How to keep your Horizon 2 AOF simple ?

darkdepth

Registered
Hello Everyone,

After practicing gtd for a couple of weeks I came to the following conclusion.
I need some help setting up my Horizon 2, Areas of Focus.
Added to the atachments I found some examples of AOF but they look very detailed.
So my first question, how much in detail shall I go with areas of focus ?
My second question, how do you use area of focus to connect with projects (1 horizon lower) and with goals (1 horizon higher) ?
The horizons "vision" and "purpose" make more sense to me.
I hope you can steer me in the right direction.

Best Regards,

Erik
 

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mcogilvie

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My advice is to not try to mix in other organizational schemes when working on a solid implementation of GTD. Too many such schemes treat “here’s what worked for me” as equivalent to “here’s what you should do.” Looking at your Mindmaps, you’ve made a good start. The major entries are reasonable areas of focus. The rest is kind of a brain dump, and kind of difficult to think about, because It's not all at the same level. For example, your career is an area of focus, fine. Networking might be important to your career, for various reasons. You might want to develop sales leads, or to get a better job, or maybe you just thought it was important. That leads directly to Twitter, which is what to you? Project? Next action? Addiction? Something to learn to use effectively?

Just about everything I do is related to one or more of my areas of focus in a concrete way. I hope to go to a conference in Germany this year, which relates to both my travel and research areas of focus. I also hope to travel to visit family this summer, so that relates to my family & friends area as well as the travel area. I have a goal to “explore the world with my wife” or at least the really good parts I haven’t visited already. Some people like to write some sentences clarifying areas of focus, and that’s great, but they shouldn’t repeat what’s captured at other levels. Money or finance is an area of focus, but accumulating wealth is likely a long-term goal.

Don’t overthink any of this. Most people do not find either day-to-day happiness or realize long-term goals by filling out a form. The different GTD levels tend to grow and change as you change, and interact synergistically. GTD can work top-down, but most people find that bottom-up is more natural. Be honest with yourself about what you want. You’re on the right track.
 

darkdepth

Registered
Dear Mcogilvie, thank you for your kind feedback about this topic. The examples I showed in my attachments are not created by myself.
The reason I want this Horizon to be clear is that I want to make my own mindmap, what I understand from your feedback in one sentence: "don't take area of focus to the minor details".
To get this clear: Let's say for instance that my Purpose is: To travel the world to collect the best memories. My 10-year vision is: To visit all counties in the continent of Europe. My current Goal: Visit all major cities in west Europe. The Area of Focus is: Traveling. With the current Project: Visit Berlin. The Next Action is to find a Hotel in Berlin on the Internet using the context computer. Because traveling is not free, you need to keep all your other areas of focus on cruise control. Have a nice career to cover all traveling expenses, have your household under control so you have time to go on holiday ec. Have a mind like water so you can concentrate on the important projects instead of running after the loudest voice.
I wish you a nice day.
Best regards,
Erik


 

schmeggahead

Registered
I'm challenged with Areas of Focus as well. I've had so many mind maps of AOF that have been developed, reviewed, used, recreated, etc.

I haven't gone sequentially down from the top to the bottom of the horizons of focus with this sort of a narrow view of a slice of Purpose. It makes me want to try it with mine.

For me, the higher level horizons above next actions look more like a hedge of bramble bushes with connections and cross connections, especially the Areas of Focus. Areas of Focus feels like it is intended to break out of this linear hierarchy and enable cross connections.

There is a possibility that this conception of AOF is a source of my difficulty with it.
Clayton.
 

darkdepth

Registered
Hi Clayton,

Seeing the connections & cross connections between projects and goals is really another level of competence in gtd.
In my opinion its a study on its own and only applicable after really mastering the ground level and level 1 horizon.

I wish you an amazing weekend, thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Best regards,

Erik
 

brian161

Registered
So my first question, how much in detail shall I go with areas of focus ?
My second question, how do you use area of focus to connect with projects (1 horizon lower) and with goals (1 horizon higher) ?

