The Six-Level Review For Home Workers: A deep dive into one of David Allen's most useful concepts



As you may well know I am currently reading and studying through David Allen’s fundamentally amazing book Getting Things Done

I have read the book before, however, after reading I did not action the book's many lessons. Sadly, as a bit of a self-help addict, this will not be the first time that I have read a super-helpful book and then let it go. 

David Allen essentially boils down to making sure that you have a system to capture, store and manage all your tasks in a stress-free manner.

However, as I am re-reading David Allen’s excellent book, I have decided to revisit, and learn and hopefully implement its findings, and more importantly teach some of the findings to you.

Upon, the first glance through as part of this re-reading and study I came across David Allen’s six levels of review, which I will adapt for home workers.

Six levels of review 

  1. Current Tasks
  2. Current Projects
  3. Focus, Responsibilities and Accountabilities
  4. Goals
  5. Vision
  6. Purpose and Principles

As you can see from the above, the first level, is very much in the here and now, however, the time we are hitting, 4,5 & 6 we are entering areas of the review that are not grounded. Indeed David Allen himself used a skyscraper metaphor for this concept.

 Level 1 - Current Tasks

This covers everything from that email from accounts that needs a response to those items you need to pick up at the store to phoning back Aunty Gemma about the surprise birthday party for Uncle Pete. It is amazing just how many of these current tasks are up there in your brain waiting to be actioned.

Level 2 - Current Projects

You can have any number of projects on at any one time, however, most people have around 10-30 projects that are a mix of work and home responsibilities. Essentially a project is a collection of tasks. For example you might currently have a project that you are working on to setting a new home office. This project may include large physical tasks like assembling the computer desk, though to fillings in and expenses from with accounts for the desk and other supplies.

Level 3 -Focus, Responsibilities and Accountabilities

As home workers, business owners, friends or family members we all have multiple areas of focus, responsibilities and accountabilities. For example, in your job, you will have a number of accountabilities both formal and informal from keeping your boss up to speed to more formal ones like key responsibilities or the focus for our end goal like making sales or helping design better widgets.

As family member, we may have responsibilities to our partners, children, and parents that can range from focusing on the education of our child to helping with the care of ageing relatives.

Level 4 - Goals

Our goals are things we wish to accomplish in the next year or two. These are longer terms collections of projects, focus, responsibilities and tasks that lead to a  tangible outcome. This could be getting the promotion to Account Director, or training to run a marathon to help your oldest child get into college. These goals will over time require changes in emphasis and the stringing together

Level 5 – Vision

When the term vision is used many people either get highly critical or go “huh” and tilt their head sideways like a confused dog. Out of those I would say that the second category sums me up. However, vision can simply be defined (according to David Allen) as ‘Projecting three to five years into the future to generate thinking’.

For our purposes that can be what will my job look like in five years’ time with current industry trends through to what will life be like in five years’ time once our newborn has started school.

When we are approaching this level of thinking concrete plans become harder and the focus on general themes becomes more prevalent.  

Level 6 – Purpose and Principles

This is about your ultimate priorities in life. Why am I hear? What is my purpose? What am I striving for? Although this sound very airy fairy it is not set in stone. The best way to think about the purpose of principles is to decide what your motivation is for example, it could be providing a great life for your family, or building a successful business that allows you to become financially independent so you can volunteer to help save the Rhino. It is about what is guiding you and motivating you.

How to use these six levels of review as a home worker.

As a home worker depending on our job the above can be very different from person to person. As we all have different working conditions, home life and personal goals, ambitions and drives. The above can be overwhelming as levels of review, we have put together a range of questions for each level to help you review your work. For each section, we have included three questions to help you start using the six levels of review.

Level 1 - Current Tasks

What tasks do I need to complete for my work on a weekly and daily basis?

What tasks in my home and personal life do I need to complete on a weekly and daily basis?

Can I list all the tasks I have outstanding in all the areas of my life that I am responsible for?

Level 2 - Current Projects

What are the current projects I am working on at work?

What are the current projects that I am working on at home?

What are the projects that I have to complete on a regular basis?

 Level 3 -Focus, Responsibilities and Accountabilities

Who am I responsible to at home and work life?

What are my responsibilities, accountabilities and focus at work?

What are my responsibilities, accountabilities and focus at home?

 Level 4 – Goals

What are my personal goals over the next one-two years?

What are my family's goals over the next one-two years?

What are my work or business goals over the next one-two years?

 Level 5 – Vision

What do you want your home life to look like in the next five years?

What do you want your work to look like in the next five years?

What trends/changes can you anticipate that may change how the above look?

 Level 6 – Purpose and Principles

What is my purpose in life?

What principles do I Live by?

What would I like to be remembered for?

When answering any of the questions above, always focus on how this may be different if you are working from home or working from an office. Use these questions to define your various roles and assign appropriate actions.

 To Conclude

These six levels of review are a good framework to begin to clarify, define and then execute the work that leads to you fulfilling your top priorities. The questions we listed are not the be-all-and-end-all. They are, however, a great starting place to review the work that you do on a daily basis and build up a framework around it.

David Allen in his career has helped people work better and more productive and I hope that reading this article has and will help you review your work so that you to can become more productive. You can read his latest work.

Thank you for reading this article.

Please note that I have written these books that you might find interesting:

Recruitment Hacks -

Political Careers -

My First eBay Sale -

Previous Post Next Post

Contact Form