Getting coached by David Allen

Here’s a rare glimpse inside David Allen coaching Dutch TV host Linda Geerdink on the Getting Things Done methodology. He addresses some of the common challenges people have with GTD, and shares his wisdom on making it work. 15 minutes.

To learn more about our GTD Coaching Services, click here.

Please note that the animations shown in this video are from OmniFocus + Getting Things Done (GTD),
which was produced by The Omni Group.

Join the Conversation


  1. Incredible video. David, thank you so much for bringing GTD into this world and into my life. I hope Linda sticks with it, as the results are profound.

  2. I once had a seminar with David Allen back in San Francisco back in 2013 I believe or probably earlier… I was in a very distressful situation, but I knew deep in my heart that It’s worth the investment to go meet the man himself and take a live seminar and benefit in real person… he asked me to “Stay in touch” so here I am saying Hi! 🙂

    I’ve reached a level in my life where I am stable enough and capable enough to implement this methodology and master my life, so the time is now! I’m actively working on implementing GTD in my life as we speak, in fact, today after classes, I’m going to the store to buy the supplies I need to use for the in-basket and organization tools!! Excited and we’ll be in touch! 🙂

    Al Atiya.

  3. This is a wonderful video! Very inspiring and fun to watch David in action. I would love to see more of these kinds of videos of David working with different people.

  4. Great video. Most useful tip from David is that you have to practice using the system to get comfortable with it and to trust it. In the past, I would give up too soon on it. I realize now that I need to go through a period of stress to set up the system before being able to reap the benefits.

  5. I loved watching this video. I am a long-time GTD practitioner and attended my first seminar with David back in 2002. I still remember that original uncertainty and frustration in trying to implement the system. It was heartbreaking to see Linda in the video when the tears came, but from my many years experience with the GTD system, I know that if she sticks with it, her life will be so much more relaxed and productive. I hope David told her she would likely fall off the wagon a few times, but that’s part of the learning process.

    I would love to see more of these.

  6. I’ve been setting this up piece by piece, and as each part becomes trusted (calendar on mac and iphone, for instance) I feel another huge layer of relief. I follow best practice: I NEVER put anything on the calendar that isn’t a hard appointment. I find that I often think a given day is the one where I’ll need to get some particular thing done, only to find that if I’m completely aware of my next steps list, and do what moves me instead, I’m far more effective and efficient and the next day is just fine for that particular thing. Or even three days later. Doing stuff becomes effortless…even joyful and enlivening! I wasn’t able to implement all of it at once, but I’m so grateful to have learned this even though I kind of had to sneak up on it.

  7. Great video and a timely reminder of the journey we go through to get to that ‘in the zone’ effortless state.

    I think that for people first approaching the system, it can seem difficult because we are confronted with how much there is playing on our mind. In contrast we see GTDers who seem to be much more ‘naturally’ organized, not realizing that they, too, were once in the higgldy-piggly heaps of papers and projects until they got the system in place!

  8. Could we get a 5 minute follow up in January? It would be great to see how Linda is doing now she is comfortable with her new GTD system, and how it helped her over the busiest and stressful of times being Christmas and New year.

  9. I have read the book and attended a seminar and realize that I gave up before I finished the capture and processing phases. This video has inspired me to try again.

  10. Thanks for this inspiring video. Besides some practical tips the most important lecture of this video for me is to properly handle the natural resistance, that comes up by starting and setting up the system for the first time – and soon see the benefits of this investment.

  11. The only way is through, thank you for that. Loved the video because it’s encouraging, and so true that it takes a while to get used to the system. The phrase alone has released me from feeling bad that I found it so hard to adjust to new practices.

  12. I can so relate to how Linda was feeling about 10 minutes in to the videowhen she was overwhelmed and did not know if she could do it.
    I know the GTD process works (I never miss stuff at the Store for example), but I do find processing stuff to be very mentally difficult. I like to defer by nature and the GTD process forces to you deal with rather than defer.
    Thanks for posting this.

  13. Much like faith, it comes easier for some than others. For some, BAM! I got it. For me it is a day to day struggle with a long term improvement to look back and see that I have come a long way. Rereading GTD, reading the newsletters, watching the videos are all part of my process. 6 Weeks ago I committed to 3 hours a day, 5 days a week, of processing my office. I’ve finished. Is my mind like water? No. It’s closer. This video reminds me I’m on the right path and I’m Getting Things Done. Thank you, David.

