When we have a lot to do and many urgent tasks to attend to, there are a few tasks that seem to repeatedly get neglected and pushed aside.
The weekly run-through is a common example of such an activity — the recurring time every week when we raise our eyes and get ourselves a decent overview of everything we need to get done, be it big or small, and get a feel for what is coming up next in the month ahead, as well as review what we did during the past month.
For you who prefer listening to reading, this post is also available as an episode of the “Done!” podcast:
There is good reason ”unhitch” sounds a lot like ”ostrich”
Making sure to at least once a week (and preferably at the same time every week) get that precious overview is an excellent way to increase our foresight in what we do and become aware of what we have ahead of us. Instead of like the ostrich, who sinks its head into the sand and thus obscures its view of its surroundings completely, only focus on what is right ahead of us, we gain some perspective on our activities and the path ahead.
We give ourselves perspective, and no longer risk ”unhitching” and losing our grip as something we did not foresee comes our way. Are we making progress in all areas that we are responsible for? Are we completing any tasks and commitments we promised we would attend to during recent meetings? Are we getting a head start on things we later will be thankful for already having started?
Yes, the weekly run-through is indeed valuable. Yet, we are prone to shun it aside, save it for later, and instead focus on doing whatever appears urgent at the moment. I have previously written about what we can do to ensure we still have time for it, but if these suggestions and ideas have not had the intended effect, there are other ways.
Getting some perspective together
What if we did the run-through together with someone else rather than alone at our desk? There are several reasons why this is a good idea — not only avoiding our inclination to postpone.
Who you choose to do the run-through with will depend, as so many other things, on several factors. It could for instance be:
- The colleague you feel nearest to
- Your boss
- The coworkers you are the manager of
- Your team, or whatever you call the group of people you work closest with
It would take too long and become too complicated if everyone went through all the steps in the weekly run-through together, so I suggest you focus on collaborating and working together on some of the areas that are most relevant to your work.
These might perhaps be:
- Checking how far you have gotten in relation to the company’s long-term vision. Are you moving steadily ahead towards it, even though it is a long way ahead? Do you need to do something differently now in order to correct your course or speed the process up a little?
- Going through your larger tasks and projects. How far have you gotten in all the tasks and projects that take longer than a day to complete? What is the next concrete step to take in each project? Are there next steps missing for any of the projects, which has ”left them hanging”, in suspension waiting for someone to take action? If so, what could you do next and who will commit to doing it? Are there any more extensive tasks or initiatives that are nearly finished, and are there any new ones you should start on?
- The waiting-for-list. Update each other on what you are waiting for from the others. Perhaps you thought the agreement was that someone would do something for you, but he or she had misunderstood your instructions and has a completely different perception of the matter.
- Look one month ahead in the calendar, and review the month that passed. What have we been up to lately? Have we been doing what we said we would get going with? What is coming up in the near future? What could we get an early start on now, and not have to hurry to finish as the deadline approaches?
There might of course be many other things you could discuss, matters that are more relevant to your business and work.
What is the purpose?
There are several good reasons for doing the weekly run-through together with someone else:
- We actually get around to doing it, since it is easier to cancel a meeting with yourself than with someone else — especially if that someone is your boss.
- You increase the transparency amongst yourselves and obtain a clear, common picture of what is currently happening and relevant right now.
- The chances that you get what you might otherwise have waited in vain for from a colleague, increases since you will now remind them in an easy, undramatic and systemized manner of that you are waiting for something they promised to deliver.
If you find the above suggestions appealing, then do this:
- Decide on who you want to do a weekly run-through with.
- Make an outline of the simple agenda you might have for the recurring meeting.
- Clarify to yourself what the purpose and use of getting together to get some perspective might be so that you have the arguments for your idea clear when you ”pitch” the suggestion to the other person/persons.
- Find out when you are meeting the person/group in question next time and when you then could bring the matter up.
- If they concur and agree to try it out — give it a go, evaluate, adjust and allow the weekly run-trough to become evermore refined over time.
You will see clearly now
If you do all or parts of the weekly run-through together with others, you will get it done with greater ease — at least if you are one of us who are repeatedly tempted to postpone it until ”sometime soon” as you have other, more pressing, matters to attend to.
Doing the weekly run-through together is much like having a weekly meeting, or any other meeting for that matter, and surely you are already aware of the rallying effect these can have.
There is probably no need to launch yet another and new forum or type of meeting for the group that already congregates several times a week, but perhaps you and a few of your colleagues would greatly benefit from obtaining this valuable common and clear overview of your shared situation together, and thus gathering to do a weekly run-through will still benefit you all.
How do you get a common overview?
Do you get together to do weekly run-throughs in this very way? If so, what effects has the common weekly run-through had on your group, performance or company? Share your thoughts with me.