I'm bad at Weekly Reviews

rmjb

Registered
I've been feeling overwhelmed at work so I arranged a work from home day for today, with the goal to get an uninterrupted, high quality weekly review and regain a sense of control.
I started at 9:30 am (30 minutes later than I planned) and finished at 4:30 pm, with only a 30 minute break for lunch :(.

I don't do weekly reviews regularly, they take too long. Typically when I'm through the Get Clear part a lot of time has elapsed and I end up doing a low quality Get Current. I clear my email inbox almost everyday, but email is a deluge some times which adds to a lengthy Get Clear.
When I'm beat after an elongated Get Clear session I just glaze over a lot of the Get Current and I leave items in my lists that I know I can't do or need further clarifying.

Do you all have any tips or suggestions for better Weekly Reviews?
I think I get lost in the doing as I go through the various parts of the review, which only adds to the time.

I listened to the GTD Nordic podcast this morning on Reflect before starting my review, those guys get a review done in 90 minutes! That's amazing!

I'm bad at Weekly Reviews.
 

Gardener

Registered
It does sound to me like you're doing too much doing. In general, I try to have a hard line between reviewing/organizing and doing.

Random thoughts:

- I can't support the two minute rule. "Doing" anything at all distracts me from the mindset needed for a review. I don't care if the 'doing' would be thirty seconds. This is true not just for weekly reviews but for any sort of review. For daily email clearing, I skim through the emails and toss "no action" ones in my file for the year, and "action" ones in my "read this" folder. I don't take any action whatsoever until the main inbox is empty. Then I may or may not go to "read this" to take action on what looked the most urgent.

- Plus, I think that sometimes the two minutes is mis-measured. If you have forty emails that each require a two-minute response, that's IMO an eighty minute action. So if I had that situation while doing a weekly review, I'd toss all those emails into a folder and create an action or project for getting them answered. (ONE action or project for all forty, not one for each email.) What could have added eighty minutes to the weekly review now adds five. Or maybe three.

- You could similarly reduce the effort (the effort DURING the weekly review) of dealing with other emails. Bug reports? Make a project for getting them into the bug database. Customer queries? Make a project for researching them. Meeting notes to read? Same.

- And some items may not be ripe for analytical thought this week. Maybe there have been a bunch of incidents leading to the possibility of switching from Technology X to Technology Y. Maybe you would normally read all the emails and gather the information during your weekly review. But maybe it would make more sense to, again, create a project for that reading and researching, and if you work that project next week, maybe the NEXT week the issue will be ripe for making decisions.
 

Oogiem

Registered
Do you all have any tips or suggestions for better Weekly Reviews?
Get clear the day before and ignore any new things that come in while reviewing.
Plan on at least 1-2 hours of processing time PER DAY to keep up.
Liberal use of Someday/Maybe. I have mine sorted into lists by Area of Focus for ease in reviewing but anything that works for you works. Right now I have over 800 things in my someday/maybe lists and many of them would eventually turn into multiple projects if or when I ever decide to actually start on them. That's not including lists of things like books to read (already over 250 and counting) or movies to watch or similar lists.
Set a specific time and day for your weekly review. I do mine on Friday but pick a day that works for you.
Don't try to DO anything during review. Not even 2 minute tasks. Review is just for reviewing. I find it easy to go down the black hole of doing project planning during my review for projects when the proper course should be to change the next action to research X or investigate Y or run Natural Planning model on project Z
Do mini review each morning, check your calendar, read your context lists and then start working on your day. You can catch a lot of things if you just spend an extra 5-10 minutes each morning reading your context lists. I do mine while I'm drinking my second cup of coffee.
 

Geeko

GTD since 2017
Well, this is more the realm of @Longstreet but I made very good experience with scheduling my weekly review. I always do my professional Weekly Review on the last working day of the week before I leave for my weekend.
On the personal side I am still looking for a routine that works for me. So I am still on the learning side (and I guess I will never stop to be there ;) ).

Cheers,
Tristan
 

RS356

Practicing GTD since 2005
The best advice I can give is to do a regular review. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Like going to the gym, one gets better results when consistently going. Results will improve with time. It took me a full 3 years to really grasp GTD, mostly because I hadn’t made the Weekly Review a habit.

As @Oogie mentions, planning on 1-2 hours per day to keep current is great advice. And a brief daily review allows me to catch a lot of things I’d otherwise miss.
 

rmjb

Registered
Thanks for the feedback guys. I think the key factor is "no doing" during the weekly review. If I entertain any doing it just takes forever.
Cutting out the doing has allowed me to do more realistic weekly reviews these past two weeks.
 

rmjb

Registered
For something so simple, the suggestion to keep reviews for only reviewing has already made a big impact on me!
I find that's often the case with GTD. It is very nuanced, and slight changes can make a big impact. The trick is discovering those slight changes.
 

rmjb

Registered
OK, here's an update. Since the beginning of the year I have done a weekly review every Friday. I got my review down to 1 hour, which has helped greatly with my consistency.

The first thing I did is what was recommended above: no doing during weekly reviews.
If I see something that I need to do during a review I flag/star it and do it after the review.

Secondly, I removed my read/review items from my next action lists.
Having them there just consumed time in the review with me telling myself "I didn't read that yet". Read/review is now a list of notes in OneNote.

Thirdly, I cut out the Get Clear phase of the weekly review.
I'm working on improving my Capture habit by using the NapkinNote app on my phone. This consolidates my Ins to just my one email inbox and my one physical inbox. I also make sure to clear these once a day, even some time on Friday, not necessarily at the start of my weekly review.

These improvements have really helped me. Maybe they would help someone else.
 

TesTeq

Registered
OK, here's an update. Since the beginning of the year I have done a weekly review every Friday. I got my review down to 1 hour, which has helped greatly with my consistency.

The first thing I did is what was recommended above: no doing during weekly reviews.
If I see something that I need to do during a review I flag/star it and do it after the review.

Secondly, I removed my read/review items from my next action lists.
Having them there just consumed time in the review with me telling myself "I didn't read that yet". Read/review is now a list of notes in OneNote.

Thirdly, I cut out the Get Clear phase of the weekly review.
I'm working on improving my Capture habit by using the NapkinNote app on my phone. This consolidates my Ins to just my one email inbox and my one physical inbox. I also make sure to clear these once a day, even some time on Friday, not necessarily at the start of my weekly review.

These improvements have really helped me. Maybe they would help someone else.
Congratulations! May the Weekly Review be with you!
 

mcogilvie

Registered
OK, here's an update. Since the beginning of the year I have done a weekly review every Friday. I got my review down to 1 hour, which has helped greatly with my consistency.

The first thing I did is what was recommended above: no doing during weekly reviews.
If I see something that I need to do during a review I flag/star it and do it after the review.

Secondly, I removed my read/review items from my next action lists.
Having them there just consumed time in the review with me telling myself "I didn't read that yet". Read/review is now a list of notes in OneNote.

Thirdly, I cut out the Get Clear phase of the weekly review.
I'm working on improving my Capture habit by using the NapkinNote app on my phone. This consolidates my Ins to just my one email inbox and my one physical inbox. I also make sure to clear these once a day, even some time on Friday, not necessarily at the start of my weekly review.

These improvements have really helped me. Maybe they would help someone else.
Good call on read and review. From Frozen:

Let it go, let it go
Can't hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door.
 
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