GTD: Back to Basics 5 – The Weekly Review
So far we’ve discussed capturing all of your actions, processing them and putting them in context and managing multi-action projects. So how do you keep on top of everything? That’s where the Weekly Review comes in.
What is a Weekly Review?
Simply put, the weekly reciew is where you sit down and do a mini-recap of everything that’s happened during the week.
Basically it follows a mini-capture of outstanding items, re-processing anything that’s in your inbox (both physical and mental), sorting out completed action, deferring (or chasing up deferred) actions, managing your project lists and generally trying to maintain your “Mind Like Water” state.
Does it have to be weekly?
No! And when you do it isn’t set in stone either.
For some people they may need to do a mini-review every day of others every couple of weeks may be sufficient. Depending on how much “Stuff” you have to track will dictate how often you need to do a review.
Personally, I started out with a weekly review but found this wasn’t often enough to track all of the actions/projects/general brain fuzz that I was generating so I now do a mini-review every other day and then a whacking great big one at the end of every month to capture anything else I may have missed.
The main thing is to choose a schedule you are comfortable with and stick to it. Try to keep to the same routine or you may find yourself falling off the wago which can be difficult to recover from.
What things do I look at in my Weekly Review?
The first thing I do is empty and process my email inbox (although most items are sorted as they come in some “filing” may need to be done).
I then go through me physical in-tray and transfer any actions to my Next Action list or just do it if it’ll take less than 2 minutes.
On my monthly bib blow-out review which usually centres around “stuff” at home (I’m organised at work but rubbish at home!), I go through my inbox, collect up all the physical stuff and put it on my Next Actions list, file it or chuck it. I then go through my emails and file/action/delete as necessary.
When is the best time to do a Review?
Again, a lot of this will depend on you, the amount of “stuff” you have and your schedule. Some people advocate Friday afternoon as you’ve the whole week to look back on, other favour Monday mornings as you’ve the whole week to look forward to. Do whatever you’re most comfortable with – and don’t be afraid to move it around.
One important thing to consider however is that the review process works best with minimal distractions so set the ‘phone to voicemail, turn off your pager and ignore any emails that come in whilst you’re doing your review otherwise you’ll get involved in something and before you know it, all of the “stuff” you’re meant to capture will have gone straight out of your head only to resurface at some other inconvenient time to bug you incessantly.
We’ve now covered all of the basic principles behind “Getting Things Done”. Hopefully the novices amongst you will have some idea what I’m prattling on about on this blog now and for those of you more familiar with the system, you’ve been given a recap to help you stay on the wagon.
In the final post in the GTD: Back To Basics series, we’ll have a quick recap of what’s been discussed and I’ll give you some links to further resources plus a bonus download!