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Reboot Your Week with a Mid-Week Reassessment
Much like the mid-month review is a great time to assess progress and reconfigure your plans for the remaining weeks of the month, doing a mid-week reassessment has many of the same benefits for the remainder of your week.
Let’s say you made your weekly plan as you closed out last week. Or perhaps you did your planning first thing Monday.
But now it’s Wednesday morning (or maybe Tuesday evening), and you’re starting to get that feeling: I’m behind, I’m not going to get all this done, I haven’t gotten to my important projects yet, and the days are getting away from me…
That exact moment is a great time to see how you’re doing with your projects, observe what else popped up in the first couple days of the week, and determine what you might need to do to reassess and redistribute your projects. (Real-life examples of emergent projects might be: enduring a stomach bug, dealing with a visiting sister whose return travel was delayed, or multiple Slack tag-ins requiring your attention.)
You may already know that because of everything else going on, those lovely focus blocks you’d set aside Monday and Tuesday for moving your top two or three projects forward got eaten up. Now you’re looking at the remaining three days of the week and wondering how you’re going to get everything on your weekly plan done.
First hard truth: you probably aren’t. At least not without some extra hours, Dunkirk spirit, or pushing yourself beyond your regular limits. Which may be necessary once in a while, but in the long term is a recipe for burnout.
So instead of just buckling down and “doing more,” now’s the time to reassess and replan your week.
Step 1: Review your week. Here’s a quick list of questions you can ask yourself as you’re reviewing your previous weekly plan and retooling it for the days you have remaining:
🥳What did you get done? Celebrate those wins, especially since you made them despite your distractions.
🙀What emergent projects popped up? Remember: emergent ≠ urgent. Projects can be things like managing illness, inlaws, and other surprises that have nothing to do with your work or business. But they take time, energy, and attention, so they’re projects.
⏭️What projects got displaced / delayed? Determine where these need to be moved to — is it later this week, next week, or further into the future? Step 2: Revise your plan. Now that you’ve taken stock of what has happened so far, you can look forward and make any necessary revisions to your weekly plan.
↩️ Have your priority projects changed? Try not to get caught up in the urgency spiral here. Take a moment to look at your monthly projects to remind yourself of the bigger picture.
👣What steps are needed to move these forward? Chunk them down into 2-hour blocks or 15-minute tasks that can be done this week.
1️⃣What needs to get done first? Remember first in priority doesn’t always mean first in sequence.
🍪What tasks make sense to batch together? Reduce the amount of time you’ll spend context switching by pairing similar types of activities together, or combining a series of tasks related to the same project. Step 3: Renegotiate. Chances are there is going to be some level of negotiation (with yourself or others) needed in order to clear space in your schedule.
🧩What can you shift around to give yourself time to get momentum on your priority projects?
📢 Is there anyone you need to tell about any change in plans? For the projects or tasks that need to get deferred, remember to leave yourself breadcrumbs (be kind to your future self). Leave yourself notes that will help you easily get back into the work later without spending time figuring out what you were doing, where you were, or why you were doing it in the first place.
Didn't do your weekly plan yet? Then today's the perfect day to create one. This way you’ll make sure you're not running around the next three days chasing the urgent and missing the important.
Both Wednesday morning and Tuesday evening are good opportunities to do your weekly reassessment. Reinstitute your 10/15 split, do your check-out or check-in, and use that time to reconfigure the rest of your week to make sure your priority projects are getting the love they need.
And lastly, if your plans change, don’t beat yourself up. As Charlie says, that’s the nature of planning: if you’re planning effectively, you’ll always be changing your plans.