A weekly review is the cornerstone of wellbeing-driven productivity.
It is the key to achieving your goals, managing your mental health and wellbeing, and getting stuff done.
This post will explain what a weekly review is, why you need to do it, and how to do it consistently. I will also share a free template.
What is a Weekly Review?
Productivity expert and author, David Allen, describes the weekly review as a time to:
- Gather and process all your stuff.
- Review your system.
- Update your lists.
- Get clean, clear, current and complete.
Allen offers an excellent description, but it does make the weekly review sound far more extensive than it needs to be.
In practical terms, a weekly review takes me just 10 minutes on a Sunday afternoon. I look back, look forward and do a few admin tasks. That's it.
How I Carry Out a Weekly Review
Here is my process:
I start with a short journal entry in Obsidian.
First, I look at the previous week’s review and create a link to it in my journal entry. Then, I reflect on the progress I have made against my annual goals over the week. After that, I spend a few minutes Plus Minus Next journalling.
I love how simple this journalling framework is:
- Plus: what worked?
- Minus: what didn’t?
- Next: what next?
Once my journal entry is complete, I check off a few actions in my task manager, TickTick.
I review Drafts app - Drafts is my quick capture tool, so there are often links to articles in there that need to go to my newsletter tool, or my read-it-later app. I’d then spend some time reading articles I have saved throughout the week in Matter and writing up notes on some of the reading I have done. Finally, I return to Inbox Zero and review the week ahead (specifically looking at my task manager and calendar).
Why is a Weekly Review so Important?
If I didn't carry out a weekly review, several things would happen.
I would collect a lot of ‘stuff’ such as online articles and ideas and never do anything with them. My weekly review sends content I consume to my personal knowledge management workflow. It has helped me transition from consumer to creator and supports my love of lifelong learning.
Without a weekly review, I would be more anxious. Two of my biggest stress triggers are emails and 'fear of the unknown'. Getting to Inbox Zero every week and knowing what's coming up (as much as I can) reduces my anxiety levels considerably.
Finally, my weekly review keeps my annual goals front and centre. If I did not see them every week, I'd forget about them and would not be likely to achieve them.
Up until recently, I used to conduct a monthly review, but I'm starting to realise that a weekly practice makes reviewing things monthly unnecessary.
My weekly review helps me be productive, prioritise my wellbeing, and achieve my goals.
When is the Best Time for a Weekly Review?
I like to do a weekly review on Sunday afternoons, but I know of other people who prefer a Friday or Monday. Find your flow - do what works for you.
How to Ensure You Remember to do a Weekly Review
One of the biggest challenges of completing a weekly review is doing it consistently. I recommend adding ‘weekly review’ to your calendar, as well as ensuring it is on your to-do list or task manager. Pretty soon, your weekly review will become a habit.
Here is a Google Docs version of my weekly review template: Weekly Review Template.
Allen, D. (2015) Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity.