Ratz has developed several different outlines; one was designed to implement bottom-up GTD collect-process-organize as quickly as possible, but at the same time, it abandoned the high-level (e.g., 50,000') life balancing. I've never tried it. His most recent outline retains some of the GTD conveniences but also reverts to high-level goals for the TLIs. His most recent thread about this (on the Life Balance forum) is an inspiring read.Originally Posted by willym
I suggest that you develop TLIs first by working backwards. Think of the pie charts: what areas do you want to balance? What areas do you tend to neglect? If you want to spend more time in a neglected area, make it a TLI so that you can get priority boosts from the algorithms and feedback on the charts.
How do you naturally group tasks in your mind? Look at a comprehensive list of all your actions, and try dividing them into major categories. And keep it simple - it's easy to subdivide TLIs later. I started with a few basics; others evolved later as needed.
It may work well to subdivide different work responsibilites. For example, an academic researcher needs to 1) manage contracts and grants like some kind of an accountant, 2) manage employees, 3) come up with great ideas and develop them into research, and of course 4) write and publish papers. So an academic may benefit from 4 TLIs just to handle work-related stuff, especially if certain activities ("write papers") get neglected.
My top-level items in the outline (TLIs) are conceptually similar to Ratz's current TLIs and the software's default ones. Here they are:
> INBOX (a nod to the importance of bottom-up inputs addressed by GTD, this is at the very top for rapid entry. Things will get moved to appropriate sections as soon as possible.)
> Research (create new knowledge)
> Teaching (earn income)
> My spouse
> Finances (maximize our money)
> Maintain health & appearance (you can probably guess my gender now)
> Home (create and maintain a beautiful home)
> Music (direct inspiring music)
> Friends & Family (build bonds that last a lifetime) - stole that sentence from ratz
> Communicate (develop communication skills, especially public speaking)
> Enjoy life
Pretty basic stuff. I have never liked the lack of elegance in my outline, but nevertheless it has worked well. I've admired some of the clever outlines of Life Balance users, but I remind myself that the only thing that matters is if it helps me get things done. I think many Life Balance users get caught up in revising their outlines to be more clever or creative or elegant. ("Gee, that is so cool, I've got to rearrange my outline that way!") I rearrange or redesign only if I have a problem that clearly needs to be addressed to improve my future productivity, or when life changes demand it (e.g., I don't teach in the summer). I will probably never become a Life Balance power-user, but I am more productive and balanced than ever before in my life.
Hope this helps. If not, be sure to ask at the Life Balance forum.