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Beginner's Guide to The Weekly Review

The weekly review methodology advocates that, to succeed in life, you need to regularly take a step back, assess your activities, track your progress, and maybe even change the route if it is viable.

If you start your week with a strategy that involves the phrase - "I'm going to handle things as they come," then there is a lot that you can gain from The Weekly Review (TWR) practice. TWR is part of the "Getting Things Done" tool suite that gets you to assess your current week and plan the next one effectively.

The methodology advocates that, to succeed in life, you need to regularly take a step back, assess your activities, track your progress, and maybe even change the route if it is viable.

Sections of "The Weekly Review"

According to the GTD methodology, TWR's process can be broken down into three sections.

  • Get clear: Close all the loose ends and consolidate information, i.e., clearing your workspace.
  • Get current: Track your progress and review all your tasks & goals, i.e., updating your tasks.
  • Get creative: Plan for the week ahead to improve, i.e., prioritize for improvement next week.

The idea is simple, spend one hour every week reviewing how it went and how you can plan the next one. While it does sound like adding more things to your plate, it will make you exponentially more effective by addressing improvements and shortcomings week over week.

Why is "The Weekly Review" effective?

Starting Fresh: The weekly review helps you assess your past week, come to terms with it, note down things you learned and move on to the following week. In essence, TWR helps you start your next week on a relatively clean slate.

Becoming Objective with Time: When you look at things that took up your time and then analyzed if they were productive, you are one step closer to becoming objective with your time. With this information at hand, you can now objectively strategize your next week.

Put things into Perspective: TWR makes you look at your work from a holistic context. It gives you a map of where you are heading next and what you need to do to change outcomes and results.

Questions to ask yourself during TWR?

Getting started with TWR will involve some introspection. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to understand your week better and list down things that need your attention.

  1. What tasks did I pursue this week?
  2. What tasks or ideas do I want to consider for the future?
  3. Why was I able or not able to accomplish specific tasks?
  4. What were the major productivity drainers & blockers?
  5. How do I feel about my performance this week?
  6. What tasks need to be updated?
  7. Are my weekly goals aligned with long-term goals?
  8. Using Pareto's principle, what can I do next week that can positively impact my life?
  9. What tasks do I have most resistance for and hence need to be done at the beginning?

Workflow for The Weekly Review

The following steps are by no means the only way to do your weekly review. However, this can act as a compass to see whether you are asking the right questions and reviewing what needs improvement.

So, here we go (in order):

  1. Collect and sort information from last week and write down anything that is occupying your mind space. This can be done using the Routine app by creating a brand new page or adding this information to Routine's universal inbox.
  2. Review tasks you have coming up next week and validate if those tasks align with your long-term goals.
  3. Check outside dependencies you have for next week, including group projects, meetings, etc.
  4. Pick individual tasks and mark their progress in percentage terms. You can add these as notes to tasks on the Routine app.
  5. Look at ideas from Step 1 to see if there are any creative or bold ones that you can pursue next week.
  6. Prioritise tasks based on importance or ease of completion; if something can be done in 30 minutes, block time and finish it.
  7. Plan your week based on priorities and dependencies. This can be done on Routine with our time blocking feature. To know more about how to use it, check out this tutorial.

Also, you can use the recurring tasks feature on Routine to set up a time for review every week and add notes to them.

So that is it about "The Weekly Review." If you liked this post and want to know more about the system, we strongly recommend reading David Allen's "Getting Things Done."

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