The GTD productivity method helps you tackle the minutiae of the day. You can clear out your head, organize your tasks and projects, and maintain the structure easily.
But beyond the day-to-day organization, an important aspect of the GTD system is what David Allen calls the “bigger picture” review. A system that instructs you to keep your head down all the time, focused only on the tasks immediately in front of you, will probably fall apart: you won’t want to employ a system that doesn’t allow you to look up and look forward towards your long-term goals. You need a set of goals to look forward to. Without the drive to move forward and create that bigger picture for yourself, many of the day-to-day tasks you accomplish become banal, lack-luster.
Probably not—chances are, even if you are happy, you are always ready to try something new, to challenge yourself. That’s human nature, and that’s why we have the technology we do today. But you don’t have to change everything about your situation to find contentment again. Defining your bigger picture will show you that you can plan to reach a situation where you want to find yourself eventually. Instead of being disappointed with your life, give yourself a project you have been too anxious to try. Run a marathon. Invent something new. Hike up a mountain. Find ways to reach your personal goals without having a breakdown.
To nail down your bigger picture, start by envisioning your situation a year from now. This is comparable to the 30,000-foot level David Allen discusses in his book. Can you rise above the days and weeks and get a vision for an entire year of your life? Where do you want to be? How can you get there? Maybe when you re-evaluate your year-long goals, you’ll be able to fine tune your project list; eliminate the projects holding you back and accentuate the tasks that will propel you toward that goal you want to reach by next year.
Three to five years of planning is equivalent to the 50,000+-foot levels. Planning for three, four, or five years from now is no longer about a basic list of goals. You need to develop a lifestyle that will help you get where you want to be by the end of the time period you choose. The goals you set will serve as stepping stones to the end you desire.
Clearing the runway and 10,000-foot levels is necessary, but don’t forget to visit the 30,000-foot and 50,000+-foot levels to gain direction and foresight for your life.