Notes + Livestream from the 2019 GTD (Getting Things Done) Summit in Amsterdam
In June this year I visited a major productivity summit. And a rare one.
With speakers ranging from a female NASA astronaut to a WIRED editor-at-large, from the founder of Coda to a US Air Force Major General - there were many compelling reasons to visit the GTD Summit.
But the most persuasive of them was the fact, that this was the first such event organised in 10 years and at the same time - it was the last one. David Allen, the person who created the method, was retiring and this was his final goodbye.
I was lucky enough to learn about it in time and to also live on the same continent where it was going to take place. So I booked my tickets and went. Below are some of the notes I made on productivity, best practices and inspiration.
But before that, for those who are not familiar with it - what is GTD? Here is a short summary from the GTD website:
In 2001 David Allen published the NY Times best selling book Getting Things Done, "The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. GTD®, or Getting Things Done, is recognised as the golden standard in management and personal productivity to help you achieve and maintain a calm, focused control of everything in your life. Since that time, GTD® has grown into a global productivity movement that's more than 2 million people strong, attracting some of the best, brightest, and busiest people on the planet.
Okay, with that out of the way, let’s get to the essence.
My notes from the 2019 GTD Summit
Being behind pushes people to work more. Being almost ready does the same. People can use that information when it comes to themselves and their teams.
Teams do little work at the beginning of a task. They start at the midpoint. You can influence that with changing deadlines.
Our cognitive power changes during the day. Be aware of it and work on the important things when your cognitive power is at its maximum.
There are no problems - just puzzles and challenges. When someone uses the word “problem“, people think “unsolvable“ or “hard to solve“. Change that perception.
Having an empty inbox gives you the opportunity to say to the people around you “How can I help you?“, instead of “Sorry, I’m way to busy to do it.“
Life is easy to talk, but difficult to do. The role of a coach is to remind you or make you do what you know you should be doing.
Ask not what they are going to do for you. Ask what you are going to do for the country / the company.
Passive questions lead to passive answers and putting the blame on the environment. “Did you do that - No, because....“ Active questions don’t allow that to happen. “Did I do my best to…“ You can’t blame it on someone else.
If you start to be distracted, increase the speed.
How many times is your brain interrupting you?
A break is a source of insight and creativity - it leads to 23% improvement in performance. Procrastination leads to 28% improvement in performance. And a chat before or during a meeting leads to 75% chance for a shorter meeting.
“Only one instrument fails, it can’t be that bad. Let’s just ignore it“, said a pilot before he crashed his plane.
Habits are proof of who we are.
“Innovation is creativity that ships.” - Steve Jobs
I’m very grateful to all the speakers who shared those insights with us. And this brings me to the next point…
Where can you re-watch the 2019 GTD Summit?
When I first started writing this post in June, I wanted to also somehow share the recordings of the sessions with you. So I contacted the organisers and asked if that is possible. At the time they said they would put them out, but not for free.
I am happy to see that they have changed their mind and have uploaded the first day of the GTD Summit recordings for free - more than 8 hours of talks on productivity and time management!
And with that I wish you a nice and productive day!