How To Adopt Agile Results for Better Results in Work and Life

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Agile Results is a simple productivity system to help you be more and achieve more in work and life.

By adopting The Rule of 3, the Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, Friday Reflection pattern, and the Life Hot Spots framework, you establish a rhythm of results and achieve work life balance.

Agile Results is action-oriented with an emphasis on outcomes over activities, while supporting continuous growth and learning.

Agile Results also helps you manage your energy across your work and life, giving you the power to achieve whatever you want with sustainable results.

You can get started with Agile Results instantly, right here, right now.

You can adopt the basics of Agile Results in under five minutes.

You can adopt or tailor pieces as you see fit.  You can add more as you need more.

Key Goals

  • Learn how to adopt The Rule of 3 to focus and prioritize your action.
  • Learn how to adopt the Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, Friday Reflection pattern to establish a rhythm of results.
  • Learn how to adopt life Hot Spots to achieve work-life balance and spend your time and energy on the most important things in your life.

Overview of Agile Results

Agile Results is a simple and effective productivity system for meaningful results.

It works by establishing a rhythm of results, prioritizing value, and taking simple, consistent actions towards your results.

By treating time as a first-class citizen, you can set effective boundaries and achieve work-life balance.

By having a system you can count on, it helps you get back on your feet again.

The simplicity is part of its effectiveness.

The heart of the system is the synergy of three things:

  1. The Rule of 3
  2. Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, Friday Reflection
  3. Life Hot Spots.

The Rule of Three

The Rule of 3 is about identifying three outcomes each day. By starting your day with three outcomes, you clarify what you want to accomplish.

When you know what you want to accomplish, you can prioritize more effectively, and you can let things go.

Rather than focus on your endless backlog or overload, you shift your focus to the three most valuable things you can do today.

Each day is a fresh start; so is each week, each month, and each year. It’s your chance to wipe the slate clean and cherry-pick your most important items.

Rather than focus on everything that you haven’t finished, you focus on answering the question, “What’s the next best thing for you to do?”

The most important thing about The Rule of 3 is that you are focusing on outcomes over activities.

You are also limiting what’s on your focus so that you don’t overwhelm yourself.

When you finish your three outcomes, you can always grab more.

This is about setting your sights on three meaningful results for you, and using that to drive your day.

It can be as simple as (1) have a great lunch experience with a friend; (2) complete 10 draft pages for your next book; and (3) complete an outline of your project plan.

Monday Vision, Daily Wins, Friday Reflection

The Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, Friday Reflection pattern is a simple weekly results system. On Mondays, you identify the three most important results for the week. Each day, you identify the three most important outcomes for the day. On Fridays, you reflect by asking yourself what are three things going well and what are three things to improve?

Life Hot Spots Framework

Life Hot Spots is a heat map for your life and a way to invest your time and energy in areas that matter:

  1. mind
  2. body
  3. emotions
  4. career
  5. financial
  6. relationships
  7. fun.

It’s your starter set.  For example, you might add a bucket for spirituality.  The main idea is to call out your big rocks or your big investment areas.

When you invest in these areas, the sum is more than the parts. By spending time in fun, you keep your mind and emotions in good shape.

By investing in your mind, body, and relationships, you perform better at work.

The most important concept for the life Hot Spots is to set boundaries in terms of time or energy.

For example, you might need to set a boundary on how much time you spend at work, using a rule such as “Dinner on the table at 5:30.”

You might want to set a minimum of time in your relationships, such as “Tuesday night is date night.”

Write Your 3 Wins for Today Down–The Fastest Way to Get Started with Agile Results!

The simplest way to get started with Agile Results is to write down on paper the answer to the following question:

“What 3 Wins do I want to achieve today?”

Think of outcomes simply as results or what you want to achieve today.

Yes, it’s that simple!

By figuring out the three results you want to achieve today, you set the stage for the day.

Note that writing things down, even if you throw it away, is a great exercise to figure out your intentions for the day.

