Friday, November 11, 2011

What To Do When Your GTD Weekly Review Is Too Long

I thought tonight I would focus on what to do when your GTD weekly review takes too long. I think the general impression that David Allen gives when he explains the weekly review is that it should take about an hour to complete. Many people, myself originally included, found our reviews taking much longer than they needed too. What was the problem and why is it that my review originally took to long to do?

Well for me, it boiled down to collecting during my review. It also was my time to process and organize. I spent some time doing. And when I finally got to the review section of the checklist, I was tired and didn't do a whole lot of reviewing of my projects. Not to mention, when I first started I didn't even have a project list.

So what I started to do was start doing my weekly review over the course of a weekend. On Friday's I would spend time collecting everything together. On Saturdays, I would spend time getting my inboxes empty. And then on Sunday, I would review my project list for next actions.

Breaking down the process over three days really helped me get a handle on my weekly review. I also confirmed that the reason I wasn't getting my review done in an hour or less was because I wasn't just reviewing, I was trying to cram everything else into this "review" period.

I think it's a good idea to use your weekly review time to get your system into shape anyway even if you don't at first get to the review part.

What I did initially was use my weekly review to make sure that I had everything collected. This process took a few months because I had previously been a stacker. I had paper in stacks everywhere. Most of it was reference. But since I didn't separate reference from actionable stuff, it certainly seemed that I had a lot more to do than I really did.

Once I got collection under control, then I spent more time getting my inbox to zero. I initially started working on getting my email control. Later I started working on paper until one day, my inbox was empty.

Using the time in the weekly review to focus on the front end of my GTD system helped me clear my mind and eventually I figured out that I needed a project list and I started working on that.

The key for me was improving each part of the system as I went along. Don't be afraid to not review when you first start getting things going. Just start improving how far you get each and every day as well as each and every week.

Also don't be afraid to spread the steps out over a few days until you can handle it all at one time.
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