Your How-to Guide for Conducting Weekly, Monthly, and Annual Reviews
If you are a project manager swamped with reviews, here’s a handy guide for conducting your weekly, monthly, and annual reviews like a pro.
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Weekly, monthly, and annual reviews are a major element of the Getting Things Done methodology brought forward by David Allen.
Getting Things Done is a methodology aimed at improving personal productivity that helps you tackle life and work in the most efficient way possible. The Getting Things Done work-life management system alleviates any overwhelming feelings or habits you may have and replaces them by instilling focus, clarity, and confidence.
Even if you are not following the Getting things done methodology, partaking in weekly, monthly, or at least annual reviews is a habit that anyone can incorporate into their lives.
Such reviews can benefit both your personal and professional lives but the actual act of going through such reviews is often forgotten, overlooked, or ignored.
Reviews in this sense require changing our habits, which as humans is difficult, albeit rewarding.
Therefore, we thought, considering the many benefits of weekly, monthly, or annual reviews it would be beneficial to create this how-to guide on ways you can implement these reviews into your life and reap the many benefits.
Let’s get to it!
We thought it would be apt to start by going over weekly reviews. We are going to discuss both the hows and the whys of weekly reviews.
Hopefully, this will help you incorporate them into your life, if such reviews are to benefit the way you work both professionally and personally.
Benefits of Weekly Reviews
Before we get into how you can manage to hold weekly reviews not only for yourself, but, if you are leading a team, how you can manage weekly reviews for each of your team members, it is important to understand the benefits behind holding such regular reviews.
By being aware of what you have to gain from such reviews you are more likely, as is your team, to take them more seriously and ensure that they take place and are not sidelined and forgotten.
Here are just some of the benefits you and your team can gain from holding regular weekly reviews.
1. Weekly Reviews Keep You More Organized
When you get into the habit of holding weekly reviews for your team or holding such reviews for yourself you will find that you are working more organized and the week runs more smoothly.
With such reviews you have the opportunity to tie up any loose ends, you can reflect on short-term goals, and you can prepare for the week that is to come.
Being organized in this way, in turn, will help you save both valuable time and money for yourself or your company.
2. Helps You Avoid Micromanaging as a Team Leader
If you are managing a team, with the help of weekly reviews you can better become a manager or leader.
Micromanaging is counterintuitive and results in your team not properly engaging or being responsible for their work. They also lack a feeling of trust, which is essential in the workplace.
By giving your team the chance to own their responsibilities but meet them in ways they deem best, you will be a better leader.
However, you still need to ensure that you are there for them and are available if they do need help or have issues that need to be addressed.
This is where weekly reviews come into play. You want to draw a balance between micromanaging and completely being absent.
Such reviews will allow your team to address any issues or concerns at the right time and avoid causing unnecessary delays to your project as a whole, because of unresolved problems that arise throughout the project.
3. Improves Communication
Following on from the benefit listed above of being available and solving problems, but not micromanaging, reviews can help better communication among your team.
Regular communication helps your team become and stay engaged and also ensures that the project is running smoothly and on course.
Again, as mentioned above, it also provides a platform for team members to get clarity and clear up any confusion or get extra help if need be.
4. Easier Goal Setting Leads to Reaching Goals More Easily
Meeting in this way allows for goal setting to be easier. With your reviews, you can discuss goals with your team or if this is a personal review just for yourself you can evaluate how you are working towards goals you have set for yourself.
This will also help with annual reviews which we will discuss below.
Note down these goals, as a study conducted by psychologist Gail Mathews found that 33% of people were more successful in achieving their goals if they wrote them down, as compared to those who simply formulated outcomes in their heads.
What Is a Weekly Review?
If you are still confused as to what a weekly review entails, here is some clarification.
Ideally, a weekly review is whatever you and your team want it to be. Such a review is aimed at helping not only yourself, but also your team to refocus their energy consistently.
By holding such regular reviews, you allow yourself and your team members to prepare for the week ahead.
In other words, you will prioritize your tasks and streamline task delegation and management processes.
Remember, such weekly reviews are not a time to be working on to-do list items or individual tasks, but, rather, to take a step back and evaluate what has been done and prepare for what is to come.
By preparing in such a manner, you, as well as your team, will be able to prioritize your time better, focus your energy and other resources to accomplish more in the week to come, and work more efficiently as a result.
Conducting a Weekly Review
As we mentioned, what you include in a weekly review and how it is conducted is entirely up to you, and is determined on what will work best for your needs.
If you are just starting with this review business this could be quite daunting. Especially if you don't have examples off of which to base your efforts.
So, to get you started, let us consider what Michael Hyatt, the founder, and CEO of Michael Hyatt and Company, does in his weekly reviews.
Michael Hyatt follows an 8-step process to help him stay on top of his workload while ensuring he does not overlook any important tasks or meetings.
- Step 1: Gather all loose papers and any loose processes. Throughout the week you are bound to accumulate a load of loose papers – organize them with what needs to be done for each one.
