Gain perspective with a weekly review

Sep 06, 2022

Table of contents:

  1. What is a weekly review?
  2. What are the benefits of a weekly review?
  3. How to run a weekly review

A weekly review is a dedicated time to reflect on what you did this week, and what you will do in the coming week. It’s an opportunity to re-align your goals, make improvements to your workflow, and to gain perspective on where you are on your journey.

There are many benefits to getting into the habit of performing a weekly review. In this article we’re going to be looking into weekly reviews, the benefits of doing a weekly review, and how you can set up your own weekly review for success.

What is a weekly review?

A weekly review is a dedicated recurrering session that allows you to reflect on everything you did in the previous week and look forward to what you plan to do in the coming week.

This is a really good opportunity to review how the previous week unfolded. For example, you could make a list of the things that you managed to achieve, which will give you a morale boost if you are struggling with motivation. You could also make a list of things that didn’t work, or what you planned to do but didn’t get to. It’s human nature to fall victim to the planning fallacy, but it’s important that you recognise and learn from these mistakes so you can make better plans in the future.

Often you will learn more from your mistakes than if everything went to plan, and so a weekly review can be a good opportunity to analyse any problems or difficulties you faced and decide on what you will do to improve going forward. This type of incremental compound improvement will have a huge pay off in the long run.

The weekly review is not just about what has already happened, it’s also a good opportunity to look forward to the week ahead. When you’re working through a list of tasks, it can be easy to slip into the habit of not taking the time to lift your head up and see the bigger picture. Performing a weekly review can be a good opportunity to re-align your work to your longer term goals, re-prioritise your most important tasks, and put things in place so you can hit the ground running in the following week.

What are the benefits of a weekly review?

It doesn’t matter how productive you are if you’re heading in the wrong direction. The weekly review is an opportunity to lift your head up and see the bigger picture, correct your course, and be strategic about how you spend your time.

We all have long term goals and objectives we hope to achieve, and so the weekly review can be a vital way to ensure you remain on the right path. One of the criticisms of the Getting This Done method is that it’s easy to fall into the trap of cranking out an endless supply of small tasks. Running a weekly review can be the antidote to this problem, as it provides you the space to see the bigger picture.

Looking back at the tasks you completed can also be very good in terms of morale, giving you a sense of achievement, and gaining perspective on how far you’ve come. The weekly review can be what you need to provide a constant feedback loop as you strive to complete bigger tasks and projects. It also makes time to answer the question “what did I do this week?”.

How to run a weekly review

The most important thing to get right with a weekly review is finding a time you can consistently dedicate to the practice. A single weekly review session can be helpful, but the real value is performing the same routine for an extended period of time. Through consistency you will find patterns emerge and you start to feel the benefit of compound improvements.

For a lot of founders and freelancers, Sunday evening is a good time because it’s the natural end of the week and it allows you to get things in place ready to hit the ground running on Monday morning. However, if you are unable to dedicate the time on Sunday evening, Friday afternoon can also work as the natural end of the working week.

First you should look back at all of the tasks that you planned to work on this week. Review the tasks that went well, went wrong, or you didn’t get to because you ran out of time, or priorities changed. Review any notes or comments you made about the tasks, and try to think of things you could do to improve in the future.

This is also a good opportunity to review how your energy fluctuated during the week, day-to-day. Was it higher during specific times, or did you feel more drained when attempting to tackle certain tasks? Following this process will mean you are better able to match your tasks to your energy.

Next, you should look forward to what you want to achieve in the coming week. Remember to think about the bigger picture and what you want to achieve over the longer term. Will the tasks you prioritise for next week push you closer to this objective, or are you choosing them because they’re easy? It’s often better to tackle the most important, or uncomfortable tasks first, instead of putting them off because it’s during this pain we experience the biggest growth.

Pick the tasks that you want to focus on, but be realistic about what you can achieve. Commiting to completing a set of tasks will get your week off to the right start because you are less likely to be reactive to incoming distractions and more likely to practice Interrupt Coalescing.

Finally, make a commitment to improve one process in the coming week, as well as record any stats, patterns, or data about your work that you find useful, such as the number of tasks completed, or the number of hours of deep work. This might seem quite inconsequential, but it’s this kind of data that can reveal powerful insights.

Philip Brown


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