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Weekly Review Exposed

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  • Weekly Review Exposed

    Can anyone help me streamline my Weekly Review to below 4 hours?

    1. Collect Everything to "IN"
    Empty Head on Paper

    2. Update Bank Accounts
    *should my receipts & slips be gathered, and filed to later process?
    I have never had time yet to update my bank accounts during WR
    I put this as #2 because I had it last & it wasn't getting done, it still
    isn't getting done & probably doesn't belong in the WR

    3. Navigate & Plan Calendar
    Personal Planner
    Home Staff Schedule
    Business Meeting Updates
    Correspondance Tickler/Calendar

    4. Empty Collection Buckets
    Purse, Wallet, Briefcase
    Empty email "in", "@ waiting for", "@ actions"
    Empty Business Voicemail
    Empty Personal Voicemail

    5. Empty Desk "IN" Box

    6. Purge & Update Lists
    @ Phone, @ Desk, @ Computer, Errands, etc.

    7. Purge & Update Agendas

    8. Update "Projects List"
    *Over 60! Many need to be moved to "Someday/Maybe"

    9. Update & Print Out Staff Actions Lists

    10. Update NA for Top 5 Projects

    11. Process all Meeting/Seminar Notes
    * have had trouble finding 20% gold

    12. Review "Someday/Maybe"
    *this list has been in my head, until now. It has been suggested to
    move many of my 60 Projects that are not time sensitive to this list

    OK there it is. What do I need to add/delete or change?

  • #2

    You are one busy woman. Even though you don't feel you are getting back your time, just think how things would be before you got a handle on what you have already! Good work!

    I think this is one area where everyone struggles. There are many many people who have trouble doing the weekly review. You aren't the only one.

    Reading over your list makes me wonder if that is the order in which you are trying to do your weekly review?

    If so, perhaps a little rearranging may help. This is what makes sense to me, but I'll be the first to say, I am not there, and however things make sense to you, is A-OK!

    Empty Collection Buckets
    Empty Desk "IN" box
    Collect Everything to IN (Mind dump)

    Update Bank Accounts
    Process all Meeting/Seminar Notes
    Navigate & Plan Calendar

    Purge & Update Lists (@context)
    Purge & Update Agendas
    Update NA for Top 5 Projects
    Update Projects Lists
    Update and Print Staff Actions Lists

    Review "Someday/Maybe"

    Looking at it this way, you can see that most of what you are doing is not reviewing, but collecting, processing and organizing. Those are what you have to do to "get" to the review. And sometimes you have to go thru multiple loops of process, organize, process some more, organize again before you get something in hand to review.

    Most of us tried several ways of "To do" lists. We tried to combine collecting and organizing in one process, trying to rank what we had to do while writing it down. If we separate the Updating Projects Lists from the Review Project Lists, the actual time you spend looking over what you just did is a lot less. You aren't gaining time. Your Process/Organize time just went way up to compensate. But, how you think about Reviewing is different.

    So my suggestion is to add the steps, "Review @Context lists" "Review Agendas" and "Review Projects Lists" along with your "Review Someday/Maybe List." Consider just that time your Weekly Review.

    Others will have different ideas. I hope you get a lot of responses!


    • #3
      It looks and sounds like you are trying to do a lot of collecting and processing during the weekly review, as well as a bit of "doing." Parsing some of that out to other times isn't going to mean you won't do it, but you'll free up your mind during your weekly review to really review. Here are a couple of random thoughts:

      Updating your bank accounts might be a series of less-than-2-minute tasks if you're taking one receipt, check, etc. and entering it. But if you gather them all together and make entering them a project, you free up some WR time and energy and you can do them when you have the right combination of time, energy, and tools at some other point.

      It sounds like you spend a fair amount of time emptying all of your collection buckets and processing them. Try emptying your collection buckets before your WR time. One of the coaches (can't recall who, Meg or Jason?) has suggested doing a full processing session the day before a WR, just to make sure you can truly dedicate your WR time to WR activities.

      Create and use a someday/maybe list. In a response to your other post, jac suggested asking yourself, for each project, whether you're going to advance that project in the next week. If not, stick it in sd/m, and don't think about it for another week. Next week, during your WR, you'll see the entry, think to yourself "this week?" and then decide.

