Achieving Clarity: A while ago, I wrote a blog post called “Note to Self: Nix the Ostrich Method” in which I said that I was worried and put off my weekly review because of it. At that time, completing two consecutive weekly reviews felt like an unprecedented accomplishment, even though it might not sound like one.
I am thrilled to share that I have successfully completed my weekly review for 29 weeks in a row. I couldn’t have accomplished this without the help and encouragement of my wonderful husband, who kept me accountable every step of the way. My customized review process includes elements from Franklin Covey, David Allen, and Michael Hyatt, and it has evolved over time to fit my needs. I’m excited to share my process with others to help them develop their own customized review processes.
Throughout the past 29 weeks, I have been approached by friends and colleagues who have inquired about my review process. Commonly asked questions include whether they should adopt a weekly review, what would be the best time to schedule the review, how long the process should take, and what aspects should be reviewed. In this regard, let us now tackle these questions to help us in achieving clarity.
Should you do a weekly review?
According to Barbara Hemphill, the inquiry shouldn’t be whether one should do a weekly review, but rather, whether one will carry it out. Personally, I avoided the process for quite some time due to anxiety and fear. However, through refinement and customization, it has transformed into a weekly source of motivation, focus, and clarity for me. After consistently executing my weekly review for the past 29 weeks, I can no longer imagine foregoing it.
It’s possible that a weekly review process might not suit your needs. In that case, you may want to consider a biweekly or monthly schedule instead. Everyone’s situation is unique, and I suggest exploring different options to determine what works best for you in achieving clarity. Developing a cadence that motivates you to keep at it is key to creating a successful review process.
When should you do your review?
Once more, Barbara Hemphill’s view is that the question to ask is when you plan to execute your review. Personally, I find Sunday morning to be the optimal time for my review. However, if a vital commitment interferes with my review schedule, I choose to reschedule the review rather than canceling it altogether.
The most suitable day and time for carrying out a review may vary from person to person, and this can change over time. Therefore, it’s crucial to remain adaptable and flexible in your approach. Remember that you are the best judge of what works for you, so don’t hesitate to adjust your review schedule as needed.
How long should it take?
As you likely know, it is crucial to establish the time needed to complete a review. As I had expected in my prior post, the more often I carried out my weekly review, the less time it took to complete.
At first, my review process could last for four hours or longer. This was mainly due to my habit of “doing” tasks while reviewing them, causing my attention to scatter and needlessly prolonging the review. As a result, I was reluctant to conduct reviews that took that much time and thus refrained from doing them altogether.
After conducting numerous experiments and making various adjustments, the review process now usually takes less than an hour and a half. To be completely transparent, I incorporate something called “Hour4Output” before the review process, which involves grouping a range of tasks that take 2 to 10 minutes to complete. Throughout the week, I add these tasks to the list since I know that I have designated the time to carry them out. During the Hour4Output, I also review any notes I may have taken during the week. Despite these additional steps, the Hour4Output usually takes less than an hour. By incorporating hour4output before the review, I am able to stay focused on reviewing, rather than on completing tasks. I also benefit from the added advantage of eliminating items from my task list before starting the review process.
Overall, I have been able to decrease the duration of my weekly review from four hours or more to two and a half hours or less. Although I allocate three hours for the review, it is now one of the most productive and valuable periods of my week. Since the review process usually takes less than three hours, I use the remaining time to meditate, read, or engage in other enjoyable activities. This helps to reinforce my positive perception of the review process.
What should you review?
As you may have guessed, the next question is about what specifically you should review. I have made several adjustments to this aspect in the past. In the end, I have developed the hour4output and weekly spotlight processes, which outline what I review during my weekly review:
Hour4Output (1 hour or less)
· Finish quick tasks that take between two to ten minutes.
· Review the rest of the week’s notes and input any action items into my task manager.
· Replenish notepaper for writing notes (I still favor paper).
Weekly spotlight (1.5 hours or less)
· Update the upcoming week’s business plan tasks.
· Task manager
1. Organize and manage the inbox.
2. Check the waiting list and include/update follow-up dates.
3. Check the scheduled list for the upcoming week’s items.
4. Check all active projects. Adjust and schedule action items.
5. Check inactive projects for those transitioning to active during the upcoming week.
· Review goals and log progress.
· Review personal mission and core values.
· Evaluate my ideal week based on Michael Hyatt’s concept, which is like a time budget.
Additionally, I conduct a review every quarter on the last Sunday of the quarter, along with the Hour 4 Output and weekly spotlight.
Quarterly spotlight (2 hours or less)
· Check three-year goals and adjust as needed.
· Check annual goals and adjust as needed.
· Check quarterly goals and adjust as needed.
· Check my preferred week and modify as needed.
· Assess daily routines and adjust accordingly.
And that’s how I do it! My personal review procedures for each week and quarter. Alongside my daily habits, I’m certain nothing is being forgotten.
Are you feeling confident? It might be a good idea to establish and follow through with your own regular review.