Areas of focus

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss the GTD Methodology' started by Steffen, Jul 15, 2019.

  1. Steffen

    Steffen Registered

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    I am in that classic situation where I read the book a year ago and implemented some of the things and now I read the book again and can see that I still have a lot potential to grow in my GTD habits!

    One of the things I can grow in is "Areas of focus" and I am just starting to create my mindmap after listening to the GTD Podcasts.

    However, I would like to ask you guys how you specifically work with your Areas of focus?

    My current plan is to:

    1. Create a mindmap of my Areas of focus
    2. Look at it during my weekly review and use it as a trigger-list for creating projects or next actions
    3. Reconsider them in three months

    But I would like to hear specific use cases from you guys and perhaps what mistakes you did or if you would like to share some tips and tricks! :)

    Best regards
     
  2. vaughan76

    vaughan76 Registered

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    That’s pretty much what I do. I pull them out once a week as a trigger list (and find it the most useful part of the weekly review) then update them as I need.
     
  3. Steffen

    Steffen Registered

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    Interesting. How many areas of focus do you have if you don't mind me asking?
     
  4. vaughan76

    vaughan76 Registered

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    8 big categories with multiple subcategories under them. For example, for “relationships”, I’ve got a number of subcategories including close personal friends, family, and close family friends. Under professional, I’ve got subcategories including clients, people I manage, the boss, etc.
     
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  5. Oogiem

    Oogiem Registered

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    My biggest mistake was trying to shoehorn every project into a single area of focus. That doesn't work.

    What I do not is I have 8 main AOFs and like @vaughan76 I then have subdivisions within a few of them. I am actually at least reading the AOFs daily as part of my check in on my goals for this season. At weekly review I may add or subtract projects based on how I am doing. I do an in-depth review at the solstices and equinoxes when I swap out the season's projects that didn't get finished into Someday/Maybe and start up the next season. Often that is when I realize that I am missing some things within a specific AOF and may create or focus on that area for a bit the next season.
     
  6. Mark Jantzen

    Mark Jantzen Registered

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    I use my Areas of Focus as a list I scan periodically to catch the occasional, "Oh, that reminds me". I review it every month or so but not during my Weekly Review.

    I built my AoF list from looking at my single actions not tied to a project and Someday/Maybe. I recall David's question, "If not tied to a project then what ARE they related to?".
     
  7. Ger80C

    Ger80C Registered

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    Steffen, I think the mindmap approach using sub-trees is a good approach, and a fun and interactive one as well. For me, mindmaps lend towards being understood as a living, breathing document that can be adjusted and re-arranged freely - and that is what an area of focus document should be.

    Also, including a bit of hierarchy and "sub-AoFs" is a good thing, in particular if you feel the urge to structure some AoFs (like "Relationships", "Clients" and so on) in a more deeper level.
     
  8. Steffen

    Steffen Registered

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    That is a really good point! I will definitely use this trick in the future!
     
  9. Steffen

    Steffen Registered

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    I like the idea of it being a mindmap that you return to and evolve over time instead of a one-and-done creation process. Good input!
     
  10. Cpu_Modern

    Cpu_Modern Registered

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    Don't forget the higher HoFs! An Area of Focus can also trigger a Level 4 Vision statement or clarify something about your life purpose to you.
     
  11. ERJ1

    ERJ1 Jedi Master

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    I kind of ignored Areas of Focus for a long time, but actually found it really helpful for organizing my projects and priorities in my life and GTD system. When you boil your existence down, it's amazing how easily it is to get into a few categories (IMO).

    Mine are:

    [Insert soon-to-be wife's name here]
    Me
    Friends, Family, Pets
    Finances
    Redbubble (a side hustle that probably will be demoted out of AoF soon...)
    Home
    Teaching
    Debate Coaching
    [Soon-to-be Wife's business]

    Under the "Me" section I have a few sub-categories mostly relating to hobbies: Watch Stuff, Listen to Stuff, Read Stuff, and Stay Healthy.
     
  12. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

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    That's a philosophical question: do you really need any higher HoFs? Are they mandatory for a happy and fulfilling life?
     
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  13. Oogiem

    Oogiem Registered

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    I would say yes, most definitely.
     
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  14. mcogilvie

    mcogilvie Registered

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    Congratulations! Assuming you have identified who she is. Kelly F met a woman who had an elaborate set of Someday-Maybe projects for her wedding, and only needed one thing to move them to active status: a groom.

    I also see that you’re a debate coach, which is excellent. I consider my time in debate and extemp the best thing I did in high school. It’s how I met my wife, come to think of it.
     
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  15. mcogilvie

    mcogilvie Registered

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    Neanderthal Areas of Focus:

    Fire
    Cave
    Mastodon hunt
    Mate
     
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  16. ERJ1

    ERJ1 Jedi Master

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    Thanks :)
     
  17. Ger80C

    Ger80C Registered

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    And another philosophical question: Doesn't every person have at least one higher HoF, i.e. is there any existence without purpose (even if the purpose is to be purposeless)?

    I propose to put a "GTD Philosopher's cafe" on our Someday/Maybe list... if something like maybe, i.e. an indefinite future without everything being predetermined, even exists. But I digress... :)
     
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  18. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

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    In the "Bean" movie Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) says at the beginning of his keynote:
    "My job is to sit and look at paintings."
    His actual job is very boring. He's just a caretaker at the museum. But the audience interprets this job description as a very deep and powerful purpose of life.
    Maybe all of our big purposes and horizons are just illusions...
     
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  19. Steffen

    Steffen Registered

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    Do you know of any examples or guide of these Higher Horizons of focus that you can recommend? I have not really worked with this part yet.
     
  20. Ger80C

    Ger80C Registered

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    I recommend (re-)reading David's third book, "Making it all work" or diving into GTD connect - lots of material there, too.
     
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