I first discovered the weekly review from the book Getting Things Done (GTD). There the review is a system cleanup. I relate it to a messy house. There are dishes in the sink and a dusty floor and little spider webs in the corners. How good and relaxed do you feel after you clean all of that up? Well the GTD weekly review is the digital equivalent. You want to clear your head of anything that lingers about your mind, so you can set the runway for the week.

This is brilliant. But for me it led to a lot of planning and replanning and system cleaning up that actually didn’t wasn’t bothering me beforehand. It would be like physically cleaning the underside of your desk or polishing your bed-frame’s rails. Maybe that’s beneficial to do every few years. Weekly is maddening.

What I decided is most important for me is to define the tasks that I want to complete this week. I want to get to the ground level of what I’m going to do as quickly as possible.

Here’s how that looks in my system. First, I open my projects list which has all the projects I defined in my monthly review (emergent from the goals). Then within each of those, my tasks are already stored inside There are three categories of tasks. In progress labels tasks ready to be worked on. Waiting labels tasks either waiting on a task ahead of them or a piece of information, but they are tasks that must be completed. And SomedayMaybe labels tasks that aren’t fundamental to the project, but potentially are good pivots into a new project.

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So my weekly checklist goes like this —

  • Decide what project/projects I will try and finish this week.

Then within each project (one by one),

  • Imagine the one package of information you want to achieve, where will this project end?
  • Choose the proper tasks or when needed create them, checking “ThisWeek” box.
  • Move to the next project.

Once this is finished, I end with a list of 20-30 tasks for the week. Each morning I open that up and jot out my day. From there, I focus on workflows.

When I have more time, I do a system clean up as well (like in GTD), but I learned over the last year what are the essentials —

  1. Email: processing emails to tasks and notes, getting my inbox to zero.
  2. Journal: any lingering unprocessed notes or tasks?
  3. Calendar: reviewing 2 weeks in the past and the future, ensuring everything is in order.
  4. Desktop/Downloads: throughout the week digital files get stored, I want to process these.
  5. New Notes and Blog inbox: Process these.

These are originally defined by Tiago. He goes through his whole weekly review process in a youtube series which I highly recommend.

I understand this is a lot. It’s a lot for me. I’m getting used to it. Bit by bit. These blogs have been the first time that I’ve articulated it, and now I can make checklists out of these entries. Over time this will just become part of me and the time spent on it will be minimal. It’s been so much work and frustration but the reward is mental clarity and stress-free work. Everyone wants to love their work, here’s how.