David Allen is a productivity evangelist who has been providing consultancy and training for 30 years in US as well as across worldwide organizations. His core fields of work are organizational productivity, time management and efficiency. He runs his own productivity channel GTD for 20 years now for helping productivity enthusiasts main aim of this podcast is to provide productivity related people with right tools and support. David Allen has served to a great number of people and organizations in increasing their efficiency and is famous worldwide, as a leading name in providing organizational productivity training along with tools for helping them maximizing their output. He has also written several books on productivity, as well as internationally acclaimed best seller “The Art of Stress-Free Productivity” in 2001.
TaskQue: Your contributions in the field of productivity are remarkable, we would like to know what actually inspired you to choose your career as a productivity enthusiast, 30 years ago?
David Allen: My primary interest (aside from making a living!) was in clear space–in my head and consciousness. I love that freedom, that peace, that clarity. So I kept exploring techniques that provided that, as my life got more complex. Interestingly, as I discovered those methods for myself, they also worked equally well and consistently with my client, in my new consulting practice. I never considered myself a “productivity enthusiast.” I was just always interested in how we could do things easier.
TaskQue: Productivity has changed much over period of time, and the change is quite rapid now new software and technology is automating many operations for increasing efficiency, how do you see these new productivity practices in terms of their effectiveness?
David Allen: Productivity is a universal and timeless concept, not contingent on any specific tools or technologies. It is simply the equation of achieving a desired result or outcome with minimal effort. Indeed, the tools and technologies have changed that can be used, and most of them are wonderful in potentially increasing our capacity for leverage. However, the art and craft about how to use the tool has been largely ignored. A great carpenter can do good work with a crude hammer. A poor carpenter won’t do good work with even the best hammer.
TaskQue: New task manager tools and services are getting launched each day for help businesses in automating their operations such as your own GTD, how do you see the role of these tools in enhancing productivity of different organizations, following different structures?
David Allen: It all comes down to what you’re trying to accomplish (outcome) and how best to achieve it. That sounds simplistic, but too many of these “productivity solutions” ignore those basic questions and answers, and then waste huge amounts of resources and energy in ineffective structures and processes.
TaskQue: In your total work lifespan you have been consulting and training different US based and worldwide organizations, what do you see as key productivity areas that are normally underestimated by businesses?
David Allen: The human capital issue of best thinking and personal organizational practices required to keep personal and organization air clear.
TaskQue: Business consultancy requires a lot of experience and in-depth knowledge about different business structures and models which are normally not possessed by a typical new venture owner, what is your advice for new entrepreneurs who struggle with costs and efficiency issues at early stages?
David Allen: Don’t try to predict and control the situation out beyond the immediate needs and tensions. Build in an agile style that addresses current realities, opportunities, and problems; and trust you will recalibrate as necessary as you generate much more data and experience, moving forward.
TaskQue: Through your own GTD channel, you offer Podcasts which include professional stories and tips for implementing GTD systems, how much effective do you find GTD Podcast is in educating people about how to implement GTD in their organizations?
David Allen: I have no idea. Simply a lot of anecdotes from people that they are helpful and inspire enthusiasm to take forward steps.
TaskQue: You have written different books on the subject of productivity such as “52 Productivity Principles for work and life” and internationally recognized best selling book “ The art of Stress-free productivity” how did you find experience of writing books? What do you think is the best part about writing a book?
David Allen: Having finished it. And having previously unknown people give feedback that it was beneficial, and sometimes life changing. Writing is hard work. Writing is a pain. Having written is bliss.
TaskQue: Success of any business depends on numerous factors, what in your opinion are the most critical factors, businesses should put their focus on?
David Allen: Simple: authenticity; and willingness to engage.
TaskQue: After running your own productivity and business consultancy channel GTD for 20 years now, What is the next milestone you are hoping to achieve professionally?
David Allen: Successful “cruise control” in my relationships with key major partners, globally, marketing and delivering the GTD methodology up to comfortable standards.
TaskQue: Keeping work/life balance has emerged as a new challenge for professionals and entrepreneurs of current era, how do you address this issue? What leisure activities have you adapted for keeping yourself fresh, energized and motivated?
David Allen: I take lovely walks and bike rides with my wife and our dog. I’ve managed to create a living situation in a wonderful quality-of-life environment (Amsterdam), with a virtual global professional network with which I continue to do food work. I drink good wine and get deep tissue massages, regularly. I sleep as much as I can. I practice what I preach, and do what I need to do to keep my head clear amidst all the things I am still engaged with. I keep my in-baskets emptied every 24-48 hours. I give myself permission to arrange flowers, and paint. I meditate.