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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Weekly review checklist

Bohu & Tohu  (3 months old) by Gattou/Lucie from flickr (CC-SA)

Here's a quick list of steps to get my GTD system up to date. It differs somewhat from vanilla GTD, but so does everyone else's.

  • Go to mailbox, read all unread mails.
  • Go to mailbox, preprocess all blue-starred items. I use two kinds of stars: blue star means it's inbox item, yellow star is just to find an email quickly, and all activity related to it is tracked.
  • Preprocess every single item in paper inbox.
  • Go to both software repository (private and work), and commit or trash everything. If it cannot be completed right away it deserves an inbox item. 
  • Preprocess every single item in inbox directory. On Linux I used ~/inbox, on OSX I normall just put stuff on desktop (and omg, I get my desktop to totally clean and empty regularly, I really do)
  • As result of this preprocessing everything is in the GTD system - currectly OmniFocus, but most is still crap.
  • A bit more preprocessing - quickly scan everything and mark completed items as done, do less-than-2-minute actions (the only reason such actions are even on the list is because they have been blocked before), mark completed waiting-fors as such - each such completion might trigger addition of extra stuff to inbox. The reason I do this is to save some sanity.
  • Now the big decision - look at my projects and other lists and decide if they are reasonably clean or a hopeless mess. If they're reasonably clean, leave them for now. If they're a total mess, move absolutely everything to inbox.
Processing - every item in inbox is processed. As everything is in one place and obvious trash, loudest items etc. has been mostly dealt with, there shouldn't be that many distractions - but they do happen.
  • What the fuck is it about?
  • Is it already done? If so, mark as completed.
  • Do I still even care? If not, delete.
  • Is it waiting for? Tag as @Waiting and move to appropriate project.
  • Should I push it to someone else? Write email right away and @Waiting
  • Is it a shopping item? @Shopping and move to appropriate project or generic "Area of Focus : Shopping" list. There are no specific subcontexts for shopping - I buy everything online including groceries - 90% of my shopping is Tesco online + Amazon online - and the main challenge is minimizing number of separate deliveries to reduce cost and annoyance. If I'm out for some reason anyway, I'll take a look at the list to see if there's anything I can buy on my way.
  • Is it calendar item? Move to calendar. I have very few of those so I'm using OmniFocus for calendar - it won't work well for most people.
  • Is it a random URL I might want to read someday? Move to "Someday/Maybe : Reading" list.
  • Is it a random idea I might want to follow through someday but not now? Move to appropriate sublist of Someday/Maybe.
  • Is it a well-defined action already? Is it simple enough to get it done in a few minutes? If so, do it (that might trigger another inbox item).
  • Is it a well-defined action that will take longer or I cannot do it right now because of wrong context? Move to appropriate project.
  • So it's something complex...
  • What am I trying to see accomplished anyway? If I'm very unclear about it, I might convert it to a new project + some @Mindmap / @Research actions.
  • If I'm clear about outcomes, do I want to move forward with it? If not, clarify description and move to one of the sublists of Someday/Maybe.
  • Am I clear about the next action? If so, turn this into a project, and put such action there.
  • If I'm not clear about next action, turn it into a project + some @Mindmap / @Research actions.
At this point inbox should be empty.
  • Go through project lists, make sure all projects have adequate actions. Some projects might already be completed, in which case mark them as complete.
  • Quickly go through contexts lists and make sure everything is sensibly contexted. Current list of contexts is: @Blocked @Calendar @Computer @Home @Linux @Mindmap @Outside @Research @Shopping @Waiting @Windows - but I change it if I need to.
  • Take a quick look at Someday/Maybe if there's anything I want to move forward soon. Usually there isn't, or at least not much.
After all this is done, I should be able to stay sane for a few more days.

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