London Real
Episode 229


London Real published on
Julian Bailes updated on

David Allen - Getting Things Done.
David Allen had 35 jobs by the time he was aged 35. What could appear as an erratic career path has seen him work as a performing magician, travel agent and even vitamin salesman. It was in the 80s, though, that David developed his model for increasing productivity and efficiency, one that can be applied on personal and corporate scales. Since then he’s become a leading thinker and author in the field, publishing the bestseller ‘Getting Things Done’ in 2001.

David has also invested and founded other businesses, such as Auctioneer and the David Allen Company. It’s the David Allen Company that present seminars across the world on productivity and time management. Aside from being an internationally known management consultant and bestselling writer, David Allen has a keen interest in transcendental meditation and the importance of spiritual practices.

In the flurry that is the modern business world, David Allen’s methods have never been more popular or relevant. For those that struggle to bring order to their day or simply find it difficult to get things done, this episode is packed with essential wisdom. We know this week’s show will be worth watching again and again.


00:00 Trailer.
01:04 Brian’s thoughts on the episode.
04:14 Brian’s introduction.
04:57 David loves global London.
05:39 Reasons for moving from America to Amsterdam.
11:28 Having a clear space within with nothing on the mind, gives freedom.
16:12 Being appropriately engaged with your life so you can be fully present.
17:03 Make action decisions when you’re smart so that when you’re dumb you do smart things.
19:08 Don’t lose a valuable idea, park it in the right place.
20:28 Goal setting, is it running you, or are you managing it.
23:33 Decision making using the expansion or contraction theory.
25:36 What he blames Mrs Williams in the 4th grade for.
27:53 Understanding the methodology gives the freedom to advantageously use new technology.
32:49 Ultra-connected world reinforces the need for the methodology.
34:10 The art of stress free productivity is a Marshall Art.
37:24 The to do list, capturing, clarifying and organising it.
39:15 Procrastinators are the most sensitive, intelligent and creative people.
40:45 Time is not the issue.
43:30 Choosing to create or falling into the reactive email trap.
43:55 Freedom to be spontaneous comes from creating a to do list.
45:54 Stop, just stop. Temptations of modern technology.
48:10 David visualises Twitter as a cocktail party.
49:00 Advice to 21 year old just starting to find his place in the world.
49:54 Using accountability coaches.
50:42 Technique for capturing a task when not possible or proper to use a captive device.
52:16 Success secrets.
53:41 A crisis that produced a calm that was rare to find because it demanded it.
55:26 gtd franchising.
58:21 What type of people take to gtd and why.
59:56 The value of in person instruction.
1:01:24 David’s Marshall Arts history.
1:02:53 A real interest in Japanese aesthetics and culture.
1:03:30 Phone call to the 20 year old David Allen.
1:04:34 Best advice ever received.
1:05:34 Advice to the 20 year old who is fascinated by some of these concepts.
1:06:25 Brian’s summing up.
Show Notes:
David Allen on Wikipedia
David Allen Ted Talk 2
David Allen Ted Talk 1



Music "Cut & Run" & "The Complex" by Kevin MacLeod (

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