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Time management - Review



Review

General

Carry out weekly.
There will be particular areas that you need to review.

The use of the ‘check list’ is very useful here and is covered in more detail elsewhere, see ‘checklists’.
If you have a folder labelled ‘review’ containing your ‘check list’ you can easily see what areas to review and the exact location of the material.

These locations contain the action reminders (see ‘reminders’) and do not contain the subject detail.
This will be filed elsewhere for access as necessary.

Reviewing is not about looking in your ‘day file’ at the next day’s activities and deciding if you really need to do them.
It’s about examining all the ‘delayed tasks’ and ‘project files’ in the next week’s activity or further afield, those tasks falling in the next month.

If you add notes to various packages of information held on computer software make sure you remember to look at it.
Make a cross reference to these computer files in the appropriate ‘day file’ so you know they exist.

Delayed tasks

If you remember we have 2 sections of ‘delayed tasks’.

  • Items that originally required no action and were put to one side. These items although unimportant at present may be useful at sometime in the near future.
  • The other tasks are those that required action but were put on the back burner because they were not easy to complete rapidly.
    These will be tackled when all of the ‘5 minute’ tasks are done.

(Remember these have been defined as 1 step activities.
The multiple step tasks are the ‘project tasks’.)

  • Either they can be completed by the end of the day.
  • Or they will become a diary entry as an appointment, or an action for a particular day and time.
  • Or they become an entry in the ‘day file’.

Review.

  • Is the task still relevant? If so, can you file it for up and coming action?
  • If not relevant can you dispose of it?
  • Has the situation changed so that you can now delegate it?
  • If the task is still relevant do you have all the necessary documentation to help you complete it?
  • Are there any other tasks you will need to complete first prior to tackling this one, for example, access more data or make and appointment to see a colleague first.

You are making sure that when the time comes to tackle the task that you have no surprises and everything you need is to hand.

The review system should become a habit. Think of an idea, file it as a reminder and review the progress.

Your review process must be in time to do all that is necessary to complete any tasks by a deadline.

The review process requires ‘triggers’ as reminders to make sure that you do not miss anything during the review process.
Reminders and triggers are discussed later.

Delegated tasks

The other ‘delayed’ tasks (apart from projects) are those you have ‘delegated’ to others.
You must review the status of these on a regular basis.

In terms of review this will be examining the list of delegated tasks and their deadlines to see those that should be completed in the next time period.
Clearly, if you have delegated the tasks there is little point in you getting too involved.
However, it is an opportunity, in terms of monitoring, to draw up an appropriate agenda for a control meeting or to request reports.

See also comments under ‘reminders’.

E-mails and voice mail

Also see the section covering e-mails.

Email has fast become the primary form of communication.
The problem is it is very easy to get a lot of e-mail every day. At work you will probably be lucky enough to have a lot of spam removed by the IT department before the proper messages reach you. At home you may not be so lucky.

Either way using filters or mail ‘message rules’ to redirect particular e-mail will remove a lot of your e-mail to specific folders.
That left will be easier to sift through.
Make sure you check your e-mail regularly as it can build up rapidly.

If you receive voice mail and can’t deal with it immediately make a note of it and file it in the appropriate area or ‘day file’.

E-mail is particularly useful as you keep a copy of the communication for tracking purposes.

Diary

The review process should include up and coming diary items. These should coincide with the ‘day files’.

Collection

Review is not just about examining outstanding current and future items. You must check that you have collected all the current information for action and filed it appropriately.
Make sure you don’t miss anything.

It is also a time to consider new and current ideas and goals.

If there are any items you can sort out before the week end try to do it. Don’t let tasks fester if you can help it.

Projects

When a project is completed this must be reviewed. From this you will learn valuable lessons and will be able to give praise to those involved.
This is covered in much more detail elsewhere [see ‘The Complete Project Management package’] and [see 'The Complete Project Management plus PRINCE2'].

Non - PRINCE2 information