In Getting Things Done (GTD), David Allen presents the idea of Horizons. Each horizon represents a different level of clarity on your productivity.
There are two main components to the Reflect step. The core component is the Weekly Review, which is done frequently to keep on top of the things that most immediately require our attention; we reviewed this component in depth previously here. The other one is what Allen refers to as Horizons, which are used for gaining greater perspective. We will focus on this component in this post.
These horizons from the top down are as follows:
- Purpose and Principles
- These are the principles and purpose that guide you and your life.
- This is the long-term vision you have for your future.
- These are the goals you are pursuing.
- Areas of Focus
- These refer to the important core areas of your life. These may include your family, friends, career, health, finances, etc.
- Current Projects
- These are the projects you currently have on the go within your GTD system.
- Current Next Actions
- These are the next actions you currently have on the go within your GTD system in your calendar and to-do lists.
We already review the Current Projects and Current Next Actions during the Weekly Review. We need to review these most frequently because they are the most immediately actionable.
As you move up the horizons, you need to review them less frequently. The cadence at which you review them will be subjective to your personal preferences.
I personally review my Areas of Focus and Goals in a monthly review where I reflect on:
- whether I’m deliberately tracking all of my Areas of Focus and Goals
- whether any of my Areas of Focus or Goals are no longer immediate priorities
- whether my Current Projects and Current Next Actions are serving my Areas of Focus and Goals
I review my Purpose and Principles and Vision in an annual review. I usually do this around the start of the year when I reflect on whether my Areas of Focus and Goals are serving my Purpose and Principles and Vision.