This is the fourth post in my series “An Evernote Review System for Busy Moms.” If you’ve been following along with this series, then you are at the point where you are ready to complete your first Evernote Weekly Review! Take a deep breath and exhale. It’s time. You are now ready to implement your regular weekly review. This short, weekly review of your calendar, goals, projects, and tasks is going to make a huge difference in your life. Your mind will be free to fully focus on the things that are most important to you.
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If you want to review the previous posts in this series, head on over to the Evernote Review System page.
Let’s Get Started With Your First Weekly Review
In my third post in this series, I asked you to create a recurring event on your calendar to complete your weekly review. Well, the time has come. On the time and day you’ve set aside for your weekly review, go ahead and open up Evernote and click on the notebook your created called “Weekly Review.”
In your Weekly Review notebook, you should have a note called “Weekly Review List” with a list of all of your review items.
Start Reviewing Your Weekly Review Items One By One
This is going to be easy. Your framework is already in place. So simply start with the first item on your list and start reviewing. Below is my weekly review list. I’ll walk you through my weekly review so you can see how I do it. Remember, your review may be slightly different and that’s okay. You need to get a system in place that makes sense to you. I tweak mine every few months or so.
☐Current Projects (add to calendar or next actions as needed) (Projects and Goals stack)
I start my weekly review by taking a look at my current projects. Next to the line item for current projects I’ve listed what I want to review and what I want to accomplish for current projects. I know that I’m going to look in the Notebook Stack “Projects and Goals” for the “Current Projects” Notebook. In my this notebook, I have a note called “Current Projects” that lists out each of the projects I’m currently working on.
For each project, I determine the next actionable step to take and add it either to my Google calendar or my next actions list (kept in my Daily Review Notebook). Google calendar is great for keeping track of what I want to accomplish for the week.
If I’m not sure yet when I’ll be able to accomplish a task for the week but I know I want to get it done that week, it gets added to my next actions list, which is saved as a note in my Daily Review Notebook. We’ll talk more about your Daily Review in the last post in this series but for now go ahead and create the “Next “Actions” note in your Daily Review Notebook. I review this note each night during my Daily Review and add items to my calendar as needed.
My “Next Actions” note is organized into the following categories to make it easier for me to plan and review.
- Phone Calls
- Blog Tasks
- Work Task
- To Plan/Discuss
- To Read/Listen
- To Print/Prepare
The goal of the next actions list is to complete all of these items during the week so at my next weekly review so I’m starting with a clean slate. Of course, this doesn’t always happen as life is life, but what I want you to keep in mind when you’re adding items to your next actions list is that the goal of this list is to only include items you reasonably believe you can accomplish in the next week. This is so you don’t get overwhelmed!
☐Future Projects (add to current projects/next actions as needed) (Projects and Goals stack)
For Future Projects, I look in my “Future Projects” notebook in the “Projects and Goals” Notebook Stack and open up the note that lists out my future projects. Just like with current projects I start with the first one. But this time the first thing I determine is whether it stays as a future project or whether I’m ready to tackle it as a current project. If it’s a future project it stays put, but if it’s a current project I copy and paste it into the current projects list and process it as a current project as described in the prior section
☐Bible/Spiritual Study (calendar weekly tasks) (Bible/Spiritual Study stack)
☐Writing Development (calendar weekly tasks) (Writing Development stack)
For these two line items, I determine the tasks I want to complete for the week and add them to my Google calendar. For me, these never get added to next actions since I already have blocked out time in my Google calendar to complete these tasks. I’m a firm believer in time blocking to help keep you organized and recommend you consider adding in blocks of time for things that you want to accomplish every week. If you treat them as an appointment, they are more likely going to get accomplished.
Every morning at 5:00 I already have a generic “Bible Study” slot in my calendar so I go in and modify my calendar to list out what exactly what I plan on studying that morning. Same thing for writing development, I have a generic “writing development” slot in my calendar 3 times a week so I simply go in and modify that slot to reflect what I’ll be accomplishing in writing development that week.
☐Kids’ Weekly Activities (prepare) (binder/dropbox)
I plan out the weekly activities I’d like to do with my kids. I have a binder of activities (crafts, coloring pages, worksheets, homework, etc.) that I keep close by so we can turn to it when we’re looking for something to do. I also have a bunch of printable that I keep stored in dropbox. If you’re not familiar with dropbox, it’s a cloud-based storage system that I absolutely adore. I love how it syncs across all of our devices and you can use a 2-step verification for an added layer of security.
