A weekly review is a common business productivity recommendation, and a practice I encourage in Simplified Organization: Learning to Love What Must Be Done. It is a time to reorient yourself to what you have on your plate and renegotiate your commitments. You take some time and look at your calendar, make fresh to-do lists, decide what your biggest responsibilities are this week and then make sure those stay in front of your face so they can get done.
Moms need a weekly review just as much as a business executive. We have sports practices, volunteer dates, meals, and so much more we must accomplish in a week. The process of evaluating everything that’s upcoming in a calm manner beforehand helps us meet our commitments with peace and preparedness.
But it is hard to discipline ourselves to set aside the time. It’s more likely that we just keep on going as we’ve been going without pausing to reflect and set ourselves up for a solid, focused week. But it is only our own peace of mind and sanity we are sacrificing when we skip a weekly review.
There are two things we must have in place if we want to learn the habit of the weekly review: a checklist and reserved time.
Moms need a weekly review checklist
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When there’s something we know we need to do, but we aren’t quite sure how exactly to go about it, we’re sure to encounter resistance and procrastination.
The best way to beat that sort of procrastination is to have a super-clear list written out and clearly visible. Make it short and to the point, with a verb as the first word of each item on the list. Limit yourself to 3-5 items on the list, or you’ll be too overwhelmed by how long the list is to even start.
My checklist for a weekly review looks like this:
- Open calendar, Omnifocus, Evernote, and Word; Pull out clipboard, index card, and pens.
- Look at calendar and add any tasks that need to be done this week based on what’s coming up.
- Go through Omnifocus review; flag up to 5 tasks for the week.
- Review Evernote project notebooks, file inbox items, and scan last week’s lists into records.
- Update weekly overview sheet with habits & goals; print.
Starting is the hardest part of any process, so make starting as easy and simple as possible. I try to create a trigger situation to help myself get into a groove.
That first item on my list could be something I take for granted and don’t even bother listing out. But if I sit with my computer, clipboard, and coffee, then see my weekly review checklist, that first action item list is easy to do, takes no thought, and then once all that is open and in my face, it’s smooth to move on down the rest of the list.
Make that first item on your list something that is very easy to accomplish and you’ll conquer resistance to your checklist.
Moms need a weekly review time slot
The other point of resistance that moms encounter when we try to incorporate a weekly review into our calendars is finding the right time for it, and then sticking to the plan when we do decide on a time.
More than motivation for a process like this, you need a reserved time for it in your week. It is fastest and simplest to do it while alone, so if you can reserve a coffee date with yourself Saturday morning (out of the house or before anyone else is awake in your house) or Friday afternoon, you’ll be much more likely to sail through your checklist without having to continually shift your focus back and forth from future-thinking to wipe-a-running-nose and admonish-the-children modes.
But even when we reserve a time slot for a weekly review, we are still left with the problem of disciplining ourselves to follow through on it.
Unfortunately, there’s no secret shortcut past forming that discipline. We can set reminders for ourselves so we can be less likely to forget. We can find someone else to be accountable to and learn to form the habit together with our husband or friends. But, ultimately, it’s up to us to learn the habit of following through on our decisions and just doing it.
The more you do that, the easier it will become over time. And the weekly review will help you with all the other follow through you have in your life, because it is a time set aside to look over those commitments and make sure you’re ready for them.