Ever since reading The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People in college, I’ve had a penchant for business productivity books. By far, the book from this genre that has influenced and helped me the most is Getting Things Done by David Allen.
In Getting Things Done (GTD), Allen takes you through a process that is actually a decluttering of your head. You get everything out onto paper, then set up the containers that you need to hold your stuff (so that you don’t have to hold it in your head), then work through the list and put it in the right place (Do, Delegate, Defer, Delete).
After you’ve gone through that initial setting-up process, then the protocol for maintaining a sense of calm and clarity is to always right everything down rather than try to remember it, and then establish the habit of regular reviews. Basically, you have to keep the right lists up-to-date and then you have to look at those lists. You might not do everything on the lists, but you do have to look at them. Once you’ve established these habits, then you will trust your systems and be able to use your mind for thinking rather than for holding.
Allen and everyone else I’ve read about this method agrees that the real crucial habit in GTD is the weekly review. You might think it would be your daily morning review, when you set your course for the day. Although that is an important practice, it is the weekly review – the one that zooms out to the bigger picture regularly – that yields the most peace of mind in your day to day.
The weekly review is a time to look over your current lists, your upcoming calendar, any notes you’ve set aside to help your keep perspective (perhaps you have an education vision statement to look at?). This practice will sharpen your intuitive focus on your important projects as you deal with the flood of new inputs that are inevitable when managing so many people and details. An hour or so once a week to review your big picture, to remember your notes and lists and calendar commitments will repay your efforts more than you can imagine. If you have a sense of where you are and where you’re going and what you have going on, you’ll be able to make better on-the-spot decisions about commitments and responsibilities and ideas that come at you throughout the week.
So what should you be doing during your weekly review?
I’ve summarized these steps with 5 Ps.
The first step is to find a quiet, clear place to think during your review. Clear your desk or table space, get something yummy to drink, breathe, pray, and start with calm.
What has collected in your email inbox or countertop paper-collector? Your weekly review is your time to get things put away, whether it’s tangible papers, mental notes, or digital reminders – whether that be filed, tossed, added to a to-do list, or put on the calendar.
How many 1 minute or less tasks did you come across as you processed? Take care of those. Just plow on through as many as you can and avoid procrastinating.
Print and prepare your lists and notes for the upcoming week. I have a weekly checklist I work off of as well as a daily note on an index card. Then there’s the weekly homeschool plan on top of that. I print these out during my review on Saturday, stick them on a clipboard, and I’m ready to go Monday morning.
Look over inspiring quotes or a vision statement, write in your journal, look at the calendar a month out, look at your current goals and the appointments you have this week. Make notes on what you need to do to be ready for your various activities during the week. See where you are and orient yourself. Then you will be prepared.
A weekly review time will pay dividends on the rest of your time beyond the hour or so you give it once a week. It’s a time investment worth making.
Read the Book
Author: David Allen
From Amazon: “In today’s world, yesterday’s methods just don’t work. In Getting Things Done, veteran coach and management consultant David Allen shares the breakthrough methods for stress-free performance that he has introduced to tens of thousands of people across the country. Allen’s premise is simple: our productivity is directly proportional to our ability to relax. Only when our minds are clear and our thoughts are organized can we achieve effective productivity and unleash our creative potential.“
More For You
Simplified Organization – Mystie’s website where she discusses more about how to apply GTD principles as a homemaker. Be sure to subscribe and get her Quickstart eBook for free!
Today we have a printable page of the Five Ps. Use it as a reminder when you conduct your weekly review.
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