How I start my weekly review

A white mug of coffee with the word begin written on it sits on a wooden table.

Above: photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

Every Sunday evening I sit down to review the previous week and plan the week ahead. This is my weekly review, a discipline that I adopted after reading Sally McGhee’s book Take Back Your Life in 2003.

One of the first things I do during my weekly review is read a document I wrote in October 2017 that I called The Discipline™. Occasionally, I update it to keep it fresh and relevant; it’s a living document.

It’s a reminder of what is important to me right now, what I should be focusing on. It’s like a little manifesto for my life—something to give me direction, to help me prioritise.

This is my current version, unedited.

Live a slower, more balanced life.

I want to continue to develop a healthy and balanced rule of life. I have a lot to juggle: daily life, spiritual life, family life, relationships with friends and family, and work.

During the last ten years or more, I have not kept a good balance and have regularly burned out physically and emotionally, or have come down with a particularly bad illness. This must change if I am to regain my health, and be a good role model for my children, as well as be able to support them physically, emotionally and financially to the best of my ability.

I can’t do this all at once. So I must work on this in small, manageable increments.

The Discipline™

  1. Live a simple life. Be aware. Live in the now. Observe yourself and be kind to yourself. You are a child of God, loved and held by God. Be gentle on yourself. Love yourself and those around you.
    • Slow down
    • Observe
    • Be curious
    • Go deep  
  2. Live meaningfully and with purpose. Plan your weeks and months, so that you complete the projects you want to complete. Complete each task before moving on to the next one; close the open loops in a timely manner as efficiently as possible. For example, after cooking a meal and eating it, clear up completely before moving on to the next task.
     
  3. Do not be greedy—buy only what you need. If in doubt, put what you want to buy on a list then wait a few days or weeks to reflect on whether you really need it or just want it. Question yourself: will it truly add value to your life?
     
  4. Pray daily, where possible morning, evening and night prayer. Attend Holy Eucharist as often as possible.
     
  5. Drink plenty of water each day. Do not drink Coke (or sugary drinks) unless it’s for a sore tummy. Limit the amount of milk you drink.
     
  6. Rest and relaxation is important for productivity and creativity. Give yourself permission to rest.
     
  7. Sleep for 7.5 to 8 hours per night. Sleep in the dark. Do not use electronic devices in bed.
     
  8. Spend more time with friends and family, especially Reuben, Joshua and Isaac.
     
  9. Exercise frequently. Walk (min 4,000 steps per day), cycle, lift weights. Feel your body, live in your body. But don’t overdo things. It is okay to pace yourself and build up gradually.
  10. Eat healthily. Eat smaller portions. Eat more frequently. Eat the right things.
    • Eat less.
    • Eat less sugar (chocolate Fridays).
    • Eat healthy food—prefer fruit over chocolate or biscuits; eat more vegetables.
    • Eat a healthy breakfast, porridge if possible, and fruit, and protein.
    • Prefer packed lunches over bought ones, they are cheaper and healthier.
    • Do not eat after 20:00, only drink water (preferably) or milk if a little hungry.  
  11. Read more (30 minutes per day). Read to learn. Read to appreciate other perspectives. Read to appreciate good writing.
     
  12. Write more. Reflect: write journal entries about what is going on in your life. Write your book. Write your blog. Write reviews.
     
  13. Be organised. Daily tasks in Todoist, projects in Trello, appointments (with yourself and others in Google Calendar).
     
  14. Believe in yourself. You can do this!

It’s definitely an interesting exercise to write something like this for yourself—I’ve found it really helpful to see what is important to me and have something that I can remind myself of every week.

What would your rule of life include? Would you find writing something similar for yourself help you stay focused?

Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 48 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Scrum master at Vision Ltd, Dundee. Latterly, web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and former warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall. Enneagram type FOUR and introvert, I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, write, draw and laugh… a lot.

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