Tuesday, March 4, 2008

David Allen & GTD on the Mind


One of the most prominent "ah-ha" moments in the past couple of years for me has been an observation by David Allen about the mind. 

If you are not familiar with David Allen, he is a productivity guru and there are whole streams of GTD (Getting Things Done) blogs and resources.  (He is also a  minister in some weird New-Agey religion, but this comment is a common sense principle that does not rely on his theology for it's truth.) 

What struck me was his "simple" comment that the conscious mind is a terrific focusing and organizing tool, but a horrible storage tool.  A 3x5 card or a Moleskine notebook have been a constant companion to me for several years (after I got rid of my DayTimer). 

And his principle works.  So many times I think of an idea, but unless it is written down RIGHT NOW, it will be lost and unusable, whether it is in a sermon or in pastoral care or re: a leadership issue.   That is common sense, but before I always tried to rely on both systems.  Some things I wrote down and other things I just presumed I could remember.  Wrong.  I almost always forgot them (to my own embarrassment and frustration).   How many insights into scripture, how many things that would have helped our body in my sermons have been lost because I thought of the mind as a storage tool.  IT isn't.  The conscious mind is a terrific focusing and organizing tool, but a horrible storage tool.


Anonymous said...

We hadn't talk but I too read the book this fall.
As you know I have to many thoughts that I miss if I don't journal.

There is a GREAT new computer program that uses the GTD book... called omniFocus


unfortunate...... its for for MAC :)

Cal Habig said...

Wally-thanks for the comment! As I said at lunch today, if they could only put on a PC version, it might be worth looking at! Seriously, I have looked at the GTD Outlook add-in and it stunk. I also tried the GTD add-in for Gmail. Never could see the point. I just stick with ListPro by Ilium Software. It is basic & simple & seems to work OK. My main problems with GTD, however, are having too many active projects and not being able to make sure that my action list is pared down to JUST next actions. But I hear enough people say it is like losing weight. You just keep trying and trying and starting over and starting over. Thanks again for the comment. cph.

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