March 15, 2006

I'm halting my personal blog, for now...

'Twas a noble experiment, 270 Entries and 1,529 Comments later, and it was great for me to experience this medium from the inside out, in my limited way. I'd probably continue it in some form, if I didn't have a multitude of other things to do that are taking priority. It's another time I need to practice my own GTDing and renegotiate my own commitments with myself to stay up with my changing world. What with our Connect membership service coming out of the gate soon, our new Workplace Learning division getting a whole new GTD program ready for internal corporate distribution, lots of new educational and desktop products in the works, a full new RoadMap seminar tour, and expanded speaking requirements, I'm just too stretched to keep enjoying the luxury of late-night college-student-union chatting (blogging).

One interesting thing that I didn't expect was that many people were using my blog as their "intro" to our work. So, as my personal "between the lines" it was beginning to possibly misrepresent the value and nature of The David Allen Company. Another hitch has been that my site and blog have been so popular (in terms of hits), it got big time on the radar of the spammers, and we've spent countless hours filtering and finding the real comments in the spam-catcher, so they weren't lost.

I've reinstated a kind of What's New at DavidCo page on the web site, to assure everyone that we're real people, living our lives in real time, and for the more company-focused "between the lines" kinds of updates.

I'll leave this post and the blog functional for a while, to give everyone a chance to unhook and not be surprised if you're no longer receiving a feed. If you want to continue RSS feeds from updates and changes in the DavidCo site and other blogs, go to this link.

Thanks to all of you who have come into the "salon" and contributed to the dialogue. My apologies for not responding to them all - I would have loved to, had I had the time. I'm not going away - just reconfiguring the channels a bit...

Posted by David at 11:52 AM | Comments (24)

March 06, 2006

In defense of capitalism, and some real black history...

Great essay in the current Atlantic by Clive Crook, marveling at how little "awe" we have for the success of the free market and it's comcomitant freedoms. It's called "Capitalism: the Movie" on page 46 of the March issue. Nice to have a good reminder that if we take what we enjoy a little too much for granted, we are in danger of letting it slip away. His point is basically that there is an underlying assumption in our culture (demonstrated through the movies) that business and the free market is a bad thing, and the heroes are the ones who escape being downtrodden by it. He ends with this paragraph:

How about a movie in which a firm prospers under threat of competition by selling things that people want at an affordable price, paying its workers the market wage, and breaking no laws, thereby advancing the common good? Well, you see the problem.

And by the way, right after Crook's essay the Atlantic reprinted articles they published originally by Frederick Douglas in 1866, Booker T. Washington in 1896, W. E. B. Du Bois in 1897. and Martin Luther Kind in 1963. Though I was an American History major in college, reading those again from my present state of awareness was pretty awesome...

Posted by David at 07:18 PM | Comments (9)

February 27, 2006

Our kitties make us laugh

Trying to clean up the yard before lots of business travel yesterday, I got reminded again about Oscar Wilde's quote, "The first duty in life is to assume a pose. What the second duty is no one yet has found out."


Cosmo Topper in one of his hangouts...

Posted by David at 12:10 PM | Comments (8)

February 24, 2006

Bonkers for bonsai...

Have been jammin' over the last two weeks with bonsai fever - this is the best season of the year for repotting and planting, because of new root growth coming. Just finished my first "forest" planting yesterday...five Japanese elms. I'm stoked. Sort of like golf (which I don't have time for either), it's a totally unnatural thing that can be elegantly natural.


Lost in the forest...

Posted by David at 09:22 AM | Comments (7)

February 23, 2006

Productivity down?

Andrew Whaley sent me this link today, from a current Yahoo/Reuters story about productivity issues. Interesting in that the data is self-assessment only. Probably indicative that the world is different in how frequently new data must be incorporated, and few people have changed their behaviors to map to it. I suppose it bodes well, Darwin-wise, for GTDers, who'll might actually wind up taking over the world. We're the ones for whom junk mail can be experienced as a psychological garden element.

Posted by David at 11:36 AM | Comments (4)

February 17, 2006

Can we get to the kids?

Lovely note from Tim Noyce, a senior ING consultant in Amsterdam:

Hi David - I did two talks on GTD at a secondary school here in the Netherlands recently. Following your advice I concentrated on the classic issue-outcome-next action exercise and went on to talk about emptying your head and open loops. I started by asking them that ghastly question: what do you want to be when you grow up? After a couple of examples we concluded that nobody wanted to be a machine-tool operator (clear criteria for success but boring, doesn't pay enough) and thus they would end up with jobs that they had to define while executing. I got a friendly but slightly distant reception: when you are that age it is un-cool to be enthusiastic. However the teachers were pretty keen (I handed out some workflow diagrams) and I did get an e-mail a couple of days later from one of the teachers saying that the mother of one of her pupils had "never seen him come home so enthusiastic about school" and that he had described all the things he had learned about solving problems at great length. I pass this on because (perhaps like the ClerGTD) getting though to ONE pupil was enough to entirely make my day. Kind regards, Tim.

