GTD Cafe: David Allen & Bruce Lee

Let's face it- deep down we all like a good martial arts movie.  Good guys take on 10-12 bad guys who stand around in a circle and wait to jump right into the mix.  Punches are thrown, powerful kicks send the attackers flying and we keep watching and watching.  It's no wonder that David Allen's martial arts references strike a cord with many readers. 

The great Bruce Lee once said "Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be
    assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way round or
    through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose
    themselves."  It's no wonder that Lee became an icon of the martial arts, inspiring millions to sign up for classes in Kung Fu and Karate, just to name a few.

What Lee and David Allen had in common was an uncanny ability to adapt to their surroundings.  For Lee, it was through the martial arts.  For Allen, it's a "work thing".  To the ability that I can respond (not react) to the interruptions in my day without losing my focus, I achieve what Allen calls a "mind like water".  Here are some practical apps:

  • Start the day with a list: when you know what needs to be done, it's easier to avoid sidetracking events during the day.

  • Start the day with focus: asking, 'what absolutely needs to get done today?' is a crucial question.

  • Start the day with drive: let's face it, we feel better when we are productive so why not aim for the 5 o'clock feel goods and get stuff done in a timely fashion?

  • Start the day with a flexible attitude: things may not turn out exactly as we would like so that famous saying comes in handy, "God grant me the
              serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference."

To be productive is to prepare, adapt, focus, respond, return and do again.  If we do this, we will gradually get "into the zone" and achieve, with more frequency, a mind like water.  As Bruce Lee said, "The more complicated and restricted the
    method, the less the opportunity for expression of one's original sense of