☐Weekly Meal Planner/Recipes (prepare in Paprika)
☐Weekly Grocery List (prepare in Paprika)
These 3 items really go together. This is where I complete my meal planning for the week. I generally try to take a quick inventory of what’s in our refrigerator and freezer first so I can first use up what we already have on hand. We keep most of our recipes in Paprika, which is an awesome recipe and meal planning app that I recommend to everyone. I have it installed on all of my mobile devices and my computer (and so does my husband).
I use the calendar in Paprika to plan my meals by simply dragging and dropping them from the recipe list in the app. Then I can upload the ingredients to a shopping list in the app. I use this shopping list for all of my grocery/pharmacy shopping needs. I add in anything else we might need to purchase for the week before syncing it. Another helpful feature is that I can import my meals directly into my Google calendar so I know what we’re having every night without having to look in Paprika.
☐Other Shopping Lists (add to next actions list)
I add any other items we need to buy for the week (school supplies, clothes, etc.) to my next actions list so I can review it each day and add time to the calendar that week as needed.
I talked about this in the last post so I’ve copied and pasted it the description of what to do with this box here:
“I also sort and clean out our declutter box each week. This is just a big wicker basket that I keep downstairs on our kitchen counter as a gathering place for all of those miscellaneous items that show up in your house during the week. I highly recommend having a declutter box if you don’t already have something similar.”
☐Scan Items in Scan Folder
I have an awesome scanner – the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 – that I use to scan statements or other items I want to keep. My husband and I have created a filing system where we scan and shred as much as possible so we can cut down on as much unnecessary paper as possible. Each day when we open the mail we decide whether it’s an item we toss, keep or scan. If we want to keep or scan it, we place it in the scan folder, the “This Week” folder, the “Soon” folder, the bills folder, or a family member’s folder. Items in the scan folder get scanned and digitally filed during the weekly review.
☐Review “This Week” Folder
☐Review “Soon” Folder
Items in the “This Week” folder are either items that need to be dealt with this week. This is the time that I deal with these items. They may be added to the Google calendar, next actions list or discussed with my husband. It really depends on the item.
Items in the “Soon” folder are simply moved to the “This Week” folder as needed.
Most of our bills are on autopay but for the few that need to be paid by check, this is the time to do so. I keep my check book in a drawer next to the desk where I complete my weekly review so everything is at arm’s reach.
☐Review Each Family Member’s Folder
This is where I put things like the kids’ projects that they’ve brought home from school. I review these items and decide if I should keep them or toss them.
☐Goals (revise as needed)(Projects and Goals stack)
My Goals are stored in an Evernote Notebook called “Goals.” I have 12 goals notes in this notebook. During my weekly review, I take a look at each note to see how I’m doing in each of the 12 areas – daily routines, spiritual, health and well-being, marriage, children, work, blog development, housekeeping, hospitality, volunteering, finances, and personal development.
This is not a place where I keep projects related to each of these goals. Rather, it is a place where I list out where I’d like to be in each of these areas in my life. It’s a big picture way of looking at things. For example, with my husband, I’d ideally like for us to have at least 2 date nights a month, spend time reviewing our mutual financial goals each month, and getting out in nature together on a regular basis. This is the time when I can reflect on these goals to see how I’m doing. But it’s also the time to remind myself of what I value in my life and to see if I’m truly focused on those values.
Go ahead and spend some time thinking about your goals. This is an ongoing project and I realize it’s going to take some time to come up with all of your life’s goals. But spend a little time each week during your weekly review to work on setting up your goals.
Some Final Thoughts On Completing Your Weekly Review
Well, you did it! You completed your first weekly review. I hope you’re feeling like your life is more manageable and organized. Let me know if you’re getting stuck on anything and I’ll see if I can help.
Next time we’ll start working on your monthly review. For now, you can start thinking about items that you’d like to include in your monthly review.
My monthly review items include: party planning, family financial planning, goals, car/home maintenance projects, volunteer work, hospitality planning, date night planning, kids’ classes/extracurricular activity planning, and health care planning.
But for now, rejoice in the fact that you’ve completed the largest task in setting your your Evernote Review System – Your Weekly Review!