Have you heard about the concept of a “Weekly Review” for years, but you rarely, if ever, do one, and you’re wondering how to make it feel simple? Let’s dive in and talk about that today!
It’s helpful to think about your Weekly Review like cleaning out your refrigerator. Hear me out…
Principle #1: We want to decide on the standard we’re working toward. On one end of the spectrum, our fridge is spotless, with nothing moldy or expired, and everything is in tidy, matching containers, organized in rainbow-color. On the OTHER end of the spectrum, our refrigerator is more like a science project, and we just open and close the door as fast as we possibly can.
The Weekly Review can either leave you with a totally organized calendar, up-to-date lists, a clear desk, appropriately-filed digital items, and zero stray sticky notes—or you can just jump in and do the bare essentials that will allow you to get by.
Given what’s on our (metaphorical) plate, what matters to us right now, and how much bandwidth we have, we’ll set our own standard for what feels “just right.”
I’m going to move forward, assuming we’re going for a middle-of-the-road Weekly Review
Principle #2: We want to get a clear view of what we’re working with.
I personally do a 20-minute “deep clean” of our refrigerator twice a month. I take EVERYTHING out, and I do a quick sort—items on the left of the counter are things that need to be cleaned out/tossed. Produce from the drawers go on the right, and all the other items that are still good go in the middle.
For a Weekly Review, I also like to see the big picture:
- What projects am I working on right now? Has anything suddenly come up? Have my priorities changed?
- What’s on my Next Actions List? Am I procrastinating anything on here? If so, why?
- How many routines am I trying to do? Am I feeling spread too thin, or do I have more bandwidth?
- Does my calendar have white space, or am I cluttering every minute of every day? Is there anything from the past week that needs a follow-up? Anything coming next week that requires preparation?
- How many papers, emails, messages, etc. need my personal attention?
- Have extra piles/unneeded items built up in my planner or on my desk?
Principle #3: We then make space for what’s most important.
Once I’ve wiped down our fridge shelves and drawers, I put back all the produce and other items that are still good and that our family will eat in the coming week.
With a Weekly Review…
- I typically start with my Current Projects List—what am I trying to accomplish by the end of this month?
- Then I create a fresh Next Actions List and only put a few tasks that I truly want to accomplish.
- I make sure that my auto-pilot routines are actually supporting my goals, and if there’s something I keep forgetting to do, I might make some reminders to help me throughout the week.
- I look at my calendar and make sure that I’m carving out time for my self-care, family, work, and community engagements, and I make sure I’m not accepting too many commitments/setting myself up for overwhelm.
- Then I tidy up—my desk, planner, computer desktop, email, etc., processing items from my inbox, removing anything that is unnecessary, and making sure I have time set aside to do the work that’s required, but NOT DOING THE WORK at that time.
Principle #4: Make sure we’re prepared for the week.
I typically clean my fridge right before a grocery order/shopping trip so I don’t buy too much/duplicates. Once the fridge is clean, it’s easy to make my shopping list and plan for any family meals, lunch items, staples, etc. that we’ll need.
With a Weekly Review, the goal isn’t to have a clear desk or to do a bunch of tasks. The goal is to have a calm mind.
By the time we’re done with an optimal Weekly Review, we can describe our state of mind using the following words:
My goal is for you to get a little “lift” when you think about your coming week.
That doesn’t mean that everything is easy in your life. You’re likely dealing with some pretty difficult challenges. But when you can turn problems into projects, and when you know that your efforts are at least going to move you in a positive direction, that feels really, really good.
I hope this has been helpful to you! I’d love to hear how your Weekly Review goes this week!
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