Unleash Your Productivity By Performing Weekly Reviews
Plus, Campfire: The app for warm and virtual gatherings
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The Importance of Weekly Reviews and How to Start Your Own
If you’re constantly wondering what to work on, you don’t have clear deadlines, and your work seems all over the place, then weekly reviews might be your salvation.
In fact, disorganization is one of the leading causes of procrastination. Not knowing what’s important leads to not knowing where to begin, and then, not focusing on the most important tasks. In this issue, I’ll share everything you need to know about weekly reviews, best practices, and how to use them to increase your productivity and reduce both your procrastination and work anxiety.
What are weekly reviews?
A weekly review is a chance you get every week to review work completed, pending, and in progress. According to David Allen, Getting Things Done author, “The Weekly Review is the time to: Gather and process all your stuff. Review your system. Update your lists. Get clean, clear, current, and complete. You have to use your mind to get things off your mind.”
These weekly reviews of work help you paint a realistic picture of your priorities and progress, and allow you to define actions to work on pending or overdue tasks. These can look like to-do lists with sections, Kanban boards, text paragraphs, emails, entries on your project management tool, or Loom videos.
Weekly reviews are also great for ensuring that you’re putting your energy in the right places and that you get to reward yourself after tough weeks.
Benefits of doing weekly reviews
Weekly reviews can be highly beneficial for individuals and teams that choose to implement them. Some of the most common benefits include:
Saving time and money: Ensuring that you’re prioritizing work properly and having the right direction to adjust those priorities will allow you to spend less time deciding what to work on. You’ll become more efficient.
Building awareness of teammates' work: It’s a great benefit for departments that don’t necessarily have intersecting work, or for those whose work intertwines. Having weekly reviews gives you an idea of where colleagues’ minds are at, allowing you to adjust and align with them — or to ask them to adjust their priorities.
Improving your relationship with your manager: Weekly reviews are a way of reviewing work, but your manager shouldn’t be using them as a micromanaging tool. Instead, these reviews should help to keep your manager in the loop while allowing them to support you if needed.
Having better team communication: Since weekly reviews allow team members to be aware of the work their team is doing, colleagues can offer or request support if they have a packed week.
Keeping track of your progress and making it easier for quarterly or annual reviews: Filling out quarterly or annual scorecards can be a dreadful process if you don’t have a historical record of your progress or work. Doing weekly reviews helps you document your progress and have it handy for whenever you need to fill out your review scorecard or give reviews to colleagues.
Reducing stress and anxiety caused by pending tasks: Having a pending task constantly on your mind can cause a lot of stress, and it can make it harder for you to concentrate on other things (work or non-work-related). Writing it down can help you extract those thoughts from your brain and save them for the future.
Allowing you to consistently work towards goals: If you don’t work towards them, goals are just sentences on a piece of paper. Ensuring that you’re working toward them every week allows you to actually reach them.
Reducing busyness and increasing productivity: Being productive is about making the best use of your resources and working on the tasks that are relevant to your priorities. Weekly reviews allow you to ensure that you’re doing valuable work that only you can do.
Planning better: Doing consistent weekly reviews helps you understand how much work you can do in a week, and once you get a better sense of that estimation, you’ll get better at planning.
Reducing procrastination due to disorganization: One of the causes of procrastination is not knowing where to begin or what to work on first. Organizing your work weekly helps you know exactly what to work on every day.
Good weekly review practices
Weekly reviews have a goal and guiding principles, but are pretty personal documents that you can modify to serve you best. To edit and adjust to your needs you can follow some of these best practices.
The Getting Things Done way
David Allen explains how he does his weekly reviews in his book GTD. Here are the steps you should follow.
Clear your space out: Gather all your documents, post-it notes, and loose papers. Review them and see if there’s anything from them that you need to capture and include in your weekly review.
Get to Inbox Zero: Check your inbox and get it to zero pending messages. Add everything that you consider necessary to the review, and delete or archive anything that was completed or doesn’t require additional work.
Review your calendar: Check previous meetings to see what you worked on, the agreements you got to, and the next steps that require action. Set time apart the following week to follow up. Review your future booked meetings to see if you need to book time to prepare for each of them.
Revisit the list of tasks: If you haven’t already, mark all the tasks you’ve completed as done, and update the status or category of the other ones in the list. Mark the ones that are or were blocked by someone else and adjust the status.
Review your active projects: Go to each one of your current projects and put the ones you don’t have the capacity for on hold, close the ones you already finished, and set the next steps for active and ongoing projects.
Check your maybe/nice to have list: See if there are any of these tasks that you have already completed or have the capacity to work on any time soon. Adjust or remove any task that is no longer necessary.
Get creative: Take a moment to empty your brain and write down anything that needs action or any new ideas that you want to work on. Allow yourself to get rid of recurring thoughts by writing them down.
Schedule time for the next weekly review: If you haven’t set a recurring task to do every week, this is the time to do it to ensure completion.
Using project management tools
Leveraging your project management tool to create templates and using the tasks that were already recorded are great practices when making your weekly review.
At ProductiveGrowth, we use Asana, and it has a great feature that lets you assign a status to your projects. So, by having a personal project, or several different projects, you can click on the “set a status” button and complete the questions that you want using the tasks in the project.
If you don’t use Asana, you can find or build a project for weekly reviews in your preferred tool. For instance, Notion has this great template that you can copy and adjust to your needs.
Making your personal weekly review template
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to doing weekly reviews. But when building your personal template, there are some steps to consider process-wise that might help you along:
Define when to do it: You can have a weekly review any day of the week depending on your way of working. The most common days to do it are Sundays, Mondays, or Fridays.
List the things that you’ll include: Maybe you’ll only have pending, in progress, blocked, and done columns like a Kanban board. You might also want to include the things you learned during the week, or add a weekly personal goal to it. The possibilities are endless, but this is the stage to write all of those sections that you want to include in your template.
Choose the system: Are you using an online tool? Are you building yours on a spreadsheet? Are you writing it on a pad? Select the method that works best for you and stick to it.
Ensure consistency: Once you define all previous aspects of your weekly review, make sure that you do it every week.
Review: Weekly reviews are supposed to help you, if they’re time-consuming, frustrating, or not serving the purpose, make sure you review them and make changes accordingly.
Weekly reviews can be a powerful productivity tool. Incorporating them into your weekly routine can help you increase your focus, work consistently toward goals, and reduce your stress and anxiety levels. Are you ready to start doing them?
Edited by: Lauren Maslen
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