Creating the Weekly Review Habit


What is the Weekly Review?

A weekly review is that thing that keeps you on track as a Productivity Ninja. It’s where you check that your second brain (your sophisticated to-do list) is updated and still serving you well. It’s where you look forward and back at your commitments to see where you need to follow up or prepare. It’s where you identify what else needs to be done, removing ideas from all the places that your work comes to you from, as well as downloading those nags and ideas from your head.

The Weekly Review is an opportunity to be strategic, to identify what really matters to you this week. Yet, it’s the bit so many clients tell me they struggle with. Hell, it’s the bit I struggle with and I’ve been working in this way for over a decade now.

I had a prospective client call me once and discuss how he had done our training, implemented lots of the ideas, but sometimes it was working for him, and sometimes it wasn’t. I asked how the weekly review was going, he hesitated and said that he didn’t do it very often. We talked about why not, and he came up with a plan to try for 6 weeks that would involve doing his review every week, same time, same place. We spoke on week 7, everything was working much better for him, and he said he had been encouraged to do the review because we’d spoken about it.

As well as being a useful thing to do then,  it’s also a habit that needs to be created.

How do you create a habit?

I’ve been doing some training around habits, why some people are good at them (my partner), why some people really struggle (me). I’m a licensee for the ‘4 Tendencies’ course, an idea from the brilliant Gretchin Rubin about some of the things that really help us create the habits that we want.

My style and way of working means that I am much more likely to do something if I have some degree of external accountability. I am much more likely to do something if I have told someone I am doing it, or if someone is expecting it from me. So, for doing my weekly review I like to be able to tell clients in my Productivity Ninja sessions that I have done my review this week, I like to let my colleagues know via Slack that this is what I am doing. I add it to my second brain as a task to tick off. All these things contribute to my accountability for something I decided I want to do.

My partner’s brain works differently. He is a person with a whole load of questions! He isn’t fully bought into the idea of a review yet (I know! apparently I’m not the only Ninja whose partner is yet to see the light, that’s another story for another day). He is brilliant around habits to do with exercise and eating well because he gets it, it is good for him. So he does it. Me, I only do these things because I’ve told everyone I plan to do exercise 3 times a week. I’m sure the woman in the gym who sold me my membership doesn’t recall this, however, I know I told her about it, and if she were ever to ask I want to look her in the eye and tell her I am nailing it (I am, it’s true!). Now I have told you, so feel even more accountable. 

So when I am delivering training, I know there will be some people with questions, I try to answer them all. I encourage those people to reflect on the difference in weeks where they do the review and weeks where they don’t. That allows them to start buying into the benefit.

Some people will try a weekly review when it’s suggested to them. That makes it easy to get started, but that doesn’t mean it’s that easy to create and maintain the habit!

Others will be less likely to do the review just because someone told them to. For those people, I say ‘It’s what really helps a lot of high performers. Do it. Don’t do it. Up to you’. 

Once we know our own styles in relation to internal and external expectations we can set things up to work for us. When we start to understand the styles of those around us, we can start to tailor our messages and our language to those we live and work with.

So, I find a review helpful to keep me on track. It gives me a chance to check in on all the areas that I am responsible for and gives me a feeling of being in the driving seat. Lots of people who are doing well and feeling on top of their workload do the same. You are welcome to give it a try, I’d love to know how you get on if you decide it could be for you.

If you would like to learn more about different approaches to creating habits, in yourself and others, then feel free to get in touch.

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