Use the weekly review to give yourself permission to do things you want to do

One of the habits I’ve formed through my blog is the practice of doing a weekly review. This is where I celebrate what I accomplished and get a heads-up on what’s next. I do this almost every Saturday, which turns out to be a great day for reflecting and preparing.

I also use the weekly review to make sure I spend time on things that I want to do. It’s easy to forget that in the endless ping-pong game of responding to other people’s requests, or to scatter your attention among lots of interests and not feel like you’re making progress in any particular one. Give yourself permission to work on something you want to do, and carve out space for it in your to-do list or calendar. I divide my to-do list into three categories: work, relationships, and life. The work category is easy to fill. Relationships take a little more thought, but other people make it easy by asking. Life, on the other hand—the skills I want to develop, the hobbies I want to explore—that requires me to step up and choose to do something instead of having my time filled by things that other people have chosen for me.

Lots of things are interesting, but I try to pick one or two things to focus on during each week. For example, I’ve been focusing on planting the garden and studying Japanese. I might explore other ideas during the week, but it’s good to make slow and steady progress in my focus areas.

I make that space by managing my commitments. It’s easy to get used to a hectic, time-starved status quo, and it’s gratifying as well—busy-ness helps you feel valued. For me, “normal life” includes time to breathe and time to play. I avoid being busy. When I notice I’m starting to make mistakes because my calendar is too full, I slow down and see what I can say no to.

I add “want-to”s to my to-do list instead of just keeping it to the “must-do”s, and I remove or change other tasks until things look like they’ll fit. It makes reviewing and planning more fun, and it gives me something to look forward to during the week.

Might be something that can help you establish that habit. =) Happy to hear your thoughts and to read your weekly reviews!

Related: On the practice of a weekly review

  • > I divide my to-do list into three categories: work, relationships, and life

    life ? do it mean My Life beyond work and relationships ?
    would you equate this to personal development ?

    also, this look like “you” decide ( everything). How about a bit of randomness ? i.e. serendipity ? (I saw this in your sketch note , so I expect you are familiar with the concept ?)
    This is about “managing” the known ( by you)

    How can you learn what you do not know ?

    how do you let the “external world” come into your life, and invite you for a dance?

    You know about agile . do you (know) relate this to antifragile ?

    • Yup, I use the “Life” category for self-development, recharging, and other things.

      I can’t plan luck, but I can leave enough space in my plans for serendipity to happen. Knowing what I need to do and want to do makes it easier to reduce, reschedule, or rearrange things to take advantage of opportunities. I get a lot of external stimulation through conversations, blog comments, and reading. In fact, it’s much easier to respond to other people than it is to let things emerge from your own quiet reflection, which is why I want to make sure I spend a lot of time exploring things on my own too. :)