This is part of a series on using LEAN to streamline your GTD system
I want to break down the task of completing my weekly review into smaller actionable routines, and then be able to sense when to apply each routine, instead of doing it routinely according to a schedule. So I'm going to describe each routine, and the emotions connected to it. Again this is at a pretty experimental stage for me.
My weekly review has grown into an elephant sized project, that I end up half-completing time and time again. It's deeply frustrating, and also boring. I don't want to slave every week trying to complete a weekly review. I don't want to block in 3 hours every friday afternoon. What I want to do, is to keep my GTD-system up and running without taking it down for a 3 hours weekly maintenance. I want to do it when I sense the need for maintenance, instead of routine maintenance. I need a PULL system.
Emotional Triggers and Reactions
By analyzing my current weekly review, I have sliced it into smaller separate routines.
These I have then linked to the emotional state of mind that these routines are supposed to prevent. So when I sense I'm entering one of these emotional states it is time do some maintenance.
The Talkbubbles represent the emotional states, and the relevant reaction is described underneath it.
This Triggers: Calendar Review - Checking the past week, the next two weeks in my calendar and my tickler file. This includes converting stuff in the calendar into actions. Blocking in some time to do deep dive knowledge work undisturbed, and figuring out appropriate actions to prepare for scheduled meetings. Reclaim control over my time and Consider appointments that I want to defer to later or cancel.
This Triggers: Tidy Actionslists - This is going through my actions list and checking the content. This includes checking the doability of each item. Is it physical and concrete? Is it the NEXT action. Is it possible to do in 20 minutes or less? Do I still feel commited doing it? While ajusting and adding, I tidy up and retype, add new actions and then print a crisp new list ready to churn.
This Triggers: Project Refocus - This is to ensure I'm doing the right actions. The ones that is really important. This involves looking at my project lists and prioritizing them. This I do in excel by giving them a score from 1-100 and then sorting. I then check each project. Does it have a clear outcome? Is there a next action on the actions list. In the end i tidy up my list and print.
This Triggers: Mind Dump - This is a thorough 10 minutes brainstorm aimed at emptying stuff from my head on to paper. This is done by mindmapping. I mindmap and brainstorm in the areas: LOVE, WORK, PLAY and GROWTH. After an initial free brainstorming phase, I use my project list as a checklist to trigger new ideas.
This Triggers: Someday Maybe Review - This is looking through my saved creative ideas about things to do, to find something new and exciting to engage in. I find it really wonderful to find an old idea that I suddenly have the energy to commit to.
This Triggers: Personal Mission Statement Review - This is the big picture. How am I doing from the perspective of my life goals, my 5 year plan, and my 2 year goals. When these issues are reviewed projects are then reprioritized, and new relevant project are added.
Daily Focus and a Tracking Tool
So these are the individual parts that I used cover in a single review. As I'm typing this I really can't understand how I ever completed a single one of these reviews, it's just so much to cover, and so much mental energy to spend.
At the same time researching these emotional states really has giving me a whole new look, at the value of maintaining my GTD-system. Who wants to feel like this?
What I want to do now, is to able to sense when these emotional states are creeping in on me. This is the PULL thing. I have to be able to do the routines only when needed. I don't want to do them to often out of sheer routine. But even more important, I need to do them more often if once a week isn't enough in some periods.
For the next couple of months I am going to track my progress in making this PULL-based GTD maintenance system working.
I have a morning routine involving focusing on the "big rocks" of the day. This is done when my computer is booting, sipping the first cup of coffee. I call it my Daily Focus.
From now on I will include thinking about my emotional state of mind, searching for signs of these emotional states of mind to trigger either a
- Personal Mission Statement Review
- Someday Maybe Review
- Mind Dump
- Project Refocus
- Tidy Actionslists
- Calendar Review
And then I'll put a little scoreboard in my organizer, to mark with an x, when I have done one these routines. Because I still want to get rewards for making weekly reviews :)
All in all I'm really happy with this new solution to my Weekly Review Blues.
- Jens Poder