I've spent a considerable amount of time thinking about areas of focus and how to account for all the things I'm committed to at the moment and the roles that I play in various organizations and relationships. It's overwhelming, and so much so, that spending a ton of time perfecting the list can potentially distract from the organic maturation of your areas of focus and those higher horizons as you get more experience using the methodology.

Consider the purpose of "Areas of Focus". These are words/short descriptions of the different roles you play in your life, your relationships, and the organizations you belong to. They have two purposes: to trigger possible projects, or next actions as you review the list during your regular (weekly) reviews, and to help you visualize and achieve alignment between next actions and your purpose.

Let's look at the first purpose: trigger possible projects and actions. If you look at your areas of focus: "spirituality", "health", "family"....are those descriptions detailed enough for you to feel satisfied that you've considered your commitments to each and are fulfilling them? If not, feel free to go deeper in any of them. Maybe you split "family" up between "kids", "marriage", and "family" because you want to make sure that you're giving extra consideration every week to your marriage and children. You can do that with any of your areas of focus. Health could be sufficient, but you could instead have "running" or "strength training" or "weight loss" as areas for you to focus in on.

The main idea is to only break them down if to the level where you feel at peace and are satisfied that you're aware of everything you need to be aware of. GTD is so unique in that it is not "one size fits all". One person can cover it all with broad labels for their areas of focus, while the next might need to have more detail because they will miss things if they don't. Balance for each individual is key.

Let's dive into the second purpose, visualize and achieve alignment between your horizons, which also concerns your question about connecting horizons 1-3. For me, areas of focus require a slightly different type of thinking compared to projects and goals, so they may not line up neatly in a mind map or outline. For me, areas of focus are not only a trigger, but also a way to question the things I'm focused on, and to ensure that I continue to focus on things that serve my higher purposes. If I have a goal to live on larger piece of property for my family within 5 years, I should have some areas of focus that serve that goal, or at least do not detract from it. Perhaps "relocating" or "remote work" should be areas of focus for me. Then I might be triggered to establish projects, such as "find five areas we would like to live", or "interview with company xyz for remote position". If I'm busy with areas of focus that don't' further that goal, and I'm already struggling to keep up, then I might need to figure out a way to remove myself from a few commitments so I can further the goal, or question how much that goal actually means to me.

So, to sum this up, our areas of focus should reflect our goals, and our goals should reflect our areas of focus. They should only be detailed to the degree that we need them to be to feel at peace about what we're doing and not doing.
 

mcogilvie

Registered
Honestly, it’s all just lists. Sometimes we have moments of insight where we see a new, meaningful connection, but you get insight by having a clear head, not by connecting all the dots. As the mathematician Mark Kac is reputed to have said of a paper he did not think much of, “This fills a badly needed gap in the literature.” :)
 

treelike

Registered
Dear Mcogilvie, thank you for your kind feedback about this topic. The examples I showed in my attachments are not created by myself.
The reason I want this Horizon to be clear is that I want to make my own mindmap, what I understand from your feedback in one sentence: "don't take area of focus to the minor details".
To get this clear: Let's say for instance that my Purpose is: To travel the world to collect the best memories. My 10-year vision is: To visit all counties in the continent of Europe. My current Goal: Visit all major cities in west Europe. The Area of Focus is: Traveling. With the current Project: Visit Berlin. The Next Action is to find a Hotel in Berlin on the Internet using the context computer. Because traveling is not free, you need to keep all your other areas of focus on cruise control. Have a nice career to cover all traveling expenses, have your household under control so you have time to go on holiday ec. Have a mind like water so you can concentrate on the important projects instead of running after the loudest voice.
I wish you a nice day.
Best regards,
Erik


If your 50,000 ft life purpose is truly "To travel the world to collect the best memories" then, depending on your life circumstances and responsibilities (and you say that the mind maps you previously posted were not your own), you might want to consider an alternative nomadic type lifestyle i.e. not having a home or a stable career, travelling by bicycle, etc.
 
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