A flexible and thoughtful approach to personal effectiveness that list lovers will especially appreciate.
The English word combination Agile Result can be translated as “flexible result” or “flexible performance. The personal effectiveness system with that name was invented by J.D. Meyer, a Microsoft manager, blogger and author of books.
According to him, Agile Result helps you be open to change, improve, realize your potential and achieve your goals. The core of the system consists of several techniques and principles which should be gradually introduced into your life and constantly practiced.
- The Rule of Three
This is the core practice on which the entire system of Agile Result is based. The rule of three helps you to determine what is most important, sift out all the extraneous and unimportant, invest your time wisely and easily track the results.
The essence is simple:
Identify three main tasks or goals – for the day, week, month, year, whether, for example, college homework help or writing an article for the next newspaper.
Write them down in your diary and keep them in your mind as a reference point at all times.
Devote time to these things first, and only then to everything else.
Meyer advises applying the rule of three in all areas of life. Going to take a programming course? Determine three goals that you want to achieve at the end of the course, or three skills that you need to develop. Going to training? Make a list of at least three exercises you plan to do. Read a good book? Write out three key ideas.
- Setting up for the week and Friday reflection
On Monday, the author of Agile Result suggests setting three key goals to achieve by Friday night. And generally think about how you would like to spend the coming week, what to do, what to focus on.
And on Friday evening, you should look back and honestly note what you have succeeded and what you have not. The rule of three can be applied in this case as well: mark three tasks that were handled well, and three that are still worth working on.
A similar approach can be applied to any time period: a day, a month, a year, a five-year period, and so on.
- Control over different areas of life
Meyer stresses that it’s important to strive to ensure that no one area that is important to you “sags,” and to invest time and energy evenly in each of them. He recommends making a list of the main areas of life: work and professional development, family, home, taking care of yourself, hobbies and creativity, communicating with friends and family, and so on.
Then in each category, you should list the tasks you need to do. Meyer calls them hotspots – hot zones.
After that, it’s just a matter of looking at these lists regularly and checking to see if you’ve missed something important, “ticking off” the hotspots and noting your progress on each item.
This technique helps you get things done faster, fight procrastination, and clearly track where your time is going. Here’s how to master it.
- Divide your work day into equal time slots. For example, 30, 45 or 60 minutes each, depending on how long you can focus on the task and work effectively without stopping.
- Set aside time for breaks. Each time block should have 5 to 15 minutes for rest. Allow several breaks of 20-60 minutes between blocks – for lunch, a walk, relaxation, and probable force majeure.
- Make a list of tasks for the day. Count how many time blocks it will take to complete each of them.
- Set a timer. Try to fit in the time you set for yourself.
- Decrease the length of time blocks. If you see that you can do it faster, shorten the intervals, for example to 20-25 minutes.
- Strong Weak.
All things are conventionally divided into unpleasant, which frustrate and take away energy, and pleasant, which inspire, help to feel better and give energy for new achievements. J.D. Meyer calls them weak and strong, respectively. And he urges that the weak tasks in your diary should be no more than 20% and the strong ones no less than 80%.
In addition, it is better to deal with unpleasant tasks at the beginning of the day or week. That way, you can get rid of the most difficult ones and do everything else at ease. The same technique in classical time management is called “eating a frog.
You need to prioritize in order to thin out the agenda and find tasks that are not worth attention – temporarily or at all. This can be done in three steps:
- Review to-do lists with daily, weekly and monthly tasks or hotspots in different areas of life.
- Divide all tasks into three categories: Must, Should, and Could.
- Decide what to do with each task depending on its status: do it now, schedule it for a specific day, postpone it for an indefinite period of time, delegate it, or cross it off the list.
- Most likely, thanks to this method, the to-do list will at least lose some “weight” and become more meaningful and specific.
- A 30-day sprint.
Meyer recommends dedicating each month to a particular habit, skill or whole area of life, devoting maximum time to these things and making them a priority. It’s essentially like a personal marathon, although the author calls it a 30 Day Sprint or a Monthly Improvement Sprint.
In any case, thanks to such a method it is possible to improve some skills, learn new things, and become more organized. You can arrange a sprint in the following way.
At the beginning of the month, choose what you want to do. For example, to start exercising, to refresh the interior of the house, to raise the level of foreign language, to strengthen relationships with your spouse or children, to put in order the family photo archives, to gather information on how to make and promote your website, and so on. It should be something important to you or just enjoyable.
Make sure that in a month you will be able to achieve at least small results. Learning to better understand English films and TV series in this period is quite realistic, but to start your own business, write a book or dissertation, completely renovate the house – not really. You run the risk of failing and ruining your mood. Therefore, it is better to divide the sprint dedicated to a large-scale project into parts.
Give a little time each day to the chosen task. Even if it’s only 10 minutes, the main thing is consistency.
At the end of the month, sum up the results. Evaluate the result you came to, and think about what else is worth improving. And then choose a new topic for the next sprint.
- Step-by-step instructions.
Interesting ideas and desires are better to start implementing as soon as possible, without putting them off. For this purpose, Meyer suggests creating scenarios – step-by-step instructions that make the task clearer and push you to take the first steps.
For example, you want to make a personal website dedicated to you as a professional and the services you provide. If you write down “make a website” in your diary, there’s a good chance you won’t get around to it for a few months yet. The task looks big and difficult, it is not clear what to do and how to approach it.
But you can, for example, break the task into components:
- Gather information about the different platforms and website builders.
- Search for suitable examples of landing pages.
- Determine what you need for the site – text, photos, illustrations.
- If necessary, find professionals to help – a photographer to take the photos, a copywriter to write the text.
- Make a rough structure of the banding and so on.
- Such small tasks are much easier to approach. You can at least roughly estimate how much time each of them will take and include them in your schedule.
- Such a principal should do with any project.
Not all ideas, thoughts, and plans can be turned into scripts to get started right away. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be tracked and recorded. Create lists for such things. They can help you find inspiration, analyze your actions, and make sure you don’t lose sight of anything worthwhile.
These can be lists of all kinds:
- Books, movies, shows, and podcasts you want to read, watch, and listen to;
- Inspirational quotes;
- Ideas for projects;
- Useful sites and services;
- Experts and specialists to whom you can go to for this or that reason;
- Interesting thoughts and so on.
- The Agile Result
Describing the principles of her Agile Result system, Meyer quotes