with our current disorganized systems) will just give us more "overwhelm and stickiness" (as David calls it).  Revamping our systems is the key.
GTD methods help us to eliminate "hurry" from our vocabulary.  We become the "Captain Commanders" of our lives.  We're able to give focused attention to what deserves our attention and we no longer have to try to think about everything at once. 

Each one of us has important things to do--within our own families, within our professions, within our communities, and within the world.  Getting a handle on our lives--including our emails, errands, tasks, projects, goals, and paperwork--is essential, and the GTD system is honestly the best one I know.

Thanks David Allen!


Any additional thoughts or questions?


  1. This was a great "lesson" for me. I like that bandwidth concept. He nailed that.

  2. And here is my standing ovation to YOU for seeing how this system can help moms and for your ability to translate his ideas into mom talk. I can't say I'm at the "mind like water" stage, though. There seems to be too many hormones swimming in my pond.

    1. I can totally relate. Hormones have been tricky for me in the past, too. Exercise, diet, and sleep have done wonders for me. But, of course, I still have my days! xoxoxo


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