My weekly review habit

post by benkuhn · 2020-06-21T14:40:02.607Z · LW · GW · 5 comments

Every Saturday morning, I take 3-4 hours to think about how my week went and how I’ll make the next one better.

The format has changed over time, but for example, here’s some of what I reflected on last week:

And so on. By the end of the review I had surfaced lots of other improvements for the coming week.


While each individual tweak is small, over the weeks and years they’ve compounded to make me a lot more effective. Because of that, this weekly review is the most useful habit (or habit-generating meta-habit) I’ve built. Here are some of the improvements I’ve made that have come out of weekly reviews:

Of course, you don’t need to have a weekly review habit to come up with this type of improvement. But by systematically thinking it through, you’ll generate more of them. And by doing it consistently, you’ll be able to build these small improvements on top of each other.


I’ve had to iterate a lot on the format and timing of the weekly review to get to one where I can consistently maintain the habit and output useful weekly reviews. The format I currently have is:


As an appendix, some random tactical tips for weekly reviews:

5 comments

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comment by 4thWayWastrel · 2020-06-21T22:30:39.155Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This is remarkably similar to a practice I've had for the last 2 years. Having a fixed weekend morning to review the week and make tweaks. I've not experimented with time tracking as you have though, I'll check it out. Thanks for sharing!

Some things I do

  • Give weekly awards for songs, tv shows, books, podcast episodes, etc and then pick a "X of the year" from the nominees on New year's
  • Have a segment "prayers to a future self" where I enter into a explicit dialogue between different time slices of yourself. V interesting to see the excuses employee you makes to manager you.
  • Use a habit tracker like "streaks" or "uHabit" to have an explicit tracker for days where I met my sleep, exercise and nutrition targets
comment by sambo1 · 2020-06-23T14:30:59.049Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Would you mind sharing your favourite life advice essays?

comment by Derek M. Jones (Derek-Jones) · 2020-06-21T16:18:01.241Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

You are one of the few people with the discipline to record what they do and create todo lists. I could not keep this up for a week. Do you try to estimate the time it will take to complete a task?

Have you done any global analysis of your data? I analyse software engineering data and am always on the lookout for more data. I offer a free analysis, provided the data can be made public (in anonymous form). Here is one I did earlier:

http://shape-of-code.coding-guidelines.com/2019/12/15/the-renzo-pomodoro-dataset/

Replies from: benkuhn, eukaryote
comment by benkuhn · 2020-06-21T19:45:07.494Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I have almost no discipline, I've just spent a lot of time making my habits take so little effort that that doesn't matter :) Figuring out how to make it easy for myself to prioritize, and stick to those priorities, every day is actually a common recurring weekly review topic!

(I considered laying out my particular set of todo-related habits, but I don't think they'd be very helpful to anyone else because of how personal it is—the important part is thinking about it a lot from the perspective of "how can I turn this into a habit that doesn't require discipline for me," not whatever idiosyncratic system you end up with.)

comment by eukaryote · 2020-06-21T18:55:12.808Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

You might look into bullet journalling - a lot of people find it a pretty helpful and low-mental-effort way to keep to-do lists and record what they do.