Freedom is what everyone wants — to be able to act and live with freedom. But the only way to get to a place of freedom is through discipline.
The purpose of this whole workflow management is not to let your brain become lax, but rather to enable it to move toward more elegant and productive activity. In order t earn that freedom, your brain must engage in some consistent basis with all your commitments and activities. You must be assured that you are doing what needs to be doing, and that it is OK not to be doing what you are not doing. Reviewing your system on a regular basis and keeping it current and functional are prerequisites for that kind of control.
The minute your lists are not current your brain will not trust your system and it will take back the job remembering, processing and reminding, which your brain is not very good at doing.
All this means that your system cannot remain static. In order to support appropriate action choices, it must be kept up to date.
There are two major issues that need to be handled at this point:
What do you look at in all this, and when?
What do you need to do, and how often, to ensure that all of it works as a consistent system
What to look at, When
Your personal system and habits need to be established such that you can see the actions when you need to see them and where you need to see them.
Your errands list be handy when you are out shopping or on the road; your list of discussion point should be available when you have the next meeting with your boss. Right time- right place.
How much time do you spend looking at your system? - As often as is required.
Where to Start
Look at your calendar first- to review your hard commitments for the day. That will decide when and how much time do you have to do the other things that are on your various lists
Then Your Next Actions Lists -
This does not mean you will actually be doing anything on those lists; you'll just be evaluating them against the flow of all the other work coming at you to ensure you make the best choices in the moment.
Updating the System
The real trick to ensuring the trustworthiness of the whole organisation system is refreshing your psyche and your system from an elevated perspective. Here the magic key to sustainability of the GTD system is a WEEKLY Review.
Weekly review sharpen your intuitive focus on your important projects as you deal with the flood of new potential distractions coming at you the rest of the week.
Very simply, the weekly review is whatever you need to do to get your head empty again! It is going through the 5 phases of workflow management- collecting, processing, organising, and reviewing all your outstanding involvements until you are satisfied that you are current again.
It would look something like this:
Loose papers- business cards, meeting notes, bills, receipts and all those things that have crept in your pockets, laptop bag and kitchen drawers
Process your notes- Review and update your system with lists, project support material, waiting for, and calendar events
Review previous calendar data- Has everything with done?
Upcoming calendar- Prep for future events
Empty to your head- Mind- sweep
Review project lists
Review Next action lists
Review waiting for lists
Review any relevant checklists
Review Someday/Maybe lists
The right time to do the review- GTD recommends that you block off two hours early Friday afternoon for the weekly review for three reason:
The events of the week are still fresh in your mind to complete a AAR
If something/ someone needs to reached out, they would still be available before the weekend
You can go into the weekend with a clear psyche
Whatever your life-style, you need a weekly regrouping ritual. If you already have, then leverage the habit into a high- altitude review process.