Lucas Brenner » Articles » My Weekly System Maintenance



Like any system, our digital working environment needs a regular maintenance routine to keep it running smoothly. I carry out this system review once a week. In my experience, this is the time when the chaos has not become too big to sort out in a few minutes. My routine takes about 15 minutes, and I also write my weekly diary entry, so the whole process takes about 45 minutes per week.

Advantages of System Reviews

The biggest benefit of a review is that you clean up and organize your toolbox, so that it continues to function smoothly. Tasks that have been left behind, loose ends and clutter are captured or removed so that you can start the new week with a “fresh” system. In the long run, this time investment pays off as the system is less distracting and tidier.

It also forces you to take a step back and think long-term. Checking your calendar for the next week(s) makes it easier to question certain deadlines. When you read through your annual goals, you are more likely to notice where you are still deviating from them. The system review allows you to rise above your daily tasks once a week and broaden your view.

My System Review Routine

A review must have two characteristics: It must be simple (quick to do) and it must check or tidy up all the main components of your system. For more in-depth clean-ups, you should develop a longer-term routine, for example once a quarter or once a year. This routine can then be more time-consuming and spread over several days. Weekly system reviews, on the other hand, should be as simple as possible.

My routine currently consists of the following tasks:

These steps ensure that my system fulfills three principles, so that not only my digital work environment is ready for the next week, but I am too:

  1. My system's hardware is functional and up to date.
  2. My system has been cleared of last week's leftovers.
  3. My system has been prepared for the coming week through planning.

Individualization

The exact components of your system review should be adapted to your own needs. You may also want to tidy up your email inbox or go through your “Read later” list. It is important that you add your own system components and remove irrelevant items from your review routine.

You should also adjust the order of the tasks and the frequency of the routine to suit your needs. If once a week is too frequent for you, a bi-weekly or monthly routine may work better for you. Just make sure that the chaos doesn't get too big and that the routine doesn't take too long.

The most important thing about a system review is not its components, nor their order, but that you do it regularly. Regularity and diligence should be your main goals, as this is the only way to reap the benefits of the review routine.