I don’t seem to get to that wonderful state by working harder and faster


“Folks, can we hear it for sloth, indolence, and procrastination?!” That’s how I have started many of my seminars over the years. And it always gets thunderous applause and raucous cheers. I think it hits a nerve.

I’ve been working on both (self-forgiveness and sense of humor) for decades now, and still find it quite challenging at times. But you know, when I’m in a loving, whole, and healthy state of mind about myself and about life, everything’s cool. Where I am, doing what I’m doing, is exactly where I need to be and what I need to do. God’s on her throne, the mail is coming, my dog loves me, and tomorrow is just fine right where it is, not showing up until then.

And I don’t seem to get to that wonderful state of mind by working harder and faster. Sometimes it helps, but more often it just perpetuates the angst.

I get there by letting go, softening my grip, getting quiet. That’s when I can get a peek between the seconds, and in the particularly delicious moments experience the grandeur of just being. That doesn’t happen by working harder or smarter. It doesn’t happen by working at all. It just happens. I’m not my work. I’m not even my life. I do work, and I have a life…

But there is a skill, an awareness, a knowing about letting it happen, recognizing the value of those moments, and loosening up the stranglehold we often put on too many things that don’t deserve the seriousness. Then those things that just happen, happen more often.

You can’t know sloth, indolence and procrastination without having a reference point for the opposites of those. It’s just the polarities of human experience. And if you actually did get it all done, on time, time would be out of a job….

Lighten up. We’re all in this together. You’re fine.

~ David Allen, Productive Living: Getting Things Done. Getting More Out of Life.

David Allen, 67,  is an author, consultant, international lecturer, founder and chairman of the David Allen Company. He is widely recognized as the world’s leading authority on personal and organizational productivity. His thirty years of pioneering research, coaching and education of some of the world’s highest-performing professionals, corporations and institutions, has earned him Forbes’ recognition as one of the top five executive coaches in the United States. He was also named one of the “Top 100 thought leaders” by Leadership Magazine.  Fast Company hailed David Allen “One of the world’s most influential thinkers” in the arena of personal productivity, for his outstanding programs and writing on time and stress management, the power of aligned focus and vision, and his ground-breaking methodologies in management and executive peak performance.  Time Magazine labeled his first book, Getting Things Done as “the defining self-help business book of its time.” David Allen is the author of three books: The international bestseller, Getting Things Done: the Art of Stress-Free ProductivityReady For Anything, and Making It All Work: Winning at the Game of Work and Business of LifeGetting Things Done has been a perennial business bestseller since it’s publication in 2001, and is now published in 28 languages. (Source: Davidco.com)

Allen grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana where he acted and won a state championship in debate. His career path has included jobs as a magician, waiter, karate teacher, landscaper, vitamin distributor, glass-blowing lathe operator, travel agent, gas station manager, U-Haul dealer, moped salesman, restaurant cook, personal growth trainer, manager of a lawn service company, and manager of a travel agency. He is an ordained minister with the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness.[ He claims to have had 35 professions before age 35.  (Source: Wiki)

Credits: (1) David Allen’s Productive Living Newsletter (8/13/2013).  (2) Bio: Davidco.com & Wiki. (3) David Allen Portrait

Related Posts:


  1. Take work seriously, but take yourself lightly..and then some.


  2. Reblogged this on Time – My Virtuality.


  3. Still learning and curious about “HOW” does it just happen?…


  4. “I get there by letting to, softening my grip, getting quiet.” Increasingly difficult to do in this 24/7/365 world, but oh so delicious. There’s so much wisdom here. I’m going to read this several times. I’ve been indulging myself in”the grandeur of just being” these past few days and it feels good…those seemingly innocent “spaces in between” can be remarkably rewarding. Wishing everyone a peaceful, easy day….


    • Yes, I read it several times since he posted it mid month. Kept coming back to it. Amazing given this man’s start (35 jobs in 35 years), how grounded he has landed on this topic. There’s hope for all of us.


  5. Dennis Palumbo is a shrink-turned-writer, and he gave a fantastic talk about how we tend to overwork ourselves, filled with anxiety and striving. He ended with this great thought: “Just remember: you are enough.” I’ve always felt gratitude for that simple but powerful reminder. http://dennispalumbo.com/


  6. a time to every season. each its own.


  7. Reblogged this on Todd Lohenry and commented:
    I have been a huge fan of David Allen for well over a decade; his work influences everything I do in my life and business practice. I actually had the chance to interview David 7-8 years ago; the interview is posted here as part of a 12 part series I did on ‘Getting Things Done’ on the Internet; http://e1evation.com/2012/09/30/david-allen-interview/. You, David, might especially appreciate this post on gtd in gmail; http://e1evation.com/2012/10/05/getting-things-done-gtd-in-email/


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