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The Power of the Weekly Review

Hey friends, One of the staples of productivity is doing a Weekly Review. It involves taking a bit o
The Power of the Weekly Review
By Ali Abdaal • Issue #119 • View online
Hey friends,
One of the staples of productivity is doing a Weekly Review. It involves taking a bit of time to look back on your week, reflect on how things went, close relevant open loops and generally combat the natural entropy of life.
I discovered the concept (in David Allen’s Getting Things Done) way back in 2018. But because I’m a total wasteman, I’ve only actually done the Weekly Review a handful of times in the past 2 years.
With that backdrop in mind, somehow each Saturday for the past 3 weeks, I’ve spontaneously had the thought ‘I should do my weekly review’. And more importantly, I’ve then actually done it.
Here’s my simple method.
  1. List the dates from the past week.
  2. For each date, I look through (a) my calendar, and (b) my Daily Note on Roam.
  3. I note down the salient things that happened on the day. It might be projects or tasks I finished, people I talked to, books that I read - basically anything that I think ‘oh yeah that’s important’.
  4. As I’m doing this, I’ll think of other related that I need to do / delegate, and so I add those to my todo list.
That’s it. It’s simple, doesn’t take too long, and gives me a birds-eye view of my whole week. It lets me remember what the most important parts of the week were, and lets me open any new loops that I need to, or close existing ones.
Every time I do this, I get to the end and think ‘damn, I’m really glad I did this’.
The next step would be to build some sort of reflective practise into my Weekly Review. The real ‘productivity pros’ also use their Weekly Review to clear out their inboxes, convert everything into tasks, organise those into projects etc etc etc. But because for me, it’s enough of a struggle to do the basics, I’m deliberately keeping it simple for now.
As the Weekly Review becomes part of my life (like writing these emails), I’ll be able to add more complexity and rigour to it. But for now, just doing it is the most important thing.
If you haven’t tried it out, have a quick Google of ‘how to do a weekly review’. Everyone’s got different views on the topic, so find what resonates with you and do it. You’ll be very glad that you did.
Have a great week!
Ali

This Week on Not Overthinking
Not Overthinking is the weekly podcast hosted by me and my brother. If you enjoy these emails, you’ll hopefully like that too. You can listen on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle PodcastsStitcherCastro (my favourite podcast app) or any other podcast app - just search for ‘Not Overthinking’. 
My Favourite Things This Week
1 - Book - I thoroughly enjoyed the new book, “Hell Yeah or No” by Derek Sivers this week. It was an inspiring and relatively easy read, showcasing some of Derek’s main ideas around living a good life. If you aren’t familiar with his work, it’s a great introduction. Although I’d come across most of the ideas in one form or another before, it was nice to see them codified in one place and in a structure that made sense. That said, there was also a lot of new material so even if you’re as much a Sivers fanboy as I am, it’s totally worth the read.
2 - Podcast - The interview with Ben Shapiro on Joe Rogan’s podcast this week was surprisingly entertaining and informative. It was an excellent example of how to talk to someone ‘on the other side’ of the ideological divide and debate in a reasoned manner. I thought Joe did a good job of offering counterpoints to Ben’s viewpoints, some of which also seemed reasonable.
3 - Book - Finally, I listened to the audiobook version of ’Creative Calling’ by Chase Jarvis. It’s an excellent read if you’re just getting started, or if you’ve been toying with the idea of doing something in the creative arts but haven’t yet got round to it. Although many of the insights were familiar to me as I’m deep in the 'being a creator’ zone of life, it certainly would’ve been useful back at the start of my 'creator’ experience.
Quote of the Week
Remind yourself regularly that you are better than you think you are. Successful people are not supermen. Success does not require a superintellect. Nor is there anything mystical about success. And success isn’t based on luck. Successful people are just ordinary folks who have developed belief in themselves and what they do.
From The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz. Resurfaced using Readwise.
Tweet of the Week
Ali Abdaal
Everytime I do a weekly review, I think damn I should do this more than 4 times a year
This Week's Videos
Digital Organisation with Roam Research
Digital Organisation with Roam Research
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Ali Abdaal

I’m Ali, a junior doctor, YouTuber and podcaster from Cambridge, UK. Every Sunday I write an email newsletter with some thoughts, life lessons and interesting articles I discovered on the internet that week.

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Ali Abdaal, Cambridge, UK.