is to implement a system called “the weekly review.”
If you do a weekly review consistently then you will notice that, over time, you are getting more done each week and reaching your goals faster! In fact, conducting a brief-but-thorough weekly review will likely help you to have your best week ever!
What is a Weekly Review?
The idea behind a weekly review is that one hour of good planning will then save you several more hours in the long run.
A weekly review is that one hour that you set-aside each week to work on your business instead of in your business. It’s not a time to complete tasks on your to-do list; instead, it’s the time to map-out your week ahead and what you hope to accomplish.
Whether you work in a cubicle, from a home office, or are a homemaker, it’s a good idea for everyone to spend a little time every week looking at their life from a higher altitude and to reconnect with their overall intentions and short-term goals.
On What Day Should I Do My Weekly Review?
The 3 most popular times for organized people to do their weekly review seem to be:
- ▸ anytime on Sunday
- ▸ Friday afternoons
- ▸ early Monday mornings
For me, my favorite day for the weekly review is Sunday. It’s quieter then, with less distractions.
However, if Sundays are out of the question for you, you might prefer Fridays — particularly if your work schedule is that of a more conventional “9-to-5-er,” you can fully organize your desk so that, when you arrive back on Monday morning, you can hit the ground running.
The reason I prefer Sundays over Fridays, though, is that if I have an action-packed weekend, I may lose a bit of steam by Monday, and — frankly — I might forget where I left off! By doing my weekly productivity review on Sundays, it helps reacquaint me with my immediate targets for the coming week — and the next morning, everything is still fresh in my head.
Don’t worry, your weekly review only has to take one hour (two, if you have an especially ambitious week ahead), and you’ll still be able to spend your Sundays having quality time with your loved-ones.
The reason I think Sundays are an ideal day for gauging your productivity is that the business and professional world fires-up again on Monday morning, and your Review process will help you be poised for success and to stay in front of the pack!
“…a weekly productivity review
allows you to look at how you process your work during a typical week —
this fresh perspective will then help you to prioritize even better!”
But whether it’s on a Sunday, a Friday, or whatever day of the week, the point here is not when… pick a day that works best for you. But do try, whenever possible, to make it a “set thing.” Pick an hour, on the same day and time every week, and make that your sacred, weekly review event!
David Allen, one of my favorite and most-brilliant productivity experts, is the fellow from whom I first learned of this concept of using a weekly review to focus on the various categories of one’s work-flow and then, the perspective gained from these reviews can drive one’s priorities.
4 Basic Steps of a Good Weekly Review
So one of the big ideas here, is to simply create a little space so that you can get a clear perspective on your week. It’s a way to turn-off all the outside noise for a moment, so that fresh ideas can bubble-up to the forefront of your mind, then you can determine the priority of those individual tasks that you see need doing.
Step 1: Take 5 Minutes to Read Your Intention and Short-Term Goals Aloud
I always like to start every meeting by putting it into larger context: I say what I believe the intention of the meeting is. Well, a meeting with just yourself can begin in a similar way. Take a few seconds to reaffirm what the intention to your life is. It’s like your own personal mission statement.
Next, take a moment to acknowledge a few of your most-important short-terms goals, both professional and personal.
Step 2: Take 5 Minutes to Identify Your Givers
One of the most significant life lessons I have learned so far is that a healthy way to achieve increased success is to “give to your givers.” If you can determine who during this last week was most-generous to you, and then provide those people with extra support and gratitude, you will be rewarded in the long run. Many people make the mistake of giving to their “squeaky wheels.” People either enhance your energy, or drain it. Period. End of story. Take a few moments during each weekly review to determine who the Givers in your life have been recently and allow yourself to feel the positive feelings and appreciation that are present within you.
Step 3: Inbox Zero and Clean Your DeskIt usually feels good to get that email inbox whittled way down — to zero if you can do it. You perfect specimens of productivity out there will already have your inbox at zero, and kept at zero, everyday. But for the rest of us mere mortals, the inbox has a way of stockpiling as the week progresses. So now is your chance to cull through that email inbox and turn emails into your own next-action steps, or delegate them to someone else, or delete them. Do, delegate, or delete.
TIP: Do this step quickly. Don’t get pulled down the rabbit hole that is your inbox!
For those of you who have “hard” inboxes (the old-fashioned kind), this step is when you would go through that box, too. For those of you who are, ahem, less than perfectly organized, your entire desk may function as, essentially, one big “inbox,” so your weekly review is the time to tidy the top of your desk.
As you move through your inboxes, you will begin identifying action steps for the week ahead. Which brings us to…
Step 4: Update Your Checklists and Calendar
In a perfect world, your To-Do List would have been updated throughout that week in real-time — from moment to moment. But let’s face it, sometimes the week gets away from you! Your weekly review is an opportunity to polish-up your to-do list and to identify what tasks next week will be your most revenue-producing in the coming week and also which tasks have been “hanging around” your list for a long time that you seem to keep putting off (we call those your “frogs”).
And remember those Givers that you identified above in Step One? It’s likely that you’ll be adding a couple of items to your checklist that involve giving-back to your Givers, such as returning a call or sending them a hand-written personal note, etc.
By the way, I use four checklists as part of my own productivity system. Only one of my lists is digital (my professional one-off tasks are kept online so that my team and I can collaborate and add notes to each others lists), but the rest of my lists I like to keep old-school: printed on paper and clipped each to its own clipboard! My paper lists are: my quotidian (tasks I like to complete every single day), my personal one-offs (errands and such), and my once-each-week tasks. My personal one-offs list is hand-written, and now is the time (during my weekly review) that I print up fresh copies of my quotidian and my once-a-week lists.
Okay, so now you should be approaching the end of your hour. That wasn’t so bad, was it? You can do this once a week, can’t you? One of the last activities you’ll want to do in your weekly review is to glance one final time at your calendar for the week ahead. Your calendar is probably color-coded with a different color for professional appointments, standing appointments, and personal appointments. I hope in your calendar there is at least one coffee-get-together with a buddy, a romantic date with your significant other, and, for pete’s sake, there had better be at least one workout scheduled in there somewhere!
Okay, so those are my 4 tips for a solid weekly review that can help you get organized and increase your personal productivity for the week ahead, and help you to have your best week ever!
But what am I missing? Let me know in the comments section below!