      Like Elena, I hope you get more responses. I'd like to see what others say. Hope that was helpful.


      • #4
        I have a "Daily Morning Routine" that consists of 3 steps:
        Check Agenda and Calendar
        First I review of the hard landscape of the day to get an idea of what is coming at me: number of meetings, deadlines, ...
        Check waiting for's
        I then go through the waiting for-folder of my mail. I look at the items that should have been closed/answered by now and I send a little friendly reminder. This helps to let people know that you are on top of things.
        Process notes previous day
        I finally run through my notes of the previous day and extract next actions, points to follow up, ...

        Especially the last step helped me in reducing the time needed for the weekly review. Reviewing your notes the next day means you have less to look at (1 day compared to a whole week) and everything is still fresh in your memory. Additionally, when you follow the 2-minute rule when processing your notes, you get a lot af actions done immediately (forward that file to Mr Smith, inform Mrs Peters about the name of the prgram to use, ...). So they do not pile up till the end of the week.

        The past weeks I have shifted the first step to the evening: before going home, I take 15 mnutes to look at my calendar for the next day and I see what priorities I had for the week. Based on that, I make a rough schedule for the day. When I come in the next morning, I can hit the ground running.

        Hope this helps.


        • #5
          What the Weekly Review is Not

          I just read one of the Coach tips which reminded me that the review is a is not a time to process anything. Processing is to be done before we are ready for a review.

          I am struggling with this also. Having read your list, it initially appears that "reviewing" is being mixed with "processing."

          I am going back to the book and re-reading those sections.


          • #6
            For the last few weeks I've added a recurring, untimed event to my THURSDAY calendar called "empty/process inboxes". I try to do this near the end of the day.

            That way, when I get to me WR on FRIDAY, I'm not confronted with anything more than, at worst, a half-day's worth of new stuff to process.


            • #7
              Here's my weekly review checklist. It takes me about an hour and a half to do it all:
              • Sync Palm and computer.
                Collect loose papers into inbox.
                Process my e-mail.
                Process my inbox.
                Review past week for actions.
                Review next couple of weeks for actions.
                Review my list of recurring actions for any that need to "come alive" again.
                Review my projects list. Do all projects have at least one next action?
                Review my project support files.
                Review contents of tickler files.
                Review my next actions. Are all actions really actions?
                Review next actions that don't have an associated project. Do any need a project made for them?
                Replace most items in "Waiting For..." list with reminders in calendar or tickler.
                Review "Someday/Maybe".
                Move any actions in the "Unfiled" or "None" category to their correct category. (To catch those times when I occasionally create a to-do item on my Palm without categorizing it.)
                Empty my head.
                Sync my Palm with my computer.
                Purge my to-do list on my Palm.
                Sync my Palm with my computer.
                Count and record the number of to-do items and projects in my system.
                Check off my "Weekly review" action.
                Sync my Palm with my computer.


              • #8
                Weekly Review

                You know, when I read the previous posts I think I have diagnosed my problem - I'm just not motivated! What am I even doing here? I used to be 'driven' & now I am not

                I just don't have the obsessive/complusive drive I used to.


                • #9
                  Little suggestions

                  I do my bookkeeping all at once, once a week. I purge receipts, etc. into "Home" and "Business" in-bins that are specifically for bookkeeping, and if i run across anything that needs to be dealt with in the review, then I can put it in the regular "in." That takes about four hours, but when it's done, my mind is clear to deal with the review.

                  Anything I haven't moved on and don't see a chance of moving on in the near future goes to someday/maybe. It won't get lost—it's off my mind, but I'll think about it again in a week.


                  • #10
                    JERE: Sounds like it's time to get back 50,000 feet.


                    • #11
                      Re: Weekly Review Exposed

                      If it takes too long to do something, then you need to break it down into smaller chunks. I see many opportunities in your list.

                      As an example: I am a "clean freak." When I lived alone in a small apartment, I kept it immaculate via a weekly cleaning session that took less than one hour. But now I'm married and live in a much bigger house requiring much more maintenance. It took me half my Saturday to get it clean, and by then I was exhausted. So now, I do some maintenance almost every weekday morning and almost every weekday evening. I spend anywhere from 10-40 minutes in any one session -- and it's much less painful than doing it all in one big session.

