Forum

  • If you are new to these Forums, please take a moment to register using the fields above.

Announcement

Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.

Seeking clarification of "Process" in weekly review

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Seeking clarification of "Process" in weekly review

    I found myself at the start of my weekly review this morning with a long list of new projects from a meeting that finished late last night. The first task of my weekly review is to proces my inboxes and I normally, using the GTD definitions, Process and Organise as I go.

    Today's list was too long for that. It felt like the time spent Processing and Organsing would eat into too much weekly review time. But then, how would I have a complete list of projects for the later steps...?

    With this in mind I decided to scan the list for emergencies and put aside time later today to process it.

    This all got me thinking. When people "Process" their inboxes for a weekly review to they:

    - process = identify next action/file/trash and categorise, or
    - process = identify next action/file/trash

    Most of the time I tend to both process/organise, process/organise, ... each item as it comes out of the tray.

    I'm interested in what you all think?

    David

  • #2
    Applying the two-minute rule to processing

    David,

    I think that you handled the processing of the meeting minutes just fine. A year or so ago I discovered another variation of the two-minute rule. If you can't run an item from your inbox through the processing stage in under two minutes, by default the next action is to review or process it when you have discretionary time. A quick scan for any ticking time bombs during processing is a good idea if you don't spend too much time on it.

    There's no way that you could have accurately defined all of the projects and actions embedded in those meeting minutes (and established ownership of them) in under two minutes. By default the next action is "Review meeting minutes" or "Process meeting minutes". You could toss the minutes into your Read & Review folder or put the reminder on @Anywhere.

    You can still do your weekly review before actually reviewing the minutes. If there's a critical project embedded in the minutes you'll have cleaned up your other commitments and renegotiation will be easy.

    -Luke

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by quantumgardener View Post
      - process = identify next action/file/trash and categorise, or
      - process = identify next action/file/trash
      I found that I have to separate the process of weekly review out or my reviews don't get done. So I try to get inbox to zero first.

      Then I collect any loose papers and pull any notes from my notepad and add them to the now empty inbox. So when I get to process at the weekly review I fully process those items. There aren't too many of them so it's easier. By fully process I mean I make a decision on actionable, define the next action and put it fully into my system.

      I also have to process at least once a day or I get swamped. Some days I process stuff more often. (in the am with coffee, at noon when I take a break and before dinner but after chores when I've often gotten a lot of action items from the evening walkabout)

      Still struggling with processing my e-mail inbox. I tend to cherry pick the urgent or the easy to process and leave the hard stuff for later. I'm trying to teach myself some quick key shortcuts to put stuff from inside e-mail into my omnifocus inbox for processing. I've written out a cheat sheet of the major ones I use and have it on a 3 x 5 card next to my monitor.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by quantumgardener View Post
        This all got me thinking. When people "Process" their inboxes for a weekly review to they:

        - process = identify next action/file/trash and categorise, or
        - process = identify next action/file/trash

        Most of the time I tend to both process/organise, process/organise, ... each item as it comes out of the tray.
        David
        I think Luke put it great. And, like Oogie, I try to get as much out of the way as possible, so that I can get through it within 1 to 1-1/2 hours. During the weekly review there is no possible time to process and organize the multitude of projects and/or NAs from meetings, seminars, captures, etc. that have come at me in the last week. I will then either put the item on the someday/maybe or I will need to make a next action to further define the project or notes or what-have-yous. The only exception would be straight-forward projects such as "get car tune-up". Should I have an overload, I liked your idea of scanning for emergencies and quickly organizing only those.

        Comment


        • #5
          I find that I have much more tolerance for the discomfort of having a backed up inbox(s) awaiting a processing session than I do for the discomfort and stress of trying to cram info into an unkempt system (I,e incomplete or inefficient weekly review.)
          My weekly reviews still take about 8 days but it's usually caused by habitual inbox backlog processing, doing, or the worst… tweeking my system.

          I got a lot out of what Meg Edwards said in a GTD connect podcast -
          "Unless you're planning on a 5 hr review allow 5-10 minutes for Inbox Zero - any more than that and it would be best to schedule a processing session. Obviously though you should scan for things that'll blow up if ignored.
          If you are doing a decidedly long review it's perfectly fine to get into defining time, doing time, proj planning time. etc. In other words, be flexible.
          Early on give yourself permission to use the weekly as training and practice the implimentation and processing habits."

          Because I'm a visual learner and operator I've found it helpful to post the Mastering Workflow - Processing and Organizing diagram (PDF from DAC website https://secure.davidco.com/store/cat...am-p-16166.php) next to my PC monitor. I also went the extra step of coloring in the boxes and pictures which represent processing with a purple colored pencil, and the boxes and pictures which represent organizing in orange. This helps me to see, as I'm doing it, what I'm trying to do with an item. In retrospect I'd say I most often get stuck on the organizing issues.
          But I can't see how I would
          1.) Decide the outcome,
          2.) I.D. the next action, and then...
          not organize or file it.
          If it were a physical item I'd be holding it in my hand. If I then decided not to yet decide where to put it, it'd either continue to take up space in my hand (psychic RAM), go back into the inbox (counter productive) or get lost in the clutter.

          Practice, Practice, Practice

          Comment


          • #6
            Fantastic responses everyone. Thank you. One of the benefits of being in Australia is I get to sleep while everybody answers my questions. An international subconscious.

            Absolutely agree with all the ideas presented. I'd forgotten Meg's time indicators and that will be a good benchmark going forward. I think I probably had 30 minutes instead of 10 and yesterday's example was going to be beyond that (or so I thought as it took about 30 minutes later in the day).

