Imagine yourself at the end of a work week. What do you typically do as you wrap up on a Friday afternoon?
For me, it’s about a few simple things. I review what I have accomplished during the week, note anything that I should finish before I leave that day, and look ahead to the following week to see what I have on my plate.
This kind of status check is very helpful as you assess your work, prioritize, and keep moving toward your goals. You can take this time to review project team action lists, send meeting follow-ups, schedule check-ins with relevant stakeholders, update project plans, respond to emails, and create draft agendas for meetings you have the following week.
One successful and much-appreciated practice I implemented for a few projects was a weekly recap email. If you are able to commit to sending it every week – because trust me, once people start receiving it, they will not want to give it up – they it is a great way to inform and align the team.
The emails I sent included these items:
- Bulleted list of major accomplishments for the week – I kept it to the noteworthy items. Lots of work happens over the week, so you cannot include everything. But it’s always nice to recognize a job well done!
- Bulleted list of key actions with owners and due dates – I would not include the entire action list, but just the ones that were due in the next week or so. That way, team members can be reminded of where they should focus.
- Simple calendar with key meetings happening the next week – One project I managed was very meeting heavy. So to keep everyone informed about where they needed to be, I outlined which meetings they should see on their calendars the following week.
To create less work for myself, I created a QuickPart in Outlook to use as a template. I would just insert the QuickPart into a blank email and populate it each time. So easy! And SO appreciated by my teams. I received endless comments about how helpful these recaps were, which kept me motivated to continue sending them.
One final rule I try to respect on Fridays is the no meeting rule! This one is sometimes hard to follow – but if you can make it happen, it can make the world of a difference as you reflect on the week and plan ahead. Giving yourself (and your teams) true thinking time with little-to-no interruption is so important in terms of staying focused and getting things done. It’s hard to complete all of the wrap-up items I list above if you are constantly interrupted by meetings.
So take time on Fridays to reflect on the week and make plans for the following week. You will be much more organized and have a better handle on your projects if you schedule in this dedicated thinking time. Sounds like a no-brainer to me!