Monday, 28 September 2015

If You Don't Ask - You Don't Get!

I’m currently putting together the February article for my Business of Writing column in Writing Magazine and, because next year is a leap year and we’re getting a whole extra day in which to write, I’m looking at productivity techniques.

I’ve approached a selection of writers asking for their tips, but I also wanted to get a couple of quotes from a productivity expert. One of the best-known productivity experts is an American man called David Allen, who wrote the book: Getting Things Done. (He’s such an expert he’s often referred to as a ‘productivity guru’.) And he’s sold a few copies of that book too … nearly two million copies worldwide. His Getting Things Done technique is now a multi-million dollar business for him, and he’s recently updated his bestselling book (check out the new version at:

My immediate thought was: No, don’t even bother trying to get in touch with him. His company executives will filter out his emails, the chances of him responding are practically zero. It would be a waste of time.

But the more I thought about what I wanted to say in my article, the more I realised that a few quotes from him on a specific aspect of the subject matter would be beneficial. So, nothing ventured, nothing gained - I got in touch.

Twenty four hours later, I had a reply, with some useful quotes, and he’d also sent me the link to download the obligatory author photo, which I could forward to my editor. Brilliant! 

Which goes to show two things:

1. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. 
2. His Getting Things Done technique clearly works, because he had plenty of time in which to answer my questions ;-)

So next time you find a little voice inside your head telling you not to bother - tell it to shut up and just do it.

Good luck!


  1. I am absolutely with you on the 'if you don't ask you don't get' front. It's surprising what can be achieved with this attitude... and nothing can be lost.

  2. Great advice, Simon and I'm really looking forward to reading your article. Wishing you a very productive week.