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David Allen

Entries by David Allen

The Secret To Success

(4) Comments | Posted May 26, 2008 | 7:55 AM

Let's get something real clear: success doesn't come from getting organized--it comes from following your heart. Or the seat of your pants. Or your gut. (Pick the words you like, that you're not allergic to.)

Getting organized (a la David Allen) won't in itself solve the bigger issues and...

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Control Or Spontaneity: The Paradox

(5) Comments | Posted May 19, 2008 | 11:05 AM

When people discover the level of personal organization I work within, they often ask, "Gee, does this guy ever have any fun?! He's so organized!" My response is usually, "Who's not having fun?" Frankly, I organize for freedom, not for hard work.

Much of my personal system of organization...

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And The Biggest Procrastinators Are...

(14) Comments | Posted May 12, 2008 | 7:39 AM

...usually the most sophisticated, sensitive, creative and intelligent people.

Nailed you, did I? Well, I assume you're in the sophisticated, creative and intelligent category. (I'm guessing that there are only a very few thick dullards who cruise this site.) That probably means you have large numbers of things stuck...

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Who Does Your Remembering, Retrieving, And Reminding?

(1) Comments | Posted May 5, 2008 | 7:12 AM

Your system has to be as good as your mind in order for your system to give your mind freedom. If your organization has leaks or incomplete processes and data, your mind will still be burdened with the task of remembering, retrieving, and reminding you. And (if you haven't noticed)...

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Resolve It, Then Dissolve It

(0) Comments | Posted April 28, 2008 | 8:21 AM

We've got to learn to declare things DONE. Especially when they're not. Not completed, that is, to the level of perfection or result that we initially visualized or committed to.

The world changes, and our creative focus changes with it. So do our standards. We will always maintain some...

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Mental Ecology: The Art Of List-Making

(4) Comments | Posted April 21, 2008 | 8:00 AM

In honor of Earth Day, let's look at how to use our natural mental resources more effectively.

My systems are set up and maintained with a standard of thinking as little as possible. That way I can use my mind to think ABOUT my work, instead of thinking OF...

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The Curse Of The Eternally Urgent

(10) Comments | Posted April 14, 2008 | 9:12 AM

Ignoring secondarily important actions and projects because you are too busy and concerned with urgent things fosters continual crisis management. It never self-corrects; it self-perpetuates. Where do fires and crises come from? Usually from not-so-urgent things that people ignore because they are distracted by the crises of the moment. Then,...

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The Project Management Problem

(7) Comments | Posted April 7, 2008 | 7:53 AM

A vast majority of professionals think they have a problem these days -- project management. Problem is, that's not the problem. Well, it is, but not the way they usually think it is. Let me be a little more vague . . .

I am often asked by line...

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Your Mind Deserves A Promotion

(0) Comments | Posted March 31, 2008 | 7:19 AM

I'm often identified by my description of a relaxed state of control as "mind like water" (refer to my logo!). This is not an empty mind, though. It's rather one that is operating at a more productive and creative level.

My experience is that you should be using your...

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The Warmth Of The Radically Mechanical

(2) Comments | Posted March 24, 2008 | 11:58 AM

Many business and personal relationships could warm up if they were more mechanical.

When I coach people through their immense piles of work flow and "stuff," there is invariably a significant amount of communication that emerges as the next action on many items. "Oh yeah, I need to talk...

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To The Tune Of Too Much To Do

(1) Comments | Posted March 17, 2008 | 7:15 AM

The heat is on. I've been noticing that the stress factor at senior levels in organizations seems to be increasing. Maybe it's just the particular clients I've been working with lately. And maybe it's just that I've been in the U.S. NE corridor a bit recently, where the tolerance for...

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The Habit Of Finishing Things

(5) Comments | Posted March 10, 2008 | 7:09 AM

One of the greatest challenges to keeping an empty head is maintaining the drill of processing our interactions to closure. In the course of our day, we often generate much more value-added thinking and many more agreements with ourselves and others than we realize, especially in the context of conversations...

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What's Your Standard For 'Stuff'?

(4) Comments | Posted March 3, 2008 | 6:50 AM

At a certain point, you will get it together.

When the number of used glasses and cups in your living area reaches a certain point, you will clean them up. For some people one is too many. Someone puts one down, they pick it up. Some people, however, will...

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The Process Is Personal

(9) Comments | Posted February 25, 2008 | 7:15 AM

Increasingly I'm speaking to groups of senior level professionals - CEO's, successful entrepreneurs, Fortune 500 executives, and the like. My current message is how the personal productivity dynamics play out in an organization's culture - for better and for worse. It's about decision-making, communication, accountabilities, and stress. Most in my...

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Curing Interruptitus

(4) Comments | Posted February 19, 2008 | 7:00 AM

I often get this question/pushback as I'm teaching: "All this personal productivity methodology sounds fine and good, but what about all those interruptions that plague me during my day?"

There are plenty of traditional "time management" suggestions about dealing with these "time wasters." Don't feel like you have to...

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Feeling Good About What You're Not Doing

(10) Comments | Posted February 18, 2008 | 7:54 AM

From my experience, a majority of the stress most people feel comes from not too much to do, but from broken agreements with themselves. You can fool all the people all the time, but you can't fool yourself for one second. When you tell yourself you ought to do something,...

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The Delights Of "Dummy Work"

(1) Comments | Posted February 14, 2008 | 8:58 AM

Often the most tactical thing to do with yourself is dummy work. And one of the best reasons to get organized is to take advantage of that.

"Dummy" does not mean dumb or irrelevant. Dummy work most definitely needs to be done. For example: process receipts, update calendars, input...

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Let's Talk About Prioritizing

(0) Comments | Posted February 11, 2008 | 6:22 AM

"How do I set priorities?" Because I hear that so frequently, I assume most people think they could and should be doing it better.

I have a radical point of view: learn to listen to, and trust, your heart. Or your intuition, or your gut, or the seat of...

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What Does "Organized" Really Mean?

(11) Comments | Posted February 6, 2008 | 7:00 AM

I'm fascinated by the mystery surrounding "getting organized." The billions of dollars spent on a vast array of tools and information for managing ourselves and our stuff would seem to indicate the widespread belief in a get-it-together Holy Grail somewhere. And the Sirens keep beckoning with a continual parade of...

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Goals Are Tools, Not Golden Calves

(3) Comments | Posted February 3, 2008 | 11:25 PM

What we focus on changes what we notice. Let me describe a recent example of how I've observed that principle at work.

I was facilitating a senior level discussion in a medical technology corporation, where participants were grappling with the issue of the role of Research and Development, and...

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