weekly review

Weekly Review


The Big Question:
How effective am I during the week?

What the answer reveals:
How I organize my priorities in the short span of one week in order to drive action effectively.

Why is it important?
Because weeks are short enough for things to get lost in the shuffle, and plans can be derailed easily.

The Weekly Review

It’s starting to feel a little bit like overkill by now, right? Annual review, monthly review, now weekly review, too? Before you get too worked up about this, let me foreshadow that there will be a daily review as well. Don’t get mad; I have some good news: the shorter the period, the quicker the review.

If your annual analysis takes one to two hours, and your monthly review takes maybe thirty minutes, your weekly review should not take you more than ten to fifteen minutes. Your daily evaluation will be even quicker.

But why do you still need it? Isn’t the monthly review enough? No, it’s not. Just as doing a monthly review was necessary to catch a bad trend for the year, the weekly review is required to capture adverse trends in your monthly progress.

On top of that, your week is the center stage for your habits. The month is too long to have anything that would qualify as a habit. That’s more of a monthly recurring task. Your body cannot memorize that period and execute it automatically, which is why you need reminders. When it comes to weeks, though, you are starting to implement habits that occur within the confines of those seven days. They may repeat once a week, or more than once.

Because of that, the weekly review is also critical for your habits plan. On your Annual and Monthly Plan sheets, you will have established new habits that you’d like to implement or continue and improve upon, and also those bad practices that you’d like to eradicate from your life. Your week is the perfect dojo for that battle. And believe me, it is a battle, and you’ve gotta be in it to win it.

“Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.”Fitzhugh Dodson

Making Your Weekly Review Matter

So then, taking ten to fifteen minutes at the end of each week to review how things went during the prior week is very useful. It’s also a perfect preamble to the planning of the following week. You have the opportunity to observe what worked and what didn’t. For those things that worked, ask why they worked. How can you replicate their success? Notice and take note of all the things that do go well, because they may spawn from your strengths or from unforeseen opportunities. Identify the habits that contributed to victories, because those are the habits you need to keep practicing and reinforcing.

For what didn’t work, reflect on why that happened, as well. What were the struggles, obstacles, or other types of hurdles? A deep self-reflection here is critical in order to make sure that you observe your behavior and not just blame the environment. Reflection should be introspective. You can start by asking, “What should I have done differently?” or “What would’ve been the result had I behaved differently?” Always look for all the angles that relate to your decisions, attitudes, and behaviors.

Replay recent conversations in your head, especially those that led to escalating issues. Was your message clear? Did you make an effort to understand before trying to make yourself understood? Was your delivery appropriate? Always look inward and question your behavior.

Soon you’ll be able to identify the bad habits that contributed to your failures, as well as those limiting beliefs that we have discussed before. Those are all things that you need to chip away at, little by little. As you notice them, check your learning plan. Are you practicing them? Are you trying to get better in those areas?

Reflection should not end with a statement or a simple observation. Instead, it should lead to immediate, massive corrective action through deliberate practice. Don’t ever sweep the mistakes of the week under the rug. You’re not doing yourself a favor; instead, you’d be keeping yourself in a state of obliviousness. Reflection without action is a waste of time and energy.

How To Do A Weekly Review

During your weekly review, you will focus on four areas:

  1. Biggest wins this week
  2. Biggest failures this week
  3. Things I should’ve done differently
  4. Top learning outcomes

You start with your biggest wins. In this category, you will put all the things that you have managed to complete successfully. For example, If you had a plan to write 5000 words and you did it, that’s a win! If you planned to have a relaxing dinner and dance with your wife, and you managed to see it through, that’s a win. You have to remember to not only be aware of your successes, but also to give yourself permission to celebrate them.

To that end, you must bake little rewards for success into your plan. You’ve worked hard, and it’s okay to reap the benefits. Enjoy it, and don’t hold back. Even brag about it if you feel like it. You damn well deserve it!

For the weekly failures, think about those items in your plan that you weren’t able to complete. Ask the right questions, especially ‘why’. Why have you failed? What stood in the way? Where did you struggle? The answers might reveal real blind spots for you, and will help you adjust in the weeks to come.

I’m going to hone in on this point a bit more because it bears repeating: self-reflection should result in action. Once you identify the reasons for your failure, resist the temptation to blame those facts on others or the environment. Instead, ask yourself the question: what should I have done differently in order to achieve a different result?

Only by doing that kind of introspective looking at and figuring out alternative behaviors, habits, or actions, can you prepare yourself for success in the weeks to come.

Last but not least, translate all of these into a few key learning outcomes. You can summarize the things that went well and the things that didn’t go so well in a way that becomes an actionable item.

Top outcome: “I spend too much time watching TV.”

Action: “Limit TV watching to X hours per week.”

Top outcome: “I wake up too late, and I keep missing my workout.”

Action: “Go to bed earlier.”

Top outcome: “When I drink alcohol at night, I have low energy and I an unable to work out in the morning.”

Action: “Limit drinking alcohol to one night per week.”

You get the idea. No week should pass by where you don’t evaluate the good and the bad. Keep in mind that this is your life; you are the architect and the builder. You are responsible for it, and no one else should be held accountable except for you.

Sure, you have surrounded yourself with people who care about you—your spouse, children, parents, friends, and so on. They should care for you, but it’s not their responsibility to build your life and put it together. They should build their life together with yours and coexist in harmony, but it’s not their responsibility to complete your goals or your part of the joint family goals.

“Never begin the day until it is finished on paper.”Jim Rohn

Your Weekly Review Is Introspective

However, taking responsibility for your life doesn’t mean you have to go at it alone; it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ask for help when needed. If you struggle with a habit, you may involve your trusted circle to help hold you accountable. If you have trouble waking up early, perhaps your spouse could set up a second alarm and wake you up a few times until you get better at it. You can always ask for help, but remember: it’s still your responsibility. Even if you ask for help and you don’t get the help you want or in the way you want it, don’t point fingers.

Never blame. Always look inward. Even if something is 100% objectively the fault of someone else, that doesn’t mean anything. If it is, it will always be. You need to find an alternative solution, because changing that person’s behavior or changing events outside of your control is not in your purview. You can’t do it.

The only thing you can control is you: your actions; your attitude; your behavior. The weekly review allows you to identify these things to adjust and course-correct.

Keep in mind that the way you behave in one place is the same way you behave everywhere. It doesn’t matter how much you try to “act” differently on a different stage. Your ingrained behaviors and attitudes rise to the surface in times of stress; the real you always find a way out. That’s why consecutive weekly reviews will allow you to identify patterns and trends.

Snapshots are good, but trends are better. You need to see and think long term, and catch yourself in multiple situations, not just in the best or worst ones—in all of them.

“Speaking from my personal experiences, setting goals, along with a detailed action plan, has actually changed my life from one cast in frustration to one of purpose.”Catherine Pulsifer

Weekly Review Process

Just as before, use the download link below to access your Weekly Review forms. Make sure you create a folder where you can accumulate your forms and have them handy. You want to keep the history and refer to them as needed. After this step, head on to the last leg of this journey, the Daily Plan.

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