Total Reading Time: 7 minutes.
If you don’t implement this weekly exercise soon, your precious texting thumbs could fall off.
Okay, now that I’ve got your attention, let me give you a brief introduction to the single greatest (and most effective) productivity ritual I’ve ever discovered: The Hour of Primetime.
Simply put, the Hour of Primetime is a weekly review. This ritual and exercise is something all high-performers and achievers complete in one form or another.
You may have heard of people performing an annual review (I have some free templates you can download here). This is quite similar, and is a necessary component for achieving the objectives you set for yourself each year. This exercise can change your life, and will if you apply it weekly. It is the single greatest discovery I have made, and I’ve taught this exact weekly exercise to countless friends and mentoring clients.
This is about being effective, not just productive (for more on that see the ultimate guide to productivity). It’s also about having a fulfilled life, across the many different categories that matter to you.
Years ago I went through an audio program by Tony Robbins called The Time of Your Life. It’s a fantastic program and I highly recommend it. One particular specific section really stood out to me and has formed the basis of this weekly review exercise.
I’ve made a lot of custom tweaks and added more systemized structure to make this easy to follow and implement for you. I’ve also put together all the materials you’ll need to get started today.
Hour of Primetime: The Weekly Review Ritual
Every week set aside one hour for yourself. It’s you time. What a concept, right?
I do this every Sunday morning, and I recommend you pick a set time as well.
You’ll be writing, so either have a special notebook for this or print out the downloadable template below. During this exercise you’re going to really observe what’s going on in your life and start planning ahead.
It’s an opportunity for you to get everything out of your head and live proactively.
It’s also an opportunity for you to review your progress and “rate” yourself in the different areas of your life, like the annual review.
Step 1. Visualize
Take 5-10 minutes, close your eyes (do this!), and think about the outcomes you want for your life. Trust me on this. Visualize it vividly.
Try to think long-term. Why do you do what you do? What are you actually working toward? What’s your ultimate vision of success, happiness, wealth?
What does it look like? What does it feel like? Feel the thoughts and see the images as if you’re already there. Get clarity on what you’re working toward.
Always ask yourself “what’s my outcome?”.
Make sure you don’t skip step #1. The rest will not work without it.
Step 2. The Seven Areas of Your Life
After you’re nice and juiced on these fun thoughts — head to the notepad (you can do this in a special notepad, in a journal, Evernote, or even a Google Doc).
Rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 on the 7 key areas of your life. Feel free to switch this up if you want, but these categories should cover everything.
Seven key areas of your life: Relationships (significant other, family, and friends), Health, Spiritual, Career, Finances/Cash Flow, Emotions/Meaning, and Celebration.
Review the past week and think about how well you did compared to the desired level, with 10 being the absolute best.
Step 3. Accomplishments
Review your week…and don’t do this quickly. Think about it in your mind. Reflect and list out all the little accomplishments and magic moments you had.
Think moments of laughter. Think about accomplishments at work. Think about the awesome little moments that made you smile. Think about memories with family and friends, or the special woman/man in your life. You get the idea.
Note: I like to open my calendar when I’m doing this to help jar my memory and reminisce about the week.
List them all out, and feel good about them again. Feel proud and let yourself remember all these incredible accomplishments. We don’t revisit these memories and experiences very often normally, do we?
This step should make you feel fantastic and give you a sense of immediate fulfillment.
Step 4. Areas to Improve
Start thinking about things you didn’t do or areas you could improve upon (refer to the 7 areas of your life to get ideas). Now list them out.
Did you make any mistakes? Were you short-tempered with anyone? Did you not exercise when you intended to? As weeks go on you may start to see patterns here. That’s your hint!
It’s an area you need to address and an old habit you’ve (unconsciously) built into your life. Now don’t feel bad about yourself here after getting pumped up in step 3.
This isn’t about punishing yourself. Just think specifically about areas you can improve or things you didn’t do and would have liked to.
Step 5. Capture
Shake out those thoughts now. This step feels really good. Start thinking about all the little thoughts, worries, and to-dos that are occupying your mind.
Think of the thoughts that keep popping into your mind, especially the ones that nag at you or you keep procrastinating on.
Capture everything. Write them all down. Feels good right?
Step 6. Batch Into Outcomes
Look at everything you just captured. Now try to find common outcomes between the different things you captured. Look at the Seven Key Areas of Your Life to see how these pieces might be connected.
Example: running a mile in the morning AND buying a supplement/vitamin AND juicing green vegetables AND researching standing desks are all actually related!
They’re both part of the same outcome: Get fit. Which falls under Health. So why get fit? Maybe because you want a stronger and healthier physical body. But why? To have a high level of energy so you can handle anything as it comes at you and increase your vitality.
See what we did there? You need to look at your ultimate outcomes. Group them together.
Another example: Calling your business partner to discuss a potential new client opportunity AND needing to correct the images on your website because they’re outdated.
Both part of the same outcome: Grow your business. Which falls under Career. Again, group them together.
Do this for all of the items you captured.
Step 7. Schedule it
Take everything you just grouped together into larger “outcomes” and schedule them into your calendar for the week (and beyond if needed).
Do your absolute best to group the related tasks that have the same outcomes together. This way working on each task doesn’t feel like a task, it feels like part of the same outcome. You’ll constantly be reminded of why you’re doing what you do.
What gets scheduled gets done.
Note: As you’re performing tasks try to remember the outcome you’re working on. Remember that it’s always part of a bigger picture and grander outcome.
Let the stress go away when one simple little task bothers you. The worry and stress is bad for your health and isn’t serving you.
When scheduling these blocks of tasks/outcomes into your calendar, give yourself room to breathe. Don’t schedule 10 blocks back-to-back.
Try to narrow down and distinguish among your weekly outcomes which ones are absolute musts. Meaning, know which ones must get done vs. the ones you’d like to get done.
If something doesn’t need to be done that week—schedule it in your calendar at the appropriate time and save that space now (it’s okay if you end up changing this).
Also, remember to schedule some personal you time also. Instead of getting distracted by little things you can now stick to this schedule and look forward to the pre-scheduled relaxation/do-whatever/chill-out time.
I have a block of time every Friday where I just watch videos, catch up on reading, goof around—whatever.
Step 8. Bonus: Pat yourself on the back
You’re now light-years beyond how the average human being deals with the many areas of life, let alone how they schedule their days.
Remember that what gets scheduled, gets done. With time you will be able to handle whatever comes at you. Don’t panic, stick to the outcomes. Enjoy the journey.
Did you enjoy this weekly review exercise? I’ve created a PDF version of this for you to download and keep forever. I’ve also included a template you can use each week to actually perform the weekly review.
Just enter your best email below and you’ll be able to download everything.
*Photo credit: Super Human — CC License