David Allen quotes page 1
Born in Shreveport, Louisiana on December 28, 1945, David Allen's career started
with acting and winning a state championship in debate. He attended New College of Florida as an undergraduate, and
later the University of California, Berkeley, where he completed some graduate work on American history. After
graduate school, his career path took many routes, so many so that he claims he worked in 35 different professions
before being thirty-five years old. He finally settled in the 1980's, after being asked to create a program for the
executives at Lockheed. This is where he began to apply his own productivity perspective in terms of running a
business. With his start with Lockheed, he soon became the founder of the David Allen Company and became well-known
as the creator of his "Getting Things Done" time management methodology. Just like his first program, the company
eventually started concentrating on coaching executives in management and productivity. To widen his influence, he
wrote a book titled Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, which was published in 2002.
Allen created an analogy between focus levels and the altitude of a plane taking off, which concentrates more on
daily tasks than that of big picture end goals, which many often find difficult to achieve without proper
structure. This is further accomplished by using a weekly review, in which one is meant to assess what they have
accomplished and if their daily tasks are working toward a greater end goal. After a successful first publication,
Allen wrote a follow-up book titled Making It All Work: Winning at the Game of Work and Business of Life.
Along with his books, David Allen still occasionally gives public seminars to teach his program and David Allen
Company presenters offer daily seminars on his methodology. Currently 69 years old, David Allen is enjoying living
with his wife, Kathryn, in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
It is possible to be effectively doing while you are delightfully being, in
The only people who have to be right are the ones who aren't really sure they are.
Being organized simply means that where something is matches what it means to you. No
more, no less.
The hardest thing about being productive is not the work, but the split second it takes to
decide to take control.
In training and coaching thousands of professionals, I have found that lack of time is not the
major issue for them (though they themselves may think it is); the real problem is a lack of
clarity and definition about what a project really is, and what the associated next-action
steps required are.
People love to win. If you're not totally clear about the purpose of what you're doing, you
have no chance of winning.
Much of the stress that people feel doesn't come from having too much to do. It comes from
not finishing what they've started.
A functional work space is critical. If you don't already have a dedicated work space and
in-basket, get them now. That goes for students, homemakers, and retirees, too. Everyone
must have a physical locus of control from which to deal with everything else.
If you think getting an empty mind is not worth doing, then throw away your calendar.
Halfway is unjustifiable.
Chaos corralled fuels creativity.
Once you know what you want to have happen, and why, the "how" mechanism is brought
Small things, done consistently, in strategic places, create major impact. What are our top
"small things" right now?
Engaging in complexity is a key to simplicity. Fear of it will haunt your inner recesses.
Most people feel best about their work the week before their vacation, but it's not because
of the vacation itself. What do you do the last week before you leave on a big trip? You
clean up, close up, clarify, and renegotiate all your agreements with yourself and others. I
just suggest that you do this weekly instead of yearly.
If you don't pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it'll take more of your
attention than it deserves.
Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.
Secret to instant stress-free productivity: be of total service, in the moment, to anyone or
The balance you have between drive and patience may be your master key to success.
When you know what you're doing, efficiency and style are your only improvement
A paradox has emerged in this new millenium: people have enhanced quality of life, but at the
same time they are adding to their stress levels by taking on more than they have resources
to handle. It's as though their eyes were bigger than their stomachs. And most people are to
some degree frustrated and perplexed about how to improve the situation.
The purpose of a purpose? Tunes you to meaningful things you wouldn't be aware of,
If you're not totally sure what your job is, it will always feel overwhelming.
You increase your productivity and creativity exponentially when you think about the right
things at the right time and have the tools to capture your value-added thinking.
The purpose of this whole method of workflow management is not to let your brain become
lax, but rather to enable it to move toward more elegant and productive activity.
The goal is to get projects and situations off your mind, but not to lose any potentially useful
The clearer you are about all your tasks, the freer you are to multi-task.
I suggest that you write down the project or situation that is on your mind at this moment.
What most "bugs" you, distracts you, or interests you, or in some other way consumes a
large part of your conscious attention?
There's no reason not to be highly productive, even when you're not in top form.
How you list projects and subprojects is up to you; just be sure you know where to find all
the moving parts.
Collect, process, organize and review what has your attention, so you can stop half-trying to
be doing all that, constantly.