Weekly Review

It’s that time of the week again, and since my list for the weekly review was pretty slim, I thought I’d share one of my productivity gems. As the name suggest it’s a weekly process where the activities of the past week as well as the coming week is reviewed and processed.

The goal

Like a few of my other habits this one is an adoption of the Getting Things Done. It’s probably not following the recipe from the official GTD methodology, but it works for me. It’s a way to try to gain some control of the daily life and have a little stress-less workday.

Processing the past week

First step: Open my calendar with the past week, and go over every item in it. Is there anything, which needs a follow up? Has the actions derived from the items occurred and so on.

While you should be able to keep track of next actions and other debris from a busy week, I often find it not to be so. Reprocessing the items from the past week allows me to catch several actions that needed more processing and planning.

Processing the todo list

Step Two: While my primary inbox rarely have more than a few messages in it, it doesn’t mean everything has been handled to perfect satisfaction. Actions needing work go to a todo folder, and all is processed no later than at the weekly review.

If I have spare time during the week, items in the todo folder, is processed when the free time occurs.

Planning the coming week

Next step in the review process is looking ahead, and the first step here is to sync my calendars. I work with two separate systems – the office calendar (in Outlook) and the other calendar (in iCal). “The other” is the main calendar, as it is the one who’s able to sync between machines, be web-accessible and syncs to my cell. So far I have not been able to get the two calendars to sync without major pains, but manual actually works fine, since I’m going through every item anyway.

While processing the items, I usually try to setup meetings or book time in the calendar to handle/process items, which are on the agenda for the coming week.

Setting it up

Getting the system up and running is fairly easy in theory. Find a spot in the calendar near the end of the week and book a reoccurring meeting with yourself. Attend the meeting and do the steps above.

In theory it’s somewhat harder (as others have discovered). While my primary “weekly review” meeting is late Friday afternoon, it’s more often Sunday afternoon that becomes the usual time to do a review. Mainly because it requires uninterrupted time to get through the items, and that can be a scarce resource in an open office environment.