Even if you have created an excellent productivity system (Steps 1-11), it is essential to set aside about 15-30 minutes each week to review and maintain your productivity system. The weekly review links all of the projects and tasks you are performing to ensure that the actions you are doing on a daily basis are significantly contributing to your current personal or work life.
I have found that the weekly review is usually the most difficult part of the productivity system for people to follow through with and is often ignored or skipped. In general people like to “do” or “perform” things. Completing tasks usually makes you feel more productive. However, a weekly review does not feel like you are “doing” much since you are just reviewing and reorganizing things.
So how can you create days from minutes with the Weekly Review? The main purpose of the weekly review is to schedule time to take a step back and look at your productivity system from a more global perspective. This ensures that you don’t spend time on tasks that are not directly enhancing your personal or professional life. Performing tasks that can be delegated or tasks that do not enhance your life goals will cause you to waste precious time you could otherwise be spending on more important tasks. The 15-30 minutes you spend on your weekly review to clarify all your projects and tasks can save you hours or even days of misused time.
- Set a Time and Day of the Week to Perform the Weekly Review
- Clear your Task Management Inbox
- Evaluate Each Project with your Current Life’s Perspective
- Decide if Each Next Action is Still Appropriate
- Define an Appropriate Date for each Next Action
- Can a Project or Action be Delegated?
- Review your Someday/Maybe List
- Review your Calendar
Set a Time and Day of the Week to Perform the Weekly Review
Pick a specific time and day of the week that you can reliably perform the weekly review every week. The weekly review shouldn’t take up more than 30 minutes of your time.
For most people I would recommend every Friday afternoon since that is towards the end of most people’s work week and they can perform their weekly review just before going into the weekend.
This has the benefit of going into the weekend with a stress-free mind as well as a clear view and positive attitude about the upcoming week.
If Friday’s don’t work for you then just pick a day of the week that works best for your 30 minute weekly review and stick to it!
Clear your Task Management Inbox
There may be some lingering tasks in your task management inbox. The weekly review is the perfect time to clear these tasks by either completing them or placing them in the correct project within the task management system of your productivity app (Step 9).
Also, if you have any lingering thoughts on your mind about something, now is a good chance to release those thoughts into your task management system.
Evaluate Each Project with your Current Life’s Perspective
“Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.”Steve Jobs
You will be surprised how your priorities can change each week. Maybe you read a new book and suddenly your priorities in life change. Or there was an unexpected event at work or a family emergency comes up.
Either way, things come up in life. Your weekly review allows you to keep your projects up to date with your most current priorities and long-term goals. It is a chance to examine all of your projects through the lens of your most current self. This ensures that projects and actions in your task management system will have significant meaning and contribution to your long-term goals.
Take out projects and actions that may not have the same meaning they did when you initially put the project into your life. Doing the weekly review will allow you to purge these unnecessary projects.
Decide if Each Next Action is Still Appropriate
While looking over all of your projects during the weekly review, also look at the next actions for each project (see Step 8). Sometimes the project has shifted or changed, and the next action needs to be redefined or transformed completely.
Also use this opportunity to make sure that each project actually has a next action.
Define an Appropriate Date for each Next Action
It is important that an appropriate date is defined for each Next Action. Our schedules change all of the time. Maybe you put in a meeting but didn’t realize that you were also assigning yourself to perform a specific next action during that time.
I have found that these conflicts occur all of the time. While reviewing your next action for each project, open up your calendar and make sure each next action logically can fit into the date and time that you have assigned for it.
Can a Project or Action be Delegated?
“If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.”John C. Maxwell, American author
Delegation sometimes has a bad reputation. I was taught growing up, that to be successful I just needed to work more and harder. I felt that delegating a task was a sign of weakness and laziness. If I could do something, why wouldn’t I?
Well, I found out later on that sometimes the person who can do an action the best is not always the best person to do the action. There may be times that I would be the best person to perform a specific action for a project such as writing a manuscript. However, if I want to complete multiple manuscripts, I would have to be comfortable with training others to write properly and delegate the manuscript writing to them.
Effective delegation should benefit both parties. Do not feel that by delegating you are just creating more useless work for the other person. Often times, the person you are delegating a task to has much less experience than you do. By delegating a task, it becomes a win-win situation because it is one less action you need to do, and the person being assigned the task is gaining a significant amount of experience. The experience they gain will allow them to perform future tasks more efficiently and independently.
While performing your weekly review see if any projects or next actions can be delegated. Maybe you have a new mentee or colleague that would be interested in one of your current projects. By forming this relationships and delegating projects and next actions it comes out to be a win-win situation.
Review your Someday/Maybe List
Last but definitely not least is to review your Someday/Maybe list. Remember that while you are doing your weekly review you are looking through the lens of your most current self. Maybe you completed some projects and now have time to add something else in your life.
Or maybe your goals and priorities have shifted and something in your Someday/Maybe list (see Step 9) now is more in line with your most current self.
Like I mentioned before, creating this website has been on my Someday/Maybe list for almost 3 years. So, every week for three years I saw “Start Physician Zen Website” in my Someday/Maybe list. After I had completed the submission for my ultrasound textbook in February 2019, I reviewed my Someday/Maybe list and saw “Start Physician Zen Website” and knew it was the perfect time to put this into my project list.
Review your Calendar
After performing the steps above your calendar should be up to date with relevant next actions. Take a look at your upcoming week and get a sense of how your week will look like. This will mentally prepare you for the upcoming week to minimize any surprises.
I am so grateful that you have read this post. The weekly review is one of the most powerful assets of any productivity system. Try your best to maintain it and keep up with it each week. You will feel more in control of your projects and your actions.
I hope you enjoyed this post! Click here for an overview of all 12-steps to help you achieve a productive life.
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