Meta Level Up

In David Allen’s “Getting Things Done”, he talks of next actions. 

Sometimes, what makes it on our To-Do list is too vague, or just too big a project to be jotted down so simply. To tackle such things, you need next actions. Sometimes, these are hard to come up with. 
Whenever I struggle with next actions, I remove myself from the situation and level up, metaphysically speaking. I think in terms of the writer of my life. Since I’m writing it at this moment, it doesn’t have to be myself in the situation. For example, it can be Dirk Diggler. 
So, it is now my job to write about what Dirk Diggler is going to do next to get this job done. This frame of mind helps the brainstorming go a little easier. (Especially if it someone you aspire to be like, or simply a super version of yourself. The use of Dirk Diggler is not a good example at all here, and is used primarily for humor.)
This ‘leveling up’ method works great with other things in life besides next actions. 
In Adam Grant’s “Give and Take”, I read about someone who was able to become a good negotiator for himself and his family by leveling up. He was able to eventually make a break through and negotiate better raises, better rent, and better other things in life by playing a role of a mentor for himself. He asked himself how he would instruct someone else to negotiate for themselves in the same situation. Then he followed those instructions and played the part of the mentee.
Next time you have a chore on the to-do list and are having a hard time coming up with a next action, try leveling up. Ask yourself, “What would Dirk Diggler do?” 

2 thoughts on “Meta Level Up

  1. Great point! I also find it helpful to replace “what should I do next?” with “what should a person in my position do next?” It seems to help me avoid flimsy rationalizations and letting myself out of doing hard things. I need to do this more often.


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