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Getting perspective

Not just any perspective -- I mean seeing your life at every level, so you can know just what you're doing and why.

In his bestselling book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, my friend and collaborator David Allen describes six levels of perspective, which he calls the "Horizons of Focus:"

Think about these, write them down, and put them in a place where you'll review them regularly. They may change over time, but they'll help keep you on track.

Most people tend to get stuck on the difference between the Horizons of Focus and Areas of Focus, so I'd like to explain this level a bit more.

A word about Areas of Focus

Here are some examples of this particular level:


  • Your relationship with your spouse
  • Your kids
  • Volunteering
  • Your hobby


  • Designing new sales campaigns
  • Special projects for your boss
  • Keeping certifications up-to-date
  • Continuing education

Areas of Focus are essentially the major categories for your projects. Reviewing these regularly, along with the other horizons, will help you make sure that each one is moving forward.

How to set up your Horizons of Focus

You can do this in Word, Evernote, your IBM Lotus Notes Notebook, or even with a pen and paper. All it really takes is some thought and a capture tool to help you organize your thinking.

Think about your ultimate purpose in life. How can you move towards that in the coming year? What projects can you take on to advance your aims?

If you're using eProductivity, the Horizons of Focus tools are already built right in -- plus, eProductivity's Weekly Review Coach makes it easy to easily review your horizons regularly.

To set these up in eProductivity, here's what you'll need:

  • eProductivity Reference -- click here for more info
  • Click here for how to set up the horizons in eProductivity Reference

Want to learn more about planning your horizons?

For more detailed descriptions of the horizons, see this article.


I first learned the Horizons of Focus from my friend and collaborator, David Allen, author of the bestselling Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. and creator of the GTD methodology. David was personally involved in the testing of eProductivity, an add-on for IBM Lotus Notes that I designed to help people get more done with less stress.

This is the end of my four steps to close out the year. I hope they've made you more confident that you're prepared for 2015. These tips have been based on my experience with GTD over the years, and I look forward to sharing more of what I've learned in the future.

Happy New Year!


P.S. Share your own insights

What tips, tricks, tools, or habits have you found helpful to review your year? Or is there anything you'd like help with to close out 2014? Either way, I'd like to hear it in the comments!

Part 1: Shred your lists! | Part 2: Review your future conversations | Part 3: Get inspired with your creative ideas

Discussion/Comments (1):

Nathan Paul (): 12/30/2014 11:53:55 AM
My 4th step to close out the year: Get a high-altitude view of your life

Here's how I plan to keep my own Horizons of Focus up-to-date.

As an eProductivity user, I cracked the software wide open when I first got it -- I wanted to see everything it had to offer (can I get a shout-out for the AutoParser?)

I dove right into the Horizons of Focus, filled them all out, tucked them away, and have hardly touched them since.

The real trick with GTD is keeping your systems current -- because I don't have a consistent routine to review them, they've inevitably fallen behind.

Following Matt Perman's concept of a Weekly Routine in his book, What's Best Next?, I'm going to start mapping out my week in large (but flexible) chunks of time, which will include scheduled reviews of all my systems.

I think this Weekly Routine thing would be a great concept for anyone looking to get "back on the wagon" with GTD!

Discussion for this entry is now closed.