contexts: weekly review

January 29, 2009

This is part of a series on Contexts where I explore some of the unique contexts I’ve been working with in my GTD system.

While David Allen’s Getting Things Done has shaped a lot of my workflow, my efforts at implementing a weekly review have been half-hearted. For more than a year, I’ve scheduled an appointment with myself every Monday morning for a weekly review. This is meant guarantee that I would have some time as my week began to collect my thoughts, update my task list, and look at the week ahead. Sometimes it has been just that…but often not.

Up until a few weeks ago, I had never made the concept of a weekly review my own, in spite of it’s presence in my calendar. I am pretty good about doing a daily review of my task list — bumping items up and down in priority…and even marking some of them complete. (It seems like more tasks get shuffled than completed sometimes. I’m sure you can’t relate though.) So while I often feel like I have a handle on my task list, I have been missing some of the larger questions and tasks that come with a weekly review.

As I’ve been revisiting my contexts, it occurred to me to create a Weekly Review context. So, when Monday morning rolls along, I can open this context and work through the tasks. I have them all set to recur with a new start date the following week once I complete them. Working through this list helps me tie up loose ends and have everything in a ready stance for the week to come. Here are some of the tasks I complete each week:

  • Review Current Documents: Remove the “current” tag from any documents I no longer need readily available. (Related post: a folder for the trendy kids)
  • Review Current Projects: A quick glance at what projects I have in OmniFocus…especially helps me to remember to mark complete the projects I finished the week prior.
  • Prioritize Projects and Tasks for this Week: I like to assign tasks to certain days using start and due dates so I’m not overwhelmed everytime I look my list. I usually am anyway.
  • Tag Documents in Leap: I primarily use tags rather than folders to organize documents using Leap. Tagging recently created documents assures that they can be easily found later. (Related post: spring cleaning the documents folder)
  • Tag items in Yojimbo: I probably toss 15-20 notes and ideas into Yojimbo every week. Much like my documents, making sure they are tagged helps me sort them and find them later. (Related post: capture everything: the incubator

I find that I spend about 45-60 minutes working through this list, but it is time well spent. It gives me a fresh start to the week, and a sense of a clear mind and a clean computer to tackle what I’m facing.

If you do a weekly review, what does yours look like? I’m sure there are a few other items to add that could be helpful for me.

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