The Art of Stress-Free Productivity: TED Talk by David Allen

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David Allen is the author of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. In this talk David discusses being truly in the moment to get things done. He touches on the idea that getting things done, isn’t really about getting things done at all. He speaks about how many of his teachings are paradoxes and that they may feel uncomfortable at first.

There are three core principles that need to be learned and applied. Much like learning martial arts, these principles will help you be more engaged and actually get done what truly matters. The problem is when you’re not in crisis the whole world is in you psyche. You’re distracted by information, to-do’s, conflicting interests, things pulling you in all directions. We either get crazy busy or numb out. Then we blame the stress on the lack of time. The issue is not time.

The three core principles are as follows:

1. Get it out of your head. Anything that is meaningful, write it down. This is essentially creating a to do list.
2. The things you’ve identified, what does the work involved mean, two things: What outcome? create a target. What’s the next action step on that item? Write down the final outcome and next action step.
3. Then once created, you need to map each project, and how they’re interwoven.

David touches also on three tips that he’s learned throughout his life.

1. Flexibility is much more important that perfection.

2. I need to be able to shift my perspective rationally and be available for each thing I’m doing. Don’t bring work to home, home to work etc. Have a mind like water, it flows to what you’re doing.

3. Give appropriate attention to the thing at hand, so it doesn’t distract your attention down the road.