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OmniFocus & GTD - 50,000 ft view -> runway Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
In Getting things done, I love the veritical levels of 50K, 40K, etc.

Life Purpose, vision, goals -> actions (runway).

I implemented these as "folders" but that's not a great way to link them all up.
(They seem like all unrelated, when in fact they are in theory "nested"

Has anyone done this in a clean way to link high level visions and goals to short term projects and actions...

Great software - BTW (I'm a former UI Designer and thought you guys did a great job).
I use folders for life roles and for goals within those roles. I keep life purpose and vision level stuff in separate OmniOutliner files. I don't feel a need to refer to this higher level stuff on a day-to-day basis, so long as the shorter term goals in OF are supportive of the higher levels. Maintaining that relationship is something that I accomplish with monthly and annual reviews.



Thoughts from Peter Drucker's work on vertical levels—a term he would never use.

Remembering Drucker (November 21, 2009 issue of The Economist—Four years after his death, Peter Drucker remains the king of the management gurus)

One of Drucker's observations: Not possible to get to tomorrowS by stacking up more todayS

What do you want to be remembered for:

Managing Oneself:

Living in More Than One World:

Preface to The Effective Executive:

My Life as a Knowledge Worker:

The Daily Drucker:


"Nobody" sees it coming (the sky is falling):

Thoughts on a work approach:

Identify work areas mentioned above and think through the required actions. Keep in a "blue print" document. Use scheduling tools to remind when to look at the blue print to figure out next actions. Keep just the next items in an OF type application.

Thinking tools may be helpful somewhere along the way:


Use something like OF for flow of events work

That's my two cents for now

Great - so I can keep it as it is, and use the review process to mentally link it all up and make sure I'm on track. Thanks.
Originally Posted by curt.clifton View Post
I use folders for life roles and for goals within those roles. I keep life purpose and vision level stuff in separate OmniOutliner files. I don't feel a need to refer to this higher level stuff on a day-to-day basis, so long as the shorter term goals in OF are supportive of the higher levels. Maintaining that relationship is something that I accomplish with monthly and annual reviews.
The way that I work it is to have three core folders in my Projects list: Higher Levels; Work; and Life. Splitting between "Work" stuff and "Life" stuff lets me create perspectives which help me focus better, so, for example, I have a Perspective which only shows me things in the "Work" folder for when I'm in at work (which isn't always in the office, which is why a Context isn't enough to do the job).

For dealing with the 20,000ft level - Areas of Responsiblity - I use folders within "Work" and "Life". So, for example, my "Work" folder contains a folder called "Staff Development" which contains all the projects to do with developing my team.

The "Higher Levels" folder is where I deal with the 30,000ft and above bits. Each level has a folder. 30,000ft, for example, is where I put "Goals". Goals are kind of proto-projects: Things that I want to do over the next year, but which I've either not fully-defined all the steps for, or which take place over a slow-burn period of time. Sometimes "Goals" will get split out into sub-projects, and move into the "Work" or "Life" folders. Other times, they'll just stay where they are as a reminder. But either way, I make sure they are regularly reviewed.

At the 40,000ft and 50,000ft levels, things get a little more fuzzy. But basically, at those levels (Long-term objectives and Core Values) I use OmniFocus more like an outlining tools. For example, at 50,000ft I have a Project for each core value, but nothing ever gets checked off within them - it's just a reminder and breakdown of what the value is and means.

Hope that helps!
Sometimes I wish for a metric system to measure my GTD Higher Horizons of Focus.

OF is great as a tool for the lower levels. I often have to resort to mindmapping and OmniOutliner for the higher Horizons though.

I just came across this in my RSS feeds:

Reviews have stated that the user interface is fugly since it is a crossplatformable program and doesn't have that Mac OS X feel. But the new version supposedly says "New interface!" I guess that's mostly due to the fact that this is a FileMaker Pro driven database.

Life Manager Pro is a unique implementation of the Getting Things Done approach to managing your life that will transform the way you lead your life.
Life Manager Pro is your digital personal assistant that will make sure that you take back control of your life and get things done.

Using Life Manager Pro as your digital organizer you will find that: You get more things done in a day. You free up valuable time. You always feel in control.

A major cause of stress is feeling out of control in your life. With Life Manager Pro you will take back control and feel much more relaxed.

Life Manager Pro is a program that runs on Windows or Mac systems. It consists of several modules that connect and relate to each other to from a comprehensive system to manage your life.

