Could this filing system cut stress & make you more productive?

David Allen is an expert on productivity.  He’s talked about it at TED and Google and written books on the subject.   Here’s a video of his filing system.

Allen wants people take all the deadlines and plans buzzing around their heads and put them onto paper, giving themselves space to breathe and think.  As he says ‘the mind is for having ideas, not holding them’.  Once you’ve got your to do list to hand, you can then figure how to work through it.

Allen’s office doesn’t have much in it.  You’ll see he has a letter tray, paper and pens, a little notepad and some sticky notes.   The video is from 2009 so you might think it’s outdated, but today his online shop not only sells his books, but also files and folders, document racks and notepads.  Simple tools.

Here are his five steps to ‘apply order to chaos’:

1.  Capture.  Collect what has your attention.

2. Clarify. Process what it means.

3. Organise. Put it where it belongs.

4. Reflect.  Review frequently.

5. Engage. Simply do.


Getting Things Done

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