The Ultimate Guide to Agile Results: Master Your Productivity, Time Management, and Work-Life Balance

Shot of a young woman practicing yoga in the studio

“Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – Francis of Assisi

Welcome to the Deep Dive Guide to Agile Results!

This is the ultimate guide to Agile Results to help you master productivity, time management, and work-life balance.

Use this guide light your productivity on fire and change your game in work and life.

By reading this guide, you will achieve the following:

  • Learn how to live, learn, and lead, the agile way
  • Learn an Agile productivity system that you can use for work and life
  • Learn how to create a vision for your day, your week, your month, and your year that pulls you forward
  • Learn how modern productivity is reshaping how we do our work and live our life
  • Learn how to embrace change and adapt and respond to your ever changing world
  • Learn how to master your motivation and use your better energy for better results
  • Learn how to go beyond work-life balance to harmonize your work and life
  • Learn how to break big challenges down into bite sized chunks of change
  • Learn how to connect your values to everything you do to make anything you do more meaningful
  • Learn how to lead teams the Agile way

What is Agile Results

Agile Results™ is a simple productivity system for work and life.

You create your outcome.

Agile Results is a mindset, skillset, and toolset to help you be more, and achieve more.

Through a set of habits and practices, Agile Results helps you realize your potential, while creating learning and feedback loops for continuous improvement.  You might even say that Agile Results is a learning and growth framework to explore and expand what you’re capable of.

Ultimately, Agile Results is a modern productivity system designed with learning and change in mind.

I’ll cover what modern productivity is in a moment, but first let’s make sure that you know how to just get started using Agile Results to change your productivity game.

The Simplest Way to Get Started with Agile Results

I know this sounds simple, almost too simple, but let’s get one thing out of the way right up front.

To get started with Agile Results, simply write down 3 Wins that you want to achieve today.

That’s right, ask yourself the following question:

“What are the 3 Wins that you want to accomplish today?

Write them down.   Really, get old school and write them down, even if you throw your paper away.

While this sounds like a simple exercise, and it really is, I want you to think about what you’ve just done.  By identifying your 3 Wins worth achieving, you prioritized.   You just created a simple set of Wins to focus on.   You created clarity.   And you even created a simple vision for your day.

By writing down your 3 Wins for Today, you organized your mind.  And when you organize your mind, you organize your day, and you take back your power.   Your power is your ability to act.   Now you can act with intention, with focus, and with your goals in mind.

Great job.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at what exactly do we mean by modern productivity…

What is Modern Productivity?

Psychology Today provides a fairly robust definition of productivity:

“Productivity generally refers to the ability of an individual, team, or organization to work efficiently within that time in order to maximize output.”

I wish they would have called out effectiveness.   As Stephen Covey taught us, be efficient with things, but effective with people.  And while the goal of productivity has been to maximize output over a period of time, there are some significant shifts with modern productivity:

Modern productivity is more human, more sustainable, and more social.

Here are some examples to characterize and express what we really mean by modern productivity:

  1. More human. Modern productivity is more human and more personal.  It needs to be good for people. It’s whole person.  It’s mind, body, emotions, and spirit.   It’s for people, by people, with people.  Machines do the mechanical and automation.  People do the creative, the innovative, and the unique.  It’s people before business, and business before technology.
  2. It’s value, not volume.   Modern productivity is a focus on creating more value, not just more volume.  It’s not about cranking out more widgets or getting more things done.  It’s about getting the right things done, that matter.
  3. Meaningful work. Modern productivity is a focus on vision, mission, and values that light up lives and lessen the load of busy and mundane work.  Work becomes a place of service, a path of mastery, and a platform of motivation.
  4. Outcomes vs. Activities.  Modern productivity is a focus on outcomes versus activities.   It’s easy to go through the motions or cause a bunch of commotion.   OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) are the name of the game.
  5. The Journey matters.    Modern productivity is a focus on the journey and the destination.   Productivity is a by product of creating better experiences for everyone involved.  It’s not just did you hit the ball out of the park –It’s did you smile, too?
  6. Sustainability matters.  Modern productivity is a focus on a sustainable pace and wellness vs. burnout and one-hit wonders. 
  7. Social matters. Modern productivity is a team sport.   It’s collaborative.  It’s teams and it’s team of teams.  It’s about building relationships vs. doing transactions.  It means being inclusive and diverse.   After all, you can’t be diverse if you are not inclusive, and diverse teams outperform homogenous team.  Modern collaboration means working like a network, working out loud, and making the invisible visible.  

