Project Management

Why Weekly Reviews Make You More Productive

Can a weekly review really make you a more productive PM? Bruce Harpham thinks so. In a post at Project Management Hacks, Harpham shares his personal takeaways from David Allen’s book Getting Things Done. It’s practically a given that you’ll become more productive simply by reading the following advice.

The Weekly Review – à la Harpham

A weekly review – the concept sounds fairly straightforward, but there’s a bit more to it than you might expect. For instance, Harpham uses an Excel spreadsheet. He finishes his review on Monday mornings before lunch and it takes him about half an hour to one hour to complete it. Every week he updates the spreadsheet to meet his evolving needs. You may prefer a Word document, or even some old-fashioned paper. In any case, the process is never quite “perfect” and the product is more like a working draft or an informal log. A typical review consists of three basic parts – Past, Future, and Weekly Mindset (Present).

The Past (and Future) is Now!

Looking at your previous work week on a calendar sounds silly, right? That past is the past, time to move on to greener pastures. Yet overlooked tasks will suddenly come to mind and this will help you link the current week more effectively with goals you have already started. In a similar but opposite fashion, reviewing the upcoming week will give you an early lease on important events and deadlines. The best time to prepare for these tasks/events is now. Between past and future, your present week is thoroughly planned for. The mindset Harpham discusses has to do with timing. If you commit to the weekly review on a Monday or Friday, you can prepare mentally for the week to come.

Owning the Process

The process of transferring emailed tasks and assignments into a tasks manager is often tedious, but again, the important thing to remember is that you are the owner of the review, and that it must first and foremost reflect your specific needs. Do you have a need to check off daily “line items,” things like “Review manager emails” or “Review upcoming corporate calendar?” Give it a try. Who knows, maybe you’ll even plan to read more articles from your favorite IT newsletter!

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