Watch CBSN Live

Getting Things Done: Step 5 - Review

This article is part five of a seven part series on Getting Things Done® (GTD®) -- the time and productivity management system by David Allen.
Columns In Series:
GTD Post #1: Getting Things Done: Introduction
GTD Post #2: Getting Things Done: Step 1 - Collection
GTD Post #3: Getting Things Done: Step 2/3 - Processing & Organizing
GTD Post #4: Getting Things Done: Step 4 - Context & Doing
Getting Things Done: Step 5 - Review
One of the most important and often neglected steps in GTD is Review. I struggle with this one, too. I nail the daily Review, but get hung up on the Weekly Review. Here's why. I get so efficient with collecting, processing, organizing, and doing that I just want to do some more. I don't want to take the time to step back and plan. I'm getting better but I'm not perfect.

Don't make the same mistake I made, er make. Make the Review process a part of your daily AND weekly routine.

Daily Review

  1. Calendar. Look at your calendar first to see what has to get done (remember, the only items on your calendar are those things that absolutely have to get done on that specific day and/or time). The number and length of meetings and tasks on your calendar will set the direction and pace for the day.
  2. Next Actions. Check out your list of Next Actions you could do in your current Context.
Weekly Review
David Allen suggests you do this on Sunday nights and that you allocate an hour or two. I've got a lot of things going on but it's never taken me two hours, so just commit to an hour and see how much progress you make.
  1. Loose papers. Find any errant papers that have accumulated over the week and put them in your Collection inbox.
  2. Process your notes. Review any journal entries, meeting notes, etc. and Process/Organize them by putting them in projects, on your calendar, in Next Actions, etc.
  3. Calendar data. Review past and future calendar dates for any Next Actions.
  4. Brain dump. Think of anything that is floating around in your head that you didn't Collect yet and get it out of your head.
  5. Projects. Go through each of your projects to ensure you are on course and that you have Next Actions for each so you can move them forward.
  6. Waiting. Go through your Waiting lists and Waiting email folders and mark off completed items and send reminders to those who haven't completed their tasks.
  7. Someday/Maybe. Remember all of the items that weren't actionable and that weren't Trash or Reference? Those Incubate items are on your Someday/Maybe lists. Go through these once a week or once every couple of weeks to see if you want to move a Someday/Maybe item to a Project.
Let me give you three examples of the power of GTD.

Idea to Dr. Phil
Through GTD, I was able to write a 75 page personal finance ebook in my other 8 hours, design and oversee the development of the book's website, record and produce the audiobook version, and one more thing . . . get on Dr. Phil and share my counterintuitive financial tips to the nation.

Web Application
For a long time I had on my Someday/Maybe list to create a internet browser add-on. A month ago I moved it off of my Someday/Maybe list and turned it into a Project. It will be completed next week.

National TV
I came up with a cool financial TV segment about the other 8 hours that I thought would be perfect for a well-known national show. I emailed the pitch to my PR person so he could pitch it to the producers at the show. A couple of weeks went by and I didn't hear anything. When I reviewed my WAITING folder I realized I'd never heard back from him. I sent him another email and he emailed back the next day saying the producer loved the idea and wanted me on the show.

This is the power of GTD. Now it's your turn. What are you going to get done?

Are you ready to create more money, time, energy, and passion in your life? Learn how to live your best life now with these free resources:

Get the "Achieving Peak Performance" ebook and video now! (free for a limited time)
You can also join a community of passionate people at Richer Life who want to achieve more in life and at work. With your free membership, you can participate in conversations I have with experts, celebrities, authors, and thought leaders that are laser-focused on practical ways to drive more money, motivation, and meaning into your life. Take the first step toward creating a better life by joining Richer Life for free now!

This product and its maker are not affiliated with, approved or endorsed by David Allen or the David Allen Company, which is the creator of the Getting Things Done® system for personal productivity. GTD® and Getting Things Done® are registered trademarks of the David Allen Company For more information on the David Allen Company's products the user may visit their website at

(Laptop image by Tomtom Suites, CC 2.0).

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue