how to review, part two

The previous post explains the basics of reviewing. This week, I will explore the steps I take to complete my reviews. Most Fridays I begin reviewing mid-morning, and post the reminder/proof to social media at 3pm.

Five phases to Penny’s #weeklyreview

Phase one: set up, spread out

While I have reviewed under many different circumstances, I prefer to spread out in a location that isn’t my primary workspace for the week. Stepping away from my desk helps me to focus and also not be too easily distracted by incomplete work. While many prefer to use one book as their agenda and notebook, it is during review and planning that I rely on the ability to see multiple spreads at once.

Personally I find that a cup of tea is essential for the process. In warm weather I may indulge in iced coffee, but a nice warm tea makes review time better.

Laptop and tablet. Right now I try to review with both the laptop and tablet. It is possible for me to review with only my notebook and cell phone, but I don’t enjoy the process. The tablet has the boring job of displaying only the three-week view of my calendar. The laptop is for additional project reference and speedier completed task review.

Planner. This is opened to the current week.

Logbook. Opened to my weekly goals and timeline notes.

I often also keep some scrap paper or sticky notes nearby for use in the later phases and scribbling notes/tasks as I think of them.

Phase two: reviewing the done

As I look through the planner and my week’s calendar I take stock of what is written there. I’ve made it to Friday once again, that is cause for joy. Everything I work on adds to feelings of moving forward, even if it isn’t always the forward I expected on Monday morning.

As I look over the appointments I review if they triggered any tasks and I look to check to make sure they are either in my system to work on or already completed.

Next I look at the done list. Yes, there are silly tasks on there each week such as “take out trash” and others that I may have added for the sole purpose of immediately checking off. That’s ok. It’s rewarding to see a list of things I have done, because at this stage, I often feel that I haven’t done anything.

After that I go through my active projects list and move onto the next phase.

Phase three: reviewing the incomplete

It’s very easy to get down and frustrated during this part which is why I look at the done list first. While it often may feel that there is still so much undone, I know I’ve done something each week. With my active projects in hand, I work to figure out what I need to do to move each project forward.

Phase four: preparing for next week

This is my favourite part! I love beginning to figure out what I need to do to ensure the next week is a good one. I try to incorporate lessons from the previous week. There is one I still need to learn which is to take longer breaks when I switch tasks, otherwise I’m too distracted with attention residue.

Phase five: make tidy

I tidy up my workspace after I complete my review. It’s going to become incredibly messy again before I’ve finished for the day, but as I return from my review space, I like to take a few minutes to straighten piles and make it easier to focus on work that I know has priority through week’s end. While I lived for years insisting that a clean desk meant something was wrong with me, I now understand and embrace the value within a tidy and non-distracting work space.

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