We write down our thoughts, dreams, and frustrations in the pages of our journals, often to not look at them again. Yet these journals hold the power to transform our lives, offering a window into our inner worlds and the opportunity for profound self-discovery.
How often do you look back on what you write in your journal? Do you think you’re missing insights you’ve written? If so completing a weekly review could help you. In this post, I’ll discuss the art of revisiting and reflecting on your journal entries, turning ordinary thoughts into a transformative practice.
The “Weekly Review” … is an opportunity to get your head above the daily blizzard of activities and see where you’ve been and where you’re going. – Michael Hyatt
Why is it valuable to do a weekly review?
A weekly review is common in productivity circles. I first came across the concept when I read the book Getting Things Done by David Allen.
A weekly review is an opportunity to reflect on the previous week and to set intentions for the upcoming week. It allows individuals to assess their progress towards their goals, identify areas for improvement, and celebrate their achievements. By taking the time to review and plan, you can prioritise your task list, make adjustments to upcoming events in your calendar, and make sure you are making progress towards your goals. Overall, a weekly review promotes efficiency and helps individuals stay focused and organized in their personal and professional lives.
I started doing a weekly review at work about three years ago. I’m finding it more and more valuable as I’m learning how much is feasible for me to complete in a week. This helps me manage my own expectations, build boundaries to manage other people’s expectations and prioritise my most important tasks.
Doing a journal weekly review
Applying the concept of a weekly review to your journal is interesting as you may not be aware of what you’ve written, particularly if you’ve done free writing such as morning pages. The review gives you the opportunity to:
- reflect on the past week
- assess progress towards your goals
- identify areas for improvement
- celebrate your achievement
- direct your life with intention
- increase self-awareness
- identify any action items.
As you want time to reflect about what you’ve written you may want to schedule your weekly review in to a quiet time of your week.
USING JOURNAL PROMPTS
What Are Journal Prompts?
Journal prompts are questions or statements that give you inspiration or a focus when you start to write. In this case, they are acting as a weekly review template. They encourage you to think about a situation or issue from a different perspective, which is why they are beneficial for personal development purposes.
Why And When To Use Journal Prompts?
In the case of doing a weekly review the reason to use journaling prompts is to provide a consistent structure similar to a weekly review checklist. By using the same questions you can compare each week and notice progress and trends.
Prompts for your journaling weekly review
Using journal prompts is a great way to perform a weekly review. The prompts are in two sections. The first one is the review of what you’ve written and the second one is what you’ve learnt from your reading.
Key passages and thoughts – Read what you’ve written in the last week and write down any points that make an impact on you, for any reason. Then write your current thoughts on the points such as are you surprised by what you’ve written, does it confirm something you thought, do you want to act on it.
Themes – Once you’ve read all your entries, write a list of theme you’ve written about during the past week.
About me – Capture anything you’ve learnt about yourself from your writing, maybe something about your values, or a belief you didn’t know you had.
Improvement areas / Areas to explore – Make a list of any areas or topics you’d like to improve or explore further. Perhaps there was a comment that was really out of the blue or a theme that kept coming up.
Possible actions – Capture any actions you wrong about. It doesn’t mean you’re going to do them, you’re just getting them all in one place.
How I’m using the weekly review in my journal
I’ve learnt my ideal review time is on a Sunday morning. I usually do a morning check in and then start my review. The first few times I felt guilty at the time I was spending on my journal, I now recognise this is important quiet personal time.
I’ve found the weekly review has encouraged me to go deeper with my thoughts. I’m considering whether things I’ve written were in the moment thoughts or are more meaningful, and if there are some actions for me. A positive side effect I didn’t expect was the weekly review has encouraged me to write more regularly. I’ve been in a bit of a lull with my journal writing over the last few months, and I think adding the weekly review into my routine shows I value what I write.
Look back at what you’ve captured. Do you want to take action on any of it? For example do you want to read any books on the topics you’ve identifed. Or do you want to use any themed journal prompts to explore some areas further.
After you’ve done a few reviews look back on them. What else comes to mind? Do the same themes keep appearing and if so what do you want to do about it? Are there actions you keep writing about doing? How are you going to make sure they happen?