The habit of an evening review wraps up your day and brings peace.
We often spend a lot of upfront time making a plan, getting it just right, getting the ready for it. And then, when the time comes to put it into place we start strong but quickly fizzle out.
It’s easy to think that the problem was a bad plan. But often it’s bad habits, not bad planning.
If we want to consistently work our plans, we have to look at our plans, every single day. In fact, we have to look at our plans more than once every single day.
Why is review essential?
A consistent review habit will keep your goals and action items fresh in your mind. Because you know where your plans are and that you will see them, your mind can let go of the responsibility of being a constant reminder-machine and be free to think and imagine and analyze. In fact, your mind will be able to work on the problems and projects you’re working on subconsciously while you’re asleep or washing the dishes or taking a walk.
But the key is both keeping and reviewing an inventory of tasks and projects.
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Now, a plan need not be rigid and dictatorial to be effective. In fact, to be effective it cannot be. But the best way to keep your decisions wise is by making review a habit. By reviewing your lists and materials when necessary, you keep your brain from taking back the job of Reminder-in-Chief.
In other words, you are not done when your system is set up. Entropy applies. Life changes. Plans don’t work if they can’t adapt. Your daily and weekly review times are when your plans adapt.
The review process is not a bunch of extra time spent keeping yet another project constantly juggled; review fulfills your planning’s purpose: keeping your head clear and your intuition trustworthy.
When you can calmly review all things you are responsible for doing, you can make a judgment call and feel confident in your choice.
After working to make morning review a habit, I thought I was good to go. Indeed, I was better to go.
But putting a quick evening review practice into place has remarkably increased my effectiveness and my ability to carry out my plans.
It’s like putting a bow on the day. In the morning, the review is a process of getting set to go. In the evening, it’s about wrapping it up and closing it out. It doesn’t take long, and it adds a note of finality and peace to the day: an ending ritual that brings calm.
Here’s what I do for my evening review:
- Finish checking off my daily index card & circle items to move to next day
Check calendar for the next two weeks & for tomorrow. Are all emails that had calendar items entered?
Clear email inbox of junk and clutter. Use labels & stars to make batch processing tomorrow faster.
Plug in laptop & iPod & phone to charge.
Lay out anything I need for tomorrow’s errands or tasks; lay out tomorrow’s outfit.
That’s it. And after having looked everything over and knowing I don’t have loose ends left hanging, I can unwind and go to bed and let the day go.
Review is one of the secrets to making all your planning actually useful in the day-to-day of life.
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