Clarification regarding AoF

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss the GTD Methodology' started by Idreamofclarity, Aug 20, 2017.

  1. Idreamofclarity

    Idreamofclarity Registered

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    Hi all
    Ok I've been trying GTD for a while now, although I'm not yet sure that it works for me because I often spend more time organise my 'system' than I do actually being productive.
    Organising my lists into statuses such as next action, on hold, etc doesn't work because the next actions just end up sitting there for all eternity, and this is why I'm thinking of ordering by ordering by AoF instead. Make a fresh start and see how it goes.
    I've not given up yet though.

    2 questions I'd like to ask to clarify:

    1) does every single task have to have an area of focus? Some tasks such as "set up uber account" or "sort out permissions on Android" don't really fit into any particular AoF.


    2) Shouldn't the Areas of Focus be ABOVE goals? Surely goals are derived from the AoF. For example, if AoF could be "household" and a goal could be "ensure house is kept tidy", It would seem strange if "ensure house is kept tidy" is above "household".
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2017
  2. Oogiem

    Oogiem Registered

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    AOF's have seemed tome to be above goals too. I get the lower layers just fine and the top layers the middle is a muddle

    No Every task doesn't have an AOF, in my world lots of task server several AOF's

    Do what works.
     
  3. treelike

    treelike Registered

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    "Ensure house is kept tidy" is also an Area of Focus because it is ongoing and never finished (especially with two young kids). "Tidy house" could be a Next Action, Project or even goal depending on the level of untidiness to begin with.
     
  4. mcogilvie

    mcogilvie Registered

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    1) It is possible to have something to do that does not fit your AoF's. However, the examples you give would fit naturally under my AoF that includes maintaining personal tech.

    2) In several places, David Allen states that the order of the levels is by frequency of review, and that the relations of the levels is not hierarchical in the sense that an outline would be. Areas of Focus can drive goals, but goals can lead to the creation and modification of AoF's. Next actions need not have projects. The relationships are not driven by theory, but by practice.

    Of course, what you avpctually do to maintain the different levels is highly dependent on the tools you use. Several apps whose design is influenced by GTD support Areas of Focus and below, or sometimes just projects and next actions.
     
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  5. Idreamofclarity

    Idreamofclarity Registered

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    Thanks for the replies. Most helpful and have given me food for thought.

    Perhaps I could have an "other" AoF for such items, at least until I can decide on where they should go.

    Oogiem, I also find the middle layers to be a bit middled, so you're not alone. Currently I'm testing out 2 apps on Android - 2do and gtasks, and neither will allow for a task to go under multiple AoFs if I want the Aofs to be the main lists. Although in a practical sense your method is more ideal, I think I'm best off keeping to 1 task per 1 AoF for the sake of simplicity (simple is good, for me).

    treelike, I think that "ensure house is kept tidy" would be far too specific to be an AoF, would it not? I was led to believe that the AoF comprise around 5 to 9 'areas' that covers a broad spectrum, and this implies that they have to be general if they are to encompass everything important in one's life.
    Other AoFs that I have include "wellbeing"(includes: health, hygiene, clothes, teeth, hair, eyes, etc) and "personal development"(anything where I have the intention of learning or that can improve me as a person, and which doesn't fit in to other AoFs - "join the gym" would go into "wellbeing" AoF). I would consider "ensure house is kept tidy" to be very much a goal because it's nebulous.

    mcogilvie, that's interesting that you mention "relationships are not driven by theory, but by practice". I agree, I think. I don't want to aspire to a rigid version of GTD, but a modified version that applies to me.
     
  6. mcogilvie

    mcogilvie Registered

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    Just for the sake of comparison, here are my AoF's:

    Research
    Teaching
    Work (everything at work not Research or Teaching)
    Travel (I often combine work with fun)
    GTD (weekly review, et cetera)
    Fun, Family, Friends
    Personal
    Health
    Household
    Money

    It may be important to you to have statements somewhere clarifying each AoF. "Ensure house is tidy" could be such a statement for me as a description of my "Household" AoF. It's not a goal because there is no end in sight. If you review your AoF's every month as recommended, that sentence will drive appropriate projects and next actions.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2017
  7. bcmyers2112

    bcmyers2112 Registered

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    @Idreamofclarity, why do you feel that organizing actions by context (such as calls and at home) is an obstacle towards reviewing and doing them, and why do you feel organizing them by AOF will alleviate that?
     
