Getting Things Done: Reflect

Nov 21, 2014
Joe Buhlig
~2 mins

The Weekly Review is the most important part of the GTD process. Without it, you’ll have loose ends and you’ll no longer trust your system.

Reflect is about taking the time to look at what you’re doing. You’ll make sure that you have everything in your system and that the tasks in your system are pushing you toward your goals.

Reviewing your system can have profound effects. You’ll start to see how much you have going on. You may realize that you’re over-extended or find extra time that you can use for a hobby or a new project.

Think about it this way — you wouldn’t put 100 items on your calendar for 7pm on Friday night, would you? Of course not! You can’t be 100 places at one time.

Seeing over-commitments on our calendars is easy. But seeing it with tasks is difficult if we’re not looking over our system in the same way that we look over our calendar.

David Allen recommends at least a single Weekly Review. I do a daily review as well as weekly, monthly, and yearly, but the core of GTD revolves around a weekly version. So once a week, you should schedule some time with yourself to walk through the following items:

1. Bring yourself up to date

Clear out all of your inboxes and put all of your stuff in the appropriate buckets.

2. Review Next Action Lists

Go through all of your action lists and decide what you’re going to work on this week. Try to be realistic. Our minds always like to give us more than we can handle.

3. Review the calendar

Look over last week’s calendar and the calendar for the upcoming weeks. This will help you see potential areas of improvement and plan for upcoming events.

4. Review @Waiting For List

Looking at the list of items you’re waiting for can help you decide if there is anything you need to follow up on.

5. Review Projects List

How far along are each of your projects? Do you have at least one action assigned to each project you’re working on? Are there any actions to add or check off? Are there any projects that you can mark as completed?

6. Review Someday/Maybe Lists

If you have some bandwidth available, review these lists for projects you could make active in your system.

Go through the entire system. Yes, everything. Review it all and make sure it’s up-to-date and trustworthy. You have to trust your system in order to act on the items in it. We’ll pick up next time with how to work toward your goals.

This is a series about the productivity framework Getting Things Done by David Allen. You can find the entire series at the following links:

  1. Getting Things Done: Introduction
  2. Getting Things Done: Capture
  3. Getting Things Done: Clarify
  4. Getting Things Done: Organize
  5. Getting Things Done: Reflect
  6. Getting Things Done: Engage
  7. Getting Things Done: A Day in the Life