Stop and pause for a moment! How to do an effective weekly review.

I know you don’t have time. We all have too much to do and the thought of taking an hour to review everything we have to do seems a bit crazy. Unfortunately we praise people who are always busy but ask yourself are they really effective or just busy? I learned about the weekly review from David Allen in his book Getting Things Done.  I did my first weekly review after reading that book and I’ve continued since that day to do them.




It’s hard to break away and stop to reflect on what you are doing and where you are going.

I’m going to walk you through the process step by step and give you my tips to make this really effective tool.

Here’s the steps I take:

  • Collect all loose paper and materials. Find everything! Dump out your bag look at your notepads. Don’t process now just collect.
  • Empty your head. Write down anything you have on your mind and place in you inbox.
  • Process those loose paper and all your inboxes to zero. Now’s the time to decide what to do with papers you collected. Make new projects or new next actions.
  • Review your previous calendar. Reflect on the meetings and remind yourself of any commitments you may have let slip.
  • Review your upcoming calendar. Think about what you need to do to prep for what you committed yourself to doing next week.
  • Review your project list. You should one comprehension list of all your active projects. It’s a good time to mark off completed projects. You could have new projects added from processing your inbox. Make sure each project has a next action associated with them.
  • Review you’re your next action list. Look for deadlines that are coming up or next actions that require a lot of time or energy from you.
  • Review your waiting for list. This is a great time to see what’s out there.
  • Review any relevant checklists. Do you have a trip next week – pull out your packing checklist and add it to your project folder.
  • Review your someday/maybe list. A tip that I found useful was to try and move one item from your someday/maybe list to your next action list. This way your list isn’t some stale stagnant list but something you are actually working on.
  • Review your action support files. This will keep your files current and not filled with out of date information. Also this is a great time to archive stuff.
  • Review your goals. You have goals written down right?
  • Review your tickler file. This was another tip I picked up from David Allen. A tickler file is a system for filing information based on a date in the future. It consists of 43 files one for each month and one for each day of the month. Here’s a post about my tickler file setup.
  • Be creative! Take a moment and things about those crazy ideas.

For those of you who use Evernote click here for my note with a weekly review checklist.

If your boss take’s offense to you pausing for an hour a week to do this. You may have to get creative when you do your reviews. Come in a little early and spend that time doing a review or take half of your lunch time and review things. Take an hour Sunday and review it all, it’s really one of the best times to do a review.

The weekly review can seem time consuming but shouldn’t take more than an hour to do if you’re organized and efficient. If you keep your email inbox processed once every 24 hours you will be way ahead of the game when your weekly review rolls around.

Do you do a weekly review? Are there things that you review that I haven’t listed here – tell me about them on twitter.