Perspective is what gives an overall meaning to your life and prevents that specific situations that are globally irrelevant, distort your perception of reality. It is not about being productive just being busy. It is about being productive doing what really matters to live a significant life.
That is why GTD does not trivialize task prioritization by assigning a single number or letter to each task. Priorities are based on a hierarchy of different levels of perspective, from the shortest term of your daily work to the longest term imposed by your life purpose. Having clear this hierarchy, you will be able to value—even unconsciously—how important a task is, based on what it brings to your life.
It is what gives meaning to your life, although it is not easy to discover. It requires reflection and self-knowledge. It is not necessary to define it perfectly the first time, 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 what you have written.
Everything else—vision, goals, projects and actions—derive from this purpose and should lead you towards it.
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.
You can define different visions of yourself; in your professional landscape, in your personal life, in your relationships. These visions can also be understood as long-term 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. Your goals should be aligned with your vision, so try to link each goal to a higher vision.
If you write them down and set their first next actions, you will get in the path to achieve them.
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 acquired: customer service, planning, design, management, etc. In your personal life, they can include: family, health, finances, self-improvement, etc.
Although they are ranked fourth in this 6-level hierarchy, actually there is not hierarchically dependence on the upper level. An Area of Responsibility can affect multiple Goals, and a Goal may involve several Areas of Responsibility.
A project is any result that requires more than one action to be performed.
In this section you can link your Projects with your Goals and/or Areas of Responsibility. The Projects that are not yet aligned with higher levels will appear first. You can select multiple Projects and then link them all to the same Goal or Area of Responsibility.
You can also assign a project to a Goal or Area of Responsibility while creating or editing it, in the Projects section.
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.
You can also assign a Goal or AR to your Routines—while creating or editing them in the Routines section—, which will be inherited by every action that these routines generate.
So, in the Lists, Projects and Routines sections you have the chance to see everything or filter only the content related to one Goal or Area of Responsibility:
Have in mind that, when you focus on a Goal or Area of Responsibility, any project or routine you create will be associated by default to that Goal or AR.