How to Make Doing a Weekly Review a Habit

Time for ReviewAt this time of the year many people want to get back on the GTD bandwagon because they are in a reflective mode of self improvement. If you read my last post Don’t make New Year’s Resolutions (do a Year-End Review instead) then you are in a great place to start 2016. Now, all you need to do is figure out how you are going to do your weekly reviews consistently on an ongoing basis.

Inherently, you know doing weekly reviews is the critical component of a successful GTD practice and the stress reduction it can provide.  When practiced diligently they can provide what David Allen calls “Mind Like Water” and when you are in this state you can feel great about where you are, what you are doing and what you are not doing. For anyone who has experienced this feeling it is amazing and they want to get back there.

Unfortunately, somewhere along the way many people lose steam and stop doing their weekly reviews. Once this happens they no longer trust their systems are accurate and complete inventories of all of their commitments and the system fails.

Fortunately, there is one way to succeed with GTD over the long term and that is to do a weekly review every week.  This is the single most important thing to success or failure over the long term.  If you really want to succeed you need to commit to spending an hour to and hour and a half a week doing a weekly review – without fail, no exceptions.

So, how do you do that? Make it a habit. In The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg explains that habits are a result of three things – a cue, a routine and a reward. Once you set up these three things you will create a new habit and once you make your weekly review a habit, you are on the way to ongoing stress-free productivity.

I was able to make doing a weekly review a habit by scheduling time with my wife to do our weekly review together on Saturday afternoons over a nice bottle of wine. We alternate weeks choosing a nice bottle of wine to share when we are doing our review. This provides the critical “reward” – delicious wine – that is part of Charles’ three parts of successful habit formation. So, the “Cue” is Saturday afternoon, the “Routine” is the Weekly Review, and the “Reward” is wine and mind like water.

I suggest you get your partner and figure out what a desirable common reward would be and then schedule time to enjoy that reward while doing your weekly review. Not only will you enjoy the reward but you will have synced with your partner on all the upcoming stuff that affects both of you. Once performing weekly reviews with your partner becomes a habit you will be on GTD auto-pilot.