20 Lessons from David Allen on Succeeding at Work, Life, and GTD (Video)

It’s a brand new year, and you may be feeling ambitious — making exciting new plans and searching for the best way to make good on your goals.

Why not turn to the pros for advice on how to make 2015 great?

If you’ve heard of the famous Getting Things Done productivity process, we’ve got a great opportunity for you to learn more, directly from the man behind the method.

Wrike’s Errette Dunn recently had the pleasure of interviewing world-renowned productivity expert David Allen, father of GTD. As proof of his efficiency, Allen packs this short, 30-minute interview chock-full of wisdom and advice.

Check out these eye-opening insights to improve your life at work and at home:

1. "It’s the most productive people that are creating their own craziness, creating their own out-of-control-ness, by the very nature of the fact that they’re so productive. A whole lot of what my stuff does is relieve drag, it relieves pressure on the system."

2. "I think the truth is, most people are living in a lot more stress and pressure than they realize."

3. "There are a lot of non-actionable things, but you still need to keep track of them. You have to go through, 'Let me define exactly what it means to me right now. That was a 3 AM idea, I had too much wine when I had that idea... so, that’s trash.'"

4. "What’s the very next step that I need to take?' Get very specific and granular about what moving would look like and where it would happen."

5. "If you haven’t done this process, your mind’s still going, 'Well what are we going to do? What is it? What does it mean?' You have to shut the monkey up."

6. "Take the job of remembering off your psyche, because it was not designed for that; it was not evolved to do that. Your head is for having ideas and not for holding them."

7. "When you walk out into the world, the fire hose of reality is going to hit you in the face. Manage your life and work and be able to surf on top of it instead of feeling buried by it."

8. "If you try to keep more than 4 meaningful things in your head you will absolutely lose perspective on it and denigrate your performance."

9. "What’s really changed is the volume of potentially meaningful information that we’re allowing into our lives. It’s kind of the stress of opportunity of options."

10. "The pings of your email, just looking at it and doing something about it creates dopamine in your brain. It’s a highly addictive process."

11. "Information overload, that’s not the problem. If it was you’d go into a library and blow up. If you want to go crazy, take out all the information."

12. "You’ve got 2,000 emails in your in-basket, everyone of those could be a bear, a snake, a tiger, a thunderstorm, or whatever. And so it’s the potential meaning in there that still hasn’t been clarified that will eat you alive."

13. "The same principles that apply to an individual about how you get your company under control apply to a team."

14. "If I was to consult with your team, the first thing I’d do is walk in and ask what has the team’s attention right now?"

15. "Mom’s a project manager. Your next holiday is a project, hiring an assistant is a new project, getting a babysitter is a project, deciding which cell phone plan you want..."

16. "People need to lighten up about their work ecosystem and they need to get a lot more business-like about, 'Excuse me, who’s handling the Halloween party?’"

17. "That’s what we hate: making a wrong decision. So we’ll avoid decision-making as long as we can. And that will force you to have to decide, is it good enough? Train yourself to go ahead and make decisions before the crisis forces you to."

18. "A lot of people, their comfort zone is being uncomfortable. You can get addicted to whatever you’re used to."

19. "Once you get GTD, technology doesn’t matter."

20. "The big 'why?' is to produce conditions for people to flourish."

With these genius tips from Mr. Allen — and the right productivity process — you just might be able to unplug from your to-do list and (dare we say it?) relax a little!

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