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  • Why does my Weekly Review take 4-6 hours?

    Hi all,
    New to GTD. I would like some feedback on my weekly review checklist. If I have a hard stop after 90 mins on the WR, I find I have only done about 3-4 items on this WR checklist. If, as I have done, allowed the entire day for the WR I can get to the bottom. Obviously this takes some practice. But I am posting my checklist here to see if you can give me some feedback. I am a small business owner: one employee, one admin assistant who comes in 4 hours one night per week. Anything she cannot do in one evening I have to do. Thanks for your comments.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Use the checklist published in the GTD book.

    It is not the GTD Weekly Review checklist. Use the checklist published in the GTD book.

    Comment


    • #3
      Although your WR checklist is not the GTD standard one, it still seems like you ought to be able to get through it in 90 minutes as long as you remember that in the WR you list what needs to be done, but do it only if it takes less than 2 minutes. For example, 'have I done my writing this week?' could generate a calendar entry for next Tuesday 10a - 11a for 'do writing.' This takes only a minute or so.

      The WR is not the time to catch up and DO the things on your action lists, but to review the lists, update them, and get clear in your head what you want to do in the next week.

      BTW, it often takes me about 2 hours to do my WR.

      Ken

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Almost Done View Post
        Hi all,
        New to GTD. I would like some feedback on my weekly review checklist. If I have a hard stop after 90 mins on the WR, I find I have only done about 3-4 items on this WR checklist.
        As someone new to GTD I'd suggest you use the standard weekly review checklist for a while before jumping off to make your own. Yours doesn't seem to have all three major portions, get clear, get current and get creative, in it. That combined with the fact you are probably doing actions rather than reviewing actions is why it's taking so long.

        I'd suggest you listen to the Guided weekly review webinar or podcast, use the 2 week free trial of GTD connect to get to it, and see how that works.

        Comment


        • #5
          +1 to everything said above. Mind sweeps, for example, not only can take a lot of time, but a lot of mental energy because of the change of activity, from wr and back. But scheduling them takes a moment

          I also see in your lists elements that, in my view, would better fit in the 20,000ft level. "What does my employee need?", it's a typical Area of Focus, I think. In the wr you would just revise the projects or routines you've established to cope with your employee's needs. But such needs would better be faced in a monthly 20,000ft review, perhaps.

          I used to have this same problem of ultra-long wr's too. Once I stabilized my weekly review habit, I was so happy that I started to 'cling' stuff to it... Till one day I kind of blew a fuse and had to rebuild it from scratch. The lesson I learned, I guess, is that a system can be great and ambitious, but it must be sustainable too, it must be systematically great week-after-week. Now I stick as much as I can to the rule of thumb of 'a setup that you could fulfill one day that you have influenza'.
          Hope something helps.

          Comment


          • #6
            Thank you...changes are ahead

            Ok, this gives me some things to think about. Thank you all.


            "Mind sweeps, for example, not only can take a lot of time, but a lot of mental energy because of the change of activity, from wr and back. But scheduling them takes a moment"

            I have to admit, I have been more vacuuming than sweeping. Either I vacuum a topic completely and then the time is up, or I just skip the sweep and move on to the next item on the list. But scheduling a mind sweep is doable, thanks.

            "The WR is not the time to catch up and DO the things on your action lists,"

            A constant battle for me, really. I found a 2 minute timer online and have started using it. I am amazed by what things take LONGER than 2 mins.

            As with most things worth doing in life, I am sure it will improve with practice.

            Comment


            • #7
              The DAC Weekly Review CD set is great after you've been at it for a little while. Two tips I found REALLY useful:

              1. Get INs to zero the day before (or at least in a different chunk of time) you do the rest of the steps.
              2. When doing the Mind Sweep - just go for what's got your attention. The trigger list can be helpful, but sometimes it makes me just glaze over! Even if you only capture a couple of things, if you start unblocking the logjam, things will come to you during the course of daily life (which is why if you have a capture tool with you everywhere, your Weekly Review mindsweeps will be much "lighter" and take less time, cause you're dumping all the time!)

              Good luck!

              Comment


              • #8
                P.S. re: Assistant

                I'd make sure I'm delegating things to my assistant that she CAN get done in an evening... That way she's getting wins and you're moving projects forward... Just a thought, having been on both sides of the desk!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Almost Done View Post
                  A constant battle for me, really. I found a 2 minute timer online and have started using it. I am amazed by what things take LONGER than 2 mins.
                  I don't follow the two minute rule - if it's not actually weekly review, I do not do it during the weekly review. Not if it takes five minutes, two minutes, thirty seconds, I do not do it. Dragging myself out of review mode and into "do"ing mode, and then dragging myself back, costs me more than two minutes no matter how little time the task takes.

