In Conversation with Steve Leveen - General Comments…


I really enjoyed the Steve Leveen conversation. At first when I listen as was no impress at all, in fact I though that this was my least favorite one so far. A second listen to the Conversation instead got my attention in many aspects, this been one of them and hopefully we can open for discussion.

One LAPTOP! It is really nice. I have only one laptop since a couple of years ago, my personal, my work, my life is in there, easy to carry easy to access…

I also use a Treo 650, great device for contacts, and the portability of my GTD… I do not use it for email, because I am not willing to check email twice. Same reason I do not use the webmail email access of Work.

I love the one laptop concept. In case some are wondering, my employer did not like the idea at the beginning, so we make the deal that he will allow to connect my personal computer at work.

The discussion about the @Office Category was interesting, in fact I use mine in general and includes Work related stuff that I need to do when I am in working mode. I spend in the road 2-4 days a week every other week, and having this category for when I get in working mode its great. I can access my office by phone or messenger all the time, so there is no distinction.

The other thing that hit me was the importance of the Inbox in the bag (I have it too :D) and the nice thing of drop a book, I do that, but have always feel guilty, it is nice to hear that it is ok to do it.

What else people got out of this conversation?


Me too!

I am a relatively new GTDer and thoroughly enjoyed hearing Steve Leveen talk about a range of aspects of his life and business. No doubt, I shall be buying something from Levenger before too long!

The "one laptop" point is, I guess, about having access to the same information at all times. I also have a laptop, but also use other computers. Using the same computer is great, if you can carry it everywhere. Another technique is to carry information on a "data stick" (USB memory device) or even a hard disk. However, in the end, the internet is surely where we would like to store this information.

There is also so much more to say about the conversation!


The whole 'carry your life on a USB stick' has never appealed (mainly because I'd probably lose it).

I can recommend FolderShare (free from Microsoft) - I have 3 PCs (well, 2 PCs and a Tablet) - I set up Foldershare to synchronise one folder across 3 machines - and then anything I save in the folder on one machine appears on the other two.

The URL is (and no, I don't work for Microsoft).




Thanks Nick

. . . for the link to FolderShare. This is great, I have set it up on both my PC and laptop and can now keep my lists current between computers. Wow.

I've also set up a folder with the photos I took from my neice's recent Christening so that all insterested parties can take a peek and print any that they like. Much quicker than creating CD's for everyone.

Thanks again.



Nick Lascelles

I really enjoyed the Steve Leveen interview, very interesting insight into the development of the business through pursuing a very specialised niche, and his integration of home and work. As someone who has just closed the office in town and moved back home, the discussion on home offices was reassuring. I too use just a lap top as I shuttle between office and various parts of the country, as well as a Treo 650 for all those times when I don't have time or inclination to boot up the computer when on the road.


I found this conversation really useful. I love the idea of any hour of sleep before midnight counts for 2. I have found that i work best first thing in the morning and my work between 6am and 8am is worth 4 hours during the day!


torialouise said:
I found this conversation really useful. I love the idea of any hour of sleep before midnight counts for 2. I have found that i work best first thing in the morning and my work between 6am and 8am is worth 4 hours during the day!

I love that too. Since then I have been trying to hit the bed at 10, with some sucess, and I am getting to the office earlier. Now I work 10 hours before lunch... (if they ount double...)


Does anyone remember how Steve used his paper lists? Were they Next Actions Lists or did he keep those on his PDA? What about his use of calendar? Paper, too?


Subtle and informative

I thought there was a subtle goldmine of personal insights and winning habits. To me it was a revelation that it is not about perfecting executing GTD tools and methods. It’s about applying the tricks to my world to keep me in a state of productive doing, moment by moment.

Steve’s points on

Carving uninterrupted think/do time
Blocking noise
Really listening
Working 7 days a week and maintain a balanced life
Exercising daily

is common wisdom that is uncommon in practice.

I use a laptop for both home and work and for the most part ignore my Blackberry. I prefer to have the full functionality of Outlook as I read email so that I can execute the OHIO only-handle-it-once rule to my 100+ emails a day.


Leveen doesn't use contexts, and neither do I

Mr. Leveen mentioned briefly that contexts isn't a really meaningful determinant for him because whether he is in his home office or office office, he has a telephone, computer, etc. available to him. My experience has been similar. I just don't have much of the "weird time" that David Allen speaks and writes about. There were times when I did; when I had to travel a great deal, for example, and had a lot of hang time in airports, etc. Thankfully, those days are long gone.

Now, as the master of my own domain, what I have are a few to several large projects that I assign to myself each quarter and I usually find it more fruitful to think in terms of project-related actions than context-related actions.

It wouldn't be true to say that I never find it useful to categorize actions based on context. I can quickly categorize actions by project (if appropriate), by context (always) and sometimes by intention (i.e. assign it to a particular day or week) and with one or two key strokes can see tasks filtered by whichever category is useful and appropriate at the time (and I can do this with my Palm when away from the office).


