View Full Version : Weekly Review Support Group - WR Avoiders Anonymous
04-26-2004, 07:17 AM
Does anybody have an interest in making this thread a support group to help each other "just do" the weekly review? Last week, despite all good intentions, it slipped again, this time because "I'm too tired and cranky and my blood sugar's too low." From all accounts, the WR is the most crucial aspect of GTD, and yet, I resist! Argh!
This week I SWEAR I'm going to do it. It would be great to hear other people's trials, tribulations and success stories with getting into the WR habit. Maybe we could also encourage each other and congratulate each other when we actually do it . . . We could even swap email addresses and send each other reminder emails like "You promised you would do the weekly review at lunchtime today . . . don't break that promise you made to yourself!".
I'll go first. Hi, I'm Taxgeek and I haven't done a weekly review in a loooooooong time. I keep my context lists more or less up to date in real time, so skipping the WR doesn't result in projects lacking NAs, but it does result in a lack of an overview in my head about the big picture and what projects are more important, what projects have been languishing for far to long, etc. It results in me working in reactive mode -- I work on the projects for the clients that complain. No major disasters yet, but I'd like to get back on the 'proactive' bus.
Does everybody else have a regular scheduled time for the WR, as David suggests? A way to talk yourself into it when you just don't feel like it? I pretty much have to do mine at my desk in my office, so can't motivate by promising a nice venue for the WR. Help!!!
Thanks to anybody who wants to play!
04-26-2004, 10:19 AM
I'll play! I schedule my weekly review for Fridays at 1:00 p.m. (or just after whenever I eat lunch) :arrow: . I'm still working out the kinks...
04-26-2004, 10:21 AM
Great. Do you go through DA's entire WR checklist, or do you do some customized version of it? I'm considering whittling it down to make the review more palatable. Any input on that?
04-26-2004, 11:49 AM
Just want to thank Taxgeek for a wonderful laugh on a Monday. Sign me up.
04-26-2004, 11:55 AM
Report: Ok, it's 1pm Monday, the designated time has arrived. Lunch is finished, and I'm sitting down to DO IT! Wish me luck!
(Reading your responses helped me hold on to my initial push of excitement.)
I'll report back later on what happens!
2 hours elapse
Yay, I did it! I did it!!! My first weekly review in AWHILE. I feel clean!
Now, who's next? I ended up customizing DA's list significantly to make it meaningful to me. It helped when I recognized teh value of doing each step and wasn't just going through the motions for the heck of it.
04-26-2004, 03:16 PM
Tax Geek oh how your words spoke to me. I have met all the hard deadlines, but the lack of weekly review kept the "quiet" stuff from getting done when it should have. I too swore that last Friday would be the day my weekly review got done and the entire day went by and it did not get done. I thought about it all weekend and just couldn't bring myself to get it done Sunday when the weather was wonderful. I was in the office this morning and spent the DAY doing the weekly review with time out for day sensitive stuff. It was a wakeup call and took so long because it had been so long since I had done it and it took a while to make sure it was all there. I had to make sure all my in buckets were empty and then empty the biggest in bucket of all My head.
Tomorrow morning before I go to the gym ( I had to commit to a personal trainer twice a week at 7am to haul my butt to the gym.)I am listing my top 5 of the week and they are getting done.
I would like to do my review Friday at 1.
04-26-2004, 03:30 PM
Great job, Mardo! Isn't it amazing how long it can take when you really start focusing on each project and open loop? Seems like there are several people on the Friday afternoon bus . . . so stop by here and we'll nag you a bit! :wink:
04-26-2004, 05:41 PM
Does a weekly review really make sense only for working people? I'm a SAHM and finding uninterrupted time to do a weekly review has becoming extremely difficult. The few hours during the week when I don't have kids is delegated to housework and/or paperwork, and those things must be done (I tackle my inbox regularly, it's just that the big-picture weekly review hasn't been getting done)...
04-26-2004, 06:02 PM
One idea that can help is to break the Weekly Review into smaller pieces that don't necessarily have to be done right after another.
In other words, I'll spend 20 minutes to go over the non-Project actions and then work on the project related actions later in the day.