The beauty is that Agile Results is a modern productivity system.

How Agile Results Changes the Productivity Game

Agile Results is a modern productivity system with a difference.    It’s a whole person productivity system to help you think, feel, and be your best by using proven practices for creativity, high performance, and well-being.

Here are some of the differences that help you amplify your impact and compound your productivity:

  1. Agile Results is an Agile productivity system.  Agile Results embraces change and agility is baked in the core.   Where other systems might break, Agile Results bends with changes and flexes to meet your demands.
  2. Agile Results is a whole person productivity system.  Agile Results combines all aspects of your mind, body, emotions, and spirit to compound your results.  The real key is helping you use your better energy for better results.
  3. Agile Results is vision-driven.  Agile Results help you become the author of your life and write your story forward. You create everything twice, first in your mind, the in the world.  Agile Results helps you create a simple vision for your day, your week, your month, and your year to guide and pull you forward. 
  4. Agile Results is focused on creating value.  Agile Results focuses on outcomes vs. activities, as well as creating meaningful experiences and journeys.   Whether it’s turning chores into chances or chopping an epic adventure down into size, it’s a focus on value creation while enjoying the journey and giving your best where you have your best to give.
  5. Agile Results is a team sport.  It’s designed to be collaborative.  By creating chunks of value towards a vision, it’s easier to share stories of what you are working on with others, and pair up when needed.  Agile Results is also stretch to fit.  You can scale Agile Results up from an individual to a teams to even a large organization.

Agile Results is a platform to compound your results.  I think of it as exponential results for everyone.

Generate Better Energy, Better Results with Agile Results

Agile Results is an Agile productivity system based on “better energy, better results.”

You generate “better energy” by creating meaningful visions that matter for each day, each week, each month, and your year.  This help you rise above the noise, and turn chaos into clarity.

And clarity creates confidence.  And confidence is energy applied.

Your visions and your compelling outcomes pull your forward. 

With these simple visions and intentions, you enact your purpose.   These can be mini-visions and micro-purposes.  They don’t have to be big or grandiose.  They simply have to be pictures of the future that are worth it.   They could be 3 victory scenes in your day of morning, noon, and night, and that’s a great foundation.

Olympic athletes visualize their results.  Navy Seals visualize their results.   Great business leaders visualize their results.  You can, too. 

Agile Results Helps You Be YOUR Best

Agile Results helps you unleash YOUR best by spending time on the right things, at the right time, with the right energy, the right way.

The big idea in Agile Results is to take whole person productivity to the next level.

The Agile Results productivity system helps you think, feel, and be your best in any situation.   It combines some of the best principles, patterns, and practices from positive psychology, sports psychology, project management, and more, to help you realize your potential.

The more you master Agile Results, the more you shift from HAVE, DO, BE to BE, DO, HAVE.   It’s a productivity system that helps you be more, and achieve more, but you are always guided by your own vision, mission, and values as your firm foundation.

When you use Agile Results as your productivity system,  you are operating at a higher level.  You are no longer a slave to complicated systems.  Instead, you are being incredibly human and doing what you do best.  You are thinking and feeling and acting towards a vision.

And remember all things are created twice: First in the mind, then in the world.

Agile Results is Agile Productivity for Work and Life

The Agile Results productivity system helps you apply agile concepts to your work and life.  By practicing Agile Results, you develop the skill of agility. 

Agility is a mindset, a skillset, and a toolset.

And Agility is a powerful tool to help you survive and thrive in any situation.

With great agility, comes great possibility.

