Is Your Mind Like Water – Free to Respond?

Is your attention being grabbed? Do you have thoughts or tasks pop up that immediately put you into panic or a higher stress state because you forgot about something? When your attention is being grabbed you are not in a free place where you can do what you want to do or what is important. We all have moments like this where we are trying to remember things in our mind vs. have a trusted system in place where we can let go of tasks.

I am getting ready to teach a Getting Things Done (GTD) course for Executive Forums in October so I am listening to the latest version of David Allen’s book Getting Things Done. I read his first book and used the Secret Weapon concepts to organize my priorities which has been working well for me for a few years. I am surprised however by the reminders that I potentially forgot or just didn’t absorb on round 1.

One of the big concepts was having a “Mind Like Water” which refers to a mental and emotional state in which your head is clear and you are able to create and respond freely without distraction and split focus. Here is an example.

  • Situation: Imagine throwing a pebble into a still pond.
  • Question: How does the water respond?
  • Answer: Totally appropriately to the force and mass of the input; then it returns to calm.
  • Comment: It doesn’t overreact or underreact.

Another big take away for me was – “Anything that causes you to overreact or underreact can control you, and often does. Responding inappropriately to your email, your staff, your projects, your unread magazines, your thoughts about what you need to do, your children, or your boss will lead to less effective results than you’d like. Most people give either more or less attention to things than they deserve, simply because they don’t operate with a “mind like water.”

Your mind is a great place for innovation and ideas, but a terrible place to manage them. What are you doing about managing your ideas, projects, priorities and tasks so you are living on purpose and accomplishing what you want to do? I recommend reading the book, adopting the habits David Allen recommends and start putting some trusted systems in place for yourself.

Action Items

Good Luck and see if you can get your mind to be a little more like water…