Getting Things Done - GTD

6 Levels of Perspective

AUTHOR: Francisco Sáez
tags Reflect Basic GTD Perspective

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The most important difference between GTD and other personal productivity systems is, for me, that GTD does not trivialize task prioritization by assigning a single number or letter to each task. This method is not suitable for anyone with an average workload—understanding workload as the amount of tasks we have to do both in our professional work and in any other aspect of our life—.

Our priorities should not be set by the day-to-day activity but by the Big Picture, the complete image we have in our mind about how our life should be. It is not about being productive just being busy. It is about being productive doing what really matters to live a significant life.

David Allen establishes a hierarchy of 6 levels of perspective to properly define all our work and, as of today, you can define these six levels in FacileThings and have them present in your daily activity. From top to bottom, they are the following:

1. Purpose

The Big Why. What gives meaning to your life. This question is not easy. It requires reflection and self-knowledge. And it is not necessary to get the right answer right now. But you can start to think about it and give a brief description that you can shape over time until you feel totally identified with your life purpose:

life purpose

2. Vision

How would you like to see yourself in about five years? You can define different visions of yourself: in the professional landscape, in your personal life, in your relationships. These visions can also be understood as long-term goals.


3. Goals

This is an ideal time for you to set your goals to one to two years. You can also include your typical year-end resolutions. If you write them and set their first next actions, you may be surprised to achieve them.

Your goals should be aligned with some of your visions. Try to link each goal to a higher vision.


4. Areas of Responsibility

They are the different facets of your life that you want to improve or maintain at a good level. In your work, they may be the different responsibilities you have been acquiring: customer service, planning, design, management, etc. In your personal life, they can include: family, health, finances, self-improvement, etc.

Unlike the previous version, now the areas of responsibility are not directly linked to the Goals. Although they are ranked fourth in the hierarchy of 6 levels, actually there is not hierarchically dependence on the upper level. An Area of R​esponsibility can affect multiple Goals, and a Goal may involve several Areas of Responsibility.

areas of responsibility

5. Projects

You know what they are. Any result that requires more than one action to be performed.

With this new tool you can link your Projects with your Goals and/or Areas of Responsability. This will give you an idea of ​​which of them should be given high priority and which do not contribute too much to your life, apart from stealing your time. The Projects that are not yet aligned with higher leves will appear first. You can select multiple Projects and then link them all to the same Goal or Area of ​​Responsibility.


6. Actions

Your current actions are those that are in your Calendar, Next Actions and Waiting for lists. You will notice that the tasks that are part of a project do not appear. The reason is that when you assign a Project to a Goal or Area of ​​Responsibility, they are simultaneously linked to every one of its actions.

The way to link Goals and ARs to loose actions is exactly the same as explained in the Projects level.


In the Lists, Projects and Routines sections you have now the chance to see everything or filter only the content related to one Goal or Area of ​​Responsibility:


When you focus on a Goal or Area of ​​Responsibility, any action, project or routine you create will be associated by default to that Goal or Area.

You can also assign a Goal or AR to your Routines, which will be inherited by every action that these routines generate. To do this, simply edit the routine you want to get aligned with higher perspective:


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Francisco Sáez

Francisco is the founder and CEO of FacileThings. He is also a Software Engineer who is passionate about personal productivity and the GTD philosophy as a means to a better life.

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Commented over 11 years ago Andrew

Nice, lucid post. A really good summary. Thanks!

avatar Andrew

Nice, lucid post. A really good summary. Thanks!

Commented over 11 years ago Francisco Sáez

Glad you liked it, @Andrew!

avatar Francisco Sáez

Glad you liked it, @Andrew!

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