My most important system day-to-day is my weekly review. The purpose, explicitly written at the top of my checklist, is “capturing new tasks and knowledge to prepare for and excel in the week ahead.”
 
The process became a necessity as I learned to manage my second brainTiago Forte, the creator of the Building a Second Brain course, writes that his review provides “the ability to go from total chaos to total clarity in 15–30 minutes.” And, the weeks I delay or miss my review, I spend the week reacting to chaos.
 
There are three main components to the process: capture, clear, and review.
  • Capture: Add any open items to my calendar or task manager.
  • Clear: Clear out the cubbies with all the tasks, emails, and papers into a central location.
  • Review: What is the plan to manage my active priorities?
These are my key tools:
  • Google Calendar
  • Todoist: Task management. It syncs with my calendar with dates, times, and durations.
  • Instapaper: Save articles/emails to read later.
  • Evernote: Information capture.
  • Google Drive: Information/file capture.

The Weekly Review Routine:

The bolded tasks are essential. If I’m short on time, I will do my minimum viable review and complete the other tasks another week.

Clear and Capture:

  1. Achieve Inbox Zero across multiple emails. Provide purpose to emails by:
    1. Responding, if it’s a quick email.
    2. Scheduling the task or response for later in Todoist.
    3. Saving the email to Evernote if it’s useful, Instapaper for later reading, or an email archive to simply retain a copy.
    4. Deleting is an immediate anxiety reliever.
  2. Clear my physical inbox including batch processing mail, documents, and sticky notes scattered throughout the house.
    1. Tasks are captured in Todoist while important documents/notes are typed up or scanned and shredded. Paperless = freedom.
  3. Clear my computer downloads folder, similar to Inbox Zero.
  4. Process my Evernote inbox. Triage and assign notes collected throughout the week to the appropriate areas in my knowledge management system.

Review:

  1. Review my calendar.
    1. Is there anything to carry forward from the last two weeks?
    2. Have I planned and accounted for events over the next four weeks?
  2. Review Todoist
    1. Next 7 days where I prioritize, disburse, and delete tasks. Ah, clarity.
    2. Projects and Areas as these force me to review the low urgency, high importance tasks, and rebalance neglected areas.
      1. Was progress made?
      2. If no, is this important?
      3. Identify next steps in each section.
  3. Sync Project List and Folders across Todoist, Evernote, and Google Drive
Initially, I had a third section to debrief the week and evaluate the weekly review process. But, after being skipped continuously, it was deleted.
 
Where do I excel?
  • Staying current on all necessary tasks, especially major and personal events. I have a solid plan of attack.
  • Clearly prioritizing key functions.
Where can I improve?
  • Consistency. Normally, this ends up Saturday or Sunday afternoon which tends to be overly fluid.
  • Being more conservative in task difficulty.
  • My two work emails look more like Inbox Infinity and need cleaning.
  • Prioritizing/organizing work tasks.
Do you have a weekly review? If so, what does it look like?
 
Note: This is part of a series with a systems overview explaining my weekly, monthly, mid-year, and annual reviews.

About Scott

Grow intentionally. Give generously. Run stupid far. To learn more, visit my Start Here Page at scott.krouse.com.

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