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How do you find time for 20,000ft, 30,000ft, and 40,000ft?

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  • How do you find time for 20,000ft, 30,000ft, and 40,000ft?

    When explaning the Six Level Model to a co-worker he asked me, "Yea I get it, but how do you find time for 20,000ft, 30,000ft, and 40,000ft?"

    Does anyone have any ideas?

    My short answer was, "You have to convert that high-level thinking into real projects and have at least one next action."

  • #2
    At least twice a year, once in the winter and once in the summer, I start at the top and work my way down, from long-term life goals to specific projects and action items for the next six months.



    • #3
      Just listen to David...

      I find that many, many small points that David makes in the book and on the GTD Fast cd's don't sink in fully until I am 'ripe' enough (mature enough in my GTD habits) to really hear them.

      One of the points he makes is that the whole methodology grew out of their consulting with clients to address those high altitude issues. What they found was that they needed a way to help people 'clear the decks' so that they could focus and operate at the strategic levels better.

      David promises that, as you get runway and 10k under control, creative energy is released for the kind of blue-sky thinking needed to operate at higher altitudes.

      Like much of what David promises, I've found this to be true.

      This does not mean that it will happen magically (although it might). If it is *not* an organic result of your deepening GTD practice then you might want to schedule the time on a semi-annual basis (as a previous poster suggested) to make sure that you are spending some time identifying roles, goals, life purpose, etc. and putting some concrete projects into place that will move you in the direction you want to go.

      Finding time should not be that hard... this is normally not the sort of thing you have to think about on a weekly basis.

      I guess that's my long-winded way of saying that your one sentence response pretty much sums it up. I would just additionally point out to them the potential for freeing up creative energy and the fact that, once you have some concrete projects in place to address those lofty goals, revisiting those levels does not have to happen that often (under normal circumstances).

      At least, that's how it seems to work for me.
      Last edited by jhegener; 09-01-2005, 11:15 PM.


      • #4
        It emerges as a need

        Hello there,

        I've been really "doing" GTD for about 1 year now, and where it has taken me so far, is into a greater and greater need for a clarity at the higher levels.

        When I first began to use the GTD tools, I had a tremendous "A-HA!" experience seeing and experiencing for the first time the difference between a true next action, and a project in disguise - as somone once referred to their to their todo list as "an amorphour mass of un-doability".

        After a few months, I broke through another glass ceiling, as I started to realize that I had effectively shifted this amorphous mass up to a higher horizon level - I had to go back and do for my 10K / 20K / 30K levels, what I had originally done for the runway / 10K level : I had a whole mess of 20K-and-up material crammed into my project list, which was making it impossible to ever complete a weekly review in a reasonable amount of time, and making it a very frustrating experience, as it still felt like my life was a blob of over-whelming un-doability.

        At that point, I seriously tightened up my 10K level (project list), by ensuring that every project on the list had a very concrete, clearly articulated end-point, that will occur within the next few months. Anything that more realistically was approaching the 1 year time frame got moved up to the 30K level. Same for all the roles, responsibilties, and relationship stuff which was populating the project list - I have redined it appropriately onto the 20K list, and ensure that there are active, concrete projects at the 10K level moving each one forward. (I also got a better grip on using the someday/maybe list in a more active and useful way at this point).

        As the weekly review is best done aproximately every 7 days, I am still exploring what time frame is best for reviewing these higher level horizons. I suspect it will fall somewhere between monthly and quarterly, but I will see after I have more experience working from these horizons of focus.

        As David Allen talks about the inherent "scuzz factor" we experience when our internal standards aren't being met (such as brushing teeth daily), I have found that my scuzz factor has naturally shifted up to these higher levels of focus, and I am not following an external formula of when I 'should' do these reviews, but the internal need to be clean at those levels, as well as ensuring an alignment between all the levels.

        Last edited by Jeff K; 09-02-2005, 03:52 PM.