In last week’s posting I briefly mentioned the review, but didn’t go into a lot of detail about the importance of it. Some years ago when I was still working a 9-5 job, I developed the habit of doing the weekly review. Every Friday afternoon I would dedicate time to review my work week and plan out what I wanted to accomplish for the following week.
The weekly review consisted of going through my emails to see if anything was outstanding, finishing anything that took 5-10 minutes, and going through my task list, a post-it note adhered to the lower left hand corner of my monitor. I would transfer any tasks remaining from the current week to the next week’s task list. Then I would identify (i.e. prioritize) 3-5 tasks that absolutely had to get done the following week.
I committed myself to the review and started to notice a few benefits. When I left the office on Friday, my brain also left the work behind. I stopped thinking about work on weekends and what I had to do on Monday. I knew all my thoughts and worries had been safely captured on that post-it note. I relied on it. Monday mornings were also a lot easier because I already knew what to work on. Even more importantly, I was productive and accomplished a lot, even amidst too many meetings, email, and general office interruptions.
At the time I didn’t realize what a valuable habit this was, but the importance of it was reinforced when I read David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done. He also emphasizes the criticality of doing a weekly review as part of his methodology.
Reviews are essential for a number reasons. At a basic level, they keep us current with our to-do lists. The offer us a moment to check in and evaluate our progress to make sure we’re doing the right things. It’s an opportunity to reprioritize tasks and ensure the important things are being done.
One often overlooked benefit of the review is that it builds our trust and reliability in the system we are using. I use Trello for most of my task management, including trip packing and grocery shopping. What makes it work for me is that I use it and review it constantly to make sure it stays relevant (i.e. updated) and accurately reflects my reality.