Thought Leader Interview: David Allen

Tell Us More About What You Do?

I am a management consultant, executive coach and trainer. Over the last thirty years I have researched and developed a methodology of best practices for staying clear, in control, and focused amidst multiple priorities, and the avalanche of information and input that accompanies the rapid changes in the world.

I have personally spent thousands of hours desk-side with some of the busiest and brightest people in the world, assisting them in the implementation of this model. In 2001 I published the book Getting Things Done, which describes the process.

What Is Your Specialist Skill?

Understanding the formula for maintaining a clear focus in work and life and teaching, training, and coaching people how to implement that.

What Best Productivity Strategies Can You Share?

Making decisions about desired outcomes and required next actions about things when they first show up, as opposed to later when stress forces a reaction.

Can You Take Us Through This Strategy?

It is applying a universal principle about how to get things done: defining what “done” means (what’s the final successful outcome?) and what “doing” looks like and where it happens (what’s the next action?) These answers rarely show up by themselves, one must actually think to determine them; and that thinking is often avoided.

It is part of the five-step process I recognized and developed, of capturing, clarifying, organizing, reflecting, and engaging, which are the stages we go through to get anything under control and appropriately assessed and structured.

Below is the five-step process outlined:

Capture: Identify and objectively collect anything that has your attention; anything that’s on your mind; anything that’s not on “cruise control” about your life and work, little or big.

Clarify: Decide exactly what each of those things means to you; whether they are actionable or not; and if so, what the committed outcome is and the next action required to move it forward.

Organize: Park the resulting clarified contents in appropriate categories based upon what they mean to you.

Reflect: Review and bring current all of your commitments at multiple levels; assess and recalibrate priorities based upon the total inventory.

Engage: Allocate focus, attention, and resources on the most appropriate thing at the moment, from a trusted intuitive choice, based upon the four previous best practices.

What Do You Recommend Our Readers Do?

Anyone can apply that principle and technique immediately on anything that has his/her attention.

What’s on your mind? Why is it on your mind? What about it are you committed to finishing? What’s your next step?

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