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  • Once again: How to do a weekly review?

    I would like to bring up again the issue of how to do a weekly review. This is a weak point for me even though I know how important is a weekly review.

    My main problem is not in getting down to doing the weekly review. It's the fact that once I start it, I become bogged down in planning projects instead of moving on to the review. When I look at a project in my list, I somehow enter into a creative, brainstorming, planning mode and everything slows down. The review goes out of focus and I lose track of the review process.

    So, could you suggest any tips as to how to discipline myself into only doing a review and not being side tracked as mentioned above?

  • #2
    No offense, but I don't think it's a matter of learning a quick "tip" or two. You have to retrain your brain to think differently while you perform a weekly review. It's not easy. It's a matter of practice.

    Observe yourself. Perhaps a five-minute timer may help; when it goes off, ask yourself if you've distracted yourself, re-focus, and reset the timer.

    Have you tried or do you practice meditation? That's great practice for observing one's own thoughts.

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    • #3
      I often have things in my inbox that will require that kind of planning. The only way I can really calm down about them and let them go during a review is to set up an additional time each week dedicated to that type of planning.

      I have a "needs planning" tag I use on those projects. So I can create the project, jot down quick notes about it if I have immediate ideas. I generally just create a task to plan, and add comments to it as I have related ideas. By the time I get to my brainstorming/planning session, I've got a fair number of ideas to form the framework for planning, but I don't get too bogged down in the details.

      Unprocessed notes also go into "needs planning" category for me, with a separate task to process each set of notes. Handling all the outstanding items in "needs planning" the day before my review helps me focus on the other maintenance items without getting distracted by something more fun (like planning).

      Scheduling my weekly review right before my weekly team meeting helps too, because I need to have everything in its place to make the meeting efficient at working through open items and new plans.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by DoingIt View Post
        I become bogged down in planning projects instead of moving on to the review. When I look at a project in my list, I somehow enter into a creative, brainstorming, planning mode and everything slows down. The review goes out of focus and I lose track of the review process.

        So, could you suggest any tips as to how to discipline myself into only doing a review and not being side tracked as mentioned above?
        I often exit my weekly reviews with a bunch of Next Actions like this: "Plan Project XYZ"

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        • #5
          Originally posted by DoingIt View Post
          When I look at a project in my list, I somehow enter into a creative, brainstorming, planning mode and everything slows down. The review goes out of focus and I lose track of the review process?
          Generally, when I see myself fall into this trap, I'll write down an NA on my list along the lines of "Brainstorm re: XXX project", "Mindmap ideas re: XXX project", or even "Figure out why XXX project has my attention". Then I force myself back to the Weekly Review. On rare occasions, I'll allow two minutes to dump what's in my head onto a sheet of paper, but I do sparingly because otherwise I fall into the same trap you're talking about.

          If I notice myself getting sidetracked like this more than once or twice during a given week's review, though, that's usually a sign that my brain's playing Monkey Mind games because there's something about the stuff I'm reviewing that's making me uncomfortable. Usually, that resistance to the Weekly Review is a sign that I've over-committed myself, so when I see it come up, I'll start looking for commitments that can be re-negotiated.

          So, I guess one question I'd ask you is this: Are you getting sucked into project planning and non-review tasks as an avoidance technique? Why are the things you're reviewing making you uncomfortable?

          -- Tammy

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          • #6
            Originally posted by wordsofwonder View Post
            So, I guess one question I'd ask you is this: Are you getting sucked into project planning and non-review tasks as an avoidance technique? Why are the things you're reviewing making you uncomfortable?
            After some introspection I would say that it's partly avoidance, partly work overload.

            I find useful the suggestion by wordsofwonder (and similar suggestions by others) to
            write down an NA on my list along the lines of "Brainstorm re: XXX project", "Mindmap ideas re: XXX project", or even "Figure out why XXX project has my attention". Then I force myself back to the Weekly Review. On rare occasions, I'll allow two minutes to dump what's in my head onto a sheet of paper, but I do sparingly...

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