I was first introduced to the concept of a weekly review (or plan) from Scott Dinsmore’s blog LiveYourLegend, which I encourage you all to check out.
Since then my weekly plan and review has changed a fair bit. That’s not to say that Scott’s template isn’t great, I think it’s amazing! But I was constantly changing it to suit myself, and this is what I ended up with.
Unless you’re a GTD freak or personal development junkie – you probably don’t schedule a weekly review. That’s not surprising at all, in fact I’m the only person I know IRL that has a set weekly review.
So why is it so important?
The Importance of a Weekly Review
I just don’t have enough time to review my week. I should be working instead!
Sorry, do you actually work every single hour of the week? Even on Sunday evenings?
I doubt it.
My weekly review takes me no longer than an hour, and that’s only because I do it extensively. By doing a weekly review you’re actually creating more time for yourself in the future (due to planning and identifying problems).
You’re still not answering the question, though. Why is it so important?
If you’re a truck driver and you never check your truck’s tires, engine, or other internals; I mean, completely ignore them even when you know there’s a problem. What’s going to inevitably happen?
You’re going to screw up big time (well, you or the truck – maybe both).
If we go through our lives on a daily basis without stopping to run checks on ourselves and what we’re doing, then we’re also going to run into problems.
By doing a weekly review you’ll identify areas of your life that are slowing you down. You’ll also stay more organized, reduce stress, and realize what’s important.
How I do my Weekly Review
Weekly reviews are supposed to be fun, relaxing, and informative. They should be something you ultimately look forward to.
Before starting my weekly review, I make sure my workspace is fully clean. This in itself is the first part of the weekly review:
Step 1 – Collect loose papers and materials
Every week, I make the habit of collecting and organizing all physical documents around your workspace.
I typically don’t have many bits of paper lying around, but if I do I’ll make sure to logically organize them somewhere.
Step 2 – Delete and eliminate
This is the quickest and easiest part of my weekly review, and I try to keep it under a time limit (normally 5-10 minutes).
First, I start with my email inbox. Making sure I get it to ZERO.
If you’re currently laughing due to the fact that you’ve got well over 100 emails in your inbox (taking much longer than 5 minutes to clear) then you need help – read my post on handling email here.
Second, I spend another 5 minutes or so going through social media and eliminating stuff that’s unnecessary. This could be unfriending people or unliking pages on Facebook, unsubscribing from people on YouTube. You get the deal.
After doing all this I’m on to the next stage, where I get up-to-date with myself.
Step 3 – Reviewing Tasks, Calendar, and the Rest
First thing I’ll do is log in to Asana and see what I accomplished during the week (it’s a good idea to leave finished tasks up the top for a while because of this).
I’ll check to see if anything needs to be re-done, edited, or updated.
Next, I’ll check my calendar for the past week and gauge whether it was worth going out to certain events or meetings. This leads into the 80/20 analysis which I’ll be doing another post on.
After that, I rapidly go through these:
- Review upcoming events on calendar, add new ones where applicable
- Review ‘waiting for’ list (tasks where I need response before I can continue)
- Review projects list (not specific projects, just general ones in Asana)
This doesn’t involve much work and normally takes around 10 or so minutes. Now it’s onto the time consuming part.
Step 4 – Important Tasks and Everything in-between
This is simple in understanding but can be the most time-consuming part of the review. It basically involves planning all the important, must-do tasks I want to get done in the coming week.
Again, I do all this in Asana (which I’ve made a tutorial for). You may use some other project management application, that’s fine.
Note: This isn’t the time to specifically plan out your tasks, and everything they contain. I.e., you’re not going to write down the notes for your next blog post during the weekly review.
The Fifth and Final Part – Be Creative!
This is where I let my imagination run wild. If I’ve got tasks that I’d like to work on ‘someday’, I see if I can incorporate them into my weekly schedule.
I also choose one task or goal that puts me in a place outside of my comfort zone. I would put this as an optional step but I honestly believe everyone should do it.
How you can get started
Building a daily habit can be difficult, that’s understandable. Once a week though? It’s almost too easy.
Pick one day a week where you do your weekly review. Obviously there may be cases where you can’t do it on a certain day, but just aim for a day that makes the most sense to you (I chose Sunday as I’m never busy on Sundays and it’s the start of the week for me.)
Make yourself comfortable when doing your weekly review. Stick on some music and grab a cuppa – this should be something you enjoy.
Notes, Tips, and Conclusion
You now know how important a weekly review is. Don’t be like the truck driver who doesn’t check his vehicle.
Take stuff from this post, rip it apart, and create your own personal weekly review. It’s never going to be the same for everyone, and it’ll take you a couple of weeks to develop it.
- Never miss a weekly review. You’ll end up hating yourself a couple of days later
- Spend quality time on your review, but don’t spend too long. One hour is nice
- Eliminate instead of add
In my next post (after my monthly round-up) I’ll be discussing one of the things I do on a fortnightly basis, that is, an 80/20 analysis. Sounds boring, right? Just you wait.
Do you have a weekly review? How does it differ to mine? Anything you want to recommend?