I think that’s obvious. And I hope I’m aware of it all the time. For instance, I might well ram OmniFocus down your throat but I doubt there’s a time I’ve actually recommended it that I didn’t also give you the important reasons why you might not want it. (OmniFocus is astonishingly great and transforming but it doesn’t run on Windows or Android so if you do, it’s no use to you. Also, I think it’s more than worth the money but it does cost more than most so that is a factor.)
Similarly, I might ram iOS and Apple down your throat but I fully accept that there are reasons to like using Windows, even if I’ve yet to discover any.
But I’m worrying about this today because I’m listening to David Allen on Mac Power Users. That’s an interesting mix. Allen is a very clever guy whose Getting Things Done book has helped me greatly – I give him a lot of credit in my Blank Screen workshops and where I don’t promote my own books from the stage in those, I do promote his. Yet every time I listen to him, I feel he doesn’t get it for writers and creatives.
He’s very clear and strident and adamant about the thinking behind getting things done, which I think is fine, but he’s pretty clear and strident and adamant about the specific tools he uses. And where.
For some years I’ve wondered why he doesn’t update his book to reflect how much the world has moved on. Getting Things Done presumes, for instance, that you can only make business calls from your office and that you can only get emails from there or your home, not from your phone on the way. It is what it is, it was written back in the Victorian era of around 2001. And I was very alert to this MPU interview where he mentions that he is finally doing a new version.
It’s just that the more I heard, the more I suspect it’ll be pretty much the same thing with perhaps the odd nod to newer technology. I should and I will have to wait until early next year when it comes out, but amongst all the really excellent and clever ideas he mentioned on MPU, it was still that he is clear and strident and adamant. Maybe you can now email on your phone or your iPad as you go between work and home, but you shouldn’t.
He doesn’t. He won’t. He likes to do this stuff at his desk and that’s where he’ll do it. Fine. Whatever. But that’s not the mark of someone who’s grasped how much things have changed.
I was waiting for MPU’s David Sparks and Katie Floyd to press him on technology and they did. Floyd mentioned how there hadn’t been all this stuff back when Allen wrote the book and he disagreed. Said that there had been the Palm Pilot then and nothing has ever come close to how great that was.
Also, he writes his tasks down on paper he keeps in his wallet and says if you use electronic methods, well, good luck. Specifically, you’re going to end up with tasks in many places – which is precisely what I think of people who use scraps of paper.
He does use technology, though: he has a To Do manager built for him on top of Lotus Notes. I had to Google whether Lotus Notes still exists and, actually, no, not so much. It’s long been IBM Notes and I can’t tell if it’s radically improved from when I had to use it back in the 1990s, but even Allen says nobody’s going to go out and buy [Lotus] Notes to run a To Do manager.
He does swap back and forth between that and OmniFocus. And the reason he goes back to Notes is that someone in his company is developing their To Do app. I can easily, readily see that having a tool custom built is going to be good, just not on Notes.
I’m wrong to rant, I feel. The new version of the book may change my mind, it may address everything I feel needs translation and conversion in the original. But yet again during an interview with him, I went from oooooh to oh.
But I’m going to watch how clear and strident and adamant I get when I’m talking to you about how I work and how you could.
In the meantime, have a listen to this smart man on Mac Power Users.