...and Tim, I'm still learning how to be a little more un-cool about what I'm enthusiastic about! Couldn't we all just let our hair down and say, yeah isn't all this fabulous!!!???

Posted by David at 06:33 PM | Comments (6)

February 13, 2006

GTD on the rise...?

GTD made #1 in this month's Business Week bestseller list, as well as making it to the NY times bestseller list of advice paperbacks. Interesting, that it's now five years after its publication... Probably some coincidence of good PR (American Way article didn't hurt), plus... well, I don't really know. Maybe the world is waking up to the need, and the possibility it can be addressed....


Jason snapped this in ORD today...

Posted by David at 08:25 PM | Comments (25)

February 11, 2006

Ah, spring...

Lovely warm morning today in Ojai. Irises waking up...


Posted by David at 11:12 AM | Comments (5)

February 10, 2006

Cool tip from Belgium re: digital filing, if it fits you...

As I'm now using a digital labeler (Brother PT-18R) I think I'll experiment with Jan's suggestion. Interesting idea. Unfortunately Lotus Notes (where I have a lot of digial info) is not searchable (yet) with the "global" (not quite) search apps, so I'm a little handicapped, but this is a creative trick.

Dear Mr. Allen, In the past few months I have learned to work with the "Getting things done" method. It takes some time to get used to and I had to go back regularly to your book to keep myself in line. Acquiring the Outlook add-on has helped a lot. There is however one aspect that could be improved significantly. It has to do with reference-material. In your book you deal very much with paper-based reference material. It goes into folders and is stored (for example) in alphabetical order. I like the system, and it works. But more and more material comes to us now in digital form. You can print it of course, but you can also store it on your hard disk (again in folders). The essential problem remains: how do you find the specific document in this sea of printed and digital material? I believe that the recent development of search engines for the PC can provide an important extra to "Getting things done". Search engines like Copernic (my favorite) or Google Desktop will make an index of all files stored on your computer. They are very clever and will trawl through your files, emails, attachments to email etc. while your computer is idle for some time. And when you are looking for a particular document: just type in a word that is likely to appear and the search engine will do the work for you. It is super fast, you don't have to remember in which folder you have put the document, you don't have to make lists of reference words. The search engine will find it, and you can make your search very clever so you don’t end up with 40.000 hits. But what about written material that is not digitally available? The solution is very simple. In your book you insisted (and rightly so) that we put our documents in a clearly labeled folder. There are very quick labelers available that are linked to your computer. So, I make a new label (e.g. "Holiday in Barcelona"), print it, and copy-paste it in an Excel-file called "reference.xls". The folder and documents are stored in my alphabetical filing system with the exact label. When I want to find it back, I need not worry if the reference was on paper or digital: I just type the word "Holiday" or "Barcelona" into the search engine and it will find the digital document or it will find the words "Holiday in Barcelona" in my digital reference.xls file. If it's there, I know that it is paper-based and to be found in the filing system. It works, it's fast, I find all my things! That reduces worries and searching-time considerably. And all I have to do is type a few words, print the label and copy these words in one Excel-file. That takes me about 30 sec to do. I sure hope you can incorporate the value of search engines in "Getting things done". Yours sincerely, Jan Trommelmans, CEO, University College, Karel de Grote-Hogeschool, Antwerp

Posted by David at 10:27 AM | Comments (14)

February 01, 2006


I've always been heartened when I've heard of the positive effects GTD has had for the clergy. One of the most inspiriing seminars I've ever given was for all the senior Navy chaplains, at the Pentagon. So dedicated in their work, and so hungry for anything that can help. Reminded of this tonight by a lovely e-mail from down under:

I am writing to express my appreciation for the book, 'Getting Things Done'. Recommended to me by one of my church apprentices, who in turn had it recommended to him by 'hacker' friends on the web, I have found it to be an enormous blessing in my minsitry and church life. I find that our committee meetings and diaries are now far more oriented towards our goals as a church. I thank God for providing us with the genius of commonsense wisdom found in this little book, the authors of the books of Proverbs would be proud! Regards, Mikey Lynch, Pastor of Crossroads Presbyterian Church, Hobart, Australia.

Posted by David at 06:45 PM | Comments (22)