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Weekly review - how do you all do it?
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Posted: Jan 11, 2010
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Hey all,

I'm curious how other folks using GTD do their weekly reviews on Toodledo. Currently, I just have a search set up for items that have not been checked off and are in my "projects" and "single actions" folders.

I'm using a variation of Proximo's setup, the biggest similarity is that I have projects as parent tasks and NA's as subtasks. I do not use Stars for NA's, I use the status field instead.

As most everyone here knows, the weekly review makes or breaks our individual GTD systems. If it takes too long, we may not do it and if it's not accurate, we lose trust in our systems. I'd love to hear how others have streamlined their weekly reviews to become a trusted and relatively quick process.


Posted: Jan 14, 2010
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Anyone? I'm very curious to know as I'm eager to streamline the weekly review process.

Thanks in advance!

Posted: Jan 14, 2010
Score: 1 Reference

You are correct that the Weekly Review is the single most important part of GTD.

The Weekly Review can be done in many ways but the important thing is that you do it.

Here is what I do.

I first get "IN" to zero. In my case this is the "No Folder".

I then filter my Actions based on Area of Focus (Work, Personal, etc.) Once I have my task filtered by Area of Focus, I simply go through each task one by one and decide:

1. Is it still something that needs to be done
2. Is it something I can do right now in 2 minutes or less
3. Is it something I need to delegate
4. Is it something I need to move to my Someday list
5. Do I have it clearly defined on what needs to happen, If not, does it need to be a Project with more detailed steps.

These are things going through my mind as I go through each task. Once I am done, I move on to my Projects list, then my Waiting for list and then my Someday list, etc.

Once I complete this cycle, I change the context to another area of focus and go through it again. In my case, my Work related task is the bulk of my list and my Personal task have much less to go through. I do it this way to stay in one frame of mind as I process the list.

The Weekly Review involves more than just going through your Toodledo list.

Weekly Reivew
1. Collect Loose Papers & Materials
2. Get "IN" to Zero
3. Empty Your Head
4. Review Action List
5. Review Calendar
6. Review Waiting-For List
7. Review Projects
8. Review Checklists
9. Review Someday/Maybe List

Hope this helps a little.

Posted: Jan 14, 2010
Score: 0 Reference
Thanks Proximo! It's a good reminder that the Weekly Review includes more than just the lists. I tend to forget that and things start to clutter up all over the place.

Posted: Jan 14, 2010
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OK here's what I do. My goal is to review every single item in Toodledo. I always make sure my inboxes/collection buckets are as close to zero as possible (otherwise I spend my review time processing not reviewing) Then I go through the weekly review checklist in the GTD book. When I get to the action lists and project lists, here's how I do things in Toodledo...

I don't use the Star field day-to-day so at the start of my review I Star every task/project/sub-task and un-Star it when it's reviewed. This means that depending on how I'm feeling I can review by folder (which I use as 20,000ft Roles) or by Context (e.g. @Phone, @HomePC etc). When everything is un-Starred again I've completed my review (apart from the "get-creative" part)

The reason I do things this way is that the sort order of tasks (not sub-tasks) seems random so if I go from folder-view to context-view then back to folder-view, the order of tasks will be different and I can't see what's been reviewed and what hasn't. It also means that if I get interrupted mid-review I can pick up where I left off.

I usually block out a 2-hr period for my review as I've got a lot of stuff on my plate. I'm an IT manager at an airline looking after a software development team of 70 people, I'm married with 2 daughters and we own 2 houses, one that we live in and one that we rent. So I have lots of "projects"!

Here's a quick breakdown of my GTD system in Toodledo (as at today)...

Total tasks = 448 (this includes projects, sub-tasks, everything)
I have 18 folders representing the various roles I have (7-habits style) I prefix the role name with w. h. or p. for work, home and personal roles.
I use 11 @contexts - pretty standard list as per the GTD book
I also have a Project context containing tasks that represent projects (as per GTD definition)
I have 156 project tasks in this context. I use the Status field to mark projects as Active, Delegated, Someday, and i use the status field to mark action tasks as Next Action, Hold, Waiting etc.
Lastly I use the Due Date field for things that have to happen on a particular date, I find this easier than adding non-time-specific items to my Outlook calendar.

One of the reasons my Toodledo system is so large is that I've given up trying to manage email next actions, waiting for etc in Outlook. I've set up the folders but can't seem get in the habit of scanning/checking for next actions in ToodleDo and Outlook when I'm at my workstation.

I use the iPhone app when I'm away from a PC for checking next actions etc. but use a back-pocket notepad and pen for capture.

Hope this helps someone.

Posted: Jan 15, 2010
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Thanks Dave. That's a good idea, using the stars as a way to note what's been reviewed.

Posted: Jan 15, 2010
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Wow Dave,

You are a busy man. It's always great to learn what others are doing.

Posted: Jan 16, 2010
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@DaveShep: Thanks for sharing that amazing setup. I have LONG struggled with staying on top of my e-mail next actions, so thank you for mentioning that you're using Toodledo for that.

I had toyed with e-mailing myself tasks a while back, but couldn't get the hang of it. Inspired by your post, I'm trying again.

@mike: Thanks for starting this thread. I still struggle with the Weekly Review.

At the moment, my "Weekly Review" (which happens every 7-14 days) is mainly a scan of existing tasks (active and future). I check off the odd one that was missed, delete irrelevant tasks, promote "someday"s to active tasks (or vice versa) as needed, and try to make sure the active projects have the next steps sufficiently identified.

Stuff gets overlooked sometimes, and I rarely have a chance to really delve into the project folders to do the planning portion of the weekly review. I also need improvement with the brain-dump and be-creative parts of the review!

It's helpful to see how the others are approaching this vital part of GTD!

Posted: Jan 16, 2010
Score: 0 Reference

"Lastly I use the Due Date field for things that have to happen on a particular date, I find this easier than adding non-time-specific items to my Outlook calendar."

I've been doing that (TD Due Date for date- but not time-specific tasks) but I'm experimenting with a different method for one particular task that I think might be quicker and more efficient. For "Follow-ups" (which are almost always calls), I set up another Google Calendar. (I have my main calendar, a birthday calendar and now, a follow-up calendar).

I find that I can set up a follow-up with a new contact a bit quicker using the calendar than TD. It's simple to move it to another day, too. The fact that the follow-up is on my calendar (in green) makes it a bit more imperative which is important to me. Another plus is that I'm using Google's Contacts to record progress notes and this is just a click away from the calendar and, I can add those contacts as invitees to the event.

One concern is whether this will become less manageable on days when I have twenty or thirty follow-up calls.

I'm interested in hearing if anyone else uses this set-up and if so, your experiences with this method.

Posted: Jan 19, 2010
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Thanks guys, I really appreciate seeing how others do their weekly reviews. I'm actually in the process of doing my first in about 2 months...and yea, things are WAAAAY out of whack.
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