                  Gardener

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                  • #10
                    I don't follow the two minute rule - if it's not actually weekly review, I do not do it during the weekly review.
                    Funny coincidence, I just heard today the excerpt of the Weekly Review CDs that is in the podcast area, and someone, I don't remember if it's Kelly or Meg, addresses the issue on the same terms; she says something like 'I do my weekly review, I don't do a single action along it, so my physical world does not change the least... and yet I emerge out of it in master & commander mode'.

                    I thought it was a curious synchronicity...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I second that

                      Originally posted by Gardener View Post
                      I don't follow the two minute rule - if it's not actually weekly review, I do not do it during the weekly review. Not if it takes five minutes, two minutes, thirty seconds, I do not do it. Dragging myself out of review mode and into "do"ing mode, and then dragging myself back, costs me more than two minutes no matter how little time the task takes.

                      Gardener
                      I agree with you, Gardener. Doing the WR really well requires a mind shift, in a way. Once I start to "do", I lose my mojo a bit.

                      When I'm reviewing, I will actually sometimes say out loud: "I'm reviewing, just reviewing...only reviewing...." and that is just enough to cause my brain to break away from the drift toward doing. It works very well when I'm processing, too.

                      Fortunately, I work at home so nobody hears the looney stuff I say to myself.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Barb View Post
                        Fortunately, I work at home so nobody hears the looney stuff I say to myself.
                        No one would... if you didn't share! And we love that you share!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          ins to empty the day before

                          Thx for the great tips. I have scheduled time prior to my Weekly Review to get ins to empty.
                          What you did not see on the WR checklist I posted was the 2 hours I spent cleaning...then cleaning lead to doing..then not reviewing.

                          I didn't start with the GTD review list because my eyes just glazed over, and my own creation seemed more manageable...BUT.....

                          Now there is less cleaning to do, and less folder making so that should shorten it a bit. I am also more disciplined in not stavjing things as I rush out the door, but really finding a place for it.

                          Bottom line...I want to get more into reflecting about my work, and making more proactive decision.

                          Thx Carolyn about the new way to look at my assistants job. My priority lately has been how to keep her from being overwhelmed so that she continues to enjoy her job. That approach may really help. Thx.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Make it easy and fun.

                            You can make your checklist sound more like someone who is being
                            friendly, supportive and giving you compliments, rather than like someone
                            who is nagging you.

                            For example, "Did you keep to your writing schedule this week?" sounds
                            a lot like nagging to me!

                            When I read GTD I decided this:

                            1. I'll do it.
                            2. I'll make it easy and fun.
                            3. I'll do it whether or not it's easy and fun.

                            Instead of "Did you keep to your writing schedule?", to me it would sound
                            friendlier if it said "Mark down where you are in your writing schedule."
                            Even better: "Congratulate yourself on the writing you've
                            gotten done this week." You could take a minute to think over or look over
                            the writing you've done and feel good about it, (rather than feeling bad
                            about what you haven't done,) then move on to the next
                            item in your checklist.

                            If it takes you more than a minute or so to figure
                            out whether you've stuck to your schedule or not, maybe you need a system
                            that allows you to easily know, at any time through the week, where you
                            are in relation to your writing schedule.
                            Prepare during the week: when you do some writing, you can put it in a pile
                            or something, so that you can immediately see how much you've done.

                            Why do you need that information about where you are in your
                            writing schedule? Your checklist could give more specific steps
                            about what you're supposed to do with the information, e.g.
                            "reschedule any writing you didn't get to this week": although,
                            that's not very GTD: you're supposed to just have a list of
                            writing actions and not have to recopy them just because
                            they're not done yet.

                            I don't do a "mind dump". I generally write things down as soon as I
                            think of them. I usually write them in an appropriate place, so I don't
                            have to do anything with them at the weekly review. I used to write
                            them all in a "collection" place and have to recopy them at weekly review.

                            I organized my weekly review to contain only a small number of essential
                            steps. I put the most important tasks at the top so that if I don't
                            finish, at least the most important are done. I cut out time-consuming
                            steps. Top items are to schedule the next weekly planning session, and to
                            look at my calendar and set my watch to beep to remind me of appointments.

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