Ep 32: Productivity for Teenagers
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David Allen the author of “Getting Things Done”, one of the best-selling business books of all time, explains how to get teens excited and motivated about their goals and productive as they pursue those goals. If you have a “lazy” teenager, you won’t want to miss this one.
Full Show Notes
There are a LOT of things for teenagers to be distracted by these days. And that’s not a bad thing, as this week’s guest, David Allen, was quick to point out. It’s good because it means teens have a lot of options to choose from. But it also means productivity for teenagers is as important as ever–maybe more important.
David Allen is the author of the classic productivity book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, one of the best selling business books of all time, and a productivity consultant to some of the biggest companies on the planet.
His new book, Getting Things Done for Teens: Take Control of Your Life in a Distracting World, is part of David’s top secret plan to change the world by getting his powerful productivity methods to the next generation. To write it, he teamed up with two terrific co-authors and a few graphic designers who created cartoon characters for the book.
So David knows a lot about productivity for teenagers.
In this episode, he talks a lot about how to motivate teens and get them engaged. This isn’t about magically getting your teen excited to do something they hate, it’s about how to help them figure out what they really want to be doing.
One place to look, David says, is at what your teenager is already doing. Where are they spending their time? If you engage them about these behaviors there is likely some kind of motivation there.
Once teens are sufficiently motivated you can invite them to set goals and write them down. Then, if your teenager wants, you can check in with them about their progress on the goals in some amount of time, maybe a few months.
Then give your teen space.
One secret of productivity for teenagers is that they need space to attempt the goals on their own before you offer help.
When you check in with your teen on how their goals are progressing you can help them reflect on their progress so far and can then start to talk to them about skills that could help them be more productive in meeting their goals during the next 3 months.
How to do this, exactly, is a bit complicated but David Allen makes it seem easy with his clear, no nonsense approach in this episode, Productivity for Teenagers.
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Word-for-word examples of WHAT to say to your teen
1. If your teen won’t talk about what they want to do in life, just look at what they’re already doing:
“Why are you doing that? What turns you on about that? What if you could do that full time? What if you could do that your whole life and you didn’t have to do anything else and you had a lot of money to be able to go play and do whatever else you want to do? How cool would that be? And how do you think you’re going to get there? Here’s some options.”
2. Help your teenager find their purpose:
3. Get your teen motivated by pointing out the volume of possibilities:
4. Help your teen set some goals:
5. Check in with your teen on their goals:
Step-by-step guides for applying the ideas from this interview
1. Crystallize Your Teen’s Goals for the Next Year:
One of the most helpful things parents can do, David told me, is to help teens get their goals out of their heads. What does your teen want to accomplish in the next year? And when do they want you to check in with them about each goal? Have a talk with your teenager and ask them what they want to do in the next year. Get them focused on a few main goals. Then ask when they want you to check with them on each of their goals. Schedule these check-ins into your phone calendar with reminders so you won’t forget.
About David Allen
According to Wikipedia, David is a productivity consultant best known for creating the time management method “Getting Things Done”.
David has written four books. His first book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, is one of the best selling business books of all time. It describes his world-famous productivity program, “GTD”. His second book, Ready for Anything: 52 Productivity Principles for Work and Life, is a collection of newsletter articles he has written. His third book, Making It All Work: Winning at the Game of Work and Business of Life, is a follow-up to his first book.
His fourth book, Getting Things Done for Teens: Take Control of Your Life in a Distracting World, is part of David’s top secret plan to change the world by getting his powerful productivity methods to the next generation.
David started developing his approach in the 1980s when he was awarded a contract to design a program for executives and managers at Lockheed.
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 lives in Amsterdam in the Netherlands.