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In the ever-changing world of modern business, it comes as no surprise that more and more entrepreneurs – especially solopreneurs – fall into the trap of becoming reactive instead of proactive leaders. This results in lost focus and failure to keep track of your goals.
Before you know it, you’re forgetting important appointments or showing up in critical meetings completely unprepared. While everyone gets a bad day every once in a while, you have to consider if this is really the kind of life you want for yourself or if you’re already at risk of suffering from entrepreneurial burnout. Do you truly want to live a life filled with whirlwinds of motion with no tangible end or goal in sight?
Thankfully, this kind of situation is not a hopeless case. There’s actually a tested and proven solution to help entrepreneurs like you regain control of your life – both at home and in your business. The answer is the “weekly review.”
A weekly review refers to a specific time and day you set every week, which you will dedicate to evaluating and analyzing your goals, achievements, and workload. It’s an opportunity for you to take a step back and contemplate on what you have achieved so far in relation to your goals and determine what else needs to be done. As simple as it may seem, a weekly review is a powerful tool that can catapult your business to new heights.
But, why should you do the weekly review, well…, weekly? Why not do it monthly instead? Or even daily?
Although doing a monthly review is also beneficial for your business, a weekly review allows you to scrutinize and assess your decisions while everything is still “fresh” in your memory. As for daily reviews, this could work as well, but most entrepreneurs don’t have the time to do it daily. In my experience, the weekly rhythm is ideal.
You can never stop life from coming at you too fast or becoming too stressful. Sometimes, you even have to press pause just so you could breathe. That’s what makes a weekly review ideal. It doesn’t require your attention daily. All you need to do is set aside a time and day every seven days to see where you’re at and figure out where you’re going.
Every entrepreneur I meet is guilty of this: You cannot detach yourself from your business. However, this is exactly what a weekly review demands from you.
You must disengage (for only 30 to 60 minutes) from the daily grind for you to be able to come up with better ways to manage your business’ daily grind. After all, how could you ever expect to manage the grind if you are in it?
Let me share some key benefits of doing a weekly review.
Let’s face it. Your life as an entrepreneur has turned into an entangled web of your personal and professional goals. Before this happened though, you had a crystal clear vision of your priorities and objectives.
While it’s true that most of what you’ve done so far has helped your business to grow, it is also possible that you’ve lost track of what used to be the most important aspects in your plans. That is, you’ve been so adept at handling every urgent and pressing matter that comes up that you lost sight of the goal that inspired your business in the first place. In conducting weekly reviews, you’ll be able to realize how much you’ve strayed from your vision which might have caused you to suffer from decision fatigue or considerably slow down in your progress.
Is that really what you want? As an entrepreneur, you must always strive to work smarter, not harder. By committing to a weekly review, you are helping yourself refocus (or even reset) to check if you’re still on track. Setting aside a period for this activity every week ensures that you do not waste time chasing after tasks that won’t pay off as much.
A weekly review allows you to take a closer look at the operational nitty-gritty of your business. Sometimes, it becomes so easy for us entrepreneurs to be blind to our progress simply because we’re all about the big picture. We tend to be so engrossed by what’s going to happen next that we fail to see what’s currently happening and how these things could affect us in the long run.
In doing a weekly review, you get to focus on every single project and track where you’re at and how you achieved certain milestones. It can also help you diagnose the problems on a smaller scale, ensuring that you are aware of everything that’s happening in your own business. That way, you don’t miss out on identifying potential risks that could turn into major problems in the future. Alternately, this means you don’t overlook promising opportunities that could bring your business to the next level.
A weekly review allows you to see all your goals – both short-term and long-term. It provides you with a clearer picture of how far you’ve come and the places where you’re struggling. With all these in mind, you will be able to make more informed decisions and even update your systems.
For example, your weekly review might reveal that you probably need to start delegating work to a virtual assistant since you’ve been spending precious hours on tasks that provide minimal value to your business like organizing your Excel files or updating your schedule. This equates to taking away time that you could have used to come up with more creative ways to grow your company.
I use the starfish model used in agile project management (retrospective). It’s a way to get me started and forces me to think of specific elements and the direction I want to go. The starfish model is based on 5 simple questions. Every week I write down at least one answer to each of these questions:
The questions are very simple, but very powerful as well. Give them a try, I’m sure you won’t be dissapointed!
The way you conduct your weekly review is completely up to you. There is no hard and fast rule on how to do it since every entrepreneur is wired differently.
Being an entrepreneur means going on call practically 24/7. This makes it difficult to narrow down a timeframe that could work for everyone. The best time for a weekly review depends on the workload you’re facing and countless other factors.
For David Allen, world-renowned productivity consultant and author of “Getting Things Done,” the ideal time for a typical five-day work week is early Friday afternoon. He suggests starting at around 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon if you intend to get off work at 5:00.
That way, your memory of the entire week is still fresh, you’re not yet too drained to critically analyze your list, and most of your pressing work is done. Plus, you can still squeeze in some two-minute tasks like short phone calls or quick emails since most people would still be at work during those hours.
I myself like to do the weekly review on Sunday morning because I feel it helps me prepare for the week ahead. I also try to do this in a location that’s not my regular desk. A coffee shop, outside, or a spot at home where I usually don’t work help me to get the creative juices flowing.
While the specific time and place for a weekly review are subject to your preferences, one thing holds true: Do it without any distractions.
You need to find a good spot where you can be alone with your ideas to help you concentrate on the task. You might also want to consider going on a media diet for an hour or so to eliminate all the disruptions that could divert your attention to anything other than your weekly review. Simply put, you should definitely consider monotasking when it comes to your weekly review.
A weekly review is arguably one of the most critical factors that could boost your business. This set period allows you to check your weekly accomplishments, analyze every decision you’ve made, and visualize your next steps as an entrepreneur.
For all its benefits, however, a weekly review has one major flaw: It does not self-maintain. That is, it’s up to you to make sure you do not get far behind.
The best way to ensure that you reap the maximum benefits of this is to make it a regular part of your business. Make a conscious effort to integrate it into your life. Remember, this weekly brain dump session allows your mind to declutter and free up space that could pave the way for your next big idea.
What about you? Do you have other suggestions on how to keep up with the hectic life of an entrepreneur? Share your stories below!
As an online time management coach, I help solopreneurs to organize their lives, become more productive, less stressed and accomplish more in less time. I not only share tips for tools and tactics, but also provide insights and strategies to accomplish more. Read more...
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