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  • My Little GTD Hack: The "Weekly Radar" List

    Thought this might be of use ...

    When doing my weekly review, I've found need to keep an eye on items that require my focus over the next week (without prioritizing them). Toward this end I've started putting a "This Week's Priorities" item on my calendar. It's an un-timed appointment, so it rests at the top of my day in Outlook or on my Palm. In the notes field I list the things I have to be certain to accomplish for the week, hell or high water, regardless of the day. Here's last week's list as an example (names changed to protect the innocent):

    * Draft compensation section for CRA playbook
    * Update ERP journey document
    * Draft and send [name's] cover to the ERP journey document
    * Draft [name's]' [event] speech
    * Finalize TMG agenda, activities, meals, and take-homes; notify presenters; and discuss agenda and take-homes with the Lodge
    * Call [name]
    * Draft [name's] sales summit comments
    * Set coaching session with [name]
    * Call [name]
    * Talk to [name]
    * Finalize and send TMG PPT deck
    * Read Wharton article
    * Book holiday travel
    * Confirm if we should be meeting with [company] subsidiary leads

    You'll notice that some are single next action items while others qualify as projects. That's fine by me; the next actions sit on their appropriate lists in my system, and the projects on the project list. Either way, I have a simple radar screen of things I need to be mindful of as I work through my days.

    I put this list together during my weekly review (usually the Friday before). It's a nice way of separating the wheat from the chaff for all the next actions I could take for the next week, and as I noted above, the list sits as an un-timed appointment on my Monday calendar. As the days pass, I move it from day to day, so it's always at the top of my day's agenda.

    I also get the satisfaction that comes with striking items from the list throughout the week, which as any list-keeper knows, is half the fun.

    So that's one of my modifications of GTD: The "This Week's Priorities" list, AKA "Weekly Radar," AKA "Flight Panel." Hope it's useful to you.

    ------------

    Alan Nelson
    Seat 1A

  • #2
    I like it

    Alan

    Nice one! Whilst the purists might not like this I think that writing this sort of list of things that have our attention (or that we want to have our attention) is the very thing that GTD is all about.

    I've seen similar posts about a "Today" list but this is the first time I've seen it applied to the Weekly Review.

    Jac

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    • #3
      I've decided to do something similar as well. On a daily basis I have a Six Most Important Things list - not a comprehensive list of things I need to do but rather just the six most important ones for today. I do the same thing on a weekly basis. I do both after my weekly/daily review when everything I need to do is fresh in my memory. It really helps keep me on track.

      Comment


      • #4
        More on my little hack

        Thanks, Jac.

        I've found that for my use of GTD I've been better off avoiding the daily list, following David's advice of "if it needs to happen today, it should be on today's calendar." If I start attaching too many dates to NA's, I find that I'm again introducing too much structure into a daily flow of events that just won't permit that structure to hold up.

        So if I have 300 NAs on my context lists, I find I'm most successful if I have six or seven on the calendar. (They aren't literally: I use Outlook and attach today's date to these items. Then they show up in the calendar view if I add the task window.)

        But a week: It's generally stable enough that I can successfully keep my set of "radar" items on the screen as a reminder. If anything, it fits nicely into David's counsel of how to make the best decision in the moment:

        1. Context
        2. Time available
        3. Energy available
        4. Priority

        My weekly radar list fits right there, in #4, "Priority." I may have three contexts that apply at a given moment: "@Read/Review," "@Computer," "@Call," "@Agendas" ... rather than scan the 60 items that might be on those lists, the weekly radar makes it easy for me to quickly ask "Ok, what is it that I really need to get done this week? Oh yeah, the McFloozal prep. I can work on that agenda right now ..." and that agenda is already on the "@Computer" list.

        I love the weekly review because time at 10,000-20,000 feet is so valuable. My radar is, well, like a radar, helping me keep an eye on 10,000-20,000 while I make decisions about NAs in the moment.

        Again, just my two cents. Works for me; hope it helps.

        ************

        Alan
        Seat 1A

        Comment


        • #5
          Nice idea! Though note that this is prioritizing.

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          • #6
            Yes, prioritizing must be done one way or another. The first question is -- sooner or later? The second question is -- should I keep it in my head or write it down?

            With textbook GTD, you think about 10-20,000' (and other levels) when you review; then those higher levels of thinking/reviewing implicitly guide your runway priorities thereafter. Why not explicitly write down some of the priorities that emerge from thinking about the higher levels? Otherwise, you are really keeping them in your head. Keeping them in your head can work sometimes, but writing them down is often helpful too.

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            • #7
              Apologia (ghost-written)

              Hooray! Thanks to you all for expressing my particular heresy in terms that make me sound orthodox. Most of my weekly 10K' time is spent on figuring out what goes and what stays for that week, which is then executed via the usual:

              - Next Actions by context
              - Key and scheduled items on the calendar

              I agree that this is merely the Priority aspect of the in-the-moment decisions being pre-calculated.

              Comment


              • #8
                David has something new in the works...

                What great timing for this thread. David posted this entry in his blog ( http://david.davidco.com ) just 4 days ago:

                September 17, 2005
                There is a priority code...

                You're the first in my network to know. I've humbled myself to admit that there really is a priority code worth noting. (Oh my God - is David Allen really saying we should structure a priority?)

                Woke up with the aha! a couple of days ago. It goes something like this:

                What on the list, if completed, would positively affect the most things of importance in my world?

                In other words...leverage. There are certain projects, certain actions, that if done would be like linchpin events - they'll cause a lot of other dominoes to fall.

                I'll be writing more on that in other forums...
                <end of D.A. blog entry>

                I'm really looking forward to learning how David implements the concept.

                Regards,
                Tom

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by ThomasDerwin
                  What on the list, if completed, would positively affect the most things of importance in my world?
                  Self-improvement folks are a funny bunch...

                  I believe Covey has been telling us to do this for over 20 years now.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by avrum68
                    I believe Covey has been telling us to do this for over 20 years now.
                    True, more or less.

                    Originally posted by ThomasDerwin
                    What on the list, if completed, would positively affect the most things of importance in my world?
                    I think a corollary to this is the question
                    What 3 things (or 2, or 1) can I do right now that will make the biggest difference?

                    Sounds a bit vague, but my mind knows what it means in context. "My" question is stolen from Covey, actually. It is as necessary to me as "What's the next action?"

                    (Now why is it that the actions with the most leverage always seem like the hardest to do?)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by avrum68
                      Self-improvement folks are a funny bunch...
                      I believe Covey has been telling us to do this for over 20 years now.
                      People are a funny bunch. Sometimes we have to hear the same advice for years before we realize why it makes sense. All that's setting DA aside is that he's willing to admit it.

                      Originally posted by andersons
                      (Now why is it that the actions with the most leverage always seem like the hardest to do?)
                      I'd say it's precisely because they are the things that will make the biggest difference--and cause big changes.

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