  14. What a fun video to watch! Thanks to everyone who helped put it together and for sharing it with the rest of us.

  15. Very good video.

    Having read all of David’s books it was so nice to see an ‘apprentice’ tackle GTD. More please.


  16. Wonderful video! Before I read and enacted GTD I was in the same place. Now, I have my life back. I have more responsibilities then before GTD but I have more of me now because I trusted the system. Before GTD I would not even had the time to watch the video. What a difference the book, David Allen, and the whole GTD system has made in my life. Thank you!

  17. Fantastic video. Sometimes it’s very refreshing to other people struggle with the things you struggle with. I’ve been working to implement the GTD methodology for several years now. It has definitely helped in some areas of my life, but still need to reap the benefits in other areas of my life. I hope the GTD team realizes the value of a 10-15 minute video – it definitely helps. We need more of those!! I’ve picked up a new phase – “The Way Out Is Through”…

  18. This was moving and inspiring. I agree with the previous poster – more videos like this would be great to see.

    Thanks so much to Linda for being so open and letting us “sit with her”. 🙂

  19. It’s very helpful to see how to actually implement GTD on your current state of chaos. I have listened to the audiobook and read the book, but as another poster has said, I’ve been struggling with implementing it for a few years now. Watching someone go through the actual steps, and also getting an idea of what the followup looks like is very helpful because when the material is presented it is (purposely) general. I appreciated very much seeing this video and would love to see any other examples of what that first GTD onboarding experience looks like.

  20. Thank you for sharing this personal coaching session. I have some related experiences to share.

    A problem, The Someday-Maybe file: This can be both scary and intimidating especially if, like me, you have a huge someday-maybe file. For example, I want to visit a dentist but it is too expensive. In my Someday-Maybe file I have a piece of paper that says simply “Make appointment to see dentist.” I know I don’t have the money to complete this and so I avoid even looking at the entire Someday-Maybe file!

    The solution: If anything causes discomfort then ask yourself if there is a step that you have not appropriately captured. Ask “What’s next to move this forward?” It is not important that a project or task be complete today. What releases your discomfort is working through it. In this example I created a recurring task in my tickler folder. “Move $50 to savings for upcoming dentist appointment.”

    Because I am now taking action on the item I can see a new possibility. I will have money for this in 1 year. Now I see the possibility to move the Someday-Maybe item to my calendar. In my case “Call Dentist and schedule appointment.” I have scheduled the task to remind me in 1 year when I will have the money. The way out is through.

    I did not notice a discussion of “reference.” Reference may be a notebook you carry with you that you need to review while completing a task. For me reference comes in two sub-categories. First there are items I refer to that explain “How” to do something. For example, I have a notebook full of explanations on how to use a computer. Reference material has no action or to-do attached to it. The second reference file I keep is full of long-term records. Things I might need in the next 10, 20, 30 years or life. For example, I save all tax statements for 10 years as recommended by tax professionals. I have family photos I will save for life. I use a modified tickler format for reference. Instead of reviewing everything in reference regularly I label everything with an expiration date.

    In the video David mentions that the heart is often the last thing you hear because there is so much other noise. GTD is a work out–we work out what is in our mind and trusted system. It is human nature to breakdown and become overwhelmed. It is only through constant practice that we become strong–mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. The most important thing to yours and my success with our trusted systems is to have a coach. A coach can be anyone. Your coach provides an objective point of view so when stuck our coach can set us in action. At work your coach tends to be your boss. In your personal life it may be a friend, partner, or trainer. The rule is, “Do what your coach tells you to do.” When we are overwhelmed our coaches keep us going.

  21. This is a great example and reminder of the journey with GTD. I may have peed a little when David said with a straight face “You’re the most un-spontaneous person I know.” I am going to steal that line for use with the people at work who constantly criticize me for having a clean desk and being relaxed all the time.

  22. I am in the middle of implementing GTD. It is so encouraging to see someone else struggle emotionally and logistically with getting all of her “stuff” captured, clarified and organized into a trusted system. I just love this video, and long for more like it, as well as a followup and a closer look at how different people create and evolve their GTD systems.

    Thank you to all who participated in creating this video.

  23. I love it. “I do this so I can be spontaneous. You’re the most unspontaneous person I know.” Isn’t that true for us all without GTD! Thank you for such a great video and inside peek at the process. I’m currently doing this with my boss, and it’s uncanny how similar our expressions look when we realize just how much we haven’t got done! 🙂 ✅

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.