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Once again: Weekly review, not doing things

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  • Once again: Weekly review, not doing things

    I know this must have been discussed many times here, but because of the large number of postings in the forum I cannot hope to find any relevant thread easily enough. So, may I ask, how do you actually manage to do your weekly review and avoid falling into the trap of veering away from reviewing and getting into doing stuff?

    I don't know of a good technique to keep me focussed on simply reviewing things. When I look at a project during the weekly review, I cannot easily stop at what I may consider to be identifying or confirming the next action, but I'm drawn instead into deeper thinking about the project, planning stuff, jotting down notes and so on.

    I would greatly appreciate reading about your techniques or tips and ideas about how to do an efficient weekly review. References to older threads about this subject would just as equally be very welcome, if you know any.

  • #2
    Remember that the deeper thinking needs to be done at some point. Doing it during the weekly review is only a problem if you think it is, for instance if you spend so much time planning that the rest of the review doesn't get done.

    So my first suggestion would be to acknowledge that the planning piece needs to happen and is going to happen, and that that's a good thing. Then create a space in which you can allow it to happen comfortably. Whether that space is labeled "Weekly Review" or not is really up to you.



    • #3
      Originally posted by kewms View Post
      Remember that the deeper thinking needs to be done at some point. Doing it during the weekly review is only a problem if you think it is, for instance if you spend so much time planning that the rest of the review doesn't get done.
      That's exactly the problem that I face. I usually get bogged down into planning and/or doing things and by the time I'm done, the weekly review has lost the impetus it should have had.

      Your idea is quite sound (as usual!). What I should probably do during the weekly review should be to record as a NA the fact that the project concerned needs some more planning to be done, and leave that action to be done at a more opportune time. It's not going to be easy to set this habit but, on the whole, I should force myself to do it this way in order to keep the weekly review within a reasonable time frame.


      • #4
        Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of blocking out dedicated planning time on a regular basis. Depending on the nature of your work and the amount of backlogged planning-in-waiting you have, that might be as often as daily or as rarely as monthly or quarterly.

        The tendency of planning to take over your weekly reviews suggests a persistent open loop. That might call for more drastic action than a simple NA.



        • #5
          More Structured Weekly Review

          If you have the perception that your review is getting hijacked by the impulse to work on a project or get something done, perhaps you just need a little more formal structure in your process. At first this was very difficult for me, and I just kept shuffling lists, so I created a worksheet for Weekly-, Monthly-, and Quarterly Reviews. As I get better at the WR, my notes get more detailed, and the Monthly Review goes quicker.

          Katherine is spot-on with setting planning time aside. Making appointments with yourself is a vital part of creating trust in your "trusted system". If you can't trust your system and honor commitments to yourself, you will soon find that you aren't honoring commitments to others either.

          Here are some more links to see how others implement their versions of the weekly review:
          Feel free to download the worksheets from my site and use them as you see fit. If you have a suggestion or can recommend changes, let me know here. Thanks and good luck!


          • #6
            First, that deep thinking is great stuff - it's a matter of doing it at the right time. As you point out, doing it during your review slows it down. Depending on how much you have to review, this might be OK. A few ideas:

            o create a weekly review checklist, and in the "projects" bullet stipulate you'll only a) make sure the list is up-to-date and complete (no omissions or commissions, if you will), b) you have at least one action active for each project, and c) that's it - no project planning. if one really jumps out at you crying "work on me!", make a note of that fact and stick the note in your inbox - you'll get to it the next time you clear it

            o set a time limit for brainstorming on each project - 2 minutes, 5 minutes, whatever allows you to capture important stuff that comes to mind, but not get too deep

            o GTD doesn't talk much about time blocking, but it can be very productive time spent, esp. for the kind of planning you're talking about. so maybe set aside time to do this deep thinking, either for one project, or for all of them. chunk it accordingly - 5 minutes per project, or 20 minutes on the first four in the list


            • #7
              Thank you for the additional information. Things are becoming clearer to me now.

              Personally, I have to work on three things: (a) Becoming determined to do the weekly review in the first place, (b) setting aside time for planning - as a specific task and (c) sticking to the weekly review procedure and not allowing myself to be sidetracked into doing other things.