A practice of weekly review, hands down, is how adhd adults do long-term planning to reach long-term goals. 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. And they don’t organize action reminders and support materials in functional categories. Also, 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
The guide below, liberally adapted from Steven Covey and David Allen, will help you get started.
Step 1 – Get Clear
Put all papers (business cards, receipts, etc.) you have collected over the week into your physical in-box.
Go through all papers, meeting notes, voicemails, and emails from the previous week and decide what you need to do with them.
Step 2 – Get Current
- Review the status of your projects. Add new actions and mark off completed tasks. Make sure you identify at least one action step for each project.
- Mark off other completed discrete tasks and add new ones that come to mind.
- Check off “waiting for” tasks that are complete and add ones that need follow up.
- Review Maybe/Someday List. Decide whether you want to take action, leave them on the list or delete them.
- Look at previous calendar items and add tasks to your list that come to mind.
- Also, scan upcoming dates. Add tasks that are required for these. Adjust and/or confirm appointments, if necessary.
Step 3 – Reflect
Note what went well the previous week and what was a challenge. Decide if there’s anything you want to do differently the next week.
Step 4 – Block Off Time To Work
Blocking off time for the next week to work on tasks related to your projects. Make sure 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? Try repeating the mantra, “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.
First, choose a time when you are most likely to be fresh and alert. I recommend Thursday or Friday morning so you can go into the weekend feeling confident you are ready for the next week.
How ADHD Adults Do Long-Term Planning
If you follow the steps above consistently, you will strengthen your reviewing and planning muscle. And resist the pull of immediate gratification.
Remember, it will take time and practice. As you want to get good enough so that you are in the driver’s seat and can do what is most important to you.
Want to watch a video about the weekly review by David Allen of Getting Things Done? Check this out Episode #43: The Power of the GTD Weekly Review. Remember, though, it’s for the neuro- typical audience. So, he might suggest something that does not work for you out-of-the-box. That’s okay. You can adapt it to your needs.