Improve your Relationship with a Weekly Conversation

canstockphoto35029225I hear a lot of family analogies used in business. This time, I’m challenging you to incorporate a business productivity practice into your family: the weekly review.

Think Productive’s Ninja habits include developing habits around the “second brain”. The Weekly Review with checklists is one of the tools in exercising this habit. One of the challenges that comes with combining business with family is to ensure that both elements get focus. Incorporating a family weekly review into your practice helps facilitate communication, prepare for the week ahead and reflect on the week that was: what to celebrate (yay), what to correct (oops) and what to reign in (whoa)!

Suggested Weekly Review Process

1. Gather loose ends – Collect important mail, statements, permission slips from school, newsletters from activity groups, etc. and dump them into some kind of inbox. It’s a good idea to set up a basket or tray where all this stuff goes so the dump can happen daily as part of other routines. When I come home at the end of the day, I dump the paper I’ve accumulated into a tray that gets processed weekly. This includes fuel receipts, business cards, mail, flyers, etc.

2.  Process your “inbox” – Once / week, go through the inbox and address the next steps – some items need to be filed, but others require discussion and action. Make a list of the items that need to be done, who is going to do them and book a time / date on a calendar to ensure it gets done. Use a system that works for your family – electronic, sticky notes, fridge calendar, etc.

3.  Empty your head – with your spouse/partner or other family members in attendance, talk about the week that was. What are you struggling with? What went wrong? What would you like to move forward on? This is not a time to be critical, but to honestly reflect on the challenges with the goal of overcoming them as well as preparing and anticipating the week ahead. Here are some prompts:

  • What went wrong? What needs to change so this doesn’t happen again?
  • What did you really enjoy that you’d like to do more often?
  • What’s coming up that we need to prepare for? (Guests, family celebrations, school holidays, etc.)
  • What kind of help do you need from your partner?
  • What issues with the family /house have been keeping you awake at night?
  • What issues/challenges with work/business have you been wrestling with that could effect the family?

4. Review projects and actions – What progress is being made on current projects? What new projects do we need to start? Who will take the lead? How can the other spouse/partner support the project?

5. Review checklists – use checklists for recurring items. Anything that happens on a regular basis can have a checklist such as a seasonal house maintenance checklist. Checklists help ensure items that need to be taken care of get taken care of.

6. Participate in dream time – Discuss longer term future plans. These items may find a home on a vision board or a “someday list”.

7. Review your waiting-for list if you have one. Sometimes, you’re stalled on taking action waiting for an action from someone else. Reviewing this list helps you identify actions for follow up this week.

I find that spending time with my spouse in these “review and planning” meetings help keep us on the same page, make trade-offs together and find compromises that keep us aligned to achieving our family’s purpose. Little things don’t fester and become big things as they are addressed regularly. Knowing that our meeting is coming up allows me to defer items to address them at the meeting and not pestering my spouse daily with reminders or bits of trivia that I think he should know.

The weekly review is a safe place to make adjustments so we are working together to manage the week’s tasks and activities. Because we have anticipated the week’s activities and potential challenges, we are in a better place to take advantage of opportunities that might unexpectedly come up during the week.