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  • Weekly Review

    Hi All!

    I've done a quick search around and haven't found much about people's weekly reviews. I'm getting stuck making mine work for me.

    Any tips, what do people 'do'. I've moved rooms to gain focus, but I don't think I'm clear on my process for it.

    Cheers,

    Scott

  • #2
    From what you said, it sounds like you are having trouble focussing. I find it helped to have the GTD book beside me as a guide, following each step in turn. Eventually, I replaced this with a checklist on a single sheet and now it's such a habit I don't need that. I found that going through these lists kept me focussed on the specific part of the review I was doing.

    I also find that I have a lot of ideas while I am doing my weekly review. Having a capture tool handy is essential for me. It's important for me that I capture the thought and then continue with the review. If I stop to process it or to do a 2 minute action the review can take all day and maybe not even get finished. Once the review is done, that's when I go back and process the new ideas I had during the review.

    Another thing I struggle with it that I often am out of energy by the time I reach the review of Someday/Maybe. In the past I have made the mistake of just skimming through it and not actually thinking about each item. I have started to allow myself to take a break and return to the Someday/Maybe list in the afternoon.

    Finally, I often struggle with or skip the "creative and courageous" part. My GTD book is out on loan but when I get it back, I'm going to use the mind sweep list on it for a few weeks to help with this stage. This is the same idea as my first one -- using the book as a checklist to help me focus on the right thing.

    I hope some of these strategies help you with your current situation.

    Comment


    • #3
      Focus is a challenge for me as well. I need a good hour plus of uninterrupted time which can be hard to get sometimes. Here are some of the things I do to help:
      • Put the WR on my calendar, it's a committment to myself and doing this keeps most people from scheduling meetings over top of it
      • Put the WR on my calendar a second time as a backup since I inevitably don't get it done during the previously scheduled time for one reason or another
      • Shut your door (if you have one)
      • Attend one of the WR webinars (it helps you get it done in an hour, plus they give you extra tips and tricks)
      • Make a customized WR checklist (increases "ownership" of the process and makes it easier to split it up if necessary)
      • Get the bulk of your processing done BEFORE you sit down to do a WR (better yet, do it on a regular (daily / every other day) basis - good advice, even if I don't follow it)
      • Music - I like to play music, classical or a movie soundtrac, without words) to help me concentrate
      • Practice, practice, practice

      Lastly, remember the DA quote:
      "Any reviewing is better than none at all. Don't let yourself keep from getting back in the game because you don't feel like you're doing it 100%."

      Mike

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Sjrixon View Post
        Hi All!

        I've done a quick search around and haven't found much about people's weekly reviews. I'm getting stuck making mine work for me.

        Any tips, what do people 'do'. I've moved rooms to gain focus, but I don't think I'm clear on my process for it.

        Cheers,
        Scott
        Scott, smart of you to look at improving the Weekly Review. Good tips here from both MikeP and cfoley.

        There is extensive Weekly Review support available in the GTD Connect forums. You can access those with a free (no credit card, no cost, nothing to cancel) 14-day trial membership, available here:
        https://secure.davidco.com/connect/free/14days

        There is a monthly Weekly Review Challenge, where folks post as often as they want about how their reviews are going that month. Senior GTD coaches also chime in with advice and encouragement. Here's a link to the current February thread:
        http://www.davidco.com/forum/showthr...bruary-2014%29

        And if you want to really polish your Weekly Review skills, there is also a Weekly Review Training Plan, with separate threads for each step.
        http://www.davidco.com/forum/forumdi...-Training-Plan

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks all.. And good sell on GTD connect

          I think my first phase is to re-read the book. I've just asked for it back as it's out on loan. Then I need to book a meeting with myself, I really need to do that more often, as otherwise people see the gaps and book meetings with me!

          Comment


          • #6
            In my weekly review I have a general (time-based) part, but most of it I do hierarchically "goal by goal" (goal/AoR/project). I keep my stuff organized in that fashion specifically to make the weekly review convenient and constructive/creative.

            General
            - Calendar ahead: anything that needs preparation tasks?
            - Tickler ahead, anything to prepare for? (High Effort tasks only)

            Goal by Goal (or AoR group): How to reach goal faster etc?
            - Project by Project (or AoR single task container): How to attain outcome more effectively?
            --- Waiting (all, especially low priority that I do not necessarily check every day)
            --- Someday (high and medium priority only)
            --- Subsequent ("project support")
            --- Next (all, especially low priority that I do not necessarily check every day)
            - Projects/AoRs combined - split/fuse? active/inactive?

            Checklist (check off)
            - goal 1 as per above
            - goal 2 as per above
            etc

            (Clarification 1: My app has a project level and a level above that called goal. I use these for concrete projects and goals/objectives, but I also make use of the as containers for loose tasks that do not belong to a project or such objective. For those purposes I have "projects" for each AoR, and "goals" for each AoR group.)

