Reveille process explained

The Reveille routine
GTD gives you some direction on how to get things out of your head, get clear, and being prepared for the things to come. I have adjusted these steps to my needs, and probably you will have your own needs, so the below steps are for inspiration only.

The steps are based on the aspiration that “doing stuff” is not enough, “delivering goals” is not enough either but creating/ delivering business value (output and impact) is the aspirational way of working.

The Reveille can be perceived as a cumbersome process, but I can do this between 15 – 20 minutes per day because of the contextual set up I use. High level the Reveille routine contains the following steps, also shown in the video:

  • 05. Get actual. Process my inboxes to zero and follow up on ☕️Waiting for and due (progress stopped)
  • 06. Get real of how much “time to fly” is available still and check with what you have to do today, and compare this with time available
  • 07. Plan today by (hyper)scheduling the Today tasks into your agenda

Below I will explain step by step how it is set up with short videos and links to downloadable Shortcuts and or Perspectives in OmniFocus and or Keyboard Maestro shortcuts.

In general, I use OmniFocus (IOS/ MacOS/ iPadOS versions) for the tasks in the Routine. Please find below the general principles for the Reveille list:

  • I use the defer date today 05:00 and due date today 10:00, every task defers 5 minutes later to get an automatic sort order
  • The tag I use is the Routine task (OmniFocus setup guide here)
  • I repeat the tasks every working day, based on the completion day (so if I need to skip one day, it is picking up the next available working day)
  • Notification is (always) off
  • In the tasks I have added in the notes section of the tasks, the Shortcut link for iPad/ iPhone or link to Keyboard Maestro macro if I work on the MacBook.
  • I can do the same routine no matter which device I use, but I prefer using the Reveille Routine iPad.
  • Most apps support the x-callback functionality. A Shortcut has the following syntax: <shortcuts://x-callback-url/run-shortcut?name=name%20of%20shortcut&x-success=omnifocus://>. In DevonThink the number at the end of a link is the unique identifier you get when you copy the “database link” or “folder link.”

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01. Process Inboxes

I am not using one Inbox. Documents are stored in DevonThink, several Inboxes due to multiple database setup, mails in mailbox Inbox, tasks are in the Inbox of OmniFocus, and notes are in Drafts 5 Inbox. So I have to clear out several Inboxes. When I can do something directly, within a reasonable time (1 minute), I will do it now. Otherwise, I will process the specific Inbox item to a Task in OmniFocus.

01. Process the reference documents stored in DevonThink and Process the notes stored in Drafts 5 – Inbox (see also the blogpost about Meetings)

02. Process received message in Linkedin/ Process the notification. I try to send everybody in my network “best wishes” if they have a birthday or new job/ Looking how can maintain my professional network/ Looking for new assignments

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02. Be prepared

I do believe that part of professional working should be about being prepared for the things to come. F.e. I strive to be ready for every meeting. I can accomplish this by adding this to my daily Reveille process.

03. Select a meeting which you want to prepare and add preparation tasks for this meeting to OmniFocus inbox

This is how it works with the end-result:

The Shortcut will ask which meeting you want to plan preparation for, creates based on a fixed template an OmniFocus subproject, and puts 10 minutes before the meeting a preparation block in your agenda. Please find the Shortcut here.

04. Select the meeting for which you want to create meeting notes in Drafts 5 in a predefined template

This is how it works with the end-result:

The Shortcut will ask which meeting you want to prepare meeting notes for, then you can select for which project (or none), with Tag (I have a Tag per person with meeting topics), will ask you in which language you want to draft the meeting note and then creates the meeting note in Drafts 5. You can also select to create a cheat sheet for yourself per person or project, stored in Drafts 5. Puts 10 minutes before the meeting a meeting block in your agenda, so you know the concept meeting notes are prepared.

Please find below the specific Shortcut links:

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03. Plan & prepare for travel

Traveling is part of my role and costs a lot of preparation and time. Therefore in the Reveille process, I am considering the traveling aspect of my work.

05. Reserve time for traveling and or create a travel plan

The Shortcut – Travel time all agendas will create in your agenda time for traveling to or back from the selected meeting. See the short video on how it works with the end-result, time reserved in the calendar accordingly. The Shortcut can be downloaded here.

The Shortcut Travel plan will create a task list for a specific travel event by walking through a questionnaire. On the right, the video of how it works with the end-result.

The tasks for travel preparation are placed in OmniFocus for further processing:

The Shortcut Travel Plan can be downloaded here.

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04. Clear your mind

This section is about clearing your mind and put it in your trusted and enabling system.

06. Get things out of your head and put in the Inbox and review all available actions and flag those who needs to be done today

The perspective Clear shows you all first available actions with Tags 📍Priority, 📣 Communications, 📓Administration and 👨‍👩‍👦 People in the area of responsibility (folders) 🤝Assignments, 👊Work and ✊Private. The setup of this perspective is pictured here.

The Add link simple open the add to Inbox dialogue to be able to put “stuff” out of your head into OmniFocus.

