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Join David Allen on October 10

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  • Join David Allen on October 10

    I just got an e-mail with the above title from David Allen Co. I found it of particular interest for two reasons.

    First, "David will be using the popular mind mapping program, MindManager by Mindjet, to discuss the principles and practices of his Getting Things Done methodology. This webinar will be a great way to refresh your own understanding of GTD as David demonstrates how this mind mapping tool can be used to enhance your stress-free productivity."

    I keep reading on this forum and on David Allen Co. blogs how there is too much overhead and complexity involved in using multilevel outliner appications as the trusted GTD system. I wonder if this signals a change in that position. (This is not a criticism: GTD has evolved over time and I hope it continues to evolve. It's just a point of clarification. Their position appears to have changed.)

    Second, I was intrigued to read in this same e-mail that one of the benefits of mindmaps is that they are helpful in "externalizing" information. I believe that I am the only person on this forum to have used any form of the word "externalize" and it was in this 2004 post.

    After writing that post I stopped using the "externalize" formulation because it sounded too technical and off-putting. I think David's original formulation "get stuff out of your head," is a lot more accessible. So I was surprised to see this term being embraced in the David Allen Co. newsletter. I do wonder, however, if that word resonates with others who read it.

  • #2
    two interesting points--a quick thought on each:

    a) Perhaps it's simply a "product tie-in." I can imagine DA giving a dozen different presentations on "how PRODUCT X can be used to enhance your stress-free productivity" without really changing his own philosophy or preferences. It's still about workflow, and his own preference for implementing could still be the least complex one he can find. He's just demonstating GTD with the product for mutual benefit.

    b) Thanks for bumping this. I enjoy your posts and hadn't read this one. Even if you haven't used the word "externalization" since 2004, however, I would still associate this way of explicating GTD with you. I don't remember how you phrased it, but I'm sure I read something similar much more recently.


    • #3
      "externalize"- has another meaning

      Although you may have started using the word "externalize", and I can see why (and am hard pressed for a better word), and DA may or may not have picked it up from you, I think that it is not a great choice. In the mental health field the word "externalize" is used to describe a process of blaming and attributing actions and outcomes to factors outside of the actor's own motivations or behavior. When the process of externalizing is used too often to explain one's own behavior, it suggests that one is defensive, avoidant of responsibility in that area, ignorant of more complex reasons for behavior, and so on. So, the word may have negative connotations to some people. In regard to GTD processes, I feel that it is less confusing and more useful to use words like "chart", "model", "visually represent", tangible representation", "sketch", etc..