Replacing my weekly review

Getting Things Done recommends spending an hour or two on a "weekly review" every Friday afternoon. This worked for me at first, but after a month, I found myself procrastinating more often than actually doing a weekly review. Ironically, another concept from the same book helped me understand some of the reasons.

A major problem with my old weekly review checklist was that it included things I had to do in different contexts. For example, I can only check snail mail at home, but I can only check voice mail when I'm not at home. Worse, performing a weekly review seemed to require concentrating on one thing for an hour, and I'd rather spend that concentration on programming.

I decided to split my weekly review into a list of weekly sanity reminders, with each reminder on appropriate day of the week. I chose Monday for reviewing actions assigned to specific contexts, since the contexts "office" and "business-hours" usually become available on Monday. But I review coding projects later in the week, when distractions have died down.

For many of the smaller parts of my old weekly review, such as making sure my iPhone's voicemail list is empty, I chose a day of the week on which a mid-day meeting breaks up my day.

Splitting my weekly review into multiple scheduled items allowed me to put some reminders on the days when they do the most good, and others on the days when distractions do the least harm.

Like the author of GTD, I found that doing each of these things once a week helps me focus on the right projects and avoid some forms of procrastination. They just don't all need to be done on the same day.

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