GTD Notes: Chapter 08 – The Weekly Review
This is a series of posts with reading notes of the book “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity” by David Allen.
My notes on Chapter 08: Reflecting: Keeping It All Fresh and Functional
The GTD methodology aims to have information organized in a such a way that we see all the actions we NEED to see, WHEN we need to see them.
Recommendations on What to Look at Daily:
Look at the Calendar first: check all the day and time specific commitments
Look at the Action Lists: review the lists so that we feel confident we are not missing anything critical
But these lists can become a nuisance if they are not kept up to date. So this chapter dives deep into the famous “Weekly Review”.
Very simply, the Weekly Review is whatever you need to do to get your head empty again and get oriented for the next couple of weeks. — David Allen
The Weekly Review has 3 parts:
- Get clear: process all collected stuff
- Collect loose papers and materials (add all to the Inbox)
- Get “In” to empty: process all inboxes
- Empty your head: capture anything that pops up
- Get Current: review calendars and check if all lists are up-to-date
- Review Next Actions Lists: mark off any completed tasks, add next actions if needed
- Review Previous Calendar: look at the past 2 weeks to see if there's anything you still need to act on
- Review Upcoming Calendar: check for any upcoming travel, meetings, events, reminders, etc. to prepare for them
- Review the Waiting-For list: check if follow-ups are needed, check off completed items
- Review Projects List: check status of projects, goals, outcomes.
- Review any Relevant Checklists
- Get Creative: add any new ideas
- Review Someday/Maybe lists: is there anything to activate? is there anything that can be deleted?
- Be Creative and Courageous: after doing this full review it might be easier to capture any new, crazy, thought-provoking idea into the system.
For reference there is a checklist available here.
When and where to do a Weekly Review
For a typical 5-day work week, David Allen recommends blocking off 2 hours on the last workday for the review.
This is something I realized I have not been doing well in my work routine. Because I have my personal weekly review on the weekend, I kinda neglect the review at work, thinking “Oh, I will do it with my personal one at home”. And that never happens. When I'm doing my personal review I'm in another mode, a different mood, and I don't really want to look into work related stuff.
That being said, I now blocked off my Calendar on Fridays, from 3:30pm to 5pm to dedicate exclusively on my work weekly review. My personal review will continue to be on Sunday mornings.
Until then, do whatever you need to, once a week, to trick yourself into backing away from the daily grind for a couple of hours—not to zone out, but to rise up at least to the horizon of all your projects and their statuses, and to catch up with everything else that relates to what’s pulling on your attention. — David Allen
For people with non-typical 9 to 5 jobs or different lifestyles, the review can be done on long plane or train trips, in a favourite coffee shop, during their children's weekend activity (like choir practice), etc.
At the end of this chapter David Allen mentions that it probably takes 2 years of implementing the GTD methodology to get to a point where we are confident about all our horizons (including visions, values and objectives). This might seem daunting, but it really is a long term practice because GTD has the potential to touch all levels of our lives, if we want to.
The next chapter is about “Engaging” and I'm curious to know what have I missed about it when I read it before. I can say that deciding what to do every day is one of my biggest challenges nowadays.
By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.