I strive to live a meaningful, focused, and intentional life
Therefore, reflection and introspection have been the essential parts of my everyday existence. Every week (usually it's either a Friday night, a Saturday [very] early morning, or a Sunday morning) I do a review of the week that just passed. I check-in with myself, evaluate my life balance, review my calendar, goals and priorities, review my Habit Tracker, create a new one, eliminate/delegate unnecessary tasks, and set an intention for the upcoming week.
What's the point?
I do not remember the exact moment but for a while now I have been protective of my time. I would not squander it on people, places, and tasks that are meaningless to me. For example, people that drain my energy, dull household tasks that can either be eliminated or delegated to someone else, books that are badly written, emails that can be answered at a later date/not answered at all, thoughts that bring me nothing but annoyance, and activities that do not contribute anything to the quality of my life.
There was a time when I would burn through my days and could barely remember what I did, where I went, and whether I even enjoyed it! Now, that is not a meaningful way to live... So I started paying attention.
What I noticed...
After observing myself for a few months I noticed that I was spending my precious time on tasks and people that contributed very little to the quality of my life. Tasks, errands, activities, and people that could be a. bundled and accomplished together, or b. completely eliminated due to the lack of meaning they bring. Here are a few examples:
People: Jane Smith [pseudonym]. Feeling she gives me: anxiety. Status: limit contact as much as possible.
Activity: social media. Feeling it gives me: like I'm wasting my life. Status: daily, for no more than 10 minutes.
Task: grocery shopping. Feeling: overwhelm. Status: Stop and Shop Peapod or delegate.
Doing a weekly review provides you with...
... a much-needed perspective, shows where your time goes, and whether you really are living in accordance with your life values. People also call it "an executive meeting with yourself", a "weekly check-in" or "a reflection log."
What You Need
a writing utensil
anything you want to use to decorate your journal (optional).
1. Start by journaling by answering some reflection questions. Do not simply answer yes/no but try to delve deeper:
a. Have I worked towards my goals this week?
b. Who/what motivated me this week?
c. Have I been the kind of person I want to be this week?
d. What mistakes have I made this week?
e. What can I learn from the above mistakes?
2. Review life balance. This means evaluating the physical, mental, spiritual, material, emotional, social, and professional aspects of your life to see whether there is a lack. I literally list things I did to nourish each aspect of my life the week prior. For example:
mental: meditated dailysocial: called Helen financial: got paid; paid student loansphysical: yoga 3xpersonal: date night
Some weeks it would look like this:
mental: nonesocial: noneprofessional: SGOs/4 hours of dissertatingphysical: yoga 1x personal: cooked dinner together
3. Review/reflect on your Habit Tracker and create a new one. I love tracking my habits since it allows me to monitor whether I am living in accordance with my life goals. Below are some sample from a few weeks past:
I then analyze my habits to see the ones I hit, and the ones that were not accomplished since the Habit Tracker gives you an **overview** of your weekly habits. If you look at the charts, you'll see that I have been struggling with reading, walking, and even yoga. Usually, there is an explanation why the habit was not accomplished. For instance, on a week when I have some late nights- I cannot go walking since it's too dark (and I am simply too tired). Another reason I have not hit my walking habit could be is that I am bored when I go for a walk. Perhaps, a good audiobook could help? Something to think about...
4. Review calendar and set priorities. It is NOT possible to get everything done. So I make a list that is subdivided into two parts. Part 1 are my **MITs** (Most Important Tasks). These are your values such as family, friends, work, and personal wellbeing.
Then part 2 is the **Wish List** of tasks that could be dull, should be accomplished nonetheless, and can often be bundled together. Sometimes they can be delegated or eliminated altogether.
Follow up with tenant
Review Navient statement
Write up Finding #1
Quality time with Tony (date night? movie?)
Read "Words That Work"
Apply for teacher grant
The weekly review takes about 1 hour. It's a deeply reflective process that will provide you with perspective and insight - about your own life and time.
I recommend setting some ambiance before you start working such as limiting interruptions, pouring a glass of tea (or wine), lighting a fragrant candle, perhaps even playing some soft music. This is an important meeting--with yourself--that you don't want to miss!