As Darwin taught us, but how I put it, “Nature favors the flexible.”

Agile Results gives you the foundation and everything you need to apply Agile productivity concepts to anything and everything you do, whether that’s learn the guitar, learn a new language, ship an amazing product, lead a dream team, or build the next big company to change the world.

By developing agility in your mind, body, and emotions, you can enhance your ability to take action, and pivot base on whatever life throws your way.

Teachers, students, leaders, dreamers, achievers, musicians, magicians, project managers, astronauts, CEOs, developers, designers, artists, media mavens, and many more are learning how to use Agility as a way to respond to our ever changing world.

Agile Results is a Vision-Driven and Value-Based Productivity System

Too many productivity systems focus on trying to get more things done.  The real key here is to do what I call, “trim the tree” and focus on, as Stephen Covey would put it, “the vital few”.

The real game changer here is developing your skills to create vision and value.

You can use the skill of vision to drive your day, your week, your month, and your year.  And the skill of value is how you will chunk up and prioritize meaningful actions and high value activities towards worthwhile outcomes.

Value is the ultimate short-cut.   And value is in the eye of the beholder (and stakeholder).  By creating clarity around what you value, what others value, such as your spouse or kids or team or manager or customer, you identify the ultimate productivity short-cut.

A big part of Agile Results is about creating learning and feedback loops so you can get better.   One of the most important things you will get better at is understanding where the value is that you can uniquely create and what others highly value.   Really, you learn how to build self-awareness for your values as well as empathy for other people’s values.

When you know what you value, and what others do too, you can then focus your day, your week, your month, and your year on the right activities and outcomes.   This is will create a flywheel effect that will generate more value and more energy, that will build your momentum in whatever you do.

The 3 Wins Approach to Better Productivity

One of the most important skills you will learn is how to chunk things down.   By using The Rule of 3, you will learn how to create a better vision for your day, your week, your month, and your year.

I call it the Three Wins approach.

The idea of “win” is important.   It’s how you add what I call The Fun Factor.  You define what your win is, but this is your chance to make it meaningful and focus on higher value activities and carve out more meaningful outcomes.

Think of your 3 Wins as way to create headlines and highlights or even mini press releases.   What would you love to look back on today in terms of your 3 Wins?   If your day is really bad, maybe it’s “great breakfast, great lunch, great dinner.”  If your day is really going your way, maybe it’s ” nail your presentation, win a raving fan, and hit a new level of awesome in your workout.”

The important point of the exercise is that you are getting intentional and using your priorities and outcomes to focus and channel your energy to produce better results, and enjoy the journey, too.

The Monday Vision, Daily Wins, Friday Reflection Pattern

This is a very simple pattern and it’s the backbone of Agile Results.  I call it:

Monday Vision, Daily Wins, Friday Reflection

Here’s how it works:

  1. Monday Vision:  On Monday, simply identify the 3 Wins that you want to achieve for the week.  Simply picture yourself on Friday, looking back over your week.  What do you want your highlights to be?  What would the mini press releases or headlines be?  Simply identify the 3 Wins that you think will be your best use of time, energy, and focus.   These 3 Wins for the Week will guide you all week long and help you come back to your North Star.
  2. Daily Wins:  Each day, identify 3 Wins that you want to achieve for today.   If you get stuck, simply imagine 3 scenes, morning, noon, and night, and what good might look like.   So when you start your day, before you get bogged down, simply ask yourself, “What are the 3 Wins you want to achieve today?”  Then use your 3 Wins to help you focus and prioritize all day long.  When you do these right, your 3 Wins will pull you  forward through your day.
  3. Friday Reflection:    This is your chance to look back on the week and ask yourself 1) What are 3 things going well?, 2) What are 3 things to improve?, and 3) What’s something small you can do next week to improve?   Be really honest with yourself here, because this is how you will build your self awareness and get better each week.  Each week is really a chance to practice and master your ability to focus your energy and effort on your most meaningful and important things, while managing the minutia and the mundane and the non-negotiables in your week.

