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For more than 20 years, David Allen has been a management consultant and executive coach. Allen's first book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, published in 2001, became a National Bestseller. Allen has been called a personal productivity guru whose work has been featured in Fast Company, Fortune, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications.

Getting Things Done is divided into three parts. Part 1 provides an outline for getting control of your life through the five stages of mastering workflow: collection, processing, organizing, reviewing and doing. Part 2, which is well over half the book, repeats a lot of what is said in Part 1, but provides much more detail on the application of Allen's methodology. Part 3 explains why Allen's methods work and the benefits to be gained from using his approach.

The entire process, including inputs, processing/thinking, and outputs (actions and action lists), is conveniently summarized in a flowchart provided in the book. Allen's philosophy is that to be one's most productive self, one must be able to think clearly. In order to think clearly, one must have completely downloaded from one's short-term memory or RAM (like computer RAM) all the "open loops" -- unfulfilled commitments one has made to oneself. This frees the mind to do naturally what it does best -- think about things rather than of things.

We at Healthy Odds have dear friends, Bill and Lori Roeser, in Fresno California. Bill has shared a valuable life lesson with me related to reducing daily stress. It is the famous but simple life adage "Stop and Smell the Roses". The foundational principal of this adage is that in all the busyness and stress of everyday life, we need to stop and recognize that there is beauty and treasures all around us. We must make a decision to take quality time to "stop"....yes STOP!!! That is often hard to do...to stop the fast pace of life. The most valuable gifts in life are right before our eyes, our family and loved ones, friends, giving and receiving smiles, giving a word of encouragement , helping others and seeing the beauty of the world around us.

Bill is a CPA in Fresno and is launching new ventures in business mergers and acquisitions, capital fund management , as well as a broad range of support functions for his ever growing client base. To say that Bill is busy is an understatement, to which Lori will say, Amen and Amen!!

Like many of us it is real life, with real issues, that demand real time. In spite of all his busyness, Bill has found an outlet and balance for daily life through his landscape photography. Bill recently shared with me that "My landscape photography has allowed me to step away from the busyness of life and see God's creation and His glorious beauty through the eye of my camera. People often speak of finding an escape from life. My photography is not an escape but rather a discipline that helps me consider the simple things of life. It allows me to see the value in God's creation and most of all, it reminds me that I need to cherish each and every day, as a God given gift. It is often difficult but we have to strive to live each day to the fullest." Bill goes on to say "Is it is easy...NO, do I fail...YES, but developing ways to balance our lives is critical to lowering the level of stress and improving our overall health."

This link is a sample of the landscape photographs that Bill has shared with me. I hope that as you look at these pictures and ponder the beauty they represent, you will commit to "Stop and Smell the
Roses" in your life.

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