  8. Idreamofclarity

    Idreamofclarity Registered

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    mcogilvie, I think that's a good idea bout having a statement of clarification for each one and reviewing each month or bimonthly, and that's what I plan to do..


    bcmyers2112, I've tried to accommodate contexts but they don't work for me(I even tried the "quick dashes", "full focus", etc, but I ended up never bothering to look at it), and so I don't feel the need to bend my entire system to have contexts as matter of dogma just because some people believe they need to be there.
    I'm just trying AoF to see if it works after I found that context and status don't.
    Also, I didn't mention anything about contexts being an obstacle. What the hell is the matter with people in this forum? :confused:
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2017
  9. bcmyers2112

    bcmyers2112 Registered

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    I asked the question because I feel it helps to understand what the problem is and what someone hopes to accomplish before offering advice. Since you seem to have made up your mind about what I might say before even hearing it, however, I will simply wish you the best of luck and hope you find what you're looking for.
     
  10. Idreamofclarity

    Idreamofclarity Registered

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    You came across as being preachy. Seeing as I hadn't mentioned contexts there was no need for you to do so as if I was doing something wrong.
     
  11. mcogilvie

    mcogilvie Registered

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    I don't want to offend anyone, but bcmyers2112 has a valid point. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen someone writing that "contexts don't work for me" or "gtd doesn't work for me", only to find after much back-and-forth that the person making the statement has not come close to what David Allen recommends. All too often, "X doesn't work for me" means "I stared at a jumble of stuff and I had no idea of what to do with it, so I gave up." GTD is about clarifying what stuff means to you and figuring out what to do about it. It is really helpful to describe what you are doing with what tools and why you are doing it.
     
  12. Idreamofclarity

    Idreamofclarity Registered

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    I'm not interested in using contexts.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2017
  13. Gardener

    Gardener Registered

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    Imagine that someone says, "Can anyone suggest the best way to make risotto without chicken broth?"

    And I say, "Why don't you want to use chicken broth?"

    And they say, "I don't feel the need to bend my diet system to use chicken broth as matter of dogma just because some people believe it needs to be there."

    And I say, "OK, fine. How about beef broth?"

    And they say, "I'm a vegetarian."

    Does this make sense as a reason why answering 'why?' questions can at times be useful?
     
  14. Gardener

    Gardener Registered

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    By the way, I'm not really using contexts either. My main organizational unit is the project. All the same, if something isn't working, "Why?" is usually a good question to ask, before you create a whole new system that fails for the same reasons.
     
  15. Idreamofclarity

    Idreamofclarity Registered

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    It's not yours or anyone else's responsibility to design a system that works for me, and Im not asking.

    I've tried using status and contexts, but they don't work for me. That's why I'm exploring other areas.If they don't work for me then they don't work for me. Period.
    If AoF don't work, then I'll learn from the experience and move forward by trying something else. Whatever the case, it's a learning experience. And that's why I'm not interested in using contexts yet again.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2017
  16. Gardener

    Gardener Registered

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    And I'm not suggesting that you use contexts. (Or chicken broth.) But you seem set on the idea that I am, so, never mind.
     
  17. Gardener

    Gardener Registered

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    Well, your charming manner will no doubt win you many, many people eager to help you with an answer to your question.
     
  18. Idreamofclarity

    Idreamofclarity Registered

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    Well stop trying to shove your ideas down other people's throats, then you may find a person with a more charming manner.

    Thank you to Oogiem, treelike, and mcogilivie in post 2, 3, and 4/6 respectively, for your help.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2017
  19. treelike

    treelike Registered

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    My personal experience of GTD over the years has been that I try it David Allen's way, then I find a modification that's better for me and try it that way for a while, then I discover why David's way was right after all.
     
  20. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

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    So how do you deal with @Errands? Do you browse your whole monolithic Next Action list in each shop?
     
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