No prizes for week notes


Lots of week notes in Ben's inbox
Lots of week notes in Ben’s inbox

I’ve just returned from holiday, and caught up with everything that I’d missed by reading the team’s week notes. They told me all I needed to know.

For those who haven’t heard of them, week notes are a simple end-of-the-week summary of what someone’s been working on over the week.

I’m not the only one who loves our week notes. Several members of the team have said out loud: “I love Friday afternoons. I look forward to seeing everyone’s week notes.” Me too.

When I tweeted about internal week notes before, lots of people commented on the idea. I wrote a very simple guide to writing internal week notes and I thought I’d share it in case it helps anyone else.

Here it is:

Everyone should write week notes, every week

The PD team is rarely all together in the same place, and we work across many time zones. So week notes are the best way to quickly and easily find out what everyone’s been up to.

As we grow, we want to keep admin to a minimum, so for that reason we want to keep week notes as simple and flexible as possible. They work best when they’re quick and natural. If we force a template, people won’t use it. So there’s no set format – just write. Send them at the end of your week. Friday is best, Monday is ok. Tuesday is too late.

You can miss one, but don’t miss two in a row

It’s OK not to write them some weeks. If your mum’s ill, or you’re on the red eye back from Madagascar, or you’re running late for the nativity – it’s ok. But don’t miss two in a row. And that doesn’t mean you can write 26 a year.

Use the words that normal people use

Write in your voice. They should read like you’ve written them. As Giles says “use the words that normal people use“.

There are no prizes for week notes

It doesn’t matter if they are short or long. There’s no prize for the funniest one. There’s no prize for the best word. They don’t have to have pictures but it’s ok if they do. If you haven’t done much this week – say that. That’s ok too. There’s no prize for the busiest employee.

Simply describe what you’ve done this week. Focus on definitive things that have happened and delivery. Include links if possible.

Here’s a good example:

Finished drafting a guide to PD proposal-writing, and a set of proposal templates and other resources. They are collated in this folder: (link).

or:

Mike and I met (the boss of a large organisation). Went very well; better values and purpose alignment than in the previous meeting. Drafted a response (link) which I will edit and send tonight.

but this is also good:

We presented to (a potential client) yesterday and got positive feedback and engagement. They are already impatient to get going on next steps, and want to plan a half-day workshop with leaders for our next trip. They said they were keen to do some kind of workshop/event on service design, given Ben will be there too. So the trip is shaping up nicely. We’ve also now booked flights (thanks Diane).

Gmail is your week notes archive

Gmail is a good enough searchable archive. It means we all have a copy of all the week notes, close to hand.

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