Weekly Review + Personal Planner for Finding Focus

January 14, 2017 By

Designing and training at Apple is not for the faint of heart. While I was there, it meant that I needed to massively overhaul my personal productivity and organization. Focus wasn’t an issue because I had weekly reviews with my manager and team to clarify what needed to get done, what hadn’t been completed, and what was on the horizon. Getting it all done with impossible deadlines and standards was the challenge.

Being part of the Learning Development team also meant that I not only had to overhaul my own productivity, but I had to research, synthesize and then design training programs to quickly and easily distill that learning in new employee training workshops and classes. Not a small feat when we were all moving a million miles a minute (or at least it felt that way!).

Everything from GTD (Getting Things Done) by David Allen to new apps and tools at the time like OmniFocus and OmniPlan, were part of my research pile. It was all about creating an environment in the now that allowed you to maximize your strengths, resources and connections to take massive action. And it worked!

What we were able to accomplish in ridiculously short timeframes was mind-boggling. Even now, I see that time in my professional life as one of the most engaging and productive I’ve ever experienced.

Then it ended… the environment changed, the accountability went away, the intensity was unsustainable, and life returned to a more normal pace. But I cannot forget the way those times enlivened my creative mind to take action and I’m ready to harness some of that energy once again.


My first step will be to implement the weekly review strategy that served as a key focus point each and every week. Here’s how it worked:

  1. Every week I created a new list on one sheet of paper with all current and future project ideas.
  2. I’d prioritize that list with the top 5 projects based on my understanding of team priorities.
  3. I’d show up in my manager’s office with that list for our weekly review.
  4. First we’d review the previous week’s priorities and check in on the status of those projects.
  5. With a bigger picture view, we’d work through the new and shifting projects and priorities.
  6. My list would get renumbered, next steps and details clarified, and the meeting would end.
  7. I’d take the top priorities from that long list and move them to my calendar on specific dates.
  8. Last step was making any connections with team members and then diving in to #1.
It was brilliant. It was effective.
It helped me remain focused, efficient, prolific and creative.

Starting this year, I’m setting up weekly reviews right here. My plan is to share the review each Sunday so that I can refresh and restart each week ready to take massive action.


  • Have you ever done a weekly review (personally or professionally)?
  • Are you doing a weekly review now?
  • What worked?
  • What didn’t work?
  • What would you include in an effective weekly review?
  • What’s the max amount of time you’d be willing to spend on a weekly review?

I’d love to hear what your thoughts and ideas are on the topic. Once I’ve got a system and process nailed down, I’ll create a page for my personal planner that I can use each week to stay on track. Then I can share that as a free download in my Renaissance Room for all my online friends!


  • REVIEW [15 minutes]
    • # words written
    • # articles at published
    • healthy habits scorecard
    • planner pages created
    • planner pages completed
    • books read
    • key learnings
    • big wins and accomplishments
    • what didn’t get done
    • obstacles encountered
    • audacious questions
    • rescuetime statistics
  • PROCESS [30 minutes]
    • Collect loose papers, receipts, notes, reminders
    • Scan, record, add to calendar, or archive until complete
    • Mindmap, brainstorm or sketchnote all new projects, tasks, messes and actions
  • PLANNING [45 minutes]
    • Review annual, quarterly, monthly goals and focus areas
    • Review daily planner pages with insights, obstacles, questions and learnings
    • Review calendar and upcoming appointments and commitments
    • Review messes and someday lists
    • Review previous week’s task lists
      • Add what did get done to accomplishments list
      • Add what didn’t get done and still needs to get done to new weekly priorities
    • Create new weekly project page with focus areas, priorities, and next steps

There you have it. That’s my rudimentary weekly review process. I know for sure it will change. I will add and take away at will as it seems fitting. The times are estimates, but ultimately I know I’d prefer the entire process not to take longer than an hour so that will be an ideal to shoot for once I have the system and process streamlined.

Questions, thoughts, comments? I’m open to them all whether through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or email. Let’s make 2017 the year we all took MASSIVE ACTION!

2 Comments on "Weekly Review + Personal Planner for Finding Focus"

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