- Step 2: Sort through notes. Apart from loose notes, you will also have notes that need to be sorted. If they include action items, deal with them as such and incorporate them with other action items for your next week.
- Step 3: Review last week’s calendar data. Check if you have missed anything.
- Step 4: Review annual goals. This ensures you do not lose visibility of what you are working towards.
- Step 5: Review the upcoming calendar. This is where planning for the next week takes place.
- Step 6: Review in-progress projects. Ensure that you have planned the schedule and next steps for the projects you are working on currently.
- Step 7: Review delegated tasks. This is especially essential if you are working with a team and should be included in your team’s weekly review.
- Step 8: Review your maybe list. If you have a list of tasks or projects that you might want to do someday, look it over and see if you can incorporate any into the next week.
Now let’s move onto monthly reviews. Weekly reviews are often harder for individuals to maintain because of their frequency. This is especially the case if you are holding such reviews for yourself.
If you feel that weekly reviews may not be for you, or if you want to get the full benefit and have all three, that is weekly, monthly, and annual reviews, here is your how-to on monthly reviews.
Monthly reviews are often seen as easier to manage and allow you to reflect on longer periods.
With such reviews, you can set new goals, evaluate how your previous month went, and take the time to celebrate what you have been able to achieve.
Leo Babauta says monthly reviews, "help me feel like I’ve accomplished something in just a month, and it lets me take a big-picture look at my life."
Benefits of Conducting Monthly Reviews
Monthly reviews have similar benefits to weekly reviews.
Apart from the typical benefits you can gain from weekly reviews, the following benefits are more specific to monthly reviews:
- You can keep track of your employee or team satisfaction if you are holding such reviews for others besides just yourself.
- Such reviews allow you to maintain a beneficial relationship with your team, again if you are holding such reviews for others besides yourself.
- Monthly reviews are more beneficial in terms of ensuring that monthly targets are met.
- Having such reviews is a good boost for morale and to motivate oneself or to motivate your team. You have more to look back on and thus more achievements to celebrate.
Conducting Monthly Reviews
How you conduct your reviews are entirely up to your discretion or the opinion of your team.
While weekly reviews are better tailored to be quick check-ins, monthly reviews should ideally be aimed at giving yourself, or your team, the chance to reflect on achievements and provide for any readjustments of long-term goals.
Such reviews let you evaluate progress based on a longer timeline and thus are greater for more of a bird’s eye view of your long-term goals.
Try to incorporate both planning and reflection into your monthly reviews. Such reflection is great, not only for motivation but also to help plan better, to see what is working and what is not, and to ensure you are focused on what matters.
Try to incorporate the following to include both reflection and planning into your next monthly review:
- The progress of your long-term goals: These goals can be both personal or professional, but checking in on their progress is important.
- Reflecting on how you are currently working: This includes what your schedule is like, what your habits are, and what you include in your routine. Are you working towards those goals?
- Take the time to do some plan projects you will be working on or ones that you have started.
If you are thinking that you are already doing the weekly and monthly reviews and thus can skip annual reviews, we would urge you to think again.
Annual reviews provide you with the opportunity to reflect on a lot more while also providing the opportunity to plan for a bigger time period.
As with other kinds of reviews, this kind of review should include what you deem important and what you want to cover.
You want to take the time your goals need and develop a plan of action to reach your goals.
This may take longer than simply verbalizing your desires but it will also guarantee a greater chance of you reaching your goals.
How to Conduct Annual Reviews
How you choose to execute these reviews and whether you want to include your team or have such a review for your own personal or professional goals is entirely up to you.
The first thing you do need to do, however, is take the time to schedule that review.
Preferably, you want to do so early in January or late in December so that you can reflect on your year, start working on your goals, and implement a plan.
Include both reflection and planning into this review as well to ensure that you look back on how the previous year went. Look at your accomplishments, but also evaluate whether you veered off track. Why was that?
If you determine that you disconnected from your plans last year you can evaluate why and incorporate this into your new plan.
Identify any guilt or disappointments you may have about things you did not accomplish. Deal with them as you see fit, but ensure that you do not carry them with you into the new year. You want to ensure they do not weigh you down.
Set goals for the year. Choose one or a couple of things you want to accomplish within the year. Document these goals, it is not sufficient to just visualize them.
Also, make sure they are realistic so that you can accomplish them. Do not set yourself up for failure from the get-go by setting unrealistic goals.
Once you have your goals in place break them down into manageable pieces. You can do so by breaking them into weekly or monthly chunks which will coincide with your weekly or monthly reviews.
Give yourself or your team deadlines and set tasks that they will need to get done.
Remember, such a review is bound to take longer than your weekly or monthly ones, but, trust us, it will be worth it throughout the year to spare that extra hour or day to plan and reflect.
Once you have planned your goals, work towards them step-by-step, use monthly and weekly reviews to help you stay on course, or adjust your course if necessary.
You will soon find this lasts longer than the new year’s resolutions you used to create and will last longer, actually getting you to your end game, whether that be for yourself or your team, personal or professional.
Published at DZone with permission of Fred Wilson, DZone MVB. See the original article here.
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