GTD and Goal Setting

Date: Wednesday, February 01, 2012 by GTD Times Staff

Have you wondered whether goal setting works? The February issue of Productive Living has David Allen’s answer to that question.

“Yes, but not the way most people seem to understand goal setting. In my experience, the real value of defining desired futures is not so much in the world they describe, but the change in perception the process of setting goals fosters.”



What we focus on changes what we notice. Our brain filters information, seeing one thing in a situation instead of something else, based on what we identify with, what we have our attention on, what we’re looking for—more or less consciously.

The reason for long-term goals is the permission they give us to identify with the greatest value we can so it changes our filtered perceptions. The future never shows up (have you noticed?—it’s always today!). But playing with it as a working blueprint can be a remarkably useful tool to see things (and how to do and have them) that you never saw before.

Subscribe to Productive Living. It’s free and sent about every 4 weeks. You’ll find essays from David Allen, thought-provoking quotes, and productivity tips you can use every day.

2 Responses to “GTD and Goal Setting”

  1. Alan says:

    In my understanding, that’s also the value of prayer or meditation. Leaving out the possibilities of divine intervention, it serves to clarify our ‘shopping list’ that allows us to effectively identify opportunities.

  2. Matt Tanguay says:

    Ah, yes, the Reticular Activation System… 🙂 I think it is important to keep our goals alive.


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