            (Clarification 2: My app has an excellent priority feature, which I use as a review frequency flag. Medium means review as per GTD. High means review more often if possible. Low means that I can review more seldom.)

            About booking time with yourself

            It is a bit ironic that calendaring the GTD weekly review of all things is even considered, bearing in mind that GTD generally cautions against such "arbitrary" calendaring. But sometimes people need extreme solutions to deal with extreme problems. If you work in an organization that does not respect your time and treats every unbooked time slot as available for them whatever it is about, then maybe what you might also consider doing is cordon off entire blocks of "solo time" on your calendar. To make it even easier, you can make use of several contexts that are "solo" by nature, and primarily work within those contexts during your "solo" time blocks. You probably have a whole lot of important "solo" things to get done every week. By blocking time you can at least have some of the original GTD flexibility left in selecting which task to do now (energy, priority etc).

            Comment


            • #7
              I need to start creating a check list.. The other thing I need is clarity around my goals, I'm too fluid at the moment, so I can't be reviewing against anything.

              I have some clear goals, but the noise of the rest of my job is getting in the way.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Sjrixon View Post
                I need to start creating a check list.. The other thing I need is clarity around my goals, I'm too fluid at the moment, so I can't be reviewing against anything.

                I have some clear goals, but the noise of the rest of my job is getting in the way.
                Assuming you have a place to put a checklist, it would take you 5 minutes to copy David Allen's weekly review checklist into it. Another 1 minute to schedule time this week for a weekly review. You can then take 9 minutes to write down some goals you have: no re-thinking, just get 'em out there. Enter a calendar date or next action to review them. In 15 minutes, you can increase your clarity and make progress in getting things done!

                Comment


                • #9
                  You could skip goals for the time being, just to get started. Just define a few "AoR groups" such as Private, Not-for-Profit and Business, or Private vs Work, whatever, and place all your projects into these "buckets".

                  And maybe, if you like, within each "AoR group" you can define a few distinct AoRs. Say you have defined Work as an AoR group, and you are hired as a sales manager. Then maybe you can split this job into a few clear roles (AoRs), whatever makes sense to you, such as "key account mgr" (if you handle some major clients yourself), "sales coach" (training and motivating your team), "administrator" (vacations, hiring, commission and targets, process definitions and interactions with other departments etc) and "corporate consultant" (if you are on your boss's "team" and often participate in various strategic or general corporate issues not necessarily limited to sales).

                  You could tag each project with the specific AoR, and you could even have a spare "project" for single (non-project) actions within that AoR. This kind of measures makes it easy to find everything that belongs to a particular role, and to review it creatively. It is more fun to review stuff if it belongs together and makes sense to you.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I'm stil not satisfied with my weekly review, but right now I'm going with the theory that some review is better than no review.

                    But, some things that I've learned about my reviewing habits:

                    - The two-minute rule goes out the window. I don't care if "doing" a task takes thirty seconds while entering it takes a minute; if I go from reviewing to doing, it all falls apart.

                    - I separate emptying inboxes from the weekly review, to make the review itself smaller and more likely to happen. There are moments throughout the week when I'm perfectly content to process email or notes or other things into actions in my system (even if that action is just "think about the emailed bug report from Joe"), so I do it then. If I come to the weekly review and six emails have arrived since I last processed email, so be it.

                    - My review is absolutely dependent on having a tool that supports a variety of filters. I suspect that I simply couldn't do GTD without such a tool.

                    - As I've discussed in other threads, I minimize what's in my active lists; anything I'm unlikely to work on in the next couple of weeks lives in project support material instead. This makes the review of active tasks faster and more likely to happen.

                    - This is because, based on the "some review is better than no review" philosophy, my top goal for the weekly review is to go through Available tasks. To me, Available means that the task is not on hold and it doesn't have a future start date. (I think that's also what it means to OmniFocus, my tool of choice, though I may be forgetting some other criterion.)

                    This is the part that gives me the most immediate, chaos-reducing value. Checking off what's done that I forgot to check off, clarifying what I typed in so fast that it no longer makes sense, recognizing "I can't do that until I..." tasks and adding that prerequisite task, eliminating tasks that I now recognize as wishful thinking, pushing "yeah, not this week" tasks off with Start Dates, adding an actual task for the items that were left at "think about..." or "...add a task for...", all with the goal of giving me a neat, tight list of tasks.

                    - But I determinedly reject perfection. Sometimes a "...think about..." will be left alone or converted into an "...add a task for..." because I'm just not ready. I give these items a context of Thinking so that I can look at them sometome when my brain feels smarter, but I don't let them stall the review. And very often I'll Start Date a task into next week not for any good reason, but because I just have too many tasks in this week.

                    - Then I check for any looming Due Dates that I somehow missed while checking active tasks. It rarely happens, but it could.

