Productive Living
David Allen

Hi Folks,

I consider myself a freedom nut. I created GTD out of a personal desire to be freer with more space and energy in my life and let go of whatever was holding me back from...whatever.

I would bet that for some of you, your resistance to fully embracing GTD is not about GTD or your ability to implement it, but comes from your resistance to letting go of your familiar structures, even if they are constricting you. So, what would it take for you to be free to feel free?

All the best,




If you want to have the feeling of freedom regularly, you've got to get used to it. Literally.

What's the greatest obstacle to living in the relaxed state of mind that is possible with the methods I coach? People simply aren't used to it. Anything your nervous system experiences as unique or unusual will likely be "rejected" unconsciously in short order, because it is not in the comfort zone.

People are more comfortable being uncomfortable than being comfortable, if they have been uncomfortable for an extended period of time. It's simply an ingrained pattern, and familiarity is more comfortable than novelty. Most people have for so long experienced the gnawing sense of anxiety about all the un-captured and un-clarified "work" of their life, that's what they're used to. Then, no matter how clean and in control they get at some point, they will soon let themselves slide, let things mount up again, unprocessed sufficiently to get them back to the level of stress they are accustomed to.

Over the years I've watched this happen for thousands of people, myself included.

Getting clear, current, organized, in control, and conscious about our commitments and focus is not hard to do. It's easy to clear the mind, make intelligent decisions about our stuff, organize and review the results, and feel much better about work and life. Especially with the GTD model that I teach. What's much more difficult is to get yourself to experience that so regularly, so consistently, that it becomes how you are, emotionally, as a standard experience rather than an exception. Anything different would then be out of your comfort zone.

Visualizing and affirming the desired experience of freedom, relaxation, and control is an excellent way to change the comfort zone, because it literally re-grooves the neural programs. And here are a couple of ways to supercharge the process of identifying with the new pattern: Building in the Weekly Review habit and committing to someone as a coach or colleague to hold the focus and the standard on an ongoing basis. I've found those the best ways to beat this one.



"We are not unlike a particularly hardy crustacean....With each passage from one stage of human growth to the next we, too, must shed a protective structure. We are left exposed and vulnerable, but also yeasty and embryonic again, capable of stretching in ways we hadn't known before."

—Gail Sheehy

"Duties are not performed for duties' sake, but because their neglect would make the man uncomfortable. A man performs but one duty—the duty of contenting his spirit, the duty of making himself agreeable to himself."

—Mark Twain

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The David Allen Company is a global training and consulting company, widely considered the leading authority in the fields of organizational and personal productivity.

GTD® is the popular shorthand for Getting Things Done®, the groundbreaking work-life management system and book by David Allen that transforms personal overwhelm and overload into an integrated system of stress-free productivity. Read more...

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