Hold on Leo … I Know You Want to become the "Next" David, But You Can't Do It This Way …

I generally like what Leo at Zen Habits has to say, but I think he’s flipped a bit with calling David Allen’s GTD setup “complicated”. He’s taken the list of 8 things that David uses to get things done, and says that it’s “complicated” in comparison with his 4 things.

Three points:

  • David travels a lot … thus a briefcase (#6), plastic travel folders (#7), and a cell phone (#3) are critical. Leo obviously doesn’t travel all that much, so such things are not needed. That single statement pretty much nullifies what Leo wrote.
  • Well duh!, all of Leo’s points at the end about “simplifying your system and tools” look like they’ve been lifted from the Getting Things Done book or one of David’s seminars. David says all that … what exactly is Leo contributing here?
  • David’s got a business to run … with many people and projects. Thus … have more to do, have more to organize. So he’s got more stuff by implication. What’s the big deal.

Net-net: the beauty of the GTD system is its tool-independence … you take the key ideas that you find helpful to your work and apply them with whatever tools and tooling makes you feel good and productive, and for whatever lifestyle or business-style you have. For David, it’s 8 things. For Leo, it’s 4. I encourage Leo that if he wants to make a contribution to the theory and practice of GTD, that he focuses on areas of deep contribution (eg, effective use of GTD within a team situation), not surface-level things that are quickly dismissed.

0 thoughts on “Hold on Leo … I Know You Want to become the "Next" David, But You Can't Do It This Way …

  1. I completely agree with you.
    I have a great respect for Leo and I am always amazed to see how much he writes on Zenhabits and now at a number of other blogs.
    It must be very hard to find something of substance to say virtually every day on productivity.
    The logics of building traffic and producing meaningful high quality content must also sometimes be hard to reconcile.
    In any case, best of luck to Leo.

  2. –This is not an attack on Leo, just some thoughts on “Professional Blogging” —
    By his own admission Leo is trying to become a professional blogger and I’m sure this colours his approach. There seems to be a need to post on a very frequent basis – I assume this is the way you generate site hits and revenue etc, but sometimes I feel these posts are very superficial. I’m sure Leo could contribute on a more deep level if he actually slowed down his posting rate and explored things in more depth in his own mind before cranking out another post. The post you are commenting on certainly seems an example of this rather poorly thought out posting. I’ve certainly tired of the format – I’d unsubscribed weeks ago and only came to the post via your site.I hope Leo changes his approach to a more considered one – quality not quantitiy will deliver in the long term.

  3. I think you are missing the Leo’s point. Some people try to mimic David Allen’s GTD implementation despite the fact that they have much simpler life. And Leo wants to show them that there can be a simpler GTD implementation.

  4. I think Leo’s comment about GTD being complicated also has to do with the fact that you’re forced to change many habits at once. That’s overwhelming, and complicates full GTD adoption – been there, done that.
    I’m a bit surprised at your negative tone. There are hundreds of ‘runs’ at GTD out there, many aren’t nearly as complimentary as Leo’s. David has succeeded in publishing his method, and Leo has struck a successful chord with his. If anything it’s created more awareness of the category of “GTD,” not just David’s original brand of it.
    To each his own, life’s what you make it and Leo’s is simpler. And not for everyone. He’ll be the first to admit that.

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