In the hustle and bustle, it’s easy to lose your way and become reactive instead of proactive. Your job is getting down to just putting out fires. You miss important things, you fail and lose credibility with your customers, colleagues and your boss. One of the solutions to this problem is a weekly review!
- What is a weekly review
- Weekly review - what’s the purpose
- When to do a weekly review and how long it takes
- A weekly review checklist
- Super fast version of the weekly review
💡 Where did the idea of a weekly review come from?
David Allen, the author of the GTD® methodology, believes that if you are not doing your weekly review, you are not doing GTD. I guess we could take it a bit further: if you aren’t running regular reviews, you are not using your full potential, and even worse - your time.
Every productivity system, even the best one, needs reviews. Projects need a clean up. Priorities - planning, and goals - revising. If you just add new tasks and deadlines, but don’t analyze how your work with the previous ones went, you aren’t moving forward. If you only throw new meetings and projects into your work organization system, but constantly skip planning and arranging stuff in time, the system will eventually collapse.
Without regular reviews, you will:
- disconnect from your goals,
- get your priorities wrong,
- forget to process meeting notes,
- forget to put your commitments on the to-do list,
- not be able to get prepared for your meetings.
🕵️ Weekly review - why it matters?
The aim of the review is to maintain a structured, transparent, up-to-date and complete productivity system that you can rely on.
Weekly review helps you organize your work, direct your activities and boost your productivity.
Note though that the review is not about being able to cram even more entries into your schedule, but about finding out what works and what doesn’t, and how you can work less but better!
Weekly review is also an opportunity to reconnect with your goals and to make sure that the work you do on a daily basis takes you closer to achieving them… If not - the goals should be verified. A weekly review is an opportunity to direct your life with intention.
⏰ When to do a weekly review and how long it takes
It’s best “to think” on Friday or during the weekend (if you have space and want to spend your free time on it). Leo Babauta performs his weekly review on Mondays - it works great for him! However doing a review on a Friday gets you a weekend off and an action plan for the upcoming week.
You should run your weekly reviews, surprise surprise 😎… weekly. Longer breaks from cleaning your system and planning things can quickly drive you to the put-out-fires-only mode instead of organized, stress-free work. Weekly reviews also give you the ability to promptly revise your plan or strategy if something is going totally wrong.
Your first ever or the first review after a longer break may take a long time - up to several hours. But regularity will take you to the point where a review takes 1-2 hours maximum.
Note: Systematic weekly reviews also get you better prepared for the quarterly review and help you plan realistic goals for the coming months.
✔️ A weekly review checklist
Although the formula for the weekly review comes from the Getting Things Done® methodology, everyone can do it their own way. It’s all about adjusting your review to the way you work as well as your values and personality.
Here, in the article on Mighty Fridays in Nozbe you will find the simplest checklist for the review.
In his No Office book, Michael, CEO of Nozbe, wrote an entire chapter about his way of doing the weekly review.
According to David Allen weekly review comes with 3 stages: cleaning, being up to date, and planning/creative part.
🧹 1. GET CLEAR
Clean up documents and papers
Review all business cards, receipts and documents you collected throughout the week.
Clean up your desk, your office, your computer folders and your desktop.
Review all notes, your journal and meeting notes. Do the same with voicemail, voice memos, calendar and 📧 emails!
Clear your mind
Write down all ideas, things that occupy your mind. Create (in your project management app or other appropriate place) new projects and tasks that you need or want to commit with.
💪 2. GET CURRENT
Review your long- and short-term goals
…to put yourself in the right mood and keep in mind what is the most important.
- Zero your Incoming View,
- Review and update your Priority list.
Review the past week calendar
Go through the calendar entries in detail, see what you’ve accomplished and see what’s left to do. If something is new and requires action, better transfer it to your tasks management system.
Review the upcoming calendar entries
Review upcoming calendar entries - long-term and short-term.
Review your projects
See what you’ve managed to get done, what obstacles you’ve faced and what turned out to be easier than expected.
Next: review the status of all your projects ensuring each of the “active” ones has at least one task or to-do that will move the project forward next week.
In Nozbe - review your Activity view
✨ 3. GET CREATIVE
Review the someday/maybe list
Review and decide what to do things classified as “sometime / maybe”: either move them to the appropriate project or delete those no longer interesting.
Be creative and courageous
Let your imagination run wild, plan, write down hare-brained and risk-taking ideas and improvements that you can add to your system.
🙅 This is how I do it - A super fast version
My weekly review takes less time than on average. That’s because of my role in the company and the way I am 😅 (FOMO etc.) I review the Incoming view and zero the Activity view in Nozbe several times a day. I also check and zero my e-mail inbox and Slack every few hours.
Because of that, or maybe thanks to that, on a Friday, I only need to:
- review my favorite and followed projects,
- analyze my achievements in the Nozbe Calendar view,
- carefully review tasks assigned to me in the Team > Me view in Nozbe
- and check the calendar for the coming days.
- I also set my priorities and the most important goals for the upcoming week.
And basically, that’s it!
Summary - Do build a habit of doing your weekly review!
Think of the weekly review as of some quality time with yourself, an important meeting with a VIP (yourself) that you cannot re-schedule. Systematic reviews will ensure the life-work balance. They will let you look at your achievements and failures, will keep you motivated and satisfied with the work done.
Weekly review will also help in case you work on long-lasting projects and feel that your efforts are not bringing visible results.
It can also be a right tool to identify the knowledge gaps and resources needed to get you projects done better.