Am I Going in the Right Direction with GTD? - Next Action Associates

You won’t get the great benefit of seeing your world from a higher perspective in your Weekly Review® without first having a complete Projects list.


You won’t fully understand why you should keep a complete Projects list until you’re getting the benefit of seeing your world from a higher perspective in your Weekly Review.

Chicken and egg: which came first?

Someone who had been using GTD® for a number of years recently came to one of our Level 1 Fundamentals public seminars. Afterwards, he told me that he realised he hadn’t been tracking Projects effectively and that he had always struggled with the Weekly Review habit.

Most people would admit to adopting these two parts of the GTD methodology after some of the easier ‘quick wins’ (such as improved capture practices, dividing lists by contexts and using the two-minute rule); I certainly would.

Those quick wins will make you more productive immediately. Nothing wrong with that. You’ll be able to get more on top of your commitments, emails and actions just with those three changes to your way of working. So, you’ll be moving faster – but how do you know you’re going in the right direction?

Once a week, we recommend that you pause. More than pause; that you stop. Look up from the daily grind of who you’ve got to call and speak to and email, what you’ve got to print and buy and send, and to consider if all the calling, speaking, emailing, printing, buying and sending is leading you towards what you want to achieve in the next weeks and months ahead.

The easiest way to consider if you’re on the right track and to move up to view your world from the higher horizon where you want to finalise, complete, roll-out and launch, is to have a list of all these Projects which you can easily and thoughtfully reflect on. Without that list, the main problem isn’t that this overview will be hard to achieve, it’s that you won’t do it at all and then Projects will stall, drift out of your attention and be lost to you.

You also won’t feel the progress you have made as potently. Or, in David Allen’s words: “You can’t win if you haven’t defined the purpose”.

Keeping a complete and full Projects list will give you many, many benefits including helping you get the most out of your Weekly Reviews.


Keeping up with your Weekly Reviews will give you many, many benefits including seeing your world from the higher perspective of your Projects list.

Chicken and egg: which will you start working on first?

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