Passion Sundays

Build an ‘External Brain’ to Free your Mind

Productivity Guru David Allen reveals the Art of Stress-Free Productivity

If you are trying to find a perfect thing to do you will never do anything, passion is not one thing to commit to for the rest of your life.
David Allen stress free productivity is the world’s leading productivity guru and the creator of the Getting Things Done methodology: the Art of Stress-Free Productivity. In this episode he reveals best practice tips to Living passionately which requires creating internal space in your head and external space around you, that’s what is described as the “External Brain”
The processes to free your mind requires you to pay attention to what has your attention, and then ask what do you need to do to get that off your mind.
David outlines the GTD process as followed: capture things that have your attention, clarifying exactly what it means, parking results in a trusted place and stepping back and being able to see the larger picture on regular bases.
Don’t seek enlightened clarity before you take action, passion is not one thing to commit to for the rest of your life. Just look for the best thing available on your radar, or in his own words “ If you are trying to find a perfect thing to do you will never do any thing, clarity comes from engaging” so take action and watch this interview then share it and spread the love.
Live Passionately
Moustafa Hamwi

What keeps me focused, keeps me passionate, keeps me engaged in the most meaningful things but it’s tricky! You are right. You can slip out of it very easily and not know you’ve   slipped out of it.
Moustafa: Yeah! I think the passion burn out is a big syndrome that  alot of the passionate and especially those that have extra energy like me and that are extroverted with their energy end up revving a lot sometimes out of  passion and not gaining traction. So there’s energy going but without traction.
Allen: Exactly! Yeah that’s why determining where do I want to park that energy and you know people use the word discipline. I don’t like the word discipline. It’s too hard, too much work. It sounds like sweat to me. I like the word direction. You need to direct your focus. If you have high energy where are you directing that high energy. Often times even high energy can be directed internally through meditation and spiritual practices often times. Often people look like they are not doing anything but actually the universe is always on. The Universe never stops. So if I do meditative or contemplative practices, all I am doing is stopping the high engagement with one level and then highly engaging on another level. So I think it’s about how do I, where do I engage my attention and it could look like a lot of different things.
Moustafa: You’ve touched on a great point which is knowing what you want in the first place is the clarity of where your energy is being directed. So is that the first step of getting things done in a way. Getting clarity what you want in life!
Allen: Well! Come on! That always helps! But many times clarity only comes from engaging. You might have a sense of where you’re going. And lot of people they wanna make it perfect before they get going and if you are waiting to find the perfect thing to do you’ll never do anything. You need to get moving. So often times you’re getting moving at the same time as you keep course correcting. See I don’t think I have ever achieved a specific goal I’ve had in the past. I slide into new things because I think what’s the best thing I can do  right now and I just direct myself that way. Because I’m going in that direction and I get half way there and I go, wait a minute, that’s really what I wanted. Not that, that’s really a better thing. I never made it there but I wouldn’t have gotten to seen that if I hadn’t been moving towards that. So I kind of slid into my life in that way. So I think what you need to do is not try to go for perfection, just go let me find the best thing right now that I can see on my radar and not have to feel like I now have enlightened clarity about exactly what I want to do. That’s only going to show up when you get involved and get engaged and then course correcting, just be conscious.
Moustafa: I love that! So it is about being dynamic rather than saying okay this is it. We run the Passion workshop and people are thinking okay I am gonna have to be committed to this for the rest of my life and I would say you commit to it as long as you are committed, until you find the next best thing. But you have to commit to something today. You have to have something to commit to today.
Allen: You know, I like the word engagement. Commitment to me, also sounds kind of hard… If I can just get engaged. If I engage with it, that means. To engage you do commit, I am committing my body, I am committing my attention, so it’s just a definition of terms. I like the idea that you know, commit says it better be right or there’s gonna be something that happens to me, whereas if I engage you know…
Moustafa: I love how practical and more on the ground language that you’re using.
The next point here is the obvious that we’re all pretty much in a rat race or most of us are in a rat race. We are trying to get more done, get more done, get more done at work and we are missing out on the important things in life. You hear people that reach the end of their life and u hear somebody like Steve Jobs whom everybody would look up to, but got to a point and said maybe I did that at the expense of something more important. But what I love about the work that you do,you talk about it from a very well balanced perspective of what needs to be done, where.
Allen: Yeah! Well the key thing I think to keep in mind what most has your attention. And that depends on how conscious you wanna be, what most has your attention. And effect what most has your attention is that I am feeling stressed right now and what you need to do to get that   off your mind. Well I either need to be relax, or I need to be okay with that stress, or I need to point it in the right direction. So start to pay attention to what has your attention. And by the way once you actually pay appropriate attention to what has your attention then you’ll find out what really has your attention. Which by the way, once you then handle will allow you to open up to see what really has your attention but you can’t start down at that end. You really have to start with “gee I need cat food”. And “oh that reminds me, I want another cat” or “I don’t need pets.” “Oh that reminds me, I wonder what I’m doing with my life” and you’ll wind up, if you keep actually being conscious about where your mind goes, you don’t have to go very far to start to get engaged in a way that may open up for you what really matters and what you need to do about it. See balance for a 21 year old and it’s all adrenaline, maybe 99 percent party and 99 percent work. Balance does not mean 50-50. Balance just simply says this is the way my lifestyle wants to be right now.
Moustafa: So on that journey of passion, I’d say living with a passion and finding and discovering and making your passion come true. It will evolve based on the context that you are having on a day to day basis also.
Allen: Sure and Absolutely! Moving forward it could very well be, call it, I don’t know, call it karma, call it your destiny. At some point you may have done enough of that to experience and to glean the gold out of that, which you needed to and sometimes you’re going to have to pay attention because sometimes the energy will start to disperse. Alot of people start to feel bad, well I sort of committed to that and now its… That maybe a message that there is another direction now for you. You may have done what you needed to do out of that. So I have a 2.2 year hobby span. I have a hobby for about 2 years and then I get, I’m a sort of the man of all hobbies.
Moustafa: And you think there is nothing wrong with that!
A: I don’t think so, I’ve had, it gives me a wide range of experiences.
Moustafa: Okay…  so it’s not one thing that you have to commit to for the rest of your life, you just go with the flow.
Allen: Heavens no…
Moustafa: I love that, awesome. Well! This has been amazing, and if there is one last tip that you would give to people who wanna live a passionate and engaged life, what would that be?
Allen: Well, here is mine, I’ve been quite self-disclosing, “Let go, let God!”
Moustafa: “Let go, Let God”… I love that. Thank you very much and I’m sure our viewers have got the best out of this, to use these tips that are practical, useful, on a day to day basis to stay passionate, stay engaged… Passion!

What do you think? I would really love to hear your opinion. If you’d like to stay engaged, subscribe to our social media channels. And if you want even more valuable resources and exclusive interviews, go to and subscribe to out Passion Sundays newsletter.
Until next episode, live Passionately!

Share this post

Download 2 FREE chapters
from my book
Design a life truly worth living. Take the first step below.

Hi, I’m Moustafa

Dubai’s real-life “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari.” On a one-way ticket to India, I’ve gone from meeting a Swami out of 13 years in caves, to natural healing from a disease to become the Passionpreneur. I’m an international speaker and coach helping people find and pursue passion.

You May Also Be Interested In…

Download 2 FREE chapters
from my book
Design a life truly worth living. Take the first step below.

Coming soon on

Please check back later to see when this book will be available.

Coming soon on

Please check back later to see when this book will be available.