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Getting Things DoneMouser (J. Reichler) of DonationCoder.com just scored an exclusive interview with David Allen, author of Getting Things Done. Mouser kindly asked us to pass the word along, which we’re happy to do because it’s a rather good interview and adds to the small canon of GTD-related sound recordings (which as you know, can be hard to find.)

In addition to the inteview, DonationCoder’s also doing an experiment to test and compare various organizational systems (including GTD), in hopes of coming up with new hybrid. To participate, check it out here.

The interview’s broken into two parts. The first is up now with the second part going up later this week. To tease you, I’ve transcribed a tiny bit of the interview for you. Be sure to download the podcast for the full interview:

Mouser: Can you give us just an overview of the Getting Things Done System?

David Allen: Well, there is a bottom line to Getting Things Done. First of all, you have to define what “done” means, and you have to define what “doing” looks like. So a core unique aspect of what Getting Things Done is about, is it deals with the thought process that has to be applied on your stuff before you actually know what to organize or can manage that inventory.

So that said, the practical aspect of it, is really about a set of best practices about how we collect things that have our attention. How we clarify what those things actually mean to us, so that then we can (stage 3) organize them appropriately so that we can review the whole inventory at any point in time. So we have more of a holistic way to see what all of our commitments are at any point in time to then make a choice about what to do.

Now thats the horizontal, “get control” aspect of the GTD, then there’s the “get perspective” aspect of GTD which is… you need to make sure you have these altitudinal horizons that we mature our conversations on to be able to trust your priorities. You need to know top-level purpose and values. You need to know vision. Then, you have shorter term goals and objectives, and you have areas of responsibility and then you have projects and you have actions about all that stuff. So thats kind of the vertical model and part of it as well. So those are the two primary aspects of GTD is: let’s get control and then get perspective. They tie closely together, but they actually are a little bit of different models

Mouser: So, let me probe you a little on the first part, “getting control”. The thing that, for me, was the most profound is this idea of getting things out of your head. Can you talk about that a little?

David Allen: Well you know, for my experience, your head’s for having ideas, not for holding them. And unfortunately, most people seem to have had the habit of having things in your mind, and thinking thats a good office, and psychic ram, as I call it, that space that we tend to hold reminders of would-could-should-need-to’s ought-to’s might-want-to’s might be interesting to me. We start to file that in that subliminal space. As soon as you have more than 7 or 8 things in there, part of it goes unconscious, because your conscious mind can’t hold onto all that. So as you start to load that onto your psyche, all those different commitments, there’s a part of you that’s hanging on to them all.

A matter of fact, there’s a part of it thats seems to be wanting to do them all right then, which creates this more subtle and subliminal sense of frustration and anxiety, but you can’t find the source. It has this gnawing sense that there’s a whole lot of stuff out there and i dont konw what it is. The problem is most people put it in the part of their psyche thats not very good at being able to manage and review and re-negotiate, and there’s a part of you that then thinks you should being doing all of them all the time.

So people walk around in this almost incessant sense of frustration and overwhelm and not really realizing that it’s just this mechanical part of the brain that just doesn’t do that very well. So teaching people to offload that, to capture those things in some external form, and to train yourself as you make commitment with yourself that has any interest or meaning that you can’t finish in the moment you think of it. Training yourself to externalize that is just hugely healthy. And as you say, it makes a big difference.

For much more, download the podcast.