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Getting through the Weekly Review

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  • Getting through the Weekly Review

    I’m having difficulty with completing my Weekly Review. The largest culprit is attempting to DO versus just Process, (this is due to imitation 2 minute tasks…Looks like a 2 min task turns into something larger) so as a result I am not getting completely through the Weekly Review. (and ultimately not receiving the total payoff of GTD)

    I know I have read over and over the key to success with GTD is to keep the 5 Phases of Workflow separate. (Collecting, Processing, Organizing, Reviewing and Doing)

    Another issue is keeping Processing and Organizing separate. When it comes to Processing isn’t the end step going to dove tail into Organizing? (I use a Palm Pilot and Outlook as my main collection bucket) I probably have read some info about it, but if others have some clarifiers / techniques that help keep them on track and FINISHING their Weekly Review I would appreciate the feedback.

    PS I liked the example in the “Ready for Anything” about looking at your work through different view points, (Vice President, Executive, Manager)…But I would like a little more on this if it is possible.

  • #2
    two minute items

    After using the two-minute guideline for a couple of years, I have this suggestion. Try just capturing all the items you "think" are two minutes on a piece of paper as you process, but don't do them. Just power through the whole inbox so that everything is processed. Then go back and take a few moments to really think on why you thought they fell in that category. You may find that you were overly optimistic, simply because you wanted to get it taken care of and remove it from your workload lists. This idea has helped me get a better feel for what is actually an item that can be done immediately. You will have the benefit of knowing you completed your review, you still have your two minute items you can do if they actually only take that long, and if they are or become bigger items you can put them in your system appropriately. I also think that you could time yourself through a list of two minute items to see how long it takes. Like David says, sometimes the "two-minute window" can be longer, depending on the pace that you have going. My personal experience is that it has to be nearly an "instantaneous" item to put it in the "do it now/two minute" category.


    • #3
      I think of the Weekly Review as an event that is distinctly different from Processing. I Process as often as practical with the goal of keeping TBPs (to be processed) at a minimum. But, I do not make Processing a priority over tasks that require uninterupted focus. Since I feel that the Weekly Review ought to be a focused effort, I don't Process when in the Review mode. I either leave the TBPs alone (out of sight if possible) or Process them, then take break coming back with a fresh mind for the Review.

      When I have been away from Processing for a while (vacations, conferences, etc.), I also do what 'dnnichols3' does. That gets the inbasket empty, a relief for me. I list the 2min stuff on a piece of paper divided up by contexts. Any pertinent materials, just stay right under that legal pad. If there's a bunch and time's not available, I label a folder "2 minute drill" and sweep the pad & related items into it. Then, the folder doesn't get recycled until empty and is always in sight (or at least at hand).


      • #4
        Sorry, meant that I treat 2 min stuff like 'Tim" does.


        • #5
          Early on with GTD I made the mistake of treating the Weekly Review as a "catch up on my processing session". Sure enough, I tended not to finish the weekly review.

          Now, I strive to stay caught up with the processing. My WR is on Friday morning, so Thursday before I go home I drop 15 minutes on plowing through accumulated meeting notes and other amusements. Then when my WR time comes up on Friday, I spend at most 10 minutes doing processing, then go straight into the reviewing, checking off things actually done, and updating my written view of projects & next actions so that they match reality.

          You say you have a tendency to get balled up in 2-minute actions that then take longer than 2 minutes. I remember that David points out that 2 minutes is a good default, but if you have a leisurely afternoon, make it longer, and if you want to make sure you get through everything, crank it down as far as 30 seconds. That seems to be how I do my review in practice -- any next action that isn't "file" or "record this information in my address book" (those are 30-second tasks) simply gets recorded for later. Phone calls are DEFINITELY not a 2-minute action, neither is looking things up on web sites (my personal bane), etc.

          As for processing dovetailing into organizing, I experience that too, but I don't see it as a problem to be solved. I see David's insistence on keeping these separate in GTD as something of a startup issue: when you're new and you don't have a familar organization system, it helps the learner to keep the two phases distinct. However, once you've got your system down cold, I don't see a necessary distinction between (eg) processing some meeting notes, realizing that there are a couple of next actions to be recorded, and creating a new project tree in my Life Balance outline to hold them. It flows very smoothly, and that's what I need.

          Hope some of this helps,