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What is the "Next Review" field for? [Explanation in thread.] Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
In omnifocus on the mac, under the inspect tab, what the "next review " used for? How do you use it?
It is a wonderful feature, and one not duplicated in any of the other GTD apps.

The notion is that you've read David Allen's Getting Things Done or are otherwise convinced that a regular review of your projects and progress is essential to staying on track. OmniFocus gives you some tools for doing that review methodically.

Each project has a next review date, a last reviewed date, and a review interval, visible in the inspector. There is a grouping selector in project mode that groups by next review date, and likewise a sorting selector. There is also a toolbar button (not configured in the default set for reasons I don't understand, but use View->Customize Toolbar... to add it, or just use the keyboard shortcut of cmd-shift-R) which will mark the selected project as reviewed and move the selection to the next project. Marking a project reviewed updates the last reviewed and next review dates by setting last reviewed to the current date and calculating the next review date by adding the review interval to the current date. Each time you do the review process, you bring up a view grouped or sorted by next review date, and you review all of the projects with next review dates of today or earlier, marking each one off with the Mark Reviewed button (or right-click + Mark Reviewed). Of course, you can review beyond that point, but it isn't necessary to do so as long as you do this scan on a daily basis.

The real beauty of the scheme is that each project can have its own independent review cycle tailored to how often you need to check up on it. Assign a short review interval (and an immediate next review date, if necessary) to a project that has heated up, and you'll see it more often. A project that is on the back burner may not need to be reviewed as often, and it may not need to be reviewed at all until some future date.

If you have a lot of projects, it can be helpful to spread out the reviewing work over the whole week. One clever way to do this is by using prime numbers for the review intervals (idea by Curt Clifton). If you do a search for "prime number review" on the forum you'll find a number of posts describing this in some detail.

I think this approach is a superior approach to David Allen's weekly review (to be fair, it would be rather difficult to implement in a paper system, which was his target in the book), but there's still value in doing an overall review all at once on a monthly/quarterly/yearly basis, as he suggests. I would simply take the time to go through all the projects and not use the Mark Reviewed button for the bigger reviews, as marking everything reviewed in a single session would disrupt any efforts to spread the daily review work out. Note also that you can choose to review only your active projects (by setting the sidebar selector) on your daily reviews, and review the pending or on hold projects in the larger scale reviews.

One last note: the default value for review interval is 2 days, but if you find that not to your liking, there's a preference in the Data pane of the OmniFocus preferences which controls the value given to newly created projects. For existing projects, use the inspector to change it. You can change multiple projects at once if you select them as a group, then change the value in the inspector.
Great answer, Bill - thanks!
For an item I just completed but would like to follow-up on in 1 week, the Next Review command would be great versus having to create a whole new task just to follow-up. Accordingly, it would be nice to have a "reviewed" option along with the active, on hold, completed, dropped buttons. Thoughts?
You say itemódo you mean an action or a project? Review only works on projects. If it is a project, and if you do your reviews religiously, you could set the next review date on the project to 1 week from now in the inspector, but you are trusting that you will do the review, and when you see the project, you'll remember what it is you wanted to do. Compared to adding an action starting in a week telling you how to follow up, this seems like just as much work, and more chances for things to go wrong.

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