I strongly believe that without understanding how things are going and where you're headed, it's very hard to steer the course. That's why every Sunday, I try to take some time to reflect back on the week. To think about what went well, what didn't. Trying to draw some lessons from it.

I vaguely remember that I began doing this sometime in early 2014. There were periods of time (sometimes even months) where I didn't write single one of those. But I lately I really do my best to do it every week.

Why do it?

Here are the 3 main reasons why I think it's worth taking the time to do it:

  • recalling those positive things that happened that week makes me feel good, it also makes me appreciate them more
  • it allows me to take a peek into the state of my approach to life. I need to make sure that I'm headed the right way, constantly adjusting the course. When there are many weeks where things aren't going as I wish/hope, it's a good indicator that there's time (and need) for a change.
  • sometimes, I feel like I haven't accomplished almost anything in that given week. By remembering and going over what I was doing, I can actually see that it's not entirely true.

How do I do it?

Both the process and format of these weekly reviews are actually very simple. I use the old-fashioned pen & paper approach. I use a blank A4 paper, and aim to fill most of it with the review.

Here's how:

1) I sit down, and write the title. Today it was "Week 10.4 - 16.4, recap"

2) I try to write down a sentence or two that characterizes that week. Just to set the tone.

3) I open Timelines app and go through each individual day of that week, one after another. I have records of most things that I'm doing throughout the days, so it's easy for me to quickly see what was going on.

4) I follow a pre-defined structure. It went through several revisions over time. Lately, I've been using this simplified one with just three sections:

  • Highlights of the week - Here I write about the noteworthy (for me) things that happened. For example, this week it was: finally started the daily writing habit, started reliably tracking expenses, the trips during weekend etc.
  • Productivity & time management - somehow, I consistently manage to fall short on my hopes and expectations. In this section, I try to ponder how productive (or not productive) I was, and how I can improve it in the next week.
  • Freeform / Personal - here I write about anything that comes to mind. Some ideas I got during the week. Simply anything that isn't a good fit for the previous two sections.

5) And that's it! I also try to write at least one line of all the things that I plan for the following week. But I rarely do it, and even if I do, I usually end up not fulfilling most of those. This is an area that I really need to improve in.

Here's a small photo of the review from today:

Writing the whole review usually takes me around 30 minutes, so I think it's a sensible time investment, and the long-term upside can be significant.

Do you also write weekly reviews? I'd love to hear about how you do it in the comments below!

This was Day 7 of the 14-day blogging challenge.