Monday, January 26, 2009

Do a Review, any review will do!

I look around at my desk today and think.

What is the best thing for me to be doing right now?

Which one of my big important projects do I work on? Do I take a break (because I am due)? Do I go get a drink of water or do I work on something else? Which item on my numerous lists do I work on? I can’t choose my highest priority project because I have no idea what that is, everything is screaming, do me now.

The message that this tells me is I am not clear, not current, and probably not creative because I have stray thoughts in my mind. Does this mean my system has completely gone to hell and I have lost track? No, I still have my lists in various contexts and Horizons of focus so I can still return to them but is it time to return to them? No.

It is time for a weekly review.

Resistance: A weekly review Brian?

12hourhalfday: Yes

Resistance: But you already did one of those last Friday and it is Monday now. It is a weekly review, not a whenever I feel like it review. That is lunacy. You should do busy work until your uncompleted commitments cause you great anxiety.

Does this inner conversation ever happen to you? I have it often. The term weekly review is a misnomer; it is more of a context and Horizon review (and a brain dump). I do a weekly review on Friday so I can enjoy my weekend and know that I don’t have to worry about work till Monday. But when I come back on Monday I have a morning meeting, 100 e-mails, and input from every employee in my company (this last item is an exaggeration but it feels like it sometimes) all before 9am completely throwing me back off the wagon and into mental chaos. So I do a quick Monday morning review.

What is the Monday morning review for me?

  1. An affirmation of how I will feel and what my day, and week will like at their ends.

  2. Process my inbox, e-mail, and help desk queue (30 minute limit, I use a 30 second rule rather than a 2 minute rule)

  3. A brain dump

  4. A review of my project list (no need to review Incubate (What I call someday/Maybe), I did that on Friday.)

  5. A break where I take pictures or juggle

  6. A creative review of my week.

Even David Allen does multiple reviews if he needs them. My advice: Pretend you have a meter floating above your head which rates your control and perspective for the day. That meter ever dings into the Victim role (no control, no perspective), do a review. You may have to review your NAs (next actions), your projects, Your roles, your responsibilities, your goals, or any larger outcomes but do a review, review it in some way. This may be what you need to get back on track.

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