It happened to me over and over again.
I got sick and tired of being disorganized, of missing things, of not meeting my goals. “I am going to make a system.” I wrote everything I need to do down in a to-do list. I made sure my emails get processed correctly.
And a few weeks later it was as if none of that ever happened.
Why did this happen to me over and over again? Unlocking this secret was the key to actually implementing Getting Things Done.
Here’s the key: your system won’t work unless there is a place in it for you to review what you have processed.
Think about what we talked about earlier regarding your cluttered mind. You can’t tell your mind, “Stop thinking about that, I’ll get to it later” unless it can trust that you will get to it later.
Think about the empty inbox. Are you really going to put that important email in the @Actions folder if you don’t trust that you’ll keep it there? No. What you’ll do instead is keep the important emails in your inbox because, really, you don’t have a review system in place.
This is where Checkvist really shines for me. I review items in Checkvist two ways:
Due Dates. If I need to get something done within a certain amount of time, I’ll set its due date. Every day I’ll check the “Due” screen (shortcut dd) and make sure I’m not missing anything. I’ll even set due dates on items that I commit to doing by that time. For example no one is forcing me to read a book by August 1, but I put that as a due date to tell myself that is my goal.
Review Repeating Task. I set up a task called “Review [list]"* for every list I have that recurs as often as I need to review it. For example, I have a “Review money” task that recurs every Sunday and Wednesday with financial tasks on it. This is “Due” those days, so it will shows up in my due list that I’m checking from the above point. This way I only have to remember: every day look at my due list, which will tell me that I need to review my list.
That’s my system. Other people can schedule meetings with themselves but that never worked for me. I need to review the areas of my life more regularly than that. And, as one who has tons of projects going on both personally and professionally, I have an even more complicated workflow that I’ll share in a future post regarding my reviews. But the above system I think works as well as anything.
The bottom line is make sure you have a system to review things, or else you don’t have a system.
- Hint: When you set up the review task, type “Review [lst:” and the list will pop up. Select the list and you’ll be able to navigate to the list with the gg shortcut.