Thursday, November 8, 2007

Thanksgiving Review

Thanksgiving Review

Thanksgiving will be occurring later this month in the U.S., with other countries celebrating their own versions at different times. Thanksgiving is not only a good time to be thankful for your family, friends, and all the blessings that you have in your life, but is maybe a good time to do a self assessment of where you are . A former colleague of mine used to conduct a review of where he was at that point every year.

In GTD, while you have your weekly review (I’ll post more on this later), this can be an opportunity to review those aspects that are beyond the runway (to use David Allen’s metaphor from “Getting Things Done The Art of Stress-Free Productivity” found under The Six-Level Model For Reviewing Your Own Work pp 51-53) and look at the 10,000 to 50,000 feet levels in your life.

  • Runway- Current Actions
  • 10,000 feet- Current Projects
  • 20,000 feet- Areas of Responsibility
  • 30,000 feet- One to Two Year Goals
  • 40,000 feet- Three to Five Year Vision
  • 50,000 feet- Life

Under your normal weekly reviews (however you might have these), you’re likely to cover the Runway (Current Actions), 10,000 feet (Current Projects), and 20,000 feet (Areas of Responsibility) but here is where you should be asking the hard questions like

  • Should you be doing this?
  • If you do this what is the likely outcome?
  • Is the likely outcome aligned with the other levels?

Under the 30,000 feet (One to Two Year Goals) level you can have a look at what your goals were for this year and determine if you can still attain them, if you need to make any adjustments, or scrape them altogether. You should have a look at what you want to accomplish over the Christmas season (maybe some holiday planning,) and what resolutions you would like to tackle in the coming year. Under the 30,000 and 40,000 feet levels you’ll want to have a look at where you are in your career and determine if any training or new skills are needed in the short and long term. Maybe you might even want to look at changing positions or companies in the near future. Under the 50,000 feet (Life) level, you’ll want to look at what direction your life is going. Maybe something has happened recently that makes you question everything (which should happen every so often anyways so that you do get stuck in a rut). Now might be the time to make those changes that you’ve been thinking about (or at least, start to move in that direction)

Time to be thankful. No matter what religion you follow (of even if you don’t follow an organized one), you should take the time to realize that you have been blessed and what blessing you have. It might be a good time to let people that have slipped from your thoughts know that you did think about them and that they’re appreciated. Maybe it is time to let your kids know that you love them, or your siblings, or parents, or some friends that you haven’t talked to in a while. Rather than focusing on the things that you don’t have, you should realize that you are lucky to have what you have. Do you have a place to live with enough heat and shelter in the cold nights? Do you have enough to eat in your refrigerator (that you have a refrigerator is something to be thankful for). Do you have your health? Maybe you’re not in condition to run the New York Marathon or compete in a Iron Man competition, but the use of your limbs, your ability to get around, your beating heart, and life itself are all things worth being thankful for. When you consider the conditions that much of the world lives in, we should consider ourselves lucky and be thankful. You might want to consider donating to charity (in time and/or money).

Enjoy your Thanksgiving. Maybe with some thought and review, you can come out of the holiday recharged with a sense of purpose and a new attitude.

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