                    - After I've done the review of Available tasks, I review projects, now viewing those put-off tasks to get the whole project picture. Delaying this is backwards. I don't care. When I start with Projects, sometimes the task review doesn't get done, and that produces more chaos for the coming week than the reverse.

                    - After that I do some wandering through project support material. Delaying this is also backwards, and I still don't care.

                    - And I only rarely get to a specific consideration of my goals. They're in the back of my mind as I'm doing the task review, as in "That coding task is more urgent, but if I put off that writing task any longer I'll never achieve my communication goals." And they're often addressed with Thinking tasks, as in "Spend half an hour brainstorming possible technical topics for the communication effort." But I rarely actually sit down with my goals during the review. Also backwards. Also don't care.

                    Well, all those "don't care" items are "don't care YET." I don't believe that their value will be realized without keeping my Available task list in reasonable shape, so the task list is top priority until I no longer stumble in that effort. Then I'll move on to the next improvement. Trying to do it all "right" didn't work for me, so I changed my philosophy a few months ago, and I'm building the structure piece by piece now.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Gardener View Post
                      - The two-minute rule goes out the window
                      - I separate emptying inboxes from the weekly review
                      Totally agree. I don't think these belong in the weekly review at all. Better to do those in a separate daily review, every single day, even on the day of the weekly review.

                      Originally posted by Gardener View Post
                      - I minimize what's in my active lists; anything I'm unlikely to work on in the next couple of weeks lives in project support material instead. This makes the review of active tasks faster and more likely to happen.
                      - my top goal for the weekly review is to go through Available tasks. To me, Available means that the task is not on hold and it doesn't have a future start date.
                      Here is big difference between you and me, apparently. I check the "available" tasks every day, as a part of my daily processing/review (but I do exclude low priority tasks from this "mandatory" daily check, and do those only weekly). I don't need to pay much attention to these during the weekly review.

                      Originally posted by Gardener View Post
                      - And I only rarely get to a specific consideration of my goals. They're in the back of my mind as I'm doing the task review, as in "That coding task is more urgent, but if I put off that writing task any longer I'll never achieve my communication goals."
                      Here we have both a similarity and difference between us. Goals of that type (e.g. communication skills) I do not keep in my app either, and do not even consider them often. They're in the back of my head, and that's good enough for me, too.

                      The goals that I keep in my app are of a totally different kind. They are what you might term "super-projects" (real major projects), represented as containers (folders) for multiple GTD projects that all contribute to a specific and very major concrete outcome that I will hopefully have generated in a couple of years or so (such as get a new line of business up and running). This also happens to be my interpretation of the 30 k level goal in GTD. I find it practical to keep my projects organized in that way (and I also use AoRs, and groups of such, for organizing stuff that does not belong to such a goal.)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        More great tips!!!

                        I've also now realised I didn't really have a target for the review, now I do. Sitting trying to get my daughter to sleep gave me time thing about how best to play this..

                        Review Completed Tasks
                        Review Evernote updated in the last week
                        Review all projects
                        Review next 2 weeks calendar for any missed tasks

                        Complete a breif personal review of what has been done and then review the targets for the following week..

                        That should be enough to get me started.

                        I'm going to try and have an Evernote dedicated and setup a template to kick this off...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Gardener, I like your "don't care" approach. I've tended to feel that I'm not really doing "weekly review", only my own "weekly planning" which isn't really according to the GTD model. But maybe I'll just start thinking "I do weekly review. I do it my way. I don't care." Maybe my weekly review isn't really all that different from some other GTD-ers', even if it differs significantly from some people's.

                          I do a lot of my processing and planning at times other than weekly review. For example, right at the end of the work day is a good time to write down one to three actions I can start working on first thing in the morning.

                          Recently I started calling my weekly review my "nubs". This means it's a small number of key actions that keep everything else functioning smoothly. The idea is to delegate most of the planning and reviewing activity to other times, with the "nubs" ideally just being a quick check to make sure those activities are continuing to happen. My nubs include things like looking over my calendar. If I've been looking over it enough during other parts of my routine at other times of the day or week, then this can be not much more than a quick glance and a feeling of satisfaction that all is in order. Usually it's more than that.

                          I also like your phrase "Available tasks". Or maybe I'd like to use "Available actions" or "Available projects" or "Available thingies" or something. Maybe "tasks" is good, if they haven't been made into projects yet. I see that as something in between Projects and Someday/Maybe. (Maybe that's not what you're using it for.) I like to have some current projects, and some other projects ready to start, so that I can be working on a reasonable number of projects at a time and bring other projects in if some projects become completed or on hold. Working on too many projects at once can lead to not finishing any of them.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Well, I did it! I hit my first weekly review..

                            First pass scared me, as I logged up a whole load of tasks that I had missed. But, I'm really hit a few tasks hard this week and made progress. As I now know what is important.

                            Thanks all!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Sjrixon View Post
                              Well, I did it! I hit my first weekly review..
                              Congratulations!

                              Comment

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