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Heartwarming Weekly Review

Heartwarming Weekly Review

Dear David Allen, The number of ways I treasure your body of work seem countless. Getting Things Done. Your presentation style. The weekly review. Psychic RAM. Deep water of doing. Mind like water. How you dissed me in 2010. The list continues from there. Yours truly, Chicago Productivity Coach

The Weekly Review is chief among my affection of David’s contributions–that sixty- to ninety-minute weekly exercise used to assess and address commitments from multiple levels. Despite the value of the lesson, the phrase weekly review feels more utilitarian than the heartwarming results it delivers.

If you’re not familiar with the Weekly Review process, a description modeled after and inspired by Sir David mixed with my own experience follow:

THE (mostly utilitarian) PROCESS

First you spend one minute getting calm. You set an intention for the hour—reminding yourself this is not a time for doing or for clearing backlog. Most of what you’ll execute is noticing what’s already been accomplished and what’s left to be completed.

Next you spend 20 to 30 minutes getting current:

  • Collect and process loose items from your desk/wallet/briefcase
  • Clear your paper/EM/IM/SMM/VM inboxes
  • Review your calendar—backward and forward 1-4 weeks

Then you dedicate 30 to 40 minutes getting clear:

  • Empty your head
  • Mine your task list and add/change/delete/renegotiate as needed
  • Review your project list to cross off/add/initiate/incubate as necessary

Lastly you devote a couple minutes getting courageous. You ask questions to release you from your comfort zone. Relationship-related questions like when can I invite my boss to lunch? Position-related ones like what experiences do I need before I’m ready for a promotion? And personal questions like what can I do to insert one hour of exercise into next week?

This method beckons for you to be instead of to do. Since doing is how we typically judge ourselves and are often judged by others, this ceremony of being might seem useless at first. When you experience the outcomes of the practice of being, you will think differently. I promise.

THE (mostly heartwarming) OUTCOMES

You’re familiar with the heightened spirit and the confidence that surges when you complete something significant on your to do list, right? Jobs self executed and/or well orchestrated trigger a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

The outcome of this being exercise are quite similar to that of doing.

You recalibrate your emotions so you arrive in a place where there’s a balance of effort and effortless. You replace the loose ends weight on your back, the crabby in your mouth, and the intolerance in your thoughts for levity and luminosity and capacity. You feel smart. You begin again the work to fulfill yourself and your obligations at the same time. You experience control. You undergo a connection to your work so you produce more easily.

Add to that, you prevent missed obligations—which not only helps you to keep your job, but also facilitates honoring your word.


This ritual can ignite a warmth in your heart that glows not just for an hour, but throughout the week. The more familiar you are with the outcomes of this exercise, the easier it is to integrate the sense of control into your doing. Showing the true essence of your being as you work. Allowing your heart to shine until you begin again.

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