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99: David Allen — The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

By June 15, 2017Podcasts
Reading Time: 5 minutes
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“Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.”—David Allen

David AllenDo you find yourself wondering where all the time is supposed to come from to meet your commitments? How about time for yourself, your family, and friends? And just when you think you’ve got a handle on all that, something else comes up!

How do the world’s busiest people handle it all?

They turn to David Allen for help.

David Allen is widely recognized as the world’s leading expert on personal and organizational productivity. He is the engineer of GTD, the popular Getting Things Done methodology that has shown millions how to transform a fast-paced, overwhelming, overcommitted life into one that is balanced, integrated, relaxed — and still successful.

David’s thirty-years of pioneering research and coaching to corporate managers and CEOs earned him Forbes’ recognition as one of the top five executive coaches in the U.S., and Business 2.0  included him in their 2006 list of the “50 Who Matter Now.” But GTD’s broad appeal is based on the fact it is applicable from the boardroom to the living room to the classroom.

David AllenPraise for David Allen and Getting Things Done:

“[Getting Things Done is] the definitive business self-help book of the decade.” — Time Magazine

“[David is] one of the world’s most influential thinkers” in the arena of personal productivity.” — Fast Company Magazine

GTD is a proven path for getting in control of your world and maintaining perspective in your life. Much more than a set of tips for time management and organization, it is a total work-life management system that transforms “overwhelm” into an integrated system of stress-free productivity.

Join Andy and David as they talk about how to create space in your life for the things you want and need to do, how David himself implements his system, the daily and weekly review processes, and, most importantly, how to do exactly what you feel like doing. (Hint: the key is to make what needs doing the thing you most want to do!)

Episode Bullets:

  • 8:07 — When did you get started coaching these methods, and how did you develop them?
  • 9:48 — What are the three things you want people to get from your book?
  • 11:35 — What was the experience of throwing away your first draft like?
  • 12:55 — How do you create the space and time in your life for creativity?
  • 14:07 — How long does it take you to reach a flow state when you’re creating?
  • 15:25 — How do you block out distractions?
  • 16:42 — How do you create your preferred mindset for creative work?
  • 17:15 — What’s wrong with using your head as your office? What should I do instead?
  • 19:16 — Describe your idea management system for us.
  • 22:10 — What is an “external brain”?
  • 24:25 — How often do you process your “inbox”? Why?
  • 26:40 — How long does it take to integrate the GTD methodology into my life?
  • 27:45 — Who can make use of the GTD methodology? What’s the “stress of opportunity”?
  • 29:10 — How to make using a thought-organization system compelling enough to use consistently
  • 31:47 — What’s the “two-minute rule”?
  • 33:45 — Why shouldn’t I be excited when I finally clear my inbox?
  • 34:45 — What is the value of discomfort? How can we capitalize on it?
  • 36:30 — What’s your new normal, Andy?
  • 38:26 — How does David manage his calendar? Why he doesn’t use alarms
  • 39:17 — Should I schedule my personal time? Why or why not?
  • 41:24 — How do you prioritize your next moves?
  • 42:55 — What a “weekly review” and why would I do one?
  • 45:10 — What do you recommend doing for your daily review?
  • 49:20 — What’s the Brain Toss Lifestyle Practice?
  • 51:04 — How badly do you want a clear head?
  • 51:32 — I’m not an executive. Is this system still useful to me?
  • 52:52 — Where do I begin, David?
  • 53:48 — What’s the important difference between an action and a project?
  • 55:00 — What is the single most essential action you can take to get things done?


Andy Petranek Whole Life Challenge

P.S. If you only have five minutes, listen at 17:15 when David explains in a few seconds the most basic reason why you have been failing to get things done.

BIG THANKS to David Allen! If you enjoyed this podcast, click here to thank him on Twitter.

Episode Resources:
David’s Website —
The Getting Things Done Blog
The 5 Steps of the GTD Process
Getting Things Done Discussion Forums
Blood Road Movie
Red Bull TV
Ketogenic Diet
Keto Flu
Brain Toss App
Whole Life Challenge Lifestyle Practices
David Allen in Fast Company Magazine
The Mind’s Limit: 4 Things at Once
Buy Getting Things Done

Connect with David:
Getting Things Done on Facebook
Getting Things Done on Instagram
David on Twitter

If you enjoyed this podcast, here are some others to check out:
Kara Benz — Bullet Journaling for Creativity and Growth
UJ Ramdas – How 5 Minutes of Journaling Can Change Your Life

Connect with Andy to offer feedback or ask a question:

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Andy Petranek on FacebookAndy Petranek on InstagramAndy Petranek on Twitter
Andy Petranek
Andy is what you’d call a modern day Renaissance Man: a former professional trumpeter who attended the Eastman School of Music; a snowboarder, mountain biker, surfer, kayaker, outrigger paddler, mountaineer, and former Marine (Gulf War veteran); a professionally sponsored adventure racer; and the oldest participant to qualify for and participate in the CrossFit Games at the age of 43.

Andy is a certified CHEK Practitioner and holistic lifestyle coach. He holds a spectrum of certifications from CrossFit and is also a Vivobarefoot certified running coach. He has trained as a Zen buddhist and graduated with a Master’s degree in spiritual psychology from the University of Santa Monica.

Andy founded CrossFit LA one of the first and most successful CrossFit training centers in the world and the first to be featured in national media. He is the co-founder of the Whole Life Challenge, Inc, currently its president, and is also a consultant and life/business coach. Andy lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Julia, and son, Dashel.