Basic GTD: Work in Perspective
In GTD it is not necessary to explicitly define the priority of every action, because priorities sit in a hierarchy of different levels of perspective. This is what David Allen calls the Six-Level Model for reviewing your own work:
- Actions. These are all the things that you currently have to do (phone calls, e-mails to send, stuff to buy, jobs, etc.). Items on your Calendar, Next Actions and Waiting for lists are included.
- Projects. These are the commitments—internal and external—you want to achieve in the short term. Each of these projects will require multiple actions.
- Areas of responsibility. These are the different facets of your life that you are engaged in one way or another. Your job may entail things like strategic planning, programming, sales, customer relations. In your personal life they can be such things as health, finances and family. The projects you accept or create yourself should help maintain standards in these key areas.
- Goals. These are the objectives you want to achieve in the medium term, usually one or two years, both in your personal life and at work. They will show you the areas of responsibility in which you must focus.
- Vision. It is the vision you have of yourself in the not too distant future, three to five years. Based on this vision, your brain will establish the goals needed to make it a reality.
- Life. This is the core of everything, the purpose of your life and your work. The big why. Everything else—vision, goals, projects and actions—derive from this purpose and should lead you towards it.
Each of these levels must be aligned with the ones above it. For example, you should not carry out a project that has nothing to do with your goals, and you should not perform an action that clashes with your life values or purpose.
Getting things done while feeling comfortable has much to do with recognizing, acknowledging and properly managing all the things that have your consciousness engaged, at each level. Managing all these levels in a balanced fashion is what enhances your productivity and relaxed control.