Notes from the David Allen and Tony Schwartz webinar, "Creating Energy, Space & Time - designing a life that really works"

Today I virtually attended a webinar offered by David Allen and Tony Schwartz titled "Creating Energy, Space & Time - designing a life that really works." It was quite good and got to a lot of the things I am personally working on - being more honest with my commitments, optimizing my work when I'm working on it, and really feeling like I'm doing the thing I am supposed to be doing at any given moment.
As usual, I took some furious notes and I wanted to share that work with you all. Do let me know if you have questions. I highly, highly, highly recommend David's book below, and plan to read Tony's soon.

Speakers: David Allen and Tony Schwartz (The Energy Project)

Getting Things Done - David Allen

American Society of Training and Development Conference - might be worth looking into this

Three big ideas:

1. you have an operating system, too

  • you don't need to work harder
  • you need to change how you are working
  • inverse relationship between the amount something is on your mind vs the amount of work you have done on it
  • To deal with something on your mind:
    • start with "What is the outcome?"
      • you need to clarify the meaning of the item
      • what is the project there?
      • what are we trying to accomplish?
      • what has to happen for you to mark the project complete?
    • Then, What is the next action?
      • what is literally the next thing you need to do to move this along
    • Then, Where do these go?
      • how are you keeping track of your next actions
  • most people are making decisions out of crisis
  • much different when making informed decisions at the right time and place
  • practiced a brain dump: what is on your mind? - take 30 seconds and list all of the things that are occupying your mind

2. maximizing is not optimizing

  • more and more isn't sustainable
  • we need to optimize our experience
  • How well are you managing your energy (capacity to do work)?
    • how much fuel do you have in your tank?
    • we don't focus on how you are taking care of yourself
    • Tony has developed an energy audit (see attached photo)
    • determine what score relates to what level of energy quantity
    • we're not designed to run like computers, on high all of the time, multitasking, assuming more value that you are creating/contributing - that is nonsense
    • renewal and recovery are critical components of high performance
    • optimizing means getting the most out of what you do
    • you need to renew energy so you can bring everything you have to the table
    • GTD says people using their psyche rather than their system is what drains energy from your tank

3. willpower is highly overrated

  • we vastly overestimate abilities of our conscious mind
  • will and discipline burn down quickly, and we only have one reservoir
  • we can't just waive our fists and say we are going to do it!
  • you actually have to land the change process in the reptilian mind, into the habitual part of the brain
  • you should not have to think about it
  • a habit (something you fall into it) vs a ritual (work over and over until you don't have to think about it)
  • you can create rituals if you understand the simple technology of building a ritual
  • you only have a certain equity of will - you will draw that down each time you resist or avoid something
  • why you are so wasted at the end of the day when you avoid making decisions about next actions
So what?
  • TS: You can't change what you don't notice
    • we have to start noticing the way our operating system works if we want to being to optimize it
  • DA: there is a systematic way to clear your mind
    • most people think their life is all the stuff in your head
    • there is a way to get to a clear mind - mind like water
    • it is the best mindstate to use when dealing with anything
    • there is a way to work your way there
  • TS: You are designed to make waves
    • false: the optimal behavior is the continual behavior
    • we are designed to spend energy and renew energy, not just spend all of the time
    • you will not be more productive that way
  • DA: the power of reflection
    • managing the forest instead of hugging the trees
    • we have to unhook from the weeds and step back
    • a weekly review is key
    • psychic space is essential
    • you have to get rid of distractions to the space
    • you have to build in the triggers and tricks to make sure you think about the right things when you need to think about
  • TS: what sticks is what you make automatic
    • we can't always be trying to change
    • the more you don't have to think about things the better it can be for you
  • DA: small things done consistently produce big results
    • it does not happen all of a sudden
    • investment over time can be very rewarding
    • works in a negative sense, too, so be careful
Now what?

  • people won't go through a miraculous transformation from listening to this
  • how do we go about starting at being better
  • we believe in our heart of hearts that we have something profound yet simple to offer folks
  • they are offering a conference to crowdsource these skills/principles
  • when two or more gather, many tend to show up
  • hold the world back, press the reset button
  • this is hard to happen during the day to day
  • even if you don't come, just use our books - you need to give yourself the space to apply new techniques
Miraval Conference
January 19-22

a combination of conference, spa experience, time to work and time to renew
first 20 registrations receive a 1/2 hour follow up coaching call with either Tony or David after the event
tuition: $5,995
early registration tuition: $4,995 (until Dec 20)
2-4 tuition per person $4,795
5+ tuition $4,595

arvind s. grover

I am a progressive educator, a podcaster (, a blogger, and dean of faculty of JK-11 school (building a high school) in New York City.