3 Things David Allen Taught Me about Productivity

No matter what type of business you’re running, it’s important to be productive. Many would agree productivity is vital to increase business growth because you’re getting things done necessary to build a solid foundation. However, for some, productivity is very difficult because of their environment. For example, I found it very difficult to make the transition from office to home because I now had the flexibility of time on my side. I didn’t have to be in the office for 9AM or report to anyone so my “productivity” suffered greatly.

In the end, I managed to sort myself out by learning from the best through coaching sessions, books, and seminars. One of my favorite authors is David Allen, who is a productivity consultant and bestselling author. He has written several books and is the creator of the time management method known as “Getting Things Done“.

I wanted to share some of his ideas on productivity because I’m sure they’ll help you as much as they’ve helped me in my business. Let’s get started…

Here’s what David Allen taught me about productivity…


Something to Write With All the Time

One key point that stood out when reflecting on his productivity strategies is the idea of always writing things down. He framed it by saying the mind is for creating ideas, NOT holding on to them, so it’s important to write them down. This way, you have cleared your mind to focus on the task written down from top to bottom. Obviously, as you write them down, it’s important to organize them from highest priority to least, but the point is, you don’t have to keep going back remembering tasks. The less you have to go down memory lane, the more productive you can be completing tasks. Next,

Always having something to write with will ensure you can mark it down right away. This way, you know what you need to do and decreases the likelihood of you forgetting something important. Always remember, the mind should be used to create ideas, NOT remember them.

These days, you can simply use a pen and paper, but have the option of downloading smart phone apps to help you out. Here’s a few…

  • ToDoist.com
  • Any.do
  • MeetCarrot.com

In-Basket Approach

This is an actual basket where you can throw things when you don’t know what to do with them. This way, you spend less time worrying about the important tasks NOT in the basket. This works more as a psychological reference because when things are in the basket, you know you’ve looked at them, but are NOT important. When you have spare time, you can find ways to make use of them but psychologically, it can clean up your mind, not having to worry about certain things. The more things on your mind, the less productive you’ll be, so it’s all about organizing your ideas, both important and non-important.

Remember, this is a physical basket so buy one for cheap just so you have a place to put physical things like flashcards, paper, notes, etc.

Attention = Attention

David Allen says you should pay attention to what has your attention. If you think about this clearly, it’s a very strong element of productivity. For example, whatever captures your attention must be important to you so stay focused on it. Throughout the day, think about what keeps taking your attention away because this clearly means you have stuff you need to complete or is important to you. The actual method outlined should be the following…

Whatever keeps pulling your attention is important and should be written down on a piece of paper in priority. This way, your mind is clean and you can focus on taking the necessary steps to complete the job at hand.

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