A practice of weekly review, hands down, is the one strategy Adults with ADHD need to be productive. It is also the one strategy that is often overlooked by many because:
- they are not sure what to do in a weekly review.
- they don’t think they have the time.
- there truly is a steep learning curve. I know.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you will both understand how spending time to review will benefit you and be willing to try it because you have a guide to follow.
Remember, though, these are only suggestions. As you practice you will likely adapt this guide to suit your particular needs.
Ready to start?
What Keeps ADHD Adults From Being Productive
There are many reasons Adults with ADHD are not productive. And I write about those reasons in many of my articles.
David Allen of Getting Things Done (GTD) says of people’s lack of productivity:
“It’s not one thing, but five, all wrapped together: People keep stuff in their head. They don’t decide what they need to do about stuff they know they need to do something about. They don’t organize action reminders and support materials in functional categories. They don’t maintain and review a complete and objective inventory of their commitments. Then they waste energy and burn out, allowing their busy-ness to be driven by what’s latest and loudest, hoping it’s the right thing to do but never feeling the relief that it is.”
And I think this is definitely true for Adults with ADHD.
Luckily, there are workarounds for these challenges. And, you guessed it. The weekly review is one of the workarounds.
Why A Weekly Review Is Critical For Adults With ADHD
Before looking at the process of weekly review let’s look at why it is particularly important for Adults with ADHD.
While I know taking the time to do a weekly review may seem superfluous for you now, especially given how much you have on your plate, knowing its potential benefits may just change your mind. I hope.
A practice of weekly review:
- offsets the pull of immediate gratification many Adults with ADHD experience.
- helps you to be more intentional because you have a clear overview of everything on your plate.
- reminds you of your priorities, intentions and best practices.
- minimizes the need to rely on your memory, which you know is notoriously unreliable.
- reduces your overwhelm because you will not need to process information running around in your head while you are on the go.
- provides you with the confidence that you are not forgetting about your commitments.
If you decide to incorporate this practice into your week, I’m sure you will experience several of these advantages.
The 4 Steps of the Weekly Review
Ok, so how do you do a Weekly Review? That is what you are wondering, right?
The guide below, which is liberally adapted from Steven Covey and David Allen, is meant to get you started. Over time, as you practice reviewing each week, you will make it your own.
Step 1 – Get Clear
Collect Papers: Gather and place all papers (business cards, receipts, etc.) you have collected over the week into your physical in-box.
Process: Go through all paper, meeting notes, voicemails, and emails from the previous week and decide what you need to do with them. Then delete, file/archive or “attach” to relevant task/project.
Step 2 – Get Current
Review Task List:
- Review the status of all of your projects to see if there are new actions or follow-up needed. Mark off completed tasks. Make sure you identify at least one action step for each current project.
- Mark off completed discrete tasks (not part of a project) and add new ones that come to mind.
- Review Waiting For Tasks: Check off those that are complete and add ones that still need follow up.
- Review previous calendar items. Add tasks to your list that come to mind based on old calendar items.
- Review upcoming calendar. Add tasks that are required to prepare for upcoming calendar items. As you review appointments in your calendar, adjust and/or confirm appointments, if necessary.
Review Maybe/Someday List. Decide whether you want to take action on them, leave them on the list or delete them entirely.
Step 3 – Reflect
Reflect on the previous week. Note what went well, what was a challenge, and what you best practices you can use to make the next week better.
Step 4 – Block off time in your Calendar to work
As an adult with ADHD you know it is easy for the emergency of the day to grab your attention. It is also probably true for you that, if you try to schedule each day down the minute, you will feel resentful because it is just too much structure.
But blocking off time for the next week to work on your most important tasks related to your projects will feel freeing because you know you will be making consistent progress on these. Maybe choose 3 each week.
The trick, and what make this so hard for many, is that you will need to treat these times as any other appointment.
5 Factors That Will Help You Successfully Follow Through in Your Weekly Review
1.First, make sure you review your system to ensure it is the right one for you. Add and subtract steps as needed. There is no one right way to do a weekly review, really.
2. You might be tempted at times to give up because you can’t do it perfectly. Be careful of this black and white thinking. If you don’t have enough time to do a thorough review, do part of it. For example, maybe one week you:
- Empty your head from Step 1
- Get Current – Step 2
- Schedule Your MIT – Step 5
A partial review is better than no review. Choose the steps that are the most important each week, if you can’t do a full review.
3. Habits take time to build. You know that. And, if you have not been successful with building habits in the past, you may want to give up on doing a weekly review, if you are not initially successful.
Give yourself permission to do the weekly review imperfectly for at least 8 weeks before you decide it is not worth the effort.
4. Focus on reviewing, not doing the actual tasks. I know focusing is a challenge, right? If you need to, repeat, “I’m doing this and not that!”
You will be tempted to start working on some of the tasks that come up during the review. If it literally takes 2 minutes or less, that is fine. But, if it takes more time, you will not have time for your review.
5. Choose a specific day and time each week to do your weekly review.
Consider choosing a time when:
- you are most likely to be fresh and alert.
- you can reach people if you need to, for example, to rearrange a meeting for the following week or answer a question regarding a task.
I recommend Thursday or Friday morning so you can go into the weekend feeling confident you will be ready for the next week.
ADDed Perspective’s Bottom Line
If you follow the steps above consistently, you will strengthen your reviewing and planning muscle, as well as resist the pull of immediate gratification.
Remember, it will take time and practice. You want to get good enough so that you are in the driver’s seat and can do what is most important to you.