David Drake’s GTD Story

Tell us a little about yourself:
My name is David Drake, MS, PhD. I am a professor of microbiology & infectious diseases. I am in the Iowa Institute for Oral Health Research, College of Dentistry, University of Iowa.

How did you hear about GTD?
When I became an Assistant Professor many years ago, I realized that my old methods of keeping on top of everything were not working.  I was in a Barnes & Noble bookstore one afternoon and looking at the business books to find a new approach.  I spotted David Allen’s book and was quite intrigued.  I think the first edition of the book had just come out.

How long have you been practicing GTD?
Well, that was in 2003-4, so at least 15 years now.

How has GTD made a difference in your work and life?
I finally have a comprehensive approach to get all of the stuff coming at me processed, defined, and into a trusted system.  This allows me to be more creative doing my deep work.

What areas of GTD are you doing really well (or at least better than you used to)?
Processing all of my inboxes, maintaining my actions and projects lists are all things I feel I am doing very well.

What areas of GTD would you like to get even better at doing?
Finding a new approach to doing my Weekly Reviews.  I think I need to leave and go somewhere besides my office. I have not tried that, but I think that will significantly improve my Weekly Review process.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone just starting out with GTD?
I have studied productivity systems for over 30 years now.  GTD is the cornerstone of all that I do.  It takes time to learn, but it WILL change your life.  But you also have to personalize it to fit your personality and style.  One size does not fit all, but the principles behind the GTD process really do!  Find a mentor who can work with you.  I am always willing to help others.



Join the Conversation


  1. David, thanks for sharing your story. I am in healthcare as well – Director of Quality Management at a small hospital- and can’t seem to get beyond the whirlwind of day-to-day craziness. I’ll keep trying… If you can do it, I can too. I appreciate the inspiration.

  2. Hi David
    Thanks for sharing. I agree in all you have said and especially the weekly review. I like your thought process of going somewhere else. I myself have created a GTD Weekly review checklist. I use this to drive myself through the process.


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