Getting Things Done (Part 3 of 4): Reviewing Your Process


I am not receiving compensation for the content written in this post. This book review is based on my opinion and personal experience. 

In parts 1 and 2 of this series, I talked about the 5 Stages of Mastering Workflow from David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity and the main groupings that your items should be placed into using the diagram below. I suggested using bins and lists to represent the groupings. Parts 1 and 2 covered collecting, organizing, and processing. In this post, I will discuss regularly reviewing your main grouping bins and lists to stay on track.

With the workflow diagram, you can ORGANIZE and PROCESS the results of the things you COLLECT. This gives you an opportunity to REVIEW them and DO the work needed.

To recap, the MAIN GROUPINGS are…

Projects & Project Plans
Waiting For
Next Actions

“Your brain must engage on some consistent basis with all your commitments and activities. Reviewing your system on a regular basis and keeping it current and functional are prerequisites for that kind of control,” Allen writes.


Daily Review
A daily review of your calendar and your next actions list should keep you on course for the day. Remember that your calendar can hold alerts for future tasks to be done as well as specific event times.
Weekly Review
I use this review concept most. It gives me an opportunity to review all my main grouping bins and lists as a whole. Dedicate time to it! At least 2 hours. Allen recommends early on a Friday afternoon, if possible, because the week is still fresh in your mind and you can go into the weekend ready for refreshment and recreation.
  1. Pull out all loose papers, receipts, meeting notes, etc. not already processed and determine where they go according to the 7 main groupings above.
  2. Review calendar data for future events that may involve prep work.
  3. Empty your head. Write down any new projects, action items, waiting-fors, and someday/maybes to place in the applicable main groupings.
  4. Evaluate the status of your projects. What is the intended outcome? Do you have a kick-start action for it currently?
  5. Mark off completed actions on your next actions list. Review for further steps to take on incomplete ones.
  6. Record new actions on your waiting for” list. Check off items completed.
  7. Delete items from someday/maybe list that are no longer relevant. Can any of the items be transferred to projects?
The key is putting everything, every task, every piece of paper, every e-mail in one of the 7 main groupings. The review is the time to purge and delete, tie up loose ends, and refocus. Once you get into the habit of really using the workflow diagram efficiently, the review time will decrease.
Part 4 of this Getting Things Done series will discuss what to do and when to do it.
Do you use a review method for getting things done?
How often do you review your calendar? Is it digital or printed?

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