04-27-2004, 12:31 AM
Sometimes I find the weekly review depressing when I see how little progress I have made on projects – many of them still have the same NA hanging since last week :(
04-27-2004, 05:59 AM
Sign me up as well
04-27-2004, 09:20 AM
Count me in also, I could use a Weekly Review Support Group!
04-27-2004, 10:18 AM
Kudos to Mardo and Taxgeek for getting their weekly reviews done. To answer your question Taxgeek, at the moment I am sticking with DA's weekly review checklist.
04-27-2004, 12:36 PM
Anybody SUPPOSED to be doing their review today? Tuesday? Anyone? Anyone?
I'm SUPPOSED to be doing my wr tomorrow.
I've been avoiding it for about 4 weeks now....
04-28-2004, 05:37 AM
Step 1. I admit I have a problem. So I am going to use this thread as an opportunity to engage in some writing therapy.
I do my weekly reviews about every 8 or 9 days. That could be improved upon.
But I think the biggest area where I need to improve is in the way I review. My reviews fall short of my perfectionist demands. I speed through my reviews. I just glance through very quickly my lists of NAs and projects. I do not take the time and discipline to really examine them. Have I formulated the NA correctly as the next physical action or is it still some vague blob? I do not review the NAs of all my projects. I just acknowledge that I have them.
I just started the Feeling Good Workbook by David Burns. I strongly endorse it to anyone with procrastination issues. I found out about this book on this forum on the thread where people recommend books other than DA's.
Using the methods from the Feeling Good Workbook, I can do a few things.
First I can do a cost-benefit analysis.
What are the advantages of my cursory weekly reviews?
1. I get the satisfaction of knowing I have done a weekly review.
2. I know that I am staying on top of my stuff enough that no major issues are going to blindside me.
3. I don't spend a lot of time on my WRs.
4. I avoid doing what I find very uncomfortable: (a) clarifying next actions which have been on my list for months, (b) setting clear NAs for open projects, (c) reviewing on going projects and bringing their plans up to date.
What are the disadvantages of my cursory weekly reviews?
1. By delaying decisions I lower my productivity. I spend more time anxious about doing things and less time doing things.
2. Although I save time by avoiding lengthy WRs, I ultimately waste more time because of my lowered productivity and my lowered motivation to do those vague blobs of undoability.
3. By avoiding clarifying my project plans I increase my discomfort because I am not sure what I am doing next.
4. I disappoint myself when I see stuff on my lists that I know I have not taken the time to review carefully and clarify.
Result: I see that the disadvantages of my cursory WRs outweigh the advantages. I hope that this belief will encourage me to start improving my WRs. I am scheduling a WR for today.
My avoidance of 2-hour WRs is reflective of some distorted beliefs I have.
First, I think that I am incorrectly assessing the pleasure I get from doing things other than WR and the discomfort I get from WR. Today I will try to assess how much pleasure I receive from doing my WR. My guess is that I will feel a lot better and in the zone doing the WR correctly than doing some other less central tasks.
Second, I think that my cursory WRs are a result of "emotional reasoning" along the lines of, "I don't feel like spending two hours carefully reviewing my NAs and projects, so I won't spend two hours carefully reviewing my NAs and projects." It would be better for me if I adopted the more realistic thought, "I can do a careful WR even if I don't feel particularly thrilled about doing it. And once I get started there is a good chance I will actually feel like doing it properly. But even if I don't get the feeling of doing it properly I can still act in my long-term self-interest and continue to do it properly."
There you have it. I feel better already. I feel less guilty about the manner in which I have done my WRs in the past. And I am looking forward to the opportunity to do my WR this afternoon in a manner where I (1) ensure that my NAs are well-formulated, and (2) ensure that my projects have current plans with at least one well-formulated NA.
04-28-2004, 06:52 AM
Hi Moises! Great introspective post! Be sure to let us know how it goes!
04-28-2004, 09:52 AM
Does anybody have an interest in making this thread a support group to help each other "just do" the weekly review?
Thanks to anybody who wants to play!
