Areas of Focus; Ultimate Guide and 48 Examples

This post will introduce you to what Areas of Focus are. You will learn the difference between it and goal and project. You will learn many examples of areas of focus and why it is important to set the most crucial areas of focus in life.

After reading this post you will know what Areas of Focus is and know how to use its benefits in real life.

It is possible that you got here because you are new to GTD or for other reasons you got interested in this topic. No matter! After reading this article you will be able to prioritize tasks better and you will know what you need to focus on to lead a happy life!

areas of focus diagram

What are the Areas of Focus?

Areas of Focus are the various spheres of your life or work that require consistent attention or upkeep. They could be your roles, responsibilities, or areas where you want to excel or improve; that are important to you.

While tasks and goals can be checked off as completed, areas of focus cannot. They are more like the areas of your life.

Think of areas of focus as a higher layer of abstraction above goals, projects and tasks. They can be the source of your areas of focus but don’t have to. Think of areas of focus as categories of your life in which you can place your tasks.

Areas of focus are parts of your life in which you have a role, over which you are responsible. For example, you can be a parent, your children will be your area of focus. You can play the role of mom/dad and be responsible for your kids, and this will involve a lot of projects and tasks.

The tasks may not be from your areas of focus. But is it worth doing them when they don’t belong to the categories you care about?

How to Distinguish Areas of Focus Between the Project and the Goal?

To further comprehend the significance of Areas of Focus, it’s crucial to distinguish them from similar concepts like ‘Goals’ and ‘Projects’. This distinction helps to clarify their unique roles within the broader GTD framework.

Areas of Focus vs Goals

Areas of Focus and Goals may seem interconnected, and while they indeed are, they serve different purposes in your life’s panorama.

  1. Sustainability vs Achievement: Your Areas of Focus are spheres of your life that require ongoing maintenance and attention. They’re about sustainability. On the other hand, Goals are specific outcomes or achievements you strive to attain within a certain time frame.
  2. Continuous vs Finite: Areas of Focus are continuous and remain a part of your life unless you decide to change them. Goals, however, have a finish line. Once a goal is achieved, it’s done.
  3. Framework vs Destination: Think of your Areas of Focus as the framework or the paths you walk on. In contrast, goals are the destinations at the end of those paths.

Areas of Focus vs Projects

Let’s now turn our attention to distinguishing between Areas of Focus and Projects.

  1. Broad vs Specific: Your Areas of Focus are broad categories or themes in your life, like health, career, or relationships. They are overarching. Conversely, projects are specific and have a clear outcome.
  2. Long-term vs Short-term: Areas of Focus are long-term and persist as long as they remain a priority in your life. Projects, however, are temporary. They have a defined start and end date.
  3. Ongoing Attention vs Task Completion: Areas of Focus demand regular attention and nurturing, whereas projects are about completing a set of tasks to reach a defined outcome.

Your Areas of Focus create a sustainable framework for your life, your goals provide a destination, and your projects are the stepping stones leading you to that destination.

sub areas of focus mind map

Sub Areas of Focus

Focus areas do not have to be separate entities. It is possible within one large area to distinguish several smaller ones. Some areas may be part of a larger area.

Dividing it into sub-areas and presenting it with a mind map will help you better picture your situation. It’s worth preparing such a diagram and keeping it by your side at all times, so that you remember what is important to you and what you need to pay attention to.

Why should you know your Areas of Focus?

Knowing what is most important to you in life will make it easier for you to make good choices. You will know which tasks from the list to choose first. You will feel that you are living according to your values. And your energy is spent on things that have real value for you.

We live faster and faster, we have more and more things on our minds. It is worth knowing the priorities in our lives in order to better manage the time we have at our disposal.

Importance of Identifying Areas of Focus

  • Establishes Priorities: Your Areas of Focus help you understand what truly matters in your life, aiding in setting clear priorities.
  • Balances Your Life: Recognizing and maintaining your Areas of Focus allows for a balanced approach towards different aspects of your life, preventing neglect or overload in any single area.
  • Provides Direction: Areas of Focus serve as a roadmap for your actions, ensuring you spend your time and energy on what genuinely aligns with your personal or professional objectives.

Setup your Areas of Focus List!

Setting your own areas of focus is not difficult, just take a moment to think about your life. What it is and what you would like it to be. I’ll provide you with a method that will help you with this.

The steps are to make your own Areas of Focus List:

  1. Think about what matters to you in life and write it down on a piece of paper
  2. Group these things into areas
  3. Sort the list by what matters most to you
  4. Review and update it regularly

Funeral in the Imagination

Funeral in the imagination is a method that will help you consider what is of most value to you. It will make you think about how you would like your life to be. And here’s how to do it:

  1. Find a peaceful place: Find a quiet and peaceful place where you can focus undisturbed. You can take a walk in the park, sit in a quiet part of your house or even use a meditation room if you have one.
  2. Close your eyes and breathe: Calm your mind and body. Take a few deep breaths, feel the tension leave your body, and focus on the present moment.
  3. Imagine your funeral: Now start imagining your funeral. What does the place look like? What is the weather like? Who is present?
  4. Imagine what others are saying: Now focus on what people are saying. Imagine that one by one they stand up and make speeches. What are they saying about you? What stories do they tell? How do they remember you?
  5. Think about what you hear: What values, qualities and achievements are most often mentioned? Are these the things that are most important to you? Is there anything you wish people would say, but didn’t?
  6. Use these reflections to understand your values: These thoughts can help you understand what is really important to you. Are you satisfied with how you have been described? Are there things you would like to change?
  7. Set goals for the future: Now that you have a better understanding of your values, think about how you can bring those values into your life. Are there things you would like to do differently? Are there goals you would like to achieve?

Examples of Areas of Focus 

  1. Health & Wellness:
    • Physical Fitness
    • Nutrition
    • Mental Health
    • Emotional Well-being
    • Sleep
    • Preventive Healthcare
  2. Relationships & Social Life:
    • Family
    • Children
    • Romantic Relationships
    • Friendships
    • Community Involvement
    • Networking
  3. Personal Development:
    • Self-Improvement
    • Learning & Education
    • Mindfulness & Meditation
    • Skill Development
    • Creativity
    • Personal Branding
  4. Career & Professional:
    • Job Performance
    • Career Advancement
    • Work-Life Balance
    • Job Satisfaction
    • Product Development
    • Sales
  5. Financial:
    • Saving
    • Investing
    • Debt Reduction
    • Retirement Planning
    • Financial Education
    • Income Diversification
  6. Hobbies & Interests:
    • Travel
    • Art & Culture
    • Outdoor Activities
    • Reading
    • Sports
    • Cooking
  7. Home & Environment:
    • Home Organization
    • Sustainable Living
    • Home Improvement
    • Gardening
    • Household Budgeting
    • Interior Design
  8. Spirituality:
    • Faith or Belief Practice
    • Compassion & Empathy
    • Mindfulness
    • Gratitude Practice
    • Charity & Philanthropy
    • Joga

I hope that the information contained in this article will enrich your life. Establishing areas of focus will certainly help you set priorities. I also recommend the article on the best GTD apps so that you can best manage your life.