“What’s your #1 productivity tip, Shawn?”
I get asked this question all the time, and I have a somewhat bizarre answer.
When people first hear it, they give me a weird look. But as I explain it, everything clicks.
The productivity tip is this:
Yes, I’m serious!
Here’s why this productivity tip is so powerful:
- You’re helping your future self.
- You’re setting an easy goal that you can win at (which helps you win when you set harder goals).
- You’re learning how to plan ahead and keep your word to yourself.
Who would have thought there would be SO MANY NUANCES to something as dorky as setting out tomorrow’s outfit?
Helping my future self and following through on my own commitments is something I use all over my life.
Not least of which is my Weekly Review — the one habit I can say that’s exactly correlated with the most productive and relaxed periods of my life.
A brief look at how I do a Weekly Review
(Sidenote: I go into much more detail on my Weekly Review and Daily Review inside my totally updated productivity / task management course All The Things, which we just relaunched and is on sale right now.)
On Sunday afternoons, I sit down for about 30 minutes to review my past week and to plan for my upcoming week.
By taking time to review the past week and plan the next one, it helps me spend my entire week better. And not just with work-related stuff — it helps immensely with personal and family life as well.
I usually start by reviewing the past week’s wins and losses, and making notes of all the highlights and lowlights of the week. As I mentioned, I do this for my work and my personal life. I look through my Baron Fig notebook, my calendar, my photos reel, all to glance briefly at all the tasks and goals and other things I accomplished (or didn’t). I also try to jot down any events and memories.
This retrospective takes a total of about 15 or 20 minutes. And it’s a great way of recognizing and celebrating progress in order to stay motivated and avoid burnout.
Then I take a few minutes to review the big goals I’m focused on right now. This helps me stay on track with what is most important.
With that done, I take another 15 or 20 minutes to plan my upcoming week. I write down the week’s 3 Most Important Goals, along with any other miscellany that I want to see happen.
(Again, I go into all of this and more, in a LOT more nerdy detail, inside All The Things.)
Why a Weekly Review?
It’s not easy to coach yourself.
In order to get better at life, you need feedback loops.
Having a coach or mentor can help with this, but it also helps to keep short accounts with yourself to track and monitor your progress.
In short, this structure and routine is something that helps me stay creative, productive, and focused.
Just like setting out tomorrow’s socks, the weekly review and planning time is a way for me to help my future self. With my plan in place all I have left to do for the week is follow through with the plan, and that makes things so much easier!
Something my friend James Clear says is this:
“Highly focused people limit their options.”
By incorporating a Weekly Review (and a daily action plan) you are limiting your options in a good way.
Interested in adding this habit to your routine?
Now is the perfect time to check out the brand-new course: All The Things.
Whether you enroll in the self-paced course, or join me and 300+ others inside the Accelerator membership for the upcoming done-with-you version that features live-online workshops, you’ll get the tools to start consistently completing your most important tasks on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
Either way, your future self will thank you.
P.S. Right now, All the Things is on launch-week discount and you can save $50 off the normal price today.