I'm finding a more systematic use of Areas of Focus has helped me recently.
In a weekly review I am writing down the areas of my life that need my attention or that are bugging me in any way and for whatever reason. I will then open a note for each one in Outlook. Then I write ideas on what I can do to get on top of the issue. From these projects and actions are generated. If I don't have time to go over all the areas of focus then going through them will become actions in themselves.
I've also recently started doing this in my daily commute.
Of course I have been doing this sort of things for months/years, as it is staple to GTD - many of you will just call this mindmapping/brainstorming about issues that are foremost in the mind. But a more systematic and conscious process using the term "Areas of Focus" seems to have helped me.
I find that I need different lists of Areas of Focus for different altitudes. For instance the Areas of Focus mentioned above may be only runway, while I find a more long term list of Areas of Focus is useful for looking through in the weekly review and for a periodic assessment of more long term goals etc.
It seems I find I benefit for Areas of Focus at different levels that correspond to the more processed levels of actions, projects, goals etc. Does this make any sense to anyone? Has anyone developed a similar sort of approach?