The Stoner Mom’s Crash Course in Life Management
Created in 2001 by David Allen, Getting Things Done is a method of managing and maintaining all of your life’s commitments. In this blog series, I am breaking down the Getting Things Done method, but for stoners. Because stoners can be productive. They are industry leaders and stay-at-home moms. They are doctors, teachers, grandmothers, combat veterans and so much more.
If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed with your life’s responsibilities and don’t know where to start, then this is the series for you!
In our last post in this series, I showed you how to organize your GTD systems for optimum efficiency. In today’s post, I will introduce you to the weekly review– probably the most important step for integrating the GTD system into your everyday life.
In this post, we will go over step four of the Getting Things Done method, Reflect.
GTD Step Four | Reflect
What is it?
The reflection step is about building frequent review sessions into your everyday routine. It’s the dependable ritual of clearing your head, checking your lists, and determining how to spend your time in the next days. With these frequent review sessions, you can eliminate the open loops that confuse, overwhelm, and ultimately render you actionless. Sound familiar?
People complain about this step the most, and yet it’s easily the most game-changing step of the system. Here’s why it’s rough: we don’t want to call attention to our overwhelm. We are afraid to look at the list. Afraid to open the mail. Afraid to answer the phone.
It’s good to remember the cleansing feeling you received when you conducted your first mind sweep. The weekly review is a mini version of that. It doesn’t just hold you accountable, it helps you achieve those goals you set when you first embarked on the GTD project.
The Weekly Review
Residue seems to have the habit of spontaneously showing up, but never going away, by itself. You have to work at keeping things streamlined and current. The mere passage of time can make meaningful things irrelevant. The Weekly Review is psychic spring cleaning. – David Allen
It’s time to make a standing date with yourself. Every week, on the same day, you will perform a weekly review. Make the weekly review your top priority and the days in between your reviews will be much less stressful. Whatever your “Sunday” is, that’s a perfect day for your weekly commitment to yourself, your family, your mental health, your financial health. During the weekly review you will:
- Get up to date. Pull out all loose papers, receipts, mail, post-its, etc., and put in your inbox.
- Review your calendar. Review previous and upcoming calendar data to trigger next actions.
- Review your Next Actions.
- Review your Project List. Do you have at least one action assigned to each project you’re working on? Are there any actions to add or check off?
- Review your Someday/Maybe List
- Process your inbox.
- Process your notes.
- Mind sweep – empty your head of everything not already in the system. Process it as you would your inbox. Learn how to perform a mind sweep in this post.
- Review your goals.
My Weekly Review
First, I gather all loose papers, receipts, mail, post-its, from around the house and from my inbox.
Set up at my desk where I have access to my computer, my calendars, several bongs and lots of weed, and usually David. I often want to confirm dates, plans, dinners with him, so having him accessible (perhaps playing Xbox) is helpful.
At my desk, I open iCal, open up my day planner (a bullet journal in a Moleskin notebook), open Wunderlist, clear out all other applications.
Once I’m set up, the first thing I do is to check the calendars and make sure they are all synced. When you have more than one calendar there is always a danger that something will not be recorded across all calendars. A weekly review keeps me in check so I can transfer any appointments I made when I only had my phone on me.
While looking over my calendars, I can see if there are any tasks that should be added to my Next Actions list.
Next, I look at my Project List, which is extensive. I track my progress by breaking up each project into several single tasks and completing one or two a week. During my weekly review, I transfer one or two new tasks from my Project List to my Next Actions list. These are my priorities for the next week.
After my project and next actions lists, I take a look at my someday/maybe list. These items don’t normally require any action, but sometimes I need to clean the list up and add to it.
Once my lists have been managed, I process my inbox. This means filing away schoolwork, filling out forms, mailing bills, and any other miscellaneous tasks I need to complete in order to empty my inbox. If I have any notes that need to be transferred into permanent storage, I also do this now.
My next step is to perform a final mind sweep to make sure that every possible thing that has my attention is captured and entered into my system.
My final two steps are a quick look at my goals page to keep me motivated, and to record my follower stats across my social media accounts. I am working on growing my audience, so tracking that information is important.
Below is a long stoner session where I go through my weekly review process. If you want to watch a stoned person pay bills, this is the riviting video for you. If anything it might make you laugh while you process your own inbox.
More Frequent Reviews
It is my preference that you strive for mini reviews a few times a week. I would recommend daily, but then I remember how many times I have set that aspiration for myself and subsequently didn’t do it for weeks. I have a problem with being told what to do.
It’s good to think of review sessions as something that feels good. That way when the inevitable dread of checking-in sets in, you can replace it with those good feelings.
The general state of your business also plays a part in the frequency of review sessions. When there is a ton going on (four kids in school, with multiple activities across the Denver metro area) I check in every single day. I have trained myself to feel uncomfortable when I have too much on my mind. Processing and organizing those thoughts often is the key to saving mental energy.
Help for the Productivity Challenged
Here’s a wonderful episode of the GTD podcast where David Allen conducts a guided weekly review: Guided GTD Weekly Review. I encourage you to listen to the master explain it, as he is a thousand times more eloquent than I.
Conduct your first weekly review!
Until next time stoner fam! Love all of you!