What is a periodic review and why do you need one?

No matter how hard you try to keep OmniFocus up to date, eventually there will be a divergence between OmniFocus and reality.

You'll complete tasks but forget to mark them as completed in OmniFocus. You'll intend to do things without creating tasks or projects in OmniFocus for them. Due dates will change. Projects will stop being relevant.

To make sure you stay on top of your projects, you need OmniFocus to accurately and fully reflect the reality of all of your projects. 

And that's what the periodic review is for.

Lesson transcript:
[00:00:01] Hey, folks. In this section, we're going to be talking about periodic reviews. You'll also hear people talk about weekly reviews and you'll hear me talk about weekly reviews because often doing them once a week makes the most sense. But let's call them periodic reviews just to acknowledge that you may not do them exactly once a week. 

[00:00:17] So what are periodic reviews and what are they for? When you use your OmniFocus system as I'm teaching it to you in this course, for a while—then you'll find that reality and OmniFocus get out of sync. So you might forget to add some tasks that you took on to OmniFocus. Or you may forget to mark some tasks—marks some tasks as complete in OmniFocus. Or some things may no longer be relevant. Due dates might have changed. Some things that you listed as a task in OmniFocus may actually now better be thought of as a project. 

[00:00:52] So there's all sorts of ways in which reality and OmniFocus can get out of sync. Weekly reviews or periodic reviews exist to get OmniFocus and reality in line again. So during a review, what you do is you go through some subset of your projects or all of your projects, and you essentially—essentially ask yourself, is this project up to date? Does it reflect reality? And I'll be walking you through the nine steps to a periodic review in the next video. But just know that a periodic review exists primarily so that you can keep track of the current actual state of your projects. 

[00:01:28] As you're using OmniFocus, things are going to get more messy than you'd like them to be. And OmniFocus will no longer reflect or—reflect reality. So it's just a way to fix that. It also serves as a helpful reminder to you: what are all the projects that I've got going on right now? And it asks—it—the process of going through a review asks you to make decisions. It asks you to see, to think, hey, should I maybe delegate this project? Should I maybe defer this project or just drop this project altogether? Or maybe should I put it on hold for a while? So it's a way to take a high level overview, first of all, and all the things that you got going on and then drilling down with—within each project that you have. To make sure that you always have a next action available, to make sure that all the steps are listed in there and that everything is up to date. 

[00:02:14] Now, I recommend that you do these periodically, but as I'll show you in one of these sections of the course later, well, where I'll explain how you can regain some control when you feel really overwhelmed, you can also use reviews ad hoc whenever you're thinking, wow, I've got so much going on, I'm not sure what to work on next. That's a good time too to do a review. So with that said, let's move on to the next lesson, which is the nine steps that are involved in doing a periodic review.

Get Stuff Done with OmniFocus 3

Learn a workflow you can trust. With real examples and a friendly instructor.

Already enrolled?
Sign in to continue learning.