A friend recommended this book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, from which I learned a lot of very practical things. Today I want to share one that I’ve been implementing in my life and has made a big impact on me – “the weekly review”.
Every Friday afternoon, I block out at least one hour period and do a weekly review. Based on my personal experience, there are some major benefits:
- It allows you to enjoy the peace of mind knowing that whatever you set out to do at the beginning of the week is done.
- It makes you feel on top of things because you are always smoothly transitioning to the coming week.
- It gives you clarity by analyzing how you’ve been doing and how you can improve.
- It helps you avoid being sidetracked and keep you focused on your vision, your purpose, and your goals.
- It is a chance of self-reflection – a chance created with intention.
It makes sense to do it at the end of the week, but the reason why it is recommended on Friday afternoons instead of over the weekend is that in case you forget to do something that is time-sensitive like reaching out to someone, you can still get hold of them before the end of the week.
I have gradually developed my own style, structure, and content. It all very much depends on your situation and should be ever evolving. That being said, I am going to share mine with you. My hope is that you find this practice helpful and be able to adjust the checklist to your own needs.
First up, back up whatever apps and documents that are important to you:
- financial records
- habit tracker (I track my daily habits using a mobile app and I just review how I have been keeping up once a week)
- time tracker (I use a mobile app to track my time spent on different activities and do an analysis once every week)
- notes (Try Evernote, I backup screenshots of my handwritten notes on it and it has an awesome feature to search through text)
Next, take a look at:
- the progress of all projects
- motivational or educational quotes that collected during the week
- new words learned during the week
- Networking Tracker (Yes, I keep track of my connections and for someone with a memory as bad as mine, it is crucial!)
- Facebook notifications (I turned off the automatic notifications so I have the minimum distraction while working and I only check them when I choose to.)
- pending emails
- goals set out at the beginning of the week
- go through last week’s calendar events to see if there are any pending tasks or promises
- confirm meetings and appointments for the coming week that are still up in the air
- check events on different platforms like Eventbrite, Meetup, and Facebook
Finally, have a quiet conversation with yourself by having a Self-Reflection session. This is the most important part because to me, this is the whole purpose of my Weekly Review – to improve. I have combined a few different things that I learned from multiple sources:
- write down highlights of the week (I keep a daily journal so it is easy to pick out the weekly highlights based on my daily highlights)
- celebrate wins
- evaluate “What has been working?”
- figure out “What’s not working? What can I do about it?”
- “What am I avoiding?” (This one does not always apply.)
- the value check-in to ensure you stayed true to yourself and did what means most to you
- set out goals for the coming week
The first few sessions might take a long time. But don’t worry because once you get a hang of it, you will find that it is actually very straightforward.
You might also have a tendency to skip it simply because you are busy that Friday afternoon. When that happens, just consider this as a way to sharpen your saw. You might have heard this story: A farmer is trying to cut down a tree but nothing happened after hours of trying. Someone passes by and asks why don’t you sharpen your saw first? The farmer replies: “Because I don’t have time!” Sharpening the saw only takes minimal time and it is the time totally worth spending considering the benefit he will get and the time he can save in the long-run. If you are not willing to spend little time to sharpen your saw because you “don’t have time”, then you are the unfortunate farmer in this case.
Yes, we all need to work hard to make our dreams come true. But more importantly, we need to work smart. This guarantees that you take a step back and reflect on a regular basis and consistently improve yourself and your business or career. Make this practice a ritual and thus a priority when conflicts of scheduling arrive. If you do this, I am confident that you will see a positive difference very soon.