GTD, Lotus Notes & the eProductivity Challenge: The Weekly Review (part 2)

(Continuing from yesterday): Chris Blatnick, a professional business coach and long-time eProductivity user, shares why he loves eProductivity's Weekly Review Coach and how it helps him stay on track:


The Weekly Review Coach in eProductivity is basically an enhanced wizard, walking you through all of the steps necessary for a successful Weekly Review. It's an elegant approach because it allows you to focus on just one thing at a time. This is key, since maintaining this focus will drive you toward completion faster and allow you to be more thorough in your work. The coach kept me engaged, targeted and on track. I'll admit that in the past I got distracted chasing an idea or item down a rabbit hole. While this can still happen in any system, I felt more focused because I had the coach to guide me through the review in the correct order.


After launching it, the Weekly Review Coach takes you to the first step in the process: Collect Loose Papers. For each step of the Weekly Review, the coach tells you what you should be doing and gives you suggestions to improve your game. You can see a sample shot from the Weekly Review Coach below.





Here are the steps of the Weekly Review covered in the Wizard:
  • Collect Loose Items
  • Process Papers
  • Empty Capture Tools
  • Process Email
  • Empty Head
  • Review Action Lists
  • Review Previous Calendar
  • Review Upcoming Calendar
  • Review Tickler Files
  • Review Waiting-for List
  • Review Projects
  • Review Goals & Objectives
  • Review Areas of Focus
  • Review Relevant Checklists
  • Review Reference & Support
  • Review Someday/Maybe List
As you can see, that's quite an exhaustive list of things to do, and it's no wonder that it can be daunting to consider performing a weekly review when you have all that staring at you. Of course, the scarier this process seems to you, the more you probably need to be doing it!


Once the Weekly Review becomes an ingrained habit, the process goes pretty smoothly. Even so, there's always the temptation to jump ahead and work on something more interesting. When I used the Weekly Review Coach, I found that this temptation wasn't there. Instead, it kept me completely on task, a characteristic of a great coach.



...it kept me completely on task, a characteristic of a great coach.


After the first step is complete, you check it off and the coach automatically takes you to the next step. I love the layout of this wizard, along with the graphic representation of what step we're on coupled with the help text. Of particular genius is the way the coach allows you to do all of your work in context. Thus, when it's time to review your action lists or empty your inbox, the appropriate view appears directly below the coaching instructions (see below). I've talked about the effectiveness of this technique in interface design before, so it makes me very happy to see this being implemented in other Notes-based applications. This idea helps the user stay in that focused, flow state, further improving the user's performance of the task at hand.




I did my first weekly review in eProductivity on Sunday night and I was amazed at how fast I went through the process. Granted, my system was nice and clean from just migrating all my actions and projects over, but I still credit the Weekly Review Coach with enabling this speedy completion. When you finish walking through every step (where you are even encouraged to work on the higher level stuff...goals, aspirations, etc.), you are presented with a nice summary report of when you started each step, when you ended and your elapsed time. This is a nice touch and will be a good reward and motivation for continuing to stay on top of the Weekly Review process.


You can find some additional information and screenshots of the Weekly Review Coach on the eProductivity site. I encourage you to take a look and consider this as yet another great reason to review eProductivity for your GTD implementation. If I had to use a single word to describe this software, it would probably be "frictionless". By that I mean that it so smoothly supports the GTD methodology, I don't really have to think about the mechanics of getting data into the system or getting the right information out of it. Instead, I can just do my work and be productive.


As it says on the eProductivity site, "Your Weekly Review just got easier". Yes...I'd say it did!






I don't know about you, but I'm very thankful to Chris for sharing his thoughts on eProductivity. Here's hoping it can help you succeed in the same way!


Connect with Chris on LinkedIn here.



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