A weekly review is good for you: How to stay in control

By johannatime On January 11, 2014 Under Quality of Life and Work

Having a weekly review in your schedule is the best and only way to have full control over your work and life. This is how you prioritise effortlessly, increase your productivity and your focus for things that matter. By doing a weekly review you tackle overwhelm, so often caused by the busyness of our daily reality. If there’s one thing you can do to improve the quality of your time, it would be a recurring weekly review.

What is a weekly review?

No matter how you organise it, the idea of a weekly review is to reflect for a solid moment on what you’ve been doing last week and what you’ll be doing next. Everything on your schedule that has an expiry date (think: deadlines and most commitments), needs to be reviewd and repositioned in your personal organising system regularly and frequently. That’s what you do in a weekly review.

A weekly review is good for you

The obvious advantages I have already mentioned above:

  • You’ll get a sense of control about the things that are going on in your work and life
  • Because you reflect on the commitments that are on your plate, you’ll increase your focus on what really matters, giving you a feeling of fulfillment
  • Even though you pause for this solid moment, you’ll be far more productive for the rest of the week when you do a regular weekly review
  • Overwhelm will be tackled by this moment of calm in your week. You’ll find out that many things may seem urgent, but you’ll decide that they are not important

And some rather subtle effects of a regular weekly review may surprise you even more:

  • You’ll be proactive on your commitments without extra effort. You’ll probably know how energy draining it can be to be constantly behind on responding what your work and the world throw at you, well with less effort you can be on top of it all: just by having a weekly review
  • You’ll feel comfortable to do nothing at times, instead of having a restless feeling that you should be productive every precious moment of your day
  • Right after your weekly review, so that’s once every week, you will experience a small holiday, because that’s the feeling a weekly review gives you: nothing to worry about, everything is taken care of
  • You’ll be fuelling your intuition for priorities. When you’ve adopted the habit of a weekly review, you’ll become more and more confident defining what matters and what does not

A weekly review is for everyone

No matter how important a weekly review is for all Getting Things Done practitioners, in fact, it is the critical succes factor for GTD mastery, a weekly review is for everybody. Regardless of how you organise your work and your life, a weekly review will improve it. Call it a weekly retreat if you like, or reflection time. If you are too busy for a weekly review, that’s a serious warning sign! Start scheduling them into your calendar today!

How a weekly review is done

For committed GTD’ers I wrote this guest blog for IQTELL, my favorite task management system, about the weekly review, the instruction below is for everyone. What you’ll basically do is refresh, reconsider or renegotiate every commitment in your system that has gone past it’s expiry date, or that’s approaching it sometime soon.

  1. Organise silence: turn off your phone and other alarms and sit somewhere you’ll not be disturbed, interrupted or distracted for the time you have allocated for your review, anything between 15 minutes and 2 hours, depending on your ambition. This is your moment.
  2. Look back and close: scroll past the appointments of last weeks’ calendar, review your existing to do lists and collect loose ends that need closure. Have a little think about everything that’s not where it’s supposed to be and adjust.
  3. Be ready for next week: Make your selection of options to spend your time on next week. A full to do list means many options, so find a balance to be flexible yet avoid overwhelm.
  4. Have a flirt with the future: If you were fully in charge and in control, what would be the stuff to spend your time on? Blend a little of this vision into next week, too. It will give you a tremendous sense if satisfaction to work on these things.
  5. Celebrate your moment.

So what do you do to stay in control, prioritise your commitments and tackle overwhelm? I’d love to know! Please share your thoughts in the comments below:

Johanna Jansen

  • […] you meet your goals and deadlines? Do a good review on Friday morning. If anything irregular comes up, you can have it fixed by the end of the day. By […]

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