I really liked this piece in the Getting Things Done newsletter yesterday regarding putting the GTD principles into practice. A lot of it really flows into training yourself to do any number of things, beyond just getting organized and ‘getting things done’.
The comment being made in this Top 10 list is ‘that work (and life) IS a martial art – not just a reflection of it.’ Interesting.
1. There are no beginner’s moves.
You begin in karate learning moves
that you will practice as a third-degree black belt. A round-house kick or
knife-hand block is the same, whether you are just learning it or you are a
sensei. Being responsible for your internal commitments, deciding what next
physical action is required on something you want to do or change, clarifying
your intention and vision – those are true from beginning to end, no matter how
mature you are in life or its process. There’s no elementary way to process your
in-basket to zero.
2. It feels counter-intuitive and unnatural when you
Trying to stand and move gracefully in a karate “front stance”
feels initialy like one of the more unnatural things the body has ever
attempted. It’s almost as weird as writing everything down that you commit to do
something about, as it occurs to you. Or spending valuable time cleaning up
non-critical open loops on the front end. Weird science.
3. Once you’re
used to it, it is the most natural way to move.
Once you master the
basic karate stances, your natural walk takes on a gracefulness you wonder why
you ever did without. Once you integrate outcome- and next-action thinking into
your life, not doing it seems both awkward and backward.
4. It handles
basic movement and resource allocation masterfully.
In order to be able
to break bricks with your hand and manifest a pinpoint of power in an instant,
you learn to move the whole body with extreme efficiency. And once you’ve
mastered the five phases of workflow, you don’t complain about your volume of
e-mail nor mind putting everything on hold to focus on the surprise that just
5. It supports a peaceful and spontaneous way to move through
the world, with minimal effort.
Once you’ve mastered the fighting arts,
engaging in conflict per se becomes unnecessary and hard edges, rules, and
structured defenses are much less required. With GTD maturity, a relaxed
intuitive focus about what to do, when – unhindered by preconceptions and
constraints – becomes the standard rhythm. Easy becomes the way to do hard
6. We don’t seem to be born knowing or doing it. (Or if we are,
we unlearn it very fast.)
Nobody I’ve met seemed to grow up naturally
efficient in how they move and generate speed and power. How many of you, in
your first job, automatically asked, “What are we trying to accomplish here?” or
“What’s the next action? (And who’s doing it?)”
7. It can be learned.
Though we don’t seem to naturally inherit high performance motion, it
can be learned. Everyone can certainly get better at it, if they can move at
all. Everyone can learn how to better capture, decide about, organize, and
review the results of their thinking.
8. It can be taught.
watched people learn both karate and GTD and demonstrate that they “get” it.
9. It can be practiced.
The more you rehearse karate and GTD
moves, the smoother, faster, and more elegant you become at the art.
There is no end to how good you can be at it.
The more I learned about
both arts, the more I realized I didn’t know, and how much more there was to
experience, learn, express, and do.
It’s hard to remember sometimes that things worth doing (or learning how to do) are pretty damn T.O.U.G.H. Keep up the good fight.