My weekly review habit

Every Saturday morning, I take 3-4 hours to think about how my week went and how I’ll make the next one better.

The format has changed over time, but for example, here’s some of what I reflected on last week:

And so on. By the end of the review I had surfaced lots of other improvements for the coming week.


While each individual tweak is small, over the weeks and years they’ve compounded to make me a lot more effective. Because of that, this weekly review is the most useful habit (or habit-generating meta-habit) I’ve built. Here are some of the improvements I’ve made that have come out of weekly reviews:

Of course, you don’t need to have a weekly review habit to come up with this type of improvement. But by systematically thinking it through, you’ll generate more of them. And by doing it consistently, you’ll be able to build these small improvements on top of each other.


I’ve had to iterate a lot on the format and timing of the weekly review to get to one where I can consistently maintain the habit and output useful weekly reviews. The format I currently have is:


As an appendix, some random tactical tips for weekly reviews:

Comments

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Max

Ben, I’m a six month reader, first time commenter. Great piece (like many others :)! How is this different from or the same as your 1:1 weekly meetings (that you did with your wife)? 

Are there any other concrete steps you normally take to reduce distractions? I’m hearing that you use RescueTime, browser extensions blocking certain sites, and environmental cues to signal focus to yourself. Anything else? 

Thanks Ben!

Ben

Thanks, glad it was useful! Sorry I’m only seeing this now.

These are a different event from weekly 1:1s–I do them on my own, spend quite a bit longer on them and mostly focus on improving my personal systems/habits. I do them before our 1:1 because they often generate stuff to talk about, but only bring things up in a 1:1 if they’re about our relationship or if I think Eve will have useful advice.

I’m assuming your question about reducing distraction is about daily life, not specific to weekly reviews. I do a lot of other different things to reduce distraction, but the most important are:

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Geoffrey Yip

Thanks for sharing! Based off your advice, I extended my weekly review from <1 hour to 3+ hours and started using Complice. I’ve already seen major improvements in diet consistency, meditation, and prioritizing work. One example is how I approached daily scheduling. Previously, I used a schedule and todo list app. But that added stress b/c I had two obligations to follow, so I often skipped daily scheduling. Now I transfer items from my todo list into my schedule. That clears my todo list and forces me to clarify what I can do in a day. The new approach helps me prioritize and reduces stress, meaning I’ll do it more regularly.

Ben

Yay, really glad it was useful! That’s exactly the same thing I found Complice useful for: I didn’t used to be able to consistently plan my day.

I’m also a heavy user of the hidden feature where you can draft a plan in the evening (press Shift+I on the “today” page)—that was the game changer that made it really work well for me.

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