David Allen, Inventor of “Getting Things Done”, on the Future of Productivity

david allen future of productivtiy gtd

Some of you may already be familiar with David Allen – he was a featured speaker at the TNW conference last year. His productivity methodology, ‘Getting Things Done’, took the world by storm when it was first published, and that fervor doesn’t seem to be disappearing any time soon. Why? GTD works. In fact, studies support the GTD method as a practical implementation of “how the brain processes information and plans actions in the real world”.

10 years ago I spent about 6 weeks intensively learning the method. It still continues to pay dividends, both personally and professionally. You need to spend some time working on it to truly understand the deeper concepts of GTD, but I promise that it’s worth it.

The beauty of GTD is that you can make it work with anything from a pen and paper to a modern task management system in the cloud. And with the burgeoning startup scene and increasing ease of app development, there are hundreds of GTD apps and plugins you can use.

I had the opportunity to catch up with David recently and ask him about the changes he’s seen in the productivity space – from paper and pen to AI – and what today’s tech minded knowledge workers need to know.

So where does David think productivity is heading?

A key takeaway from our interview is that if you even have to think about your project, you’re doing something wrong. His theory is that you shouldn’t have to rely on your memory to remind yourself of tasks. It should all be organized and available, exactly when you need it.

His issue is that If you haven’t noted something down, then it’ll be niggling at the back of your mind, causing stress. His solution? Somehow get the right information in front of you at the right time to support your decision making within certain contexts.

Ideally this would be in the form of a hologram ‘cockpit’ that reminds you of certain information when you need it (e.g. an issue your kid was having at school just before family dinner that night).

We’re not there yet. But I for one look forward to meeting our robot overlords.

David is full of interesting and insightful thoughts about how humans tick, and how AI and machine learning will help us tick faster. Here’s the full interview:

If you’re interested and want to learn more, Mike Vardy interviewed David & Intentional Software CEO Eric Anderson for this publication back in 2012.

This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.

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