            @Oogiem. Regarding your email inbox. Apply exactly the same discipline to email as you do to a desk in-tray. Process one item at a time.

            David

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by quantumgardener View Post
              @Oogiem. Regarding your email inbox. Apply exactly the same discipline to email as you do to a desk in-tray. Process one item at a time.
              I'm trying, it's hard, some e-mail take me a very long time to decide if it's actionable and if it is to define the next action.

              I'm sometimes dismayed at how long I have to read and ruminate on a complex e-mail before I figure out what it is I really need to do with it.

              I've tried the just put a note to decide on e-mail X in my actions lists and move the e-mail to a holding place but they never get done there either. At least if they stay in my inbox I see them constantly and can work on them a bit more easily.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Oogiem View Post
                I'm sometimes dismayed at how long I have to read and ruminate on a complex e-mail before I figure out what it is I really need to do with it.
                Chin up. It will take as long as it takes. Maybe it takes 5 minutes instead of 2.

                I've tried the just put a note to decide on e-mail X in my actions lists and move the e-mail to a holding place but they never get done there either. At least if they stay in my inbox I see them constantly and can work on them a bit more easily.
                That's the obvious GTD approach to the problem. The other alternative is to schedule diary time.

                I guess that what may be happening is that you don't really want to read them. If so, no matter where you store them you won't look at them.

                If the emails are too complex to digest then perhaps you can have a conversation with the person(s) sending them to you. The communication format may not be suitable.

                David

                Comment


                • #9
                  It's really worthwhile to try to separate out processing. As soon as I began taking processing of this as a separate (daily) activity my GTD got one step closer to black-belt I also realised that it was taking me between 30 and 120 minutes a day just to process properly (As I had just moved house and taken on new job responsibilities at the same time)

                  For those of you having trouble processing email, here's a mind experiment. If it will let you, try to get your browser to STOP displaying the subject, sender, priority and preview of every email. This will leave you with something resembling a list of received dates containing no information as to whether the email is an emergency, a spam, or something else.

                  Then watch with amazement as your brain (the one you thought you knew so well) tries to physically batter its way out of your head to get back to the mouse to desparately turn them back on

                  Why do you need that information anyway if you are doing GTD processing?

                  You're left with something resembling a paper inbox. A stack of things you can't tell any details about. You HAVE to open them, one at a time, take a good look and think "What exactly is this?" and deal with it exactly once.

                  There are reasons why people couldn't practically use this 24/7 because they may have to scan for emergencies. But if you sat down to conciously "process" then there's nothing stopping you from hiding them for 30 minutes and concentrating on the processing flowchart!

                  Just watch out for that angry brain

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by quantumgardener View Post
                    I guess that what may be happening is that you don't really want to read them. If so, no matter where you store them you won't look at them.

                    If the emails are too complex to digest then perhaps you can have a conversation with the person(s) sending them to you. The communication format may not be suitable.
                    I took a good look at the ones that are still stuck in my inbox.

                    About half are things I need to decide if I will support/or do.

                    One fairly large set are from folks asking for donations because I've donated to them before. To process them and decide if it's actionable I need to go look at the budget to see if we could even afford to donate and that takes me a while because it involves talking to hubby to see if any of his special causes are also going to be expecting donations soon. At least one subset of those are folks asking for donations from my farm business. For those I have to go back and evaluate whether I got good value for the donation before. People want me to donate fleeces or yarn to various events. I consider those advertising and need to see if it resulted in sales before but I don't have an easy way to get that data so I know it will take a long time so the e-mail just sits there.

                    Another set are people asking for detailed information. Things like copies of research articles, detailed data on sheep bloodlines and so on. I have the data but again it will take a while to dig it up. I can't create a reference file for it as I never know what particular sheep I need to trace the pedigree for until I get a request but they usually take me 3-4 hours to do. I don't get to choose how those types of requests come to me, it's part of my job as secretary and registrar for the sheep association.

                    Another set are things I may need in the future, like coupon codes for companies I buy a lot of stuff on-line for. I don't have a good on-line reference place to store them so they sit there until I either use them or they expire.

                    There are a few messages that have tasks I really don't want to do. Those I am just plain avoiding figuring out what is really the next action because the entire situation is so nasty. Those are actually the easiest to deal with, I just need to buck up and do it. They take a lot of mental energy though.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      With the detailed information requests. If you ask "What exactly is it" and follow the workflow diagram to the "T" where does it take you? To me they sound like projects, and at 3-4 hours each, they may need some renegotiation with either yourself or others, dependingon the expectations of the senders of the email?

                      For the coupons, you could treat each one like you would a thing to "buy" from a specific store. If there are few enough of them you might have an agenda item for the store with the coupons stored in it. Otherwise can you chuck them in "errands"?

                      Dunno if your email editor lets you change the "read only" message subject, but Outlook 2007 does - you can prefix them all with "^Coupon expires 2009-08-14" or whatever you like to sort them to one part of folder in expiry order. At the weekly review delete the ones which are out of date by glancing at the headers.

                      The donations sound like an agenda item @Hubby - maybe a monthly tickler to between you work through all your combined outstanding donation requests and decide actions? Depends how often you both sit down to coordinate finances - mine would be once a quarter at our financial review. Again you can then shift them out of inbox and into the agenda support folder or whatever you use.

                      Could you put the "nasty" ones as projects in your someday maybe list? You might feel better that they were "in" your system rather than clogging your inbox. And you might then think what the successful outcome is even if you decide you don't want to take action any time soon.

                      The Meg Edwards GTD podcast called "Problems or Projects?" sounds like it would be really useful to you for those "nasty" ones.

                      Comment

                      Working...
                      X