“Falling off the GTD wagon” (or any task system for that matter) can be all too easy and all too disrupting. Especially, when you’ve grown used to a system, the gradual loss of trust in that system can come with feelings of anxiety, the need for constant damage control, putting out fires, losing follow up tasks, losing communication trails, losing the state of projects, and more.
To keep a system useful, it needs to be reviewed regularly. I often say that I’m not sure a system even exists unless it is reviewed.
Getting Things Done author, David Allen, suggests weekly as an optimal frequency. I used to review my entire system weekly and had done so for several years. At times, the review process would take me about 1-2 hours. I’d often feel quite positive about doing a review as I know how on top of things I can feel.
But, that is a chunk of time. I can easily see how a person would lose the interest in review especially at times, for example, when things are very heavy or very light. At those times, you may think either, “I have no time” or “Why bother?”, respectively. The problem is that work ebbs and flows, and you can get hit with a whole bunch at once.
Nowadays, I do both a daily and a weekly review, which interestingly saves me time. The Daily Review takes about as long as my coffee takes to brew in the mornings. The Weekly Review is more centered on system blindspots and now takes about 20-30 minutes.
The Daily Review
My Daily Review includes:
- Clearing the Inbox,
- Reviewing any projects that are in the Review indicator, and
- Making sure my flagged projects are appropriate for the day.
Generally, I use the iPhone to do this:
Detailing the process, I:
- Examine my calendar to review my scheduled meetings and appointments.
- Acknowledge any tasks that are due soon as noted from the Forecast view.
- Process the Inbox to “0”
- Review all projects requesting review, thereby bringing that number to “0”. Note that this is a different method of Review than what I was doing when writing in Creating Flow with OmniFocus. At that time, I was doing the Weekly Review session only. Now, I do this aspect of the review daily.
- Review the Land & Sea project as needed. I set its review reminder to every other day, so it is examined very regularly as part of this Daily Review.
- Examine the Dashboard and decide if it supports me for the day.
- Process the Inbox to “0” again, as needed.
If I want to be more thorough, I may also:
- Review my Communications perspective
- Review my Filing perspective
When I can sit with my tasks and calendar with a sense that they will support me and nothing else comes to mind, about my day or otherwise, I can then pause and decide on what to do next.
This can seem like a lot, but when you’re practiced, all of this can take only a few minutes. Even if you work from a simpler set of lists, maybe only a single todo list, the same applies. Examining the list and waiting until nothing else about it comes to mind can be a powerful way to help you move through your day smoothly.