For several years now, I’ve made a practice of closing each week by asking myself a series of questions about that week’s activities and experiences. The questions have evolved over the years and I’ve gone back and forth between answering them on paper and on my laptop, yet this Friday morning ritual has remained essentially the same: an hour + a nice breakfast + the end-of-week playlist + the week-in-review.
The ritual (ahem, system) has stuck because it works. I remain committed to it because of what happens when I skip it. If I don’t take time to review my week…
- I focus on how much remains to be done rather than celebrating and finding satisfaction in what I have accomplished – which is almost always way more than I remember before I start my review.
- I focus solely on my productivity, forgetting my creativity and the pleasure of the process of realizing an idea.
- I miss the signs that I’m working beyond my capacity or drifting out of integrity.
- I lose sight of what’s working and where I my systems need attention.
- I lose sight of what I’ve learned and where I need more training and practice.
- I forget to clear out the old to make space for the new – which just gums things up.
- I forget that I’m surrounded by wonderful people and a beautiful, wondrous world – and to be actively thankful for that.
- I forget that the unexpected is normal.
- I bypass rest and get stuck all up in my head, forgetting I have body.
- My perception of the passage of Time feels very rapid.
- And I enter my coming week totally unprepared – which is rather unkind to my Future Self.
As you can see, there’s a pretty big payoff for investing an hour each week in answering 25 simple questions.
And in the fine blogging tradition of the End-of-Week-Wrap-Up, I’ll be sharing highlights from my reviews to illustrate the power of this ritual and share examples of how this right-brain time-management stuff works in real-life.
[ The Art of the Debrief is something we'll practice regularly in Foundations. If you want to develop your own week-in-review ritual and questions, please join us. ]
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highlights from the week of September 2
What did you complete this week?
In addition to announcing all sorts of new and revived goodness, I’m especially pleased to have finished this new summary of my programs and how they all fit together.
In part because I think it’s super useful to you. Also because it’s the sort of thing I could have set out to write only to discover my work was much less cohesive than I imagined. But mostly because I was a bit stunned by the quantity and quality of programs I created during a period I tend to think of as unproductive and murky. It was like compiling the Anthology all over again: Though there is more to write, the truth is a great deal of good writing has already been done.
Just as I usually discover in these weekly reviews, once again I’ve completed more than I think I have. And that will be celebrated.
How did the unexpected show up this week?
Cold cooties brought home by my sweetheart from his workplace. I am appeasing the gods of productivity with a great many supplements. My prayer: Please spare me the snot. Because my plans aren’t as common-cold-proof as they should be and bed-rest would be really inconvenient right now.
What is the overall state of your energy?
Despite the above, my energy level is better than last week when I was proud, but vibrating with exhaustion. How tired was I? At the time of last week’s review, I was so tired I forgot I ordered a bagel in the space of time in took the barista to toast and butter it. I was genuinely, though pleasantly, startled when she brought it to the table. Now that’s a warning sign you’re working beyond your capacity. Thank goodness for a long holiday weekend of doing next to nothing. Lesson (re)learned.
What worked? What needs a system? What systems need tweaking?
The last two weeks have been a reminder that K.I.S.S. always works. As does listening to and obeying my intuition. And to-thine-own-self-be-true. It keeps things so easy and straightforward.
That said, Basecamp (which I already use and love) needs to become my new best friend – you know, the kind you talk to every single day. My brain is too full of ideas to trust things to memory. And there are many, many moving parts that need tending to right now – and knowing exactly what they are and when they need to be handled will be the difference between finding god or the devil in those details. Systems!
And speaking of a full brain, I need I also need to do more to help it stop spinning when it’s time to rest and maintain my equilibrium and integrity during this time of growth. It would be so easy to let things get moody and wobbly. Meditation, prepare to be resumed for ten minutes a day.
Where did life take you this week?
The post office – where there was snail mail! I am so in love with this revival of correspondence with you. Keep ‘em coming.
What moments of awe or wonder did you experience this week?
Thunder and lightening! They’re not so common in these parts, so always seem extra spectacular.
What do you want from next weekend?
I still don’t know how I want to celebrate this week or what I want from this weekend other than “a Sunday that feels like a Sunday,” but here’s what my Wiser Future Self said about next weekend: Keep pacing yourself. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Note: this is the same thing as trusting yourself.
I’m not sure exactly what it means yet, or if it’s even true, but I like it…
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Your turn. Tell me: What were the highlights of your week?
Organized under week-in-review. none