How to conduct effective weekly reviews
Are you in the habit of reviewing your goals?
If so, how often do you do it?
Reviewing your goals is a very critical step to take in achieving them. It’s so easy to get bogged down by the little things, constantly reacting to what life throws at us instead of being proactive. It’s so easy to let life pass us by.
The days bleed into months and then years.
Many of us find that though time moves forward, our goals never do. We make the same resolutions year after year, the same tasks and projects appear on our to-do lists each week.
How do we solve this? How do we ensure that we make progress on our goals?
The Answer: The Weekly Goal Review
And did you know there’s an exact process to reviewing your weekly goals?
The Weekly Review
This was a concept made popular by David Allen through his best-selling book Getting Things Done.
In the book, he explains that weekly reviews are a great tool for us in becoming more productive.
Most people feel best about their work the week before their vacation, but it’s not because of the vacation itself. What do you do the last week before you leave on a big trip? You clean up, close up, clarify, and renegotiate all your agreements with yourself and others. I suggest you do this weekly instead of yearly. — David Allen
And that is generally how I go about my own weekly reviews — I close up the week with a short reflection. I then renegotiate the stuff I’d need to do for the next.
Weekly reviews are great as a week isn’t too long a timeframe compared to a month. Reflecting on a week also isn’t as tedious as daily reviews. I usually spend an hour on Sundays doing up my review.
An effective weekly review needs two parts:
- Reflecting on your past week
- Planning for the coming week
Reflecting on the past week
My process is a modified version of Allen’s. I prefer splitting up my tasks and goals based on my categories — career, finances, home, social etc.
I know others who prefer batching by the type of task — phonecalls, bills, paperwork and so on. Experiment a little and do whatever feels comfortable and convenient for you.
Here’s the process I follow: Which items were not ticked off or are incomplete? Make a note of these. They are then moved to next week’s task list.
READ ALSO: Why you should make time for self-reflection
Note: Don’t forget to celebrate your accomplishments and successes for the week by rewarding yourself!
2. Review any outstanding projects and corresponding deadlines.
Ensure that everything is on track. If you are falling behind on your deadlines, make sure you schedule these into next week’s calendar first. They are items of high priority and high importance.
3. Reflect on your challenges.
This is a great time to think about what did not go too well and what you would like to improve on for the following week.
For example, a constant challenge I face on my job is having to work on sudden high-priority project requests with tight deadlines. How do I juggle that with the projects I already have on hand?
Make a list of the challenges you faced last week and if you can, write down how you managed to overcome them.
You might not be aware of this, but your habits play a huge part in whether things get accomplished or not.
For instance — what are your time management habits like? Do you have a habit of writing a to-do list or do you work on whatever you feel like? Are you frequently distracted by phone notifications and emails?
READ ALSO: 10 Life-changing Things to start doing in your 20s — Part 1
It’s the little things — the subconscious habits we’ve had for a long time can derail us from our tasks and our goals.
Make a note of all the little habits that helped vs those that didn’t. This mini reflection trains you to be more conscious of your behaviour.
Planning for next week:
1. Project deadlines and anything related — schedule these in first.
These are critical tasks and should be a high priority until the goal is met.
Some projects are all-consuming. So do not feel guilty if you have to miss a dinner here or a drinks session there to get thing done. Seek a balance that feels good to you.
2. Planned any special events, socials or get-togethers?
This could be dinner plans with friends, drinks with colleagues, networking sessions etc. Block those off in your calendar.
These tend to be long drawn out affairs that require commitment from a few weeks’ prior.
With that said, I do postpone/cancel socials if I have very important deadlines that I have to meet or projects that demand a lot of focus.
It’s important to seek a balance in life and you should be out there having as much fun as much as you work! However, there are days where a piece of work is so important that everything else has to take a backseat.
3. Unaccomplished tasks from last week.
Think about the duration you need for each one and schedule all that in.
Tasks that can be batched and done together — phonecalls, appointments, booking flights etc.
READ ALSO: 8 night-time habits for better sleep & productivity
5. Setting new goals.
If you have new events, tasks or projects assigned to you, don’t panic.
Follow the steps outlined in my post on setting effective goals. Brainstorm a list of mini goals to take on in order to complete this larger item goal/project. Then, assign timelines and deadlines to them.
6. Bonus: Make time for leisure as well.
Don’t pack your entire calendar full of work deadlines and get-togethers without leaving room for yourself.
We all need some time to recharge, so always schedule in some me-time — to exercise, watch TV or simply to do nothing. I know some of you might think scheduling me-time in your calendar is such a weird thing to do.
But it is SO easy to neglect ourselves in our busy lives.
I hope that this post has helped make weekly reviews less intimidating for you.
Start doing this on a constant basis and in time, you will definitely see progress in everything you do.