Getting Things Done QA

Get Clear with a GTD Weekly Review

Dear David,

My company recently sent my team through GTD Training. Learning how to capture and clarify has been beneficial, but I’m struggling with the organizing, reflecting, and reviewing. That seems to require a lot of time, and because I value productivity, well, I tend to skip those steps and just capture, clarify, engage. I feel like I’d need a whole day to review everything. I’d like to clearly see the “big picture” of my life, but I struggle to set aside the time. Is there a shortcut you can share?

Signed,
Mining for the OR in CCORE

Dear Mining,

Consider the following analogy. Your kitchen is a mess and you have friends coming over for dinner—soon. If you focused only on what’s “off” in the kitchen—items out of place, dirty dishes, etc.—and didn’t start fixing dinner, how effective would that be? If you want to have an enjoyable dinner with your guests, you’ll have to organize and reflect on the situation before you take the first step.

Is that any different than your work and life? Organizing, reflecting, and reviewing are about getting clear on what you really want and need to accomplish. If you don’t regularly do that, how can you be sure your “productivity” is actually, well, productive?

Here’s something else to consider. The GTD methodology isn’t an arbitrary formula. It’s grounded in principles that must be followed if you’re to achieve stability, control, and focus—whether in your kitchen, your company, or your consciousness. There’s a logic to this behavior.

And as you start to reflect and review regularly, it won’t take a whole day—maybe a couple of hours at most. Anyone who consistently does a weekly review will tell you it’s perhaps the most productive time of their week.

The way out is through. If there were a shortcut, I would use it, share it, and teach it. If you have one, let me know.

Good luck,
David