And the book recommendations...

I bought a couple of books that Steve Leveen recommended: Younger Next Year (for women) and The E-Myth Revisited. Just those nuggets were great! The first book finally got me started exercising every day. The second is helping me partner with my husband in his 1.5-year-old small business.


On Not Finishing Books

The most radical bit of advice I heard in the excellent interview with Steve Leveen was the idea of NOT finishing a book that has not completely caught my attention. Somewhere in my schooling or family upbringing, "finish every book" was implanted right next to "clean your plate." I'm not sure I will really be able to break this habit, but I'm going to try!


at least read the first paragraph about John Adams exhibit

I just finished reading "The American Scholar," an essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson. The idea of being "well read" seems to me to be exactly the same as what Steve Leveen says. I'm going to get his book on reading. Recently I have been reading so many books, so many things that catch my interest. I have thousands of books. I have a great, great library and it is one of my most satisfying achievements to have gathered so many wonderful books together. I recently went to the Boston Public Library John Adams library exhibit. His entire library is on display there, in one massive semicircular wall. Selected books have been presented in cases, sometimes opened to pages where he made extensive notes. That was extremely inspirational as well. I recommend anyone coming to Boston up to March 2007 to see that exhibit, if reading or serious thinking has anything to do with their life at all.

The idea of working all the time - I am working all the time too, but it's often a misery. I had a talk with my graduate school advisor yesterday. She said if what you're doing feeds you, then you become better in all aspects of your life, more able to attend to all aspects. I feel like the exact opposite is happening to me. My employee status drains me - it has been a huge struggle for me to be productive because of how a seemingly arbitrary decision by the vice president at another company has affected me. I don't want to write all the details, they aren't really relevant, though I will if anyone wants to understand better. Earlier this year, I made it a GTD project to improve my status, but at some point the only NA remaining was to make it my managers' problem. I did so, they did what they could and got some promises, but four months have passed since then, and nothing happened.

Not sure this is the place to write about this, but somehow after hearing the interview, maybe bolstered by the talk I had with my advisor, I realize that no matter how much I apply GTD to something, if it's unsatisfying at its core, it doesn't then become satisfying. It may get done, but it's a hollow achievement, and meanwhile less gets done in other areas of my life because of the sheer effort required to move unsatisfying tasks forward. I give too much of myself to be relegated to work in isolation on a task that's fundamentally team oriented, with the rest of my team having been accepted on the project formally. I get no external reward or recognition except for the paycheck, which I do not need. So my plan now (not since listening to the tape, LOL, I have had this plan for a while) is to finish my current project and then quit my job, though I haven't changed my goals and mission statement in my work GTD system to reflect that. Maybe that will be my project for today.



cris said:
Earlier this year, I made it a GTD project to improve my status, but at some point the only NA remaining was to make it my managers' problem. I did so, they did what they could and got some promises, but four months have passed since then, and nothing happened.

It might seem bizarre, but being a Supply Chain Management major, this reminded me of Eli Goldratt's book The Goal (a book about the "Theory of Constraints"). In the book, Alex goes through the factory processes finding bottlenecks to efficiency and "fixes them" in various ways -- only to find that once you have eliminated all of your bottlenecks, the bottleneck moves outside of your factory (i.e., now the bottleneck is demand or something).

Anyway that's a little off topic. I really enjoyed the interview with Steve, and, since this was my first CD I'd received since "getting Connected," I thought that was really cool too! I don't listen to podcasts and have a hard time making time for the audio sections of this site. But with the CD I just popped it in and listened while driving to school/work. Now I plan to go back and burn the other audio casts to CD so I can listen to them during "down time" in the car. I'm also probably going to be buying some Levenger goodies soon (although, again from the student perspective, damn are those some expensive goodies).



Steve Leveen's Interview - Tremendous value

I just listened to the Steve Leveen Interview and I thoroughly enjoyed it. "Begin before your ready" resonated with me. I'm a young businessman, trying to make my mark in a sales career and eventually as an executive. I have, at times, used my age as a crutch and always thought back to "when I get to point X, or age X, then I will really be successful." This is such a valid statement. It doesn't matter how old you are, or where you are in life. Take steps forward, if you can concentrate on that everyday, that's a big thing. I'm an avid reader of business books. I read many at a time - my wife thinks I'm crazy and doesn't understand how I can actually comprehend and keep everything together. I firmly believe that a lot of what you read is learned and kept in your subconcious. For example, I'm reading John Maxwell's "25 Ways to Win with People." - as well as a few other books. Will I remember vividly all 25 ways? Of course not. I do, however, feel strongly that little points (i.e. Letting people know you need them) stick with you and become part of your "core" system.

I love Steve's idea of building a library and not feeling guilty if you haven't read books in your bookcase. David mentioned a sense of relief in reading that and it's so true. I look forward to building my collection.

It's amazing what the Connect membership brings to the table. I learn more and more everytime I listen. Thanks for the great content!