Personal Productivity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people wanting to improve their personal productivity. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

The first part of a "Getting Things Done" (GTD) weekly review is getting clear: emptying the inbox. At the same time, the weekly review is for reviewing, not doing. For tasks less than two minutes, it still seems that the overhead of the system is bigger than just doing it right then and there.

Should short tasks be done during the weekly review?

share|improve this question
Where does the term "weekly review" stem from? Can you provide a link to some more information? – Michael Zedeler Apr 13 '14 at 14:55
@MichaelZedeler, Dennis edited my post with a reference to the Getting Things Done book by David Allen. Also see a short intro:… – Felix Apr 14 '14 at 19:39
up vote 5 down vote accepted

I personally do finish short tasks that I come across during the weekly review immediately. Because, as you say, transferring them to a Next Action list probably takes more time than just doing them.

Of course, there really shouldn't be any short tasks to deal with during the weekly review, since we should already have done all those tasks when they first popped up. Which is part of why I can actually deal with the few tasks that did fall through the cracks during the review itself.

If it turns out that you are spending a significant amount of time during the weekly review dealing with small stuff like this, it would make sense to create a temporary holding space, move all 2 minute tasks to this space when you find them, and then immediately deal with them after the rest of the weekly review is done. Don't put them on a Next Action list (because the reasoning above still applies), but don't run the risk of getting sidetracked and not finishing the rest of the weekly review points.

Better to schedule some dedicated time right after the weekly review to address these issues without a need for filing if necessary. (And: work on your discipline to get these done right away from now on, not let them fester until the next review.)

share|improve this answer

I usually do them. From my perspective clearing the inbox is clearing the inbox, whether it's regular daily processing or the first step in a weekly review.

share|improve this answer

I would say yes. Do short tasks during the weekly review.

You should ideally do all 2 minute tasks during the Process stage if your following GTD to the letter not during the review stage. That said the 2 minute rule is a fundamental of GTD so I'd probably extend this to the review stage if you find your still left with tasks.

Here are my tips for things you should consider during the review stage...

Identify any tasks you can complete in under 2 minutes. Do all outstanding tasks immediately - even during review. If you find it's taking to long to complete all the tasks if you leave the review for one week consider performing 2 reviews each week.

Eliminate tasks you've completed

As you complete tasks in your GTD Next Action lists be sure to mark them as complete or move them from your Next Actions list. As Next Actions shrink bring in more tasks from your other projects or some day lists to complete next.

Reorganize your tasks as you complete tasks or priorities change

As new ideas and tasks come to you during the day you'll probably find yourself adding these into your favorite task management tool. It's important to organize everything you capture during the day into your lists during the daily or weekly review stage. When organizing your tasks consider filing or moving everything you can't complete right away or in under 2 minutes into your "Projects" or "Some day" lists.

Keep your lists short and motivating

It's liberating to dump all your ideas or tasks into a task management tool but you should ensure your "Next Action" list only really contains the things you need to focus on next. Spend time to organize everything else neatly away within your Projects or some day lists during your reviews.

BTW: I recently launched a new task management tool (in beta). Shameless plug I'm sorry but you may get some value from this if you don't have a formal method to manage your tasks - you can check this out here

share|improve this answer

Yes! God yes! The two minute rule applies during weekly review.

if you are disciplined enough to perform a weekly review, chances are there is a sizable inventory of stuff and projects that need reviewing. A weekly review takes about one or two hours giving you time enough to review about 50 to 100 things right?

If you let execution of tasks leak over the two minute mark, you are giving yourself considerably less time to review the remaining items in your inventory.

A this point it is no longer a weekly review. It is "doing".

A good practice is to really review everything, do the two minute things and clarify and organize the rest.

When you are done with the review if you have time left over then you can go into executive mode and do those 10, 20, 30 minute tasks.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.