It forces you to create some clarity, prioritize, and figure out what you want to achieve with the limited time, energy, and focus that you have today.

Adopt Agile Results with 3 Easy Steps

Agile Results has 3 key parts. To get started with Agile Results system, you can use three easy steps:

  1. Adopt The Rule of 3 to avoid overwhelm and get mindful about your results.
  2. Adopt the Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, Friday Reflection pattern for weekly results.
  3. Set boundaries in your Hot Spots to find work life balance.

Step 1. Adopt The Rule of 3

Apply the Rule of 3 to life. Rather than get overwhelmed by your tasks, bite off three things you can accomplish. This puts you in control. If nothing else, it gives you a very simple frame for the day. This will help you get on track and practice the art of ruthless prioritization.

Here’s how you can apply the Rule of 3 to time:

  • 3 outcomes for the day
  • 3 outcomes for the week
  • 3 outcomes for month
  • 3 outcomes for the year

An outcome is simply a result that you want to accomplish. Simply identify 3 outcomes. The outcomes at each level support each other and help guide your results. To give your outcomes life, turn them into simple stories. For example, turn “call customer” into “win a raving fan.” Think in terms of 3 stories each day, each week, each month, each year.

Guidelines

Here are some guidelines for adopting The Rule of 3:

  • They are your tests for success.
  • You can prioritize any incoming actions against your desired results.
  • When you get distracted throughout the day, you can remind yourself what you wanted to accomplish.
  • If you already have tasks lists, you can simply add your three outcomes to the top. This reminds you what you’re driving for.
  • You learn your focus and capacity. If you aren’t completing the three results you set for the day, you might be picking the wrong things, or you might be biting off more than you can chew.

If you’re not sure where to start, pick one thing for yourself, one thing for your family, and one thing for your job each day.

Checkpoint

  • Can you say your three outcomes for today out loud?
  • Are your three outcomes the three most important things you really want to accomplish today?
  • Are your three outcomes actually results or achievements (not activities or tasks)?

Step 2. Adopt the Monday Vision, Daily Wins, Friday Reflection Pattern for Weekly Results

The Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, and Friday Reflection pattern is a simple habit for daily and weekly results.

image:Monday_Daily_Friday_Pattern_to_Plan_Do_Review.gif‎

Monday Vision

On Mondays, identify 3 outcomes you want for the week.

To support you, consider the following:

  • Remind yourself what you learned from last Friday’s reflections.
  • Scan your Hot Spots (Note – your Hot Spots include any work projects, personal projects, and your life frame: mind, body, emotions, career, financial, relationships, and fun.)
  • Scan your calendar for any key events for the week.
  • Scan my inbox for new information and action items.

As you scan, ask 5 guiding questions:

  1. “What do I want to accomplish?”
  2. “What MUST be done? … What SHOULD be done? … What COULD be done?” (all based against what I want to accomplish)
  3. “What value am I delivering? (Note – in value delivered vs. activity performed and value is in the eye of the beholder … whether it’s value to yourself, your manager, your company, the world … etc.)
  4. “How am I improving myself in key areas: mind, body, emotions, career, financial, relationships, and fun?”
  5. “What are the key things that if I don’t get done … I’m screwed?” (By using the principle of contrast, you paint a picture of where you don’t want to be.)

Ask yourself the most important question … “If this were Friday, what 3 things would I want under my belt?”

When you’re done, you’ll have a good mental picture of the week’s 3 most important outcomes (notice outcomes vs. activity), you know your big risks for the week, and you know my MUSTs vs. SHOULDs vs. COULDs.

Daily Wins

Each day is a fresh start. Think of 3 outcomes for your day. It helps to think in terms of simple stories. If you get stuck, a good question to ask is … “What will be my 3 best results for today?”

Friday Reflection

This is the day where you do your reflection. To do this, ask yourself 2 questions:

  • “What are 3 things going well?”
  • “What are 3 things to improve?”

