Weekly reviews are a tool, first and foremost, that helps you manage your life. It’s all part of a system that keeps you moving forward towards your goals, whatever they may be. They are a set time you give yourself each week to:
- Look at your previous week to take stock of where you are.
- Go through your emails and projects to figure out what you need to do.
- Set priorities for the week – what must be done and what should be done (if you have a Clever Cactus planner, those headings will be familiar!).
- Make note of your appointments and meeting; and
- Organize your schedule so you can accomplish everything (without getting stressed out).
Think of it as your action plan. You know where you want to go, and now it’s time to plan your seven-day sprint.
Or marathon, depending on the week.
I do my weekly reviews on Mondays, because I’ve found that starting the week with a review is pretty much the best. There’s something about dedicating my Mondays to just, organizing myself, that takes the pain away.
Well, not all the pain. But a lot of it.
You can do your weekly reviews on another day, if that works better for you. Sometimes I start my weekly review on Friday, then finish it up on Monday. Sometimes, if I’m particularly stressed, I’ll sit down on Sundays for the review. I’ve even done a mid-week review a few times, but that’s only when it’s really busy and things feel chaotic.
For the most part, all I need is a Monday review and I’m good to go.
Anyway! Let’s get to those benefits!
Success starts with developing successful habits. And a weekly reviews is the first habit you should cultivate!
1. Weekly reviews give you a chance to tie up loose ends
The first thing I do during my weekly reviews is look at everything I did (or didn’t do) the previous week. I check that I did everything that needed to be done, and move forward any incomplete tasks to this week’s “must do” list.
Without a weekly review, it’s really easy to overlook projects that were 95-percent complete. Maybe there’s a project that needs a bit of polish. Or I need to send a follow up email to get feedback on an ongoing project.
This is the time to find those last steps to be considered fully complete.
2. It’s dedicated time to check in on your projects
During my weekly review, I check in on all the projects I’ve got on the go. This includes my Big Goals, as well as all my client work. I flip through my monthly review (which I’d clearly outlined at the beginning of the month in my Clever Cactus planner), and write down any steps or tasks I need to do that week.
Without a weekly review, no matter how often I’d set goals or made plans for myself, I’d forget about something two or three weeks later. Tasks and projects fell through the cracks. Now I’m more likely to act on my ideas because I touch base with them once a week.
During these reviews, I also remember clients who emailed the previous week with potential projects, and follow up to see if they need my services.
Which, in turn, ensures I get more projects.
3. Reviews are your permission to sit down and plan the week
Being self-employed, I don’t have a lot of meetings. What I do have, though, are a lot of little tasks that add up to a lot over time. Weekly reviews let me distribute my tasks throughout the week so that each day is full, but not *too* full. After years of using this system, I know exactly how many tasks I can do in a day.
Before I started doing weekly reviews, everything felt immediate. Each task was urgent. I had to do all those tasks RIGHT NOW. At least, that’s what it felt like. As you can probably imagine, that was very chaotic and overwhelming.
I was stressed all the time.
Now, I assign tasks to specific days. And I don’t have to think about them again until the scheduled day. I can take things one day, one project, one task at a time, trusting myself to have planned everything so it’ll all be done on time.
4. Weekly reviews are you chance to take back control
Weekly reviews let me take control of my time. I look at what’s happened so far this month, note any patterns in my habits, mental and emotional states and productivity. I also take this time to analyze my work habits – I can see if there’s anywhere I’m overloaded and where I have wiggle room.
Have you ever ended a month and thought “wow, I have no idea what happened yesterday, let alone three weeks ago!” Before I started doing weekly reviews, I used to feel that way often, and it would leave me feeling powerless, like my time wasn’t my own.
Now, if I ever find myself spiralling into that out-of-control sensation, I flip through my Clever Cactus weekly spreads and I know exactly where I stand. Of course, I don’t get that sensation very often at all now.
Thank you, weekly reviews!
5. Finally, it helps you start the week on the right foot
Mondays suck. I don’t know about you, but I’m at my grumpiest on Mondays. I’m also my least productive on Monday.
Case in point, I kept trying to write this blog on Mondays, and it has taken me a while.
As I mentioned at the start of this blog, Mondays are a little less painful now that I do weekly reviews. Before I started these reviews, I would work all day Monday just to keep my head above water. That urgency and need to complete everything Right Away, while helpful to my productivity was less helpful for my stress levels.
Now, by getting organized, scheduling my tasks and sorting myself out, I am in the right mental state to start the week. I’ve been doing these reviews long enough that, come the mid-week “oh shit have I missed something” freak out, I can just look down at my weekly spread and think “nope, it’s all accounted for”.
Because I trust past me.
And it’s all thanks to the weekly review.
(I’m hoping to keep to a regular post schedule, so please ignore the two-month hiatus I took recently!!)