For more than a decade, this simple productivity pattern has been changing lives and helping people have “better Fridays” (that’s another pattern that happens by practicing this system).    After all, you identified your 3 Wins for the Week on Monday, so by the time Friday comes around, you designed for it.

That’s how you become the captain of your ship and change your sails towards your most meaningful outcomes.

Just remember that while the outcomes pull you forward, enjoy the journey by spending more time in your values.

The Life Hot Spots Framework to Harmonize Work and Life

It can be tough to harmonize your life across multiple competing or conflicting categories or facets of your life.  I find it helps to have a simple framework for evaluating your life like a portfolio. 

I call the framework I use the Life Hot Spots Framework or simple Life Hot Spots.  It consists of 7 categories:

  1. Mind
  2. Body
  3. Emotions
  4. Career
  5. Finance
  6. Relationships
  7. Fun

That’s just a base to start with.  Feel free to add or modify whatever categories you need.  For example, Spirituality is a great bucket to add.  And by adding that bucket it’s a great way to also focus on building your spiritual intelligence.

By using this framework, you can see where you are investing or underinvesting, and where you might need to spend more focus, time, and energy.

I call them “Hot Spots” because these are areas in our life where we tend to have opportunities to improve our strategies or to improve the time or energy we spend.   Sometimes that means more time, such as maybe investing more time our body.  Sometimes that means cutting back on something, such as setting boundaries at work, so you can prioritize your health and wellness.

Ultimately, your Life Hot Spots Framework is a way to better manage how you spread your life force across all of your categories and how you harmonize them for better energy and better results.

Agile Results Works for Teams and Leaders, Too

When I developed the Agile Results productivity system, I actually designed it both for teams and for individuals.   I needed to build a system that would paly well with other people, other teams, and within hierarchies or teams of teams.

At the same time, I wanted Agile Results to be your personal results system.

I wanted everybody to have a chance at a very powerful system on their side that combines what we learn from artists about creativity, what we learn from Navy Seals about calm under pressure, what we learn from Olympic athletes about vision, and what we learn about leaders about influence and impact.

So I wanted to create a productivity system that could very quickly help poor performers and the productivity challenged improve their game very quickly, with little effort, and with minimum mental scaffolding   Because when you lead teams or work in teams, your results depend on how well the team can form, storm, norm, and perform.

Really, I just like to think of it as creating compelling outcomes and helping people swarm better.

The beauty with Agile Results is that I’ve been able to help leaders, achievers, and even under achievers realize more of their potential whether as an individual or as part of a team, through simple, but effective and profound productivity patterns and practices.

The whole is more than the sum of the parts–it’s synergy in action.

Agile Results Works for You, Not the Other Way Around

I also wanted to make sure that you don’t break yourself by the system or get bogged down by the system.  I broke myself against too many productivity systems early on that forced me to do unnatural acts or worry if I fell behind or fell off the horse.

So much so, that you might hear me quote Bruce Lee:

“Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own.”

That quote is all about taking the parts that are useful, but if it’s not, skip it, or change it, to suit your purpose.   After all, agility is about flexibility and embracing change.

And I really didn’t want to have a big heavy system that beats you up, when you get knocked down.   That’s when you need it most.   So all you have to do to get back on the horse is simply ask yourself:

“What are the 3 Wins I want to achieve today?”

And Ta-Da!  You are back on the saddle again!

Agile Results is Simple, Evergreen, and Complete

Yeah, I know that sounds simple, but simple works and simple lasts.  And simple lasts because you can both adopt it and adapt it, far better than something that’s complex or complete.

Agile Results might appear simple at first.  Maybe, even too simple.  However, remember that it’s been used in some of the most complex scenarios on the planet.  I often use the analogy that Agile Results is like a Russian nesting doll.   The more you learn the more there is inside. Each time you open something up, there is something more inside.

Best of all, Agile Results is future proof.   It’s designed for change and it’s flexible for the future

It truly is an evergreen productivity system that will grow with you.   It’s an evergreen system because it’s based on principles, patterns, and practices, not tools and tactics.  While Agile Results is based on core principles of human performance and proven practices that have stood the test of time, the whole point of Agile Results is to embrace change while helping you realize your potential the Agile way.

