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How do I implement the 6-level model in my GTD set-up?

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  • How do I implement the 6-level model in my GTD set-up?

    I finished up GTD recently and I have implemented a system using Evernote that is based off of a blog post found here:

    I have 2 notebooks, 1 for GTD notes that I've made for myself to reference and also another notebook for everything else. My files are set up according based on tags. My tags are set up as
    Areas of Focus
    Checklist - for all the things I do everyday
    Random Thoughts - for things that I haven't figured out where they go
    Next Action (subdivided by context)
    Tickler File
    Lists (subdivided into projects, project support, and groceries-I use this as a shopping list),
    Reference/Support Material

    I'm new at this and am still getting comfortable using the GTD system, but it seems like differentiating between runway, 10k, 20k, 30k, 40k and 50k tasks is difficult for me.

    I realize that I'll be working the most on the runway projects, so I'll be involved with that in at least some capacity almost everyday. So does that mean that I revisit everything else 1x a week or 1x a month or some other frequency?

    Can anyone give me an example of how they work this portion of the system?


  • #2
    10k, 20k, 30k, 40k and 50k tasks?

    Originally posted by DanielM123 View Post
    I'm new at this and am still getting comfortable using the GTD system, but it seems like differentiating between runway, 10k, 20k, 30k, 40k and 50k tasks is difficult for me.
    What do you mean by 10k, 20k, 30k, 40k and 50k tasks?


    • #3
      Think of it like a hierarchy...

      The different levels are actually interrelated; they don't refer to different kinds of "tasks."

      So - you're 50K (vision, purpose) informs the 3-5 year goals you have at the 40K level, which in turn are analyzed so that you have projects associated with them. The same goes for your 1-3 year goals. Everything ties in, although not always on a 1:1 level. There's some wiggle room. 20K, or your Areas of Focus, are more of a "safety net," or a lens through which you can look at everything on your plate to make sure you're addressing the important areas of your life. This, again, won't be a 1:1 balance across all areas all the time.

      If you're truly new to GTD, I would counsel you to stick with really understanding the relationship between the runway and 10,000 ft project level. Really get to understand the processing questions, and get so you're comfortable with Collecting, Processing, Organizing, Doing, and Reflecting.

      THEN start to look at the upper levels and how they can inform your daily activities.


      • #4
        i agree with the point made by Caroline. this is how I see it

        say you have a goal (40,000 feet) of financial security and an area of focus (20,000 feet) of finances. this could have a project (10,000 feet) of upgrading your retirement savings plan. your next action (runway) might be to call the HR department at your work to find out about the options available.

        next actions tend to be more specific than what you might call a task in other systems. (In the above example if you didn't know who in HR handles retirement plans you true next action might be to ask the colleague nearest you if they know).

        by the time you pick up the phone to call HR you are, by definition, on the runway.

        thinking through the higher levels (particularly during your weekly review) is how to keep everything in balance.


        • #5
          In terms of actually implementing it all and tieing things together the approach I take is:

          I have an evernote note that just lists all my projects in one note (10,000 feet) another note that lists my areas of focus (20,000 feet) and another that lists my goals (I tend to blur 30,000 and 40,00 feet a bit and struggle with writing down what I think my 50,000 feet purpose is).

          I review each of those in my weekly review.

          I then have a separate notebook with project support materials for each project big enough to need it that I review as necessary for each project but at least during my weekly review.

          I have a evernote notebook that I use as a sort of electronic tickler. if you start the title of each note with the date you want to be aware of it in the yymmdd format you can sort by date. it's not a true tickler because again I usually only look at it during my weekly review and transfer items to my calendar (outlook at work, google calendar at home) or my next actions list (outlook at work, toodledo at home) as appropriate.

          I also have a someday/maybe Evernote notebook that I review during my weekly review. Some items (buy investment property) are one item per note while others (books to read) are lists.

          so basically each week I review (read) my goals, areas of focus and someday/maybe lists to decide if I need to add any new projects or one step next actions to my lists. I then review my projects list to make sure I have a 'next action' for each project (in some cases this could be a waiting for or a future appointment). I also check my next actions list to make sure it doesn't include anything that is actually a project, and past and future calendar to see if they trigger any projects or next actions.


          • #6
            Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
            What do you mean by 10k, 20k, 30k, 40k and 50k tasks?
            I think of it like this: a 10k (Projects) task could be to look at the name of a project or the support material for the project, think up some next actions and add them to appropriate lists. (Thinking in terms of 3 months or less.)

            A 20k (Roles, or ongoing Areas of Focus) task could be to look at the name of an area of focus, think about how things are going in that area and whether I want to be putting more time into it, and maybe think up some projects or single actions that support that role and add them to appropriate lists -- maybe just adding the name of a new project to a list of projects. A higher-level 20k task could be to think about what all my Roles are and whether I need to update my written list of Roles to reflect reality, or whether I want to change my Roles (e.g. resign from a position of responsibility or quit being a member of an organization in order to free up my time and energy, or take on a new responsibility or start a new routine, etc.; this includes family decisions such as getting married, having a baby etc. as well as smaller things like starting regular family meetings).

            A 30k (Goals) task could be to look at the name or description of a goal, think about how well I'm progressing towards it, and if needed add new projects or single actions that will help achieve that goal onto appropriate lists. (Thinking in terms of about a year.)

            A 40k (Vision - 5-year) task could be to look at a mindmap I've previously drawn, visualize what I'd wanted to achieve, think about whether I still want to go in that direction, think about how well I'm managing to get there, and if necessary add goals, projects or single actions to appropriate lists to help me get there. A higher 40k task could be to think up a new vision for my future, looking ahead about 5 years. David Allen in his book talks about having a 40k dinner with one's spouse. Sometimes I go for a walk with the specific intention of thinking things over in long-term perspective.

            A 50k (Lifetime Purpose) task could be to visualize myself on my deathbed, telling someone I've had a satisfying life, and then think about what things I'd like to be able to say I've achieved.

            I began being able to keep track of the names of the different levels in my mind when I read "Making it All Work" and suddenly realized that most of the levels can also be associated with a length of time -- which is much easier for me to relate to than height in an airplane. I put a chart in the 5th post in this thread: (/t-12930.html "Defining Goals in Vision" thread which illustrates this. I use the word "Roles", which is from Stephen Covey's book, to mean pretty much the same thing as "Areas of Focus".

            When I mention lengths of time I don't mean that you only think about goals once a year. You think about them more often, but when you do think about them, you think with about a 1-year perspective. Well, the length of time can be anything, but if it's less than 3 months you call it a project, if it's longer than that you call it a goal, if it's even longer (about 5 years) you call it a vision, etc.

            You might set a goal for a year from now; do stuff towards it each week; re-evaluate it each month and perhaps modify the goal. Or you can follow whatever schedule works for you and for the particular things you want to achieve.

            That's how I think of it. I'm working towards implementing it.


            • #7
              What do you mean by 10k, 20k, 30k, 40k and 50k tasks?
              I didn't mean to write that. That was dumb of me. What I meant was that I need a place to keep track of the things that would make up my runway - 50k. The responses in this thread seem to have made some good suggestions.

              I guess as upper altitude stuff can always be made into additional tags in evernote and I can just keep track of them there.

              Thanks all!