David Allen & Merlin Mann

It’s almost 7 years old now but through the show notes of a Back to Work episode I ran across this inter­view Merlin Mann did with David Allen in 2006. It’s a com­pi­la­tion of 8 short con­ver­sa­tions they had about every­thing from pro­cras­ti­na­tion to pri­or­i­ties. 1

Something David said about work in gen­eral really struck me as interesting:

Most peo­ple haven’t acknowl­edged that their process is as much their work as any­thing else.

He also makes an inter­est­ing point about pro­cras­ti­na­tion. We gen­er­ally take pro­cras­ti­na­tion to mean plainly not doing some­thing. As David put it, though:

Procrastination isn’t just about not doing. It’s about not doing and feel­ing bad about it.

The point is that if you’re putting some­thing off because you have more impor­tant and mean­ing full tasks to do in the mean­time then it’s not pro­cras­ti­na­tion, it’s life. The gut feel­ing of “Oh man, I should really get to this…tomorrow” is the issue as it’s your brain acknowl­edg­ing that you should start on a task but you’re just not. Frequently that’s because you haven’t con­cretely defined the next step.

One of the con­cepts of GTD is ubiq­ui­tous cap­ture. Basically the idea that you com­mit every note, idea, and task to paper or dig­i­tal tools. As David put it later in the inter­view, “The mind is for hav­ing ideas, not for hold­ing them.” The prob­lem is that truly cap­tur­ing every­thing is hard. So most peo­ple assume a buffet-style mid­dle ground will work. To para­phrase how David Allen dis­cussed this: Either your head is where you keep things or its not. There is no in-between or mid­dle ground. Do all of GTD or none of it. Otherwise the process and tools won’t do you any good.

There was a por­tion toward the end, too, where David riffs on the role of atten­tion and your mind:

What has your attention?…If you don’t pay atten­tion to what has your atten­tion it will take more of your atten­tion than it deserves.

Really great series of inter­views that are well worth a listen.


  1. If you haven’t also read David Allen’s Getting Things Done I’d highly rec­om­mend it.

Jason Fried, Be More Productive. Shorten the Workweek:

When there’s less time to work, you waste less time. When you have a com­pressed work­week, you tend to focus on what’s impor­tant. Constraining time encour­ages qual­ity time.

I’ve found that to be true not just on the week level but also on the day-to-day level. Limiting the num­ber of hours you’re around in a morn­ing, after­noon, or entire day forces you to really focus.

Most peo­ple mea­sure pro­duc­tiv­ity in terms of work, what they’re paid to do.

I pre­fer a dif­fer­ent measure.

Productivity is the mea­sure of how effec­tively you get done the things you ratio­nally, explic­itly want to do (includ­ing work when nec­es­sary). Productivity is the out­put of the exer­cise of free will. This isn’t a new gen­er­al­iza­tion, adher­ents of GTD and other pro­duc­tiv­ity sys­tems know that pro­duc­tiv­ity is about your life, not just your work.

Tantek Çelik — The Acceleration of Addictiveness vs Willpower, Productivity, and Flow.

WordCamp Philly Slides

Later today I’m pre­sent­ing about how to use Edit Flow to mas­ter an edi­to­r­ial work­flow from within WordPress. The slides below cover what I’m talk­ing about which includes some new fea­tures com­ing in 0.6 which will be released shortly.

If you have any ques­tions about the plu­gin or the talk feel free to drop by in the com­ments. We’re also look­ing for gen­eral feed­back about fea­tures and how Edit Flow is being used. We’d love to hear your thoughts about how you’re using Edit Flow.