And it will always stay green because Agility is baked into the core.

What Users Say About Agile Results

Here is a sampling of what some users say about their experience with Agile Results:

“Agile Results delivers know-what, know-why and know-how for anyone who understands the value of momentum in making your moments count.”
Dr. Rick Kirschner, bestselling author

JD’s ability to understand and cut to the real issues and then apply techniques that have proven to be successful in other situations is legendary at Microsoft. Over the years I have learnt that he will not recommend something or someone unless he believe it the entire value chain, making the advice you get even more potent. It’s a little like a whirlwind and you have to be prepared for a ride but if you want results and you want them fast, you talk to JD.
Mark Curphey, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at Open Raven

JD is the go-to-guy for getting results, and Agile Results demonstrates his distinct purpose – he shows how anyone can do anything, better. This book has simple, effective, powerful tools and ideas that are easy enough for everyone to apply in their work and lives, so that they get the results they’d like, even the impossible and the unexpected.
Janine de Nysschen, Changemaker and Purpose Strategist.

Success Stories to Help Inspire and Explore the Art of the Possible

But if you wonder how complete or how powerful Agile Results really is, here’s Ed Jezierski hopping around the world using Agile Results to help doctors save lives:  

Video:  Ed Jezierski on Agile Results

And here are some personal narratives from some long time users of Agile Results:

And for old times sake, and because it’s just such an authentic and incredible experience, here is Alik Levin on Agile Results:

Video: Alik Levin on Agile Results

You can just feel Alik’s energy and enthusiasm overflowing from a great place.

Now, with all that under your belt, let’s deep dive into the ultimate guide to Agile Results…

Overview of Agile Results

image

What Life is Like with Agile Results
Overview of Agile Results
Agile Results Quick Tour
Agile Results Explained
How I Use Agile Results to Be More Productive

Getting Started

Getting Started with Agile Results
Monday Vision, Daily Wins, Friday Reflection
Calendar Reminders for Agile Results
The Three Wins Approach: Chunk Your Tasks into Meaningful Results
How To Adopt Agile Results
How To Adopt the 12 Core Practices of Agile Results

Core Concepts

image

The Rule of 3 Explained
10 Big Ideas from Agile Results
12 Core Practices of Agile Results Cheat Sheet
30 Day Sprints: The Key to Making Impact, Changing Habits, and Rapid Learning
The Life Hot Spots Framework: 7 Categories for Balancing Your Life
Scannable Outcomes Explained

30 Day Sprints

30 Day Sprints: The Key to Making Impact, Changing Habits, and Rapid Learning
30 Day Sprints Revisited
How 30 Day Sprints Help You Be More and Achieve More
How To Make 30 Day Sprints More Effective

3 Wins and The Rule of 3

The Rule of 3 Explained
The Three Wins Approach – Chunk Your Tasks into Meaningful Results
How To Use Three Wins for Change and Transformation
How To Use 3 Wins to Have Your Best Year Ever

Monday Vision, Daily Wins, Friday Reflection

Monday Vision, Daily Wins, Friday Reflection Explained
How To Use Monday Vision, Daily Wins, Friday Reflection
How I Do Monday Vision the Agile Way
How I Do Friday Reflection
Monday Vision, Daily Wins, Friday Reflection Cheat Sheet

MUST, SHOULD, COULD (and WANT)

Prioritize Your Day with MUST, SHOULD, COULD

Better To-Do Lists

How I Create Better To-Do Lists the Agile Way

Life Hot Spots

The Life Hot Spots Framework: 7 Categories for Balancing Your Life

Strong Week

How To Design Your Week
How To Design a Strong Week for Better Energy

Peaceful Calm

How To Achieve a Peaceful Calm

Timeboxing

How To Use Timeboxing for Getting Results

Hot Topics

Action

Overview of Action
The Three Wins Approach – Chunk Your Tasks into Meaningful Results
Solutions at a Glance for Better Action
Solutions at a Glance for Better Task Management
Guidelines for Better Action
Checklist for Better Action
How I Create Better To-Do Lists the Agile Way
How To Design Your Week for Better Results
How To Use Timeboxing for Better Results
How To Set Better Goals

