Is it near the middle of the month and you’re starting to lose momentum? Or maybe you know you’re prone to make the Plan at the beginning of the month and, two weeks later, have no idea what you’re supposed to be doing?
A Mid-Month Review will help you get and stay on track.
A Mid-Month Review is a review that’s somewhere between a Weekly Review and a Monthly Review. (If you haven’t been doing either, then all I have to say is… Welcome to the Club!) The benefit of doing a Mid-Month Review is that it’s a chance to sync up the monthly perspective with the reality of the way the month has gone. It also happens to coincide with mid-month paychecks, and many of us need to look over finances and such anyway.
While this list of questions is by no means exhaustive, it’s a good place to start. Give yourself 15 to 30 minutes to work through the following questions — it may help if you print this page out:
1. What have you accomplished?
Always start with what you have done. It’s too easy to not give yourself credit for what you have done and instead focus on what you haven’t done, but that ultimately leads to frustration and resistance. Celebrate before you criticize.
Since this is a quick review, focus on what you’ve done at the weekly or project level — try to avoid the daily details, as it’s easy to nitpick yourself to death or spend too much time counting minutes. Also keep in mind that finishing a bunch of stuff is not a prerequisite to celebrate doing a bunch of stuff; give yourself credit for pushing a project forward, even if you didn’t finish it.
2. What goals or projects need to be adjusted or dropped?
You now have two work-weeks left in the month. If there hasn’t been movement on some goals or projects in the first two weeks, what needs to change?
Be realistic here; don’t assume that the amount of time you’ll put in will change unless you have a really good reason to think it will.
3. What are your priorities for the rest of the month?
You’d think I’d ask this first, but it’s often hard to see what your priorities are in the abstract. Now that you’ve been thinking about goals and projects, it’s easier to see which ones should win the project cagematch.
Be brutally honest at this point: if you have four or five priorities, you really don’t have any priorities. One is best, three is okay. Ask yourself the following question: If I could do only one (or three) of these, which would I do?
Remember, priorities exclude all the possible things you might do. Let in too many possibilities and your “priorities” are meaningless.
4. What bills need to be paid, and do you have funds in place to cover them?
Rather than lose time in freakout mode as you try to switch funds at the last minute, go ahead and review your bills and get your money in place now. If you need to transfer money from online accounts, allow yourself a day or two of cushion so you’re not worried about whether it’ll hit the right account at the right time.
If you don’t have the funds you’ll need, what are you doing in the meantime to get those funds? Do you need to complete one paid project before another? Readjust your plan to account for your financial constraints.
5. What projects or tasks have fallen off the radar?
We all have frogs that need catching. The trick is to catch them before they get too big, hairy, and warty.
A few common frogs:
- Phone calls, especially if there’s going to be an automated system on the other end
- Email messages that require a response
- Uncomfortable conversations you need to have with someone
Tip: Plan a time to do them if you need to get them done; leaving them open increases the chance they’ll continue to slide.
6. When was the last time you rewarded yourself, and when will be the next?
The surest way to burnout and stuckness is to work like crazy without rewarding yourself for the hard work. If your work is your reward, then you’ve got a leg up here, but it’s still good to do something different, if nothing else because it prompts the creative process.
Make an appointment to the spa for a massage if that’s your thing. Have a poker party or go out with the girls. Give yourself the afternoon to play video games or read. But ensure that you do two things: 1) put it on your calendar and 2) make sure whatever you do is more engaging than your work or you’ll still be working in your head.
Keep Your Eyes on the Horizon
You may resist doing a Mid-Month Review because you feel that it’s just another chance for you to see that you’ve come up short. I get that, but let’s be real here: your reach will always exceed your grasp. Our ability to imagine what we might do will always outpace our ability to actually do the things we’ve dreamed up.
So if you look at it as a way of measuring what you haven’t done, a review or check-in will always be a time for frustration and disappointment. But if you look at it as a way of evaluating where you are and how you’re going to move forward, you’ll see that it’s just a way of getting closer to your destination. Remember: any steps you have made are better than all the steps you haven’t made. You are closer, and if you don’t take the time to look forward, you’ll never see that.
A review or check-in is not a time to be dragged down by the past — it’s a time to be inspired by the future you’re building.
Ready to get started? Download the Mid-Month Review today!