As input to this exercise, first scan your Daily Outcomes for the past week. (This is fast if you keep a simple tickler list for each day.) Also, do a quick mental scan of your key accomplishments.

Guidelines

  • Stick with three outcomes for the week. Don’t create a laundry list of results. Identify the three most meaningful outcomes. You can always bite off more, after you complete your three results.
  • Identify your three outcomes for the day, at the very start of your day, before you are overwhelmed or in the thick of things. This is how you drive your day versus react to it.
  • When you identify three things going well, try to find the success pattern so that you are conscious of why and how.
  • When you identify three things to improve, try to find the specific patterns that aren’t working so that you can identify specific actions to change, whether it’s thinking, feeling or doing.

Checkpoint

  • Do you know your three most important outcomes for the week?
  • Do you know your three most important outcomes each day?
  • Do you know your three key things going well?
  • Do you know your three key things to improve?

Step 3. Set Boundaries Using Hot Spots

Where do you need to spend your time? What do you need to focus on? Hot Spots are a simple metaphor for thinking about what’s important.

image:Hot_Spots.png

It’s where the action is or should be. More importantly, it’s where your attention, energy, and focus should be. By thinking in terms of Hot Spots, you can imagine a “heat map.” A heat map is simply a bird’s-eye view of what’s important.

Keys to Effective Hot Spots

The keys to effective Hot Spots are:

  • See the forest from the trees
  • A portfolio of where you invest your time and energy (your life force)
  • Balance your life

Life Hot Spots Framework

This is the big picture. It’s how you chunk up your overall time and energy. There are certain areas in life that if you invest in, you get rewarded.

On the other hand, if you ignore these categories, you get penalized.

Here’s a starter set of categories you can use to think about the areas in your life that need your focus and energy:

Hot Spot Description
Mind Mind includes investing time to learn thinking techniques and keeping your mind sharp.
Body Body includes investing time in keeping your body in shape. It includes learning patterns and practices for health. The most important basics are eating, sleeping, and working out.
Emotions Emotions includes investing time to keep your emotions healthy. It includes learning emotional intelligence and keeping your emotions in check. It’s about learning skills for feeling good.
Career Career includes activities and projects for your job and your professional services.
Financial Financial includes investing time to learn patterns and practices for building and sustaining wealth.
Relationships Relationships includes your relationships at home, work, and life.
Fun Fun includes investing time to for play and doing whatever you enjoy.

By having a set of Hot Spots identified, you can be more deliberate about how you spend your time and energy, as well as the trade-offs you make. You can also focus on finding key patterns and practices that help you improve in these areas.

Setting Boundaries

You should set minimums and maximums for your Hot Spots in terms of time and energy. This keeps you from getting over-invested. Use your Hot Spots to set boundaries. For example, you might set a max on career and a min on relationships, body, and fun.

Example Boundaries

Hot Spot Min Max
Mind    
Body 3 hours  
Emotions    
Career   50 hours
Financial    
Relationships 8 hours  
Fun 3 hours  

In this case, step one is deciding to spend no more than 50 hours each week on your career hot spot.

Now it forces you to bite off only what you can chew.

This is how you start improving plate management and pushing back effectively. You can only spread your life force over so much. The categories help support each other. They can also work against each other.

Note that you might need to set the opposite limits. Set your limits and test results.

The key is to use boundaries and limits to keep yourself balanced and improve your results.

Guidelines

  • Set a maximum of time to spend on career.
  • Set a minimum of time to spend on your relationships.
  • Set a minimum of time to spend on fun.
  • Set a minimum of time to spend on your body.
  • Test your results. If the time limits you set aren’t working, adjust them and test again.

Checkpoint

  • Are you investing the right amount of time in the right places?
  • Are you reducing your worst pain points?
  • Are you leveraging your best opportunities?
  • Does your investment of time and energy actually reflect what you want to accomplish?

Want to Learn More About Agile Results?

Check out the Agile Results page.

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