Getting Things Done Summit Summary

You can only imagine my excitement when I recently had the opportunity to spend two entire days with over 700 of the most productive people in the world!  Yes, I managed to get a ticket for the #GTDSummit (Getting Things Done) in Amsterdam, hosted by one of my productivity heroes, David Allen.  

I have been following David’s work for many years, after stumbling across his book, “Getting Things Done”, published in 2001.  I love his easy-to-implement system for well, getting things done! It’s all about capturing, clarifying, organising, reflecting and engaging.  Anyway, attending this Summit was something I was absolutely not going to miss!

With a wide variety of speakers like Dr Marshall Goldsmith, David Covey, Tony Crabbe, Theo Compernolle, Dan Pink and of course, David Allen himself (to name but a few), I knew I was in for some serious learning.  

I will be writing several blogs in the coming weeks to share what I have learned from individual speakers, but I thought I’d share a few quick notes from some of the speakers that had great impact on me.

Marshall Goldsmith

Marshall spoke about questions that make a difference.  Specifically, active questions that can be used to increase individual effectiveness and build engagement.  He suggested implementing a “daily question process” which we can all use to become more effective, engaged and ultimately, more happy.  

David Covey

David is the author of “Trap Tales – Outsmarting the 7 obstacles to success” and he shared his thoughts on how we can each become a “Trapologist”.  A trapologist is a person who detects and avoids workplace traps and helps others do the same.  He focused on the third trap – The Ego Trap.  The ego trap comes into play when we do not want to risk looking bad or we do not want to step outside our comfort zone.  

Mark Tigchelaar

Mark delivered a very interesting talk about how our brains work.  He spoke about the effect of internal and external interruptions (these two types are perceived as the same by the brain, by the way) and how to give our brains a bit of a rest.  

Tony Crabbe

Tony is the author of “Busy” and his talk focused around creating the space and time to think, reflect, dream and chat.  Intentionally NOT getting things done is also productive.  My favourite quote of Tony’s was: “In a digital world, the zeros are just as important as the ones”.

Theo Compernolle

Theo is the author of “Brainchains” and I absolutely loved his talk!  He spoke about batching tasks (something I strongly believe in) and the importance of taking a break between batches.  He explained the three-brain system (reflex brain, thinking brain and archiving brain) and how to effectively use it all to become more productive.  

Dan Pink

Dan spoke about the strategic value of clear space.  We need to deliberately create quiet space and time, in order to be creative.  My favourite quote from Dan was: “Breaks are part of our performance, not a deviation from our performance”.  

Charles Duhigg

Charles focused on our habits (because productivity is really all about habits).  According to him, habits have a structure – trigger, doing and reward. In order to create and maintain good habits, we need to reward ourselves each time we practice that good habit.  

Mark Wallace

Mark is the author of “GTD for Teens”.  His talk was about the power of externalising (writing things down) and creating the space to be creative.  

This really, is a very short summary of my learning during the 2-day GTDSummit. There was so much to absorb that trying to fit it all into one blog, is an impossible task.  

The one “theme” throughout the Summit was this:  We need to create space and time to be creative.  Without being able to be creative, we can’t move forward or evolve.