Knowing what to do when the game changes

I believe knowing what to do is as important as knowing how to do it when it comes to effectiveness.

David Allen, of GTD fame, often uses the image of the martial artist when speaking of the ideal state of mind and of preparation for tackling the world of work. I’ve never practiced any form of martial arts (although I do have a black belt in Lean Six Sigma – how wonderfully geeky of me!) but yet I get exactly what he’s talking about.

It’s about knowing what moves make sense in response to a particular challenge and it’s about having the presence of mind to respond appropriately.

For example, today I have a number of meetings arranged and got a late message this morning asking for one to be deferred. On another day, I might have been pissed off about this and focused on the likely waste of time that the postponement had caused. I may even have jumped onto Twitter and asked if anyone was up for a cuppa.

But, today, I was fine with it. That’s because I am clear on exactly what I need to be doing for the next few days work-wise and I had all the necessary tools with me (phone, laptop, notes, book etc.). It was just a fast, seamless change of focus and no real loss of time or energy.

So next time a change of plan causes you to have either a negative reaction or derails your productivity, stop and think about it. It probably means that you have work to do on figuring out what is the best use of your time and ensuring that you have the capability to act on it at a moment’s notice.

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