Periodic Reviews

Posted on wo 13 september 2023 in tools

I use periodic reviews in order to keep track of the main currents in my life. The day to day is too chaotic to discern much structure. Looking back over longer periods of time teases these patterns out in the open. It's similar to canoeing in a white water river. Moment to moment you're busy looking out for obstacles, plotting a course to keep you safe from them. It's only in the evening when you have set up shelter for the night, can you consider where you are on the journey and realize how far you have traveled.

As of 2023, I use a weekly review, a monthly review and a yearly review.

I started out using only the yearly review. I discovered the Year Compass in 2017. It is a booklet that you fill out at the end of the year. The first part is looking back over the year that is drawing to an end. The second part is looking forward to the year ahead and setting intentions. I liked the process of looking back over the year and summarizing the main points in a couple of categories. For now I stick to the Year Compass for the yearly review.

I started using a bullet journal in 2019. It was only in 2023 that I heard Ryder Caroll talk about the benefit of using regular reviews. I had a period of experimentation to find a way that works for me.

I have settled on doing the weekly review on Sunday. I reserve a single A5 page in my bullet journal for that. The following page contains the planning for the next week.

I have seven domains across which I survey my life. For the week review I will go through my daily notes and put a summary of what happened during the week for each category. For the month review, I will do the same but then I use the week reviews as input.

For the weekly and monthly review, I use the following symbols. Thanks to Rachael Stephen's Constellation system for the inspiration. There is a direct connection with my web of goals.

Life domain symbols
# good food
good space
good friends
$ good finances
good body
good mind
good fun

Good food relates to both physical and mental foods. What do I put in my body and mind to nourish them?

Good space relates to the locations I spend my time. What do I do to keep them clean, welcoming and functional?

Good friends relates to the people I meet and interact with. Over time it maps my social circle. Who did I spend time with and which meetings mattered to me?

Good finances relates to the flow of money. Where does it come from, where does it leave to?

Good body relates to what my body does and what it gets subjected to: exercises, activities, relaxation, injuries. How did I use my body?

Good mind relates to anything involving the mind: mental challenges, solving problems, learning experiences, meditation and shadow work. How did I use my mind?

Good fun relates to inspiration, creativity and nurturing the inner artist child. It includes spirituality and fun activities that make the soul sing. What inspired and animated me?