Two guys named Dave have had life-changing impact on me, and I recently noticed several similarities in their approaches to life.
David Allen is the Guru of GTD (or Getting Things Done), and reading his book by that name eight years ago made a huge difference in my approach to dealing with the potentially bewildering blizzard of “stuff” that knowledge workers must manage just to stay afloat. Much of the early content in this blog (in the pre-SMUG days) was about David Allen’s practical tips, and I have no doubt that the psychic space he helped me create gave me the breathing room so I could approach the opportunities presented by the social media revolution with creativity instead of just being overwhelmed.
Dave Ramsey, about whom I have written here , helped to give our family some financial breathing space with his old-fashioned teaching about budgets, avoiding debt and getting control of spending. You may have heard him on the radio (which is where I first encountered him), and he’s also written a best-seller called The Total Money Makeover.
Here are some of the similarities I’ve noted between the two Daves.
Start small and win little victories. With Dave Ramsey it’s his Baby Steps, creating a mini-emergency fund so the next unexpected bill doesn’t force you to get out the plastic, and using the debt snowball to build momentum. With David Allen it’s getting the email inbox to empty.
Follow some simple rules that put you ahead of 95 percent of the world. David Allen has the two-minute rule: if the needed action to get any “stuff” you’re reviewing from its current state to the desired state is less than two minutes, do it right away instead of putting it on a list for later follow-up. With Dave Ramsey it’s developing a family budget and using an envelope system for spending in various categories. Both Daves say those little things help create momentum that provides motivation to persevere.
Review Progress Periodically. David Allen says the Weekly Review is the key to winning at the game of work and the business of life. Dave Ramsey’s plan calls for a monthly assessment of how actual spending aligned with the plan…and with income.
Scream with Delight Upon Reaching Milestones. Dave Ramsey has his Debt-Free Fridays, in which his listeners who have paid off the last of their debts (or everything but their house mortgages) call to tell their story and then scream into the phone: “WE’RE DEBT FREEEEEEEE!!!!” at which time Ramsey plays Mel Gibson’s “FREEEEDOMMMMM!!!!” shout from Braveheart. David Allen doesn’t have a public ceremony like that, but GTDers feel similar euphoria when they get their email inboxes to zero.
Don’t let failures and imperfections discourage you from the journey. It’s been several years since I first encountered the two Daves, and I would have expected more progress and consistency than I’ve achieved. But even imperfect application has enabled me to accomplish much more than I otherwise would have. And just this morning, I had the opportunity to scream…
“MY INBOX IS EMPTYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!”
Are you familiar with the two Daves? How have they helped you?