How I Do my Weekly Review

May 01, 2014

A good weekly review is important in my productivity. It allows me to evaluate my recent actions and plan out the following week. The weekly review also gives me a chance to catch up with everything.

sitting at desk

I’ve been a big GTD (Getting Things Done) user for many years now, but I never set realistic expectation on my weekly review, and to be honest, I didn’t consistently do it. Over the past few months that perspective has changed and I have created a set routine and dedication to the weekly routine. It has completely transformed my productivity and focus.

Let me tell you about what my weekly review looks like. And show you why it’s so important to be intentional and dedicated to the weekly review.

Friday Afternoon

My weekly review is every Friday, without fail. I’ve been able to do this for a few months now and I schedule my entire week around it. I usually do interesting things Friday morning (like Creative Mornings or hang with friends). But I never schedule meetings or appointments Friday afternoon, it’s my day.

Cleanup

Before I sit down and do the review, I have also made it house cleaning day. So I start the laundry, clean the dishes, clean up loose paperwork, recycling, and whatever else is not where it’s supposed to be.

Now that I have a clean house I’m ready to start.

Catching Up

I use Todoist as my todo app. I’ve scheduled a weekly task called “Weekly Review” and inside of it I have the following sub-tasks:

  • Pull out all loose papers, receipts, posts-its, etc…
  • Clear off desk
  • Empty paper inbox
  • Empty email inbox
  • Review todo emails
  • Empty “Downloads” folder
  • Empty voicemail
  • Review Feedly
  • Review Pocket
  • Budget in YNAB
  • Review previous & upcoming events
  • Review completed items
  • Go through the collection triggers (brain dump)
  • Review projects
  • Review next actions (are the accurate? Can all of it be done this coming week?)
  • Review waiting for (is it still worth waiting for? Is there a next action?)
  • Review someday/maybe (could I do it this week? Or ever?)
  • Review goals (what have I done to get closer to those goals?)

This is useful because I don’t have to remember what to do in my weekly review, and I don’t have to go looking for it when it comes time to start reviewing. It’s also a great reminder in case my morning is busy (because Todoist is almost always open on my computer).

The list is pretty strait forward, and many of the items only take a few seconds to do. It’s meant to be thorough so that I don’t have to think during this process. I just go through and check of each item. If something doesn’t make sense to me or I skip the task more than one week, I make revision for the future weekly review.

If you noticed, most of the tasks have to do with emptying. That’s because during the week I don’t want to have to deal with this stuff. But every week I want a fresh start. Plus nothing can fall through the cracks if I check these places every week.

Brain Dump

Part of my weekly review involves a brain dump. I go through the following list with Todoist’s collection trigger feature and try to think of anything that’s on my mind.

  • Open projects (websites, part-time, other)
  • Upcoming events (church, work, family)
  • Communication (calls, emails)
  • Errands (groceries, recycling, Walmart, car)
  • Home (cleaning, laundry, fixing, sort)
  • Tech (software, hardware, updates)
  • Health (hair, medicine, doctor, dentist)
  • Hobbies (art, music, Rubik’s cube)
  • Media (movies, books, podcasts)
  • Church (volunteering, discipleship, men)
  • Community (teaching, volunteering)
  • Someday (art, products, trip, event)
  • Houston (Meetups, events)

I’m not totally happy with these triggers at this point. So I may try to reevaluate how to phrase these tricks (possibly putting them in question form?). Overall I do my best to write something down the minute I think of it, but in the weekly review there are always a few things that come up! Sometimes it’s the weirdest things, like that restaurant I want to go eat at, that hobby I’ve been neglecting, or the invoice that I need to follow up on. I’m sure the brain dump can happen more than once a week, but it’s been the right amount of time for my brain to handle.

Reflecting

This last part I learned from my life coach, Whitney Hutten. I ask myself the following questions to make sure that I’m actually focusing on what’s most important and aligning my tasks with my values. This is the higher thinking GTD talks about, and I’ve found it to be the missing link for me from being busy vs being productive.

  • What went well?
  • What could be adjusted?
  • What to stop doing?
  • What to start doing?
  • What to continue doing?

That’s my weekly review! It adapts and changes over time, but the principles remain the same. Schedule a consistent time, catch up, brain dump, reflect. I’ve found it invaluable and I hope looking into my weekly review will shape your weekly review or get you started on actually making it happen!

What secrets do you have for the weekly review? Tell me in the comments!


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Josh Medeski

Hello there, I'm Josh. I write, speak, and podcast on productivity and technology. By day I'm an instructor for a coding bootcamp.
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