Module1: The Head Box - Capture, Clarify and Organize In this module you collect or capture all the various bits of information that are in your head.
Module 2: Vision - Do you have a vision for your life? Do you have principles and values on which you base your life? Do you have dreams and visions for your life?
Module 3: Goals - Most people have goals in their life, but few write them down. This module focuses your mind on what exactly your goals are.
Module 4: Projects - Track all your projects.
Module 5: Actions - Visions, dreams and goals are not completed by themselves. They all need actions, the steps that get you from where you are now to where you want to be.
Module 6: Contacts - The contacts module keeps a record of all your contacts and the actions that they have done to help you.
Module 7: Calendar - View your calendar by the month, week or day and quickly see details or all your meetings and appointments.
Module 8: Resources/Reference - To get things done requires resources and reference materials.
Specially configured to run on netbooks and from a USB memory stick.
Maybe OmniFocus 2.0 will help with the Higher Horizons of Focus? The great thing about OmniFocus is that is so flexible and can change with you as you incorporate more aspects of GTD.

I've been eagerly reading and participating in the forums and learning to go up the Higher Horizons of Focus.

I've downloaded this but haven't tried it out yet so I guess that's on my OF list for tonight. Maybe the OmniFolks might be able to glean some metaphors from this program.

Last edited by wilsonng; 2010-01-25 at 01:14 AM..
I'm continuing to refine how I manage horizons of focus from 20k' and up. After I wrote this, I realized that my quandary |ˈkwänd(ə)rē| pretty much boils down to: the differences between outline hierarchies and mind maps in general (including some of their (software) fancier features); and then relationships and non-relationships between content in the 20k' -> 50k' horizons of focus. So this will be noise for some.

Anyway, I've got 10k' and runway covered nicely with OmniFocus. I also do have the following hierarchy for much (but not all, as you will see) of my 20k'+ horizons of focus:

50k' (SAL)
Core value 1 [action group parent]
Sub item A [action child]
40k' (SAL)
Some of the ways I've captured/organized from 20k' - 50k':

My general purpose notes database. Quick to enter into.

Mind mapping.

OmniFocus. I have SALs for 20k', 30k', 40k', and 50k'. I use actions as reference items (with a context that to me means non-actionable), and also use action groups. I liked being able to refer to these levels without leaving OF, while planning actual work. However where this falls through for me at times is:

- It is useful to see one's entire mind map in one window (or be able to drill down), seeing all the bubble relationships.

- An outline hierarchy, at least the way I have mine set up in OF, doesn't allow showing relationships between items in different horizons, the way a Mind Map can. I could set up a single SAL with horizon tags like this:

Horizons of focus (20k' -> 50k') (SAL)
50k' Core value 1
50k' Sub item A
40k' Vision 1

30k' goal 1
20k' Area of focus and responsibility 1
... however: 1) tagging is messy (I could go tagless of course); 2) Without repeating items, I can't show one item supporting multiple higher levels of focus. With a mind map, additional relationships can be shown.

Also: 1) while items in various horizons do often directly support higher levels, some times horizon content sits in its own space; 2) Michael Dolan says

"We recommend holding this model lightly as the various horizons are meant to be general guidelines, not a rule-book. For instance, if for you, 30K and 40K feel like almost the same thing - great. Success here is more about the intention of actually articulating and review your higher agreements - not necessarily the exact form they take."


Last edited by omnibob; 2010-02-05 at 11:30 AM..
In my own system I use the terms Vision, Goals, Objectives, Projects, and Actions. These correlate with review periods — I review my medium-term Vision every four years (on Leap Day, Feb. 29!), Goals once a year, Objectives quarterly, Projects monthly, and Actions weekly (and sometimes daily, mainly with regard to "inbox" tasks that may or may not be related to the higher-level stuff).

I keep my OF Projects in folders for the Objectives, but haven't found it useful to try to maintain the higher-level hierarchical structure in OF. Instead, I do have top-level folders for what I call Domains (which correspond to GTD "areas of responsibility", or Covey's "roles" for that matter, but to me don't really fit very well into Allen's "elevation" model, at least not at the level where he places them).

Whenever I do a review (4-year, yearly, quarterly, etc.), I pick a small number of goals, objectives, projects, etc. to focus on during the upcoming period. Then I use those as the basis for planning when I do the review for the next-lower level, e.g. determining the Objectives for the upcoming quarter that will advance my Goals for the year.

Planning for anything above quarterly Objectives takes place outside OmniFocus.

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