07. Are there any interaction you want/ need to do this day? Put in your Inbox or schedule a call with somebody.

The add to Inbox dialog is the same as above and puts “stuff” directly into your Inbox. By assessing the Clear list again (see above) you could probably be inspired to interact with somebody. I

If you want to call contact the “Call to contact” starts up a dialog to put the task into your system if you cannot call directly. This works as following:

The Shortcut can be downloaded here.

08. Get out of your head the new meetings you want to organise, calls to make (same as above) or which communication need follow visiting your communication list

Step 12 is also about interactions; however, I need this step 13 for myself as an extra step to think about meetings/ meeting structure and follow up on communication I have or have not done yet. It links to Shortcut “Call to contact” as described here, but I also have added a Keyboard Maestro macro you can download here if you work on macOS. Please find here other Shortcuts:

OF: SMS2OF puts a task on your task list. Normally you will do this at once, but sometimes you want to do this at a specific moment, then you can use this Shortcut

The KeyBoard Maestro shortcut can be downloaded here.

Add meeting can be done with the Shortcut Add meeting which you can download here. Clearing list is the same as described here and used for inspiration.

The communication menu gives you access to a lot of options. See also the Communication section for how to set up with links to the specific Shortcuts used.

09. To plan my day realistically (Time in flight) I need to be aware of any distraction which could pop up (e.g. an escalation) and review the tasks planned for today what the impact will be on the plan.

Clear on time perspective

The “🧹Clear” perspective is my most used perspective in OmniFocus.

It is showing all my first available tasks that I can/ want to work on.

It shows all available tasks, or due soon or flagged, Tags 📍Priority, 📣 Communications, 📓Administration and 👨‍👩‍👦 People in the area of responsibility (folders) 🤝Assignments, 👊Work and ✊Private.

The setup of the perspective can be viewed on the left.

10. When I do still have any ideas in my head, this is my last chance to add this to the trusted system

The links brings you directly to the Inbox dialogue in OmniFocus

05. Get actual

I use the concept of pilots who “prepare for a flight” and then check-in, dock off and go “in-flight.” Getting actual is the phase for preparation for a flight. Therefore every task should have a Project (goals) and a Tag (sequence/ order), and an estimated duration to predict the “time for-flight” today. Time for flight (remaining time today) = available working time today – meetings duration for today – selected tasks for today duration. The Shortcut can be downloaded here.

11. I go through the Tasks which are not properly administrated. Sometime my clients work with MS Teams or Asana tasks list. I connect OmniFocus with MS Teams via Zapier so “both worlds” are actual.

The perspective Prepare for flight is showing all actions without Project (goal) and or Tag and or Estimated duration time. The setup of the perspective can be viewed here. In Keyboard Maestro I have a ‘maintenance” script running several times per day which places at the end of the title of a Task the estimated duration: . The macro can be downloaded by clicking here.

To be sure I then check if Inbox is empty and I have a separate perspective No context still to be sure, here.

12. Follow up if the tasks which you have delegated are finished on (or before) the agreed due date. When I did not agree on a due date, I do not fill this in, and I will check in the Weekly debrief what the status is/ get actual.

The perspective Waiting for due can be viewed here.

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06. Get real

This part in the Reveille process is about selecting and deciding the Tasks (and therefore Goals) you need/ want to work on today based on “available time for flight. The result will be a list with Today – next actions.

I work during the day in the Today next actions perspective. The setup can be viewed here. This perspective gives me the following items:

  • All tasks which are due soon
  • All tasks which are flagged (during the Clearing the list routinely, I have identified that I want/ need to do this task today by flagging these)
  • All tasks which are first available in projects (move the project forwards)

I order the tasks on Tag (priority) and then on Due date and Flagged.

It should fit with the “Time in Flight” I have today. That is checked in step 13 below. If it does not fit, I take a decision to defer specific tasks.

13. Check how much time is available do things, if no time enough defer tasks to another moment, too less add tasks from Clear list to today by flagging the Task or moving the defer date to today

I run the Shortcut “Time in Flight” to see how much time is available for flight (doing stuff). This Shortcut asks you when is the start of the working day and when is the end of the working day. It collects all the calendar events in these periods and calculates the number of minutes you have committed to meetings. Then it will look in OmniFocus how much time you need for the tasks you have currently listed for Today’s next actions. Then it creates an overview in Draft 5 and Charty graph that will be placed on your home screen on iPad/iPhone only.

In this specific example, I have 600 minutes of working time, 123 minutes I will spend in meetings, and 1085 minutes for tasks to do today; hence I have to clear my to do today- next action list by deferring specific tasks. The Drafts list contains links to the Task concerned, so it is quite simple to move out tasks.

This ShortCut can be downloaded here. I have also a daily maintenance routine which updates all the graphs/ widget hourly. Therefore I have also the same ShortCut functionality for a silent run, here to download.

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07. Plan today

14. Get the “Today – next action” list realistic/ achievable by making choices/ creating focus.

Via the Clear list perspective and or Today – next actions perspective, I can move out Tasks by changing the defer date and or unflagging or agree on new due dates. Mostly I use the Draft, as created in the previous step, to select the link of a specific task and adjust accordingly.

15. If the “Today – next actions” list is doable, I move the tasks to the free calendar slots for that day, so my agenda is guiding me through the day.

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