                      It's the same thing with collecting and processing. Do these as often as you need, in order to keep up with it. I process my physical Home Inbox only once per week, which takes about 1/2 hour. If it took any longer, I'd do it twice per week, because I have learned that 1/2 hour collecting & processing is as much as I can stand in one sitting. I process my work Inboxes (email, physical) every day. Collecting should become an automatic habit that doesn't take chunks of time; just automatically put things in their collection buckets, as you come across them.

                      Keeping up with your collecting and processing, by doing them regularly, would streamline your current "Weekly Review" considerably.

                      Second, why deal with the bank stuff during your weekly review? That sounds like "do," not "review." It sounds like an action or project that you should do at another time. Even if you did it before your weekly review, checking off the completion of a separate project should leave you in a much better state of mind coming into the true "review." Another thought: if you rarely do it now, does it REALLY need to be on your list? For instance, I felt guilty for a long time because I do not balance my checking account. Instead I have adopted spending/saving habits where I live beneath my means, and then I feel good if I simply look over the bank statement for any incorrect charges. (Have never seen any.)

                      Third, you MUST have a Someday/Maybe list. There is a limit to how much a human being can do in a day, or a week. GTD does not add hours to your week or help you do 3 things at once. You can improve your efficiency to do more -- but only up to a point. You cannot work on 60 projects in any given week, unless they are trivial projects and you are content to move each one forward only a little tiny bit. Besides, look at that project list and ask yourself if each one is truly important, valuable, and worth a chunk of your life that you can never reclaim for anything else. Think about what that project will cost you to complete, and what benefit it will bring you in return. Then pick the most valuable, the ones you truly want to move forward significantly, and move the rest to Someday/Maybe. You will review Someday/Maybe only once a week, in your weekly review; and I bet that you will find that some of them can just be let go -- after they languish there for many weeks. So why clutter your Projects list with them all in the meantime?

                      Meeting Notes: if there's no gold, no action items, throw them away. If you are a pack rat and can't throw them away, file them (and then inevitably throw them away LATER, right?)


                      • #12
                        True Review

                        Thank you for the great insight. 30 minutes is about all I can stand, also, at one sitting for cleaning and processing. Maybe, if I am on a roll, and certain to finish, I'll process something for an hour. I prefer faster actions, like the '2 minute rule'.

                        I have pulled everything 'not review', out of my Weekly Review. Now I "operate from zero base daily" with all of my collection buckets empty. That is my new standard, like flossing before bed!

                        I process things much more than I ever wanted to, as in daily. But things are GETTING DONE! Imagine that.

                        As far as the Weekly Review, this is my first week with a true review- just a review. I'm done with a ton of front end processing; I have my projects to 30, with only 5 projects to focus on per week that are time sensitive. Everything else is on my "Someday/Maybe" list.

                        Now I am ready to soar above the clouds and reflect & review during my "Weekly Review". I pine for the 50,000 foot view.

                        I'll write back after my date with a True Review this week.


                        • #13
                          Re: True Review

                          Originally posted by ShawnMarie
                          I'll write back after my date with a True Review this week.
                          I'll be very interested to hear how your weekly review goes. It sounds as if you have made the changes that will help speed your review. Good luck.


                          • #14
                            The more I process during the week...

                            ...the easier/shorter my weekly review, and the more I'm willing to do it.

                            Recently I've been practicing with short periods of "processing" time. 15 minutes is about the limit. I can process/organize for about 15 minutes at a time before I get sidetracked/bored and move on to something else.

                            I've been carving these windows of time out of my days by scheduling them. Say I have a 9am conference call. I'm putting the "meeting start time" at 8:40 on my calendar. Then, I process for 15 minutes, look over my meeting notes for 5 and then tele-con for the meeting.

                            I've been doing this for a couple of weeks, and lo-and-behold, my weekly review is more complete, a bit quicker, and I'm actually willing to do it!


                            • #15
                              Someone else talking about daily/weekly reviews

                              I don't know if you've already seen this, but it's a good one...