We’re taking a look at how to introduce a simple ritual to your week that could put your short and long-term productivity through the roof: The Weekly Review.
Our lives can be such a blur that things will quickly go off track if we don’t regularly stop to bring the bigger picture into focus. However, feeling like we have so much to do can make it easy to get stuck in the immediate moment, bouncing from task to task without really going anywhere.
The key to avoiding this is to focus on setting long-term goals, as well as short and mid-term goals, and to keep track of how our actions are helping (or hindering) us in achieving them.
That is where The Weekly Review comes in, and this is how to introduce one into your routine.
What is The Weekly Review?
There are a lot of different takes on how a weekly review should be done, but for us it all centres around 3 key questions:
1. What did I get done in this past week?
2. Where does that leave me with my goals?
3. What do I need to get done in the coming week?
However, before we get stuck into these, we need to do a little preparation.
Preparing for The Weekly Review
Your review should be a habit, or a ritual as we like to call it. Here are some ways to prepare for it in a way that will help it stick:
- Schedule it for the same time each week in your calendar, allowing 1 to 2 hours.
- Leave it later in the week e.g. Sunday, so you can finish as many tasks as possible.
- Let others know you will be busy, so they don’t interrupt your focus.
- Set up a nice space for your review that you feel comfortable in. This will make the whole process feel more positive and even enjoyable.
- Reset your mind with 10 minutes of quiet time. This can be meditating or simply a cup of tea with no distractions (TV off please!).
- Have something to write on. It might seem obvious, but there’s nothing worse than coming out of your quiet time to realise you forgot.
- Collect your key information. This varies from person to person, but typically you will want your emails open and phone to hand, as well as any paper documents, to-do lists, diaries, calendars etc. Of course, if you are using Twasme all these will be in your app, saving a tonne of time and hassle each week and letting you get stuck into the review even quicker.
Now it’s time to start breaking down the 3 questions of The Weekly Review.
The Weekly Review Process
Question 1: What did I achieve in this past week?
Armed with your various lists, notes and emails, it’s time to track back and look at:
To-do lists and emails: This is the obvious place to start, checking what you got ticked off this week. However, you shouldn’t forget other records of your achievements.
Diaries and Calendars: Comb through these as they could hold reminders of ad-hoc tasks you completed that never made it on your official to-do list.
Achievement Lists: As you go through all your complete tasks, it can be a good to write them down in a list of their own. This can show us that we achieved more than we first thought, and it will also help answer Question 2 of your weekly review.
Question 2: Where does that leave me with my goals?
Now that you’ve drawn out all the week’s achievements, you can use them to review your short, mid and long-term goals.
Short-term Goals: These will be where the most impact is seen. Some tasks you complete each week will have been short-term goals in themselves and will need replaced with new ones to keep your momentum rolling.
Mid-term Goals: These should be seeing progress. On certain weeks, they might even be ready to move into becoming short term goals, with only a week or two’s tasks standing in the way of completion. If, however, you don’t see them getting any closer, it’s time to take a look at setting them up for progress in the coming week’s priorities. Because Mid-term goals are the stepping-stones to achieving your…
Long-term Goals! Don’t be dismayed if these don’t move much. But you should critically look at your list of achievements from the week and ask the question, “Did I direct enough energy towards these goals?”. If the answer is no, it’s time to realign your efforts in your mid and short-term goals, and your tasks for the week ahead.
Question 3: What do I need to achieve in the coming week?
Time to revisit your lists, calendars and any other organisational systems you are using. Having marked off everything you’ve done up until this point, and evaluated it against your goals, you are ready to start mapping out the week ahead. This will depend on your own life but make sure to:
Clear Clutter: The time for admiring your achievements from last week is over. Wipe completed tasks off the board or start a new list altogether. The clutter can distract from the week ahead and even let you feel like you have achieved more than you really have. Also, letting old tasks hang around makes the next weekly review messy. Transfer anything outstanding from the last week and ditch the rest.
Prioritise: If you have tasks left over from the past week, don’t be panicked into putting them top of the list. There may be new tasks that have emerged as part of your goal review in Step 2 that are more urgent. Weigh up the options and order tasks accordingly.
Set Deadlines: Every task on your to-do list for the week should have a date attached to it. This should be a decided by balancing when it must be done by and when would be the most convenient and efficient time to do it. You don’t want to leave the task undone, but you also don’t want to waste time going out of your way one day to complete a task would have fit perfectly in another one (if possible).
That’s it. You’re set to smash your goals for another week! But just to help you keep ‘The Weekly Review’ front of mind, here’s a handy infographic of the whole process!