The answer: GTD is both tactical and strategic. The process of capturing what has your attention in a system that is external from your mind, deciding the outcome and the very next action, and listing those in contexts that match your work style, is tactical. For example, if you think of a colleague that you need to call,
and make a note of that call on your Calls list, along with the person’s number, you have captured the thought externally so your mind doesn’t have to keep reminding you of that. When you have a phone and time to make calls (the context), you can review your calls list and handle that action.The strategic part is the way that you align your higher level purpose, long-term and short-term goals, and areas of focus, with your projects and actions. For example, each of your projects would fall within a defined area of focus, which would be in support of a goal that fulfills your purpose. In that way, something as tactical as making a phone call can be tracked back up to the strategy for achieving a long-term goal.
A great way to see how these tactical and strategic models intersect is in David’s book, Making It All Work.