Focus

Overview of Focus
The Life Hot Spots Framework: 7 Categories for Balancing Your Life
10 Proven Practices for Improving Your Focus
The Ultimate Guide to Better Focus
Solutions at a Glance for Better Focus
Guidelines for Better Focus
Checklist for Better Focus
How To Focus Better

Goals

Overview of Goals and Goal Setting
The Three Wins Approach – Chunk Your Tasks into Meaningful Results
The Life Hot Spots Framework: 7 Categories for Balancing Your Life
Guidelines for Better Goals
Solutions at a Glance for Better Goals
How To Set Goals and Achieve Them
How To Use Three Wins for Change and Transformation
How To Use 3 Wins to Have Your Best Year Ever

Energy Management / Motivation

Overview of Motivation
Visual – Motivation, Will, and Discipline
Why We Feel Unproductive
Guidelines for Better Motivation
Solutions at a Glance for Better Motivation
Solutions at a Glance for Better Energy Management
Checklist for Better Motivation
How To Achieve a Peaceful Calm
How To Design a Strong Week for Better Energy

Planning / Priorities

Overview of Planning
Overview of Prioritization
The Rule of 3 Explained
The Life Hot Spots Framework: 7 Categories for Balancing Your Life
Guidelines for Better Planning
Guidelines for Prioritizing More Effectively
Solutions at a Glance for Better Planning
Solutions at a Glance for Better Prioritization
Template for Daily Planning
Template for Weekly Planning
Template for Monthly Planning
Template for Yearly Planning

Time Management

The Life Hot Spots Framework: 7 Categories for Balancing Your Life
Guidelines for Better Time Management
Solutions at a Glance for Time Management
Checklist for Better Time Management
How To Design Your Week for Better Results
How To Use Timeboxing for Getting Results

Agile Results for Artists

How To Be a Productive Artist with Agile Results

Agile Results for Teams and Leaders

Weekly Outcomes for Teams and Leaders
How To Lead High-Performance Teams the Agile Way
How Leaders are Improving Agility with User Stories

Agile Results for Realizing Your Potential

How To Use Agile Results To Realize Your Full Potential

Agile Results for Changing Habits

How To Change a Habit with Agile Results
30 Day Sprints: The Key to Making Impact, Changing Habits, and Rapid Learning

Agile Results for Extreme Results

The Secret of Extreme Results

Key Resources

Cheat Sheets

12 Core Practices of Agile Results Cheat Sheet
Agile Results at a Glance Cheat Sheet
Agile Results Practices at a Glance Cheat Sheet
Agile Results Supporting Practices Cheat Sheet
Monday Vision, Daily Wins, Friday Reflection Cheat Sheets

Explained

Agile Results Explained
Monday Vision, Daily Wins, Friday Reflection Explained
Scannable Outcomes Explained
The Rule of 3 Explained
Time Changes What’s Important Explained

How Tos

How To Achieve a Peaceful Calm
How To Adopt Agile Results
How To Adopt the 12 Core Practices of Agile Results
How To Design a Strong Week
How To Design Your Week
How To Focus
How To Set Goals and Achieve Them
How To Use Agile Results To Realize Your Full Potential
How To Use Agile Results with Evernote
How To Use Monday Vision, Daily Wins, Friday Reflection
How To Use Timeboxing for Getting Results

Posters

3 Keys to Agile Results Poster
Agile Results Master Map Poster
Agile Results Practices Map Poster
Getting Results The Book Poster
Principles to Practice Poster

Templates

Daily Planner Template
Monthly Planner Template
Weekly Planner Template
Yearly Planner Template
Scannable Outcomes Template

Browse All Articles on Agile Results

All articles on Agile Results >>