Capturing tasks is a really important part of your week, there is absolutely no question about that. Being able to take information, process it and put it into a trusted system is a skill that takes time to develop and the importance of it cannot be underestimated at all.
Is the art of capturing as important as the art of reviewing? This is a question that has been debated for a long time now. In my opinion, it’s a bit like the chicken and egg scenario. You’ve got to capture information otherwise you have nothing to review. Conversely, if you don’t review regularly the information you have captured, then what use is it?
I place a very high level of importance on my Weekly Review and it has a two hour slot which recurs every Sunday evening, when the kids are in bed. If I know there is going to be difficulty completing this at this time then depending on the distraction that is taking place to stop it form happening (either a day out, unforeseen circumstance etc) then it takes place either Sunday or Monday morning, both when the children are still asleep so I have maximum concentration.
So what does the Weekly Review comprise of? Why is it so important? Different people have different areas that form their review and the following is just my take.
OmniFocus is my first port of call because that is where all the tasks related to my projects lie. I can do this Review procedure on either the iPad or Mac version of the software due to the fantastic Review perspective already built in, although I must admit my preference is doing this on the Mac version. Only reason being, I perform the other tasks related to the Weekly Review on my Mac and it means I don’t swap between devices during this important task.
The OmniFocus section involves going through every project I have running at the moment, both work-related and home-related and ensuring that I have Next Actions assigned. I also take this opportunity to Flag tasks that I would like but am not essentially committed to completing over the course of the next week. These are then entered into a special Reminders list, separate from OmniFocus that can subsequently appear on BusyCal. It should be noted that BusyCal is where I plan my weeks activities from as I only place in my Calendar things that MUST be completed by a certain date/time.
Once the OmniFocus check is done, I move onto BusyCal and look at what needs to take place next week. I visualise the current calendar and then start to fill in blanks based on my productivity structure. Do I have time scheduled for Health and Fitness? Do I have time scheduled for Creativity and Learning? Family Time? All of this is populated.
I also make sure there is enough white space within the calendar to allow for contingency and working through my Flagged list in OmniFocus. I don’t hold to the theory that you should account for every available within your calendar. I get too frustrated when something has to be rescheduled or when something has to be skipped because there is something elese that has come up out of nowhere that has just has to take priority.
Once my Calendar is as setup as it can be for the next week, I move across to my email client. Currently, this is Airmail, although I am thinking of moving back to Mail.app to take advantage of some of the advantages Yosemite has to offer. I’ll deal with that when it comes though. My email review basically involves me ensuring that I am at Inbox Zero. Inbox Zero is a state whereby every email you have in your system is accounted for and filed in an effective container, as well as actions being scheduled for them if they are required. The place for keeping emails is NOT in your Inbox. As I generally close my email inbox down at the end of each day, this is usually a quick job on Weekly Review day, so I take the time here to archive my email folders to DEVONthink Pro Office.
The next part of the review takes place at the Desktop and Documents level. Hazel generally takes care of most of this for me, however I still like to peruse these folders and ensure everything is as it should be.
And so the Weekly Review is complete