How to Harness the Power of Weekly Reflection and Planning

A notebook and a fountain pen on a white tabletop

If you’re looking to develop a new habit, achieve big goals, or cultivate more gratitude in your life, you’ll want to create a weekly reflection and planning exercise.

A weekly reflection and planning exercise is a time to check-in with yourself and take stock of your personal and professional life.

We usually choose to be introspective around big moments or personal milestones. New Year’s Eve, for instance, or a birthday, or even a bad breakup, are all times when we’ve intuitively looked inward and resolved to change or improve. 

But you don’t have to wait for an auspicious moment or a big life change to reflect and plan. In fact, the more regularly you check-in with yourself, the more you’ll get out of it. 

A weekly check-in lets you look back on your week to see what went well and what could’ve gone better. It’s a valuable exercise to help you stay engaged with your life and continue to grow and move forward. 

Here’s why you should start conducting a weekly planning/reflecting routine:

  • You’ll gain traction on your goals. If your goals tend to lose steam half-way through the year, a weekly review ensures that your goals always stay in your line of sight. 
  • You’ll spot patterns in your behavior. Do you ever find yourself pursuing jobs or relationships that are disconnected from what you truly want? Or falling back on bad habits when you’re stressed? A weekly review is a chance to take an honest look at your actions. You’ll be able to spot any patterns or trends, and get re-aligned with the actions and habits that support you. 
  • You’ll stay on top of your deadlines. A weekly check-in helps you stay apprised of the work that’s been done, work that you’re currently doing, and work that needs to be taken care of. 
  • You’ll notice what lights you up. It’s so easy to go through our days in default mode. We wake up, go to work, come home, make dinner, go to bed, and repeat. But a weekly check-in encourages us to engage with our week and honor the small joys. When you notice what lights you up, you’ll feel more gratitude for your days. 

Our favorite tools for a weekly check-in

To conduct a weekly check-in, you’ll need something to write in as well as a calendar to reference. Here are some of our favorite options for you:

  • A notebook. You’ll want a notebook to write in so that you can reflect on your week and think about the things you’d like to work on in the coming weeks. 
  • Weekly deskpad. This can be used in tandem with your notebook. You can see your week laid out and go through your upcoming work deadlines, appointments, and social engagements, and other important dates. The Game Plan Deskpad is perfect because it’s a weekly calendar and to-do list all in one. 
  • The Ink+Volt goal setting planner. Or, if you like everything in one place, our paper planner is the perfection option for you. It has a weekly planning page to define your goals and tasks for the week, along with a weekly calendar to record your deadlines and appointments. And there is plenty of space for notes! 
  • Pens in various colors. Use highlighters to emphasize important dates and tasks, as well as milestones and wins. Colorful pens appeal to our inner child and make reflecting/planning so much fun.

How to do a weekly planning/reflection exercise 

  • Pick a day for your weekly check-in. You can do this on a Friday when the work week is fresh in your mind. Or on a Sunday evening to help you wind down from the weekend and prepare for the week ahead. And a Sunday check-in is a soothing antidote to the Sunday Scaries
  • Take the temperature of the past week. Using your favorite notebook, ask yourself: How did I feel about my week? Did you feel busy? Stressed? Excited? Blah? Then, try to dig a little deeper. Why do you think you experienced these emotions? Maybe you felt stressed because you felt obligated to attend too many social events. Or maybe you felt exhausted because you didn’t have time to decompress or exercise. Or maybe you felt fulfilled because you were able to work on your goals and hangout with loved ones. 
  • What challenges or obstacles did you encounter last week? It’s helpful to pinpoint your challenges so that you can be better positioned the next time around. For example, if you missed an important work deadline, this could be a sign to start working on time management or delegating tasks. Don’t beat yourself up if things didn’t go as planned. Use this as a learning opportunity to improve next week. 
  • What did you accomplish this week? Go ahead and write down all your micro and macro wins. Maybe you finally submitted that invoice. Or sent that email you’d been dreading. Or landed a new client. Relish your wins so that you can ride the wave of success into the following week. 
  • What do you need to do this coming week? Using your planner or weekly desk pad, take note of all the things you have to do next week. Work assignments, appointments, errands, chores, etc. It might help to put all these tasks on a separate to-do list. You can keep the to-do list on your desk or carry it around with you, and check off items as you complete them.
  • What can you do to set yourself up for success next week? Maybe it’s making sure you go food shopping so that you can have healthy and nourishing meals. Or tidying your desk at the end of the day so that you can stay organized. 

Feel free to put your personal stamp on a weekly check-in. You can streamline the exercise and make it short and sweet. Or you can do an extensive check-in if you have the time. Play around with the above prompts and see which ones are most relevant to you.

Written by JiJi Lee

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