Okay, I'm in. As a matter of fact, I have a reminder that goes off each Wednesday, at 11:00 a.m. to remind me to do the WR. It just went off as I typed, "I'm in." How's that for sychronicity! LOL
My name is Terri. I don't remember the last time I did a WR and I don't think I've ever done one by the book.
So, my commitment for this week is to spend one hour (I'm working up to 2 hours :D ) on the WR checklist as outlined by DA.
Guess now is a good time to get started.
04-28-2004, 10:21 AM
Count me in too.......
I have my weekly review scheduled for every Friday from 9:30 to 11:00.
Some background: I have been toying with GTD for just about a year. That year consisted of being obsessive compulsive - must have changed 'systems' every week - always buying new things to make it work - etc. Finally said 'enough is enough - you're not getting anything done!
That said - this Friday will be my 3rd weekly review. I still have a lot of project next actions to figure out......but I feel like I'm making some progress. I'll get back to you all Friday afternoon and let you know how I made out!
Thank you to everyone - knowing you guys are out there is a nice feeling!
Carol in sunny Philadelphia 8)
04-28-2004, 10:42 AM
Hi Terri and Carol, thanks for joining!
Ok, EZ and Terri, how's the review going? You watching the board? I hope you're not watching becuase you're doing your review!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
04-28-2004, 11:18 AM
I did a serious, all-out weekly review today.
It wasn't that different from my other weekly reviews, just more thorough, more methodical, more precise, and more realistic. I say more realistic because I deleted items that were so stale I no longer felt were important and I took other items and made them real next actions instead of vague descriptions of desired states of being.
Yes, I do feel quite satisfied having done it. I do feel much more confident that I am aware of all of my commitments.
I was interrupted a few times and I took a couple of mini-breaks to keep my energy up. I also did some work as I reviewed my items. I had the time available, so I made some calls and walked to people's offices to give them things. Then I updated my lists.
I thank everyone for their kind words of encouragement.
I think that I will usually be able to get my WR done in less than 2 hours provided I've been maintaining the system during the week.
I believe that the writing I did on this forum before my WR was a big help. It also helped that I very publicly committed to doing the WR.
In summary, I feel that doing this WR was no big deal. What I did was not radically different from what I had been doing. In my mind beforehand, however, it seemed like a very big deal. It might have been a big deal when I first started doing GTD. But now that I've been doing GTD for a while, what I did today, was incrementally more thorough than the way I did it before.
Go on, everybody. If I could do it so could you. It seems like a big deal before you start but once you start it's enjoyable.
My first weekly review.
My GTD system has been implemented for a little over 6 months now. It has helped me improve my productivity and personal organization. It has survived the switch from my old, trusted Handspring to my new Pocket PC.
However, I never did my weekly reviews.
I contended myself with keeping "up to date" all the time. Since I am a gadget addict...Hello, my name is emp, I am a gadget addict....I was fiddling with my lists all the time, anyway. A weekly review wouldn't change anything, anyhow.
Or would it?
As time progressed, I noticed my inbox fattening,my email-inbox filling, my project lists getting a litle frayed at the edges and me trying to remember odd little pieces of information here and there.
Information that should have been caught and safe long ago.
So I quenched a small fire here and there, filed something now and then, but slowly, the system drifted out of focus.
When I noticed this thread, I immediately set an appointment for Sunday, 13:00 to do my weekly review.
Enter stage left: Sunday.
Of course, I started later than I wanted to.
Of course, I let myself be sidetracked, ordering my old (and new) papers.
But then, I started my first weekly review.
The following two hours left me with an empty inbox, an empty e-mail inbox, pristine project lists, dozens of new tasks, captured information by the bushel, important work information summarized, letters typed, a great feeling about my system and a completely exhausted me.
My girlfriend just smiled when I told her all I had done and said "You have been reading Allen again, heh?" :wink:
::: emp :::
05-03-2004, 07:43 AM
I've read about 90% of GTD and sloppily tried to implement it--with mixed success. I'm preparing to implement further, but am confused about some issues and welcome any input you might have.
First, I find the system rather open-ended in terms of what one will do at any given moment. This is nice in that it preserves maximum ability to adapt to ones environment, but it leaves me exhausted, trying to make decisions at each moment about how best to use my time.
I got the feeling from reading the book that the weekly review would be a key factor in defining purpose on a day to day level, but I couldn't glean from the book how people have integrated this process into their daily lives, nor really what it was like mechanically.
I appreciate your varied descriptions of how you accomplish (or, like me, put off) the WR, and would love to see pointers to more detailed descriptions of how it works and to what extent it provides focus.
My fantasy is that if I could get into a rhythm for dealing with obligations to others and their associated urgent deadlines, I could get further on obligations to myself.
I look forward to hearing from you.
05-03-2004, 09:26 AM
Ok, any other monday reviewers besides me? I will be doing my review at lunch today. I will do it!
05-03-2004, 12:27 PM
My weekly review was supposed to be Friday afternoon. It didn't happen. Instead, we had a corporate shakeup with two key users changing positions both literally and figuratively. So PC's had to be moved, phone and voice mail swapped, e-mail changed etc and it had to be done then. So no weekly review. I did a mini review this morning and will commit to the full review again on Friday. Thanks taxgeek!
05-03-2004, 12:28 PM
Double post, yikes! See what happens when you skip your Weekly Review? :lol:
05-04-2004, 03:16 AM
50 NAs completed in one WR? That is awesome! Keep it up.
I have my WR scheduled for 1:30 pm today.
05-04-2004, 05:14 AM
Wow, Coz, I am impressed. I only managed to do half of my weekly review last Friday.
05-04-2004, 01:20 PM
It wasn't pretty. There were some major interruptions requiring me to stop everything, get prices, fax orders, etc. But I got it done and I am a better man for it. Don't know if I could have done it without all of you watching.
05-07-2004, 07:57 AM
I post this message in the yahoo-palm gtd group. I am new to this one, therefore I just copy and paste.
Have a nice day!
Last night reading the DA forum, found something really interesting that I am not proud to accept, but maybe is going to help… They post is called Weekly Review Avoiders Anonymous… I am one. I read DA book more than 6 months ago, and I have been trying to implement the system since then, having mixed results. Reading this post, I understand part of the problem, I think is the inconsistence of my Weekly Review, because I avoid my weekly review, every week for the last 6 months.
Instead of a ‘as the book’ weekly review, I had been doing 2 short reviews at home and at work, but not constant and for sure not complete. Today I been work for the first time do a ‘as the book’ weekly review, I have reserved 2 hours after lunch.
I think, maybe I am wrong, that the lack of a good weekly review is creating a big influence in my system, since I do not have all the information I need, I am not getting all the things I suppose done.
I think I been spending more time setting the system, than really getting a lot out of the system, and that is been a big issue.
Therefore I admit: I AM A WEEKLY REVIEW AVOIDER!
Today I hope to make my first Weekly review, I am reading the book again, I hope have the time in the weekend to finish the book.
I will post later my results.
05-07-2004, 10:52 AM
I've been following GTD for just over a year with limited success. It's my fault, not GTD's. Skipping the weekly review is probably the main culprit to my limited success. If it's not first, it's running a close second.
I feel that I need to be fair and very clear to myself that my next Weekly Review is honestly not a WR. It's somewhere between DA's initialization stage and a WR.
Distinction is important for three reasons
First, I need to associate the pain appropriately. All weekly reviews are not going to be laborious and agonizing. I believe that the dread and avoidance is due to lack of consistancy.
Second, when getting back on track, how should the proccess or approach be different? W/O the WRs, I lack the 100% trust in my lists and Inbox.
Third, depending on when we did our last review, and what processes or mini-reviews that we have in place to keep the system lurching forward, we are all going to have greater divergence of tasks necessary to get back on track. They will have less in common. Whereas, people have regular WRs will tend to have more in common.
To conclude, don't call it a weekly review unless you did one last week. We or maybe just I need to have a different mindset and process, if I am going to consistantly miss WRs.
For those who have WRs regulary, but due to vacations or the like, have missed one or two WRs in a row, was there anything that you had to do differently for that review when you got back?
Today is my birthday, so perhaps I'll treat myself right and tomorrow do a 'pre-Weekly Review' or a 'Reinitilization Stage' or perhaps a [Fill in the blank].
05-09-2004, 07:11 PM
I'm a short time lurker to this board and thought I'd add my two cents to this thread. I have an odd problem. I have to do two weekly reviews: one for home and one for work. I do a decent job about doing my work weekly review semi-regularly but my home weekly review hardly ever gets done. I'd scheduled to do it on Sundays but never added it to my hard landscape. Two weeks ago I decided I'd have to add it if I were to have any chance of doing it. So I scheduled it for 3:00 p.m. Sunday afternoons. Last Sunday I had my parents over and by the time they left I forgot. Today I was in California and no unable to do the review. But, it's in my PDA with an alarm so at least it's coming to my attention more.
05-09-2004, 08:50 PM
After read the original post, this week I made the Review.... was more a Re-start, finally I found what looks like the most amazing software, is called List Pro, let me get my list, and I can Flag the things to create importance, and later clicked as done, I can sync with the PC at work.
I discover that jumping for a software to another, is making my list shorter and less effective, also I was looking for something that let me do list like in paper, as some of you remember I start using again Word and Docs to go, but this problem solve that problem, and let me change easy for one list to other.
The first thing I did was identify that my GTD was in a really bad shape, therefore I decided to read the book again (I am not done, but I will be soon)
Second I study last week in detail what I do, and I discover that I was converting myself in a couch potato, my list at home was almost no existent, my chores at home where depressing, then I got from scratch, print all my list and get all my files in the desk, all the papers. Get even another tape for my labeler, and check every folder, every paper, every note, then I went and write down all, did a ram clean that I got from the internet (maybe from here) I even discover that my email at work and at home where again getting bad, therefore was a great time to refresh the system.
The result is more than 45 new projects that as David said I compromise myself but did not capture.
Also I need to say that no matter how hard is for me to accept I have been lost confidence in my system, I hope I can gain my confidence again with this new setup, the program is great.
I also set many apoinments in the week, some for chores, some for time to myself, the reason I decide to set up as appointment is because I decided that if I do not do it that day, can wait, but is not relevant for me, if I do not, I do not want those things in my list as another item
I also decided to change my Weekly review time, this new setup cost me more than 17 hours of the weekend and I am not close to be done, but also I think one of my biggest mistakes was to do the list were I cannot have peace. I was doing my WR at work Friday afternoon, the slow moment, but if something came out or I was interrupted or I lost the idea, the result was a not great review, that with the time generate in a lack of trust of the system, now I am going to try Wednesday at night, at home, my wife goes to bed early, then I can work in that without interruption, and I think can generate a better result, also I will do 2 short review at work, Wednesday and Friday, one to make sure I have all the info I need at night for my WR and the other to make sure I have my things cover for Monday (yes lately is been like the worst day of the week because I have been forgotten things)
I imagine I am not the only one, I will appreciate if somebody here has lost the confidence in the system (I think that was one of the reasons I stop doing the weekly review) how do you guys regain and more important keep faith in the system…
Sorry for the long post, but I feel today with the same energy I feel the first time I set up my system…
05-16-2004, 01:19 PM
Guys and gals,
thanks for such an inspiring thread! I read it last week on Thursday evening and immediately scheduled a WR for Friday evening. I started even earlier, in the afternoon when my roommate at work left early and I picked up in the evening.
What a sense of satisfaction I had from finishing it.
05-16-2004, 03:13 PM
It's sunday night and I am not going to get to see the Sopranos. I am still collecting. Now that my new office computer came in I am going to have to manually transfer all open project detailed lists into Entourage. That's not a bad thing because its going to force me to concentrate on each and every one. But before that because I love the clean lines of the new monitor so much I decided to clear off my desk of piles, this lead to clearing out the file drawers etc. etc. I have thrown away garbage bags of stuff I had been keeping, out of date reference material,old manuals for software, and equipment I no longer had, all kinds of project stuff that is no longer needed. I won't need to buy a pen,markers, 3x5 cards, scotch tape, post its etc for about two years now that I found where I stashed them all! I have thrown alway all but the latest catalogs from staples and other suppliers. I have rearranged my general reference files and am putting into effect David Allens advice that all that should be around the desk is supplies, reference material, decoration and equipment and keep it spare. The in basket is where I will use it. I am limiting the space for files to one holder, the rest have to be filed in open. I am finishing this phase tonight and will be up early tomorrow to actually start the weekly review. It's a good feeling and I know I am going to love walking into this office tomorrow morning. I really like this thread. Knowing that others are forcing themselves to sit down to the weekly review or the pre-weekly review in my case makes it a lot easier to talk myself into doing it.
05-19-2004, 02:04 PM
I'd been off the WR wagon at work for something like a month. Finally, Monday, I just sat down and Did It. Found one past due NA of the "oh, shit" variety -- done now. Dropped an amazing pile of stuff out of my head. Felt much better.
While not part of my work WR, I also succeeded in beating my personal email inbox (aka my nemesis) down to just eight messages. Now to get the home WR going as smoothly. The high distraction quotient at home makes getting through it a real problem. Of course, another part is simply that I haven't been doing it, so I have 8 phone messages (probably all telemarketers, except for the one that isn't and that I'll regret not having listened to for two weeks), six inches of mail + other paperwork in the inbox, and of course there's the ever-fluctuating personal email inbox, aforementioned. Anyone have tips for the WR done at home?
05-21-2004, 12:52 PM
Completed my weekly review, and it took about an hour and a half. Got a bunch of NA's out of my head and in my system. David says the review will become second nature, and today is the first time I felt like it was. My mind was reviewing project status right after lunch before I even brought up the document to launch into the review.
05-23-2004, 02:59 PM
The home inbox and answering machine are EMPTY!. Boy, that feels good, and I haven't even finished the review yet.
05-25-2004, 01:33 PM
Hi, I'm Joe, and I'm a weekly review avoider.
Hi everybody. Well, I just did mine also last Friday. Amazing to get all those lists down and reorganized. I was on top of getting my inbox to zero almost everyday, which helped tremendously.
What helped even more is getting my email inbox to zero EVERY DAY, usually several times a day. I save important emails as MS word files to relevant electronic folders, in the relevant areas as needed. Having a subdivided file system on my computer is at least as important as having one for paper. While the paper one is flat and A to Z, the electronic one is very hierarchical, based on what it is or pertains to (Correspondence, presentations, grants, publishing papers, experiments, schedules, boss, etc). It is reliable, so I trust it, and since I trust it, I can use it to save things because I know where I'll be able to find it again!
Then being so compulsive about my email led me to be compulsive about my lists, both project and context lists. So getting through the review was easier.
Now I DIDN'T do the higher elevation stuff yet. But as it comes together and gets easier, I will.
Thanks for listening. I'll pass.
05-25-2004, 04:17 PM
Waaaaaaaaaaaaaah! I fell off the wagon! Two weeks in a row, I've MISSED the review completely!!! (where's a crying smiley when you need one?) But I have soooo much to do, and my boss is cracking down on my billable hours. :roll: So maybe I'll do an ultra mini review, like 5 minutes. Or something. Grrr . . . <puts thinking cap on>
05-26-2004, 07:15 AM
I feel your pain. I'm in the same bind right now, and I'm about to do a mini review this morning. I've found the best mini-review goes like this:
-Make sure everything (inbox, email, voicemail) is processed.
-Go over my calendar just for the previous week and the next week (as opposed to the previous 2-3 weeks and the next month)
-Review my action lists and waiting-for list, crossing off completed ones, reviewing those that are on there to be sure they're true NAs
-Review my project lists briefly just to be sure there's not a project without an NA
-Briefly glance through my Someday/Maybe list to see if any of those projects or actions need to be immediately bumped to a current list
Basically, I skip the weekly mind-sweep, pare down the calendar review, and pare down the project list and SD/M list review. I can usually get through it in about 30-45 minutes, and it lets me be more productive for the rest of the week until I can do a full WR. And losing 30 min out of a billable day isn't bad, especially if the rest of my day becomes more billable because I'm not staring at a couple of stacks of paper wondering what to do next.
05-26-2004, 07:51 AM
35 minutes, and I now feel a little better about what I'm going to do today. TG, how're you doing?