Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Guru of Getting Things Done

The October issue of Wired has a fascinating profile of David Allen, the author of the immensely practical, and best-selling Getting Things Done. I've been following Allen's fussy-practical productivity tips for a few years now, so I was surprised to learn that many of his techniques grow out of his direct experience, and ongoing involvement, with the human potential movement.

The article has a few other surprises: Allen is a former karate instructor and heroin user, and a current Minister in the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness, a church that believes in "a benevolent consciousness guiding mankind, who in the past has appeared as Jesus, St. Francis of Assisi, and Abraham Lincoln."

The human potential movement fascinates me. In my spare time, I dream of writing a book that spells out the historical and philosophical connections between EST, Tony Robbins, Byron Katie, Jim Collins, Lifespring, cognitive behavioral therapy, The Secret, and Al-Qaeda. But in the meantime, we have this provocative article from Gary Wolf.

p.s. Speaking of personal productivity, I'm on my third day of getting used to OSX Leopard. One of the features that I'm spending a lot of time with, but that hasn't received much hype, is the revised To-Do/Notes system. To-Dos are now fully shared between Mail and iCal, and the functionality has been beefed up in many small ways that make it easier to follow some of Allen's top list management tips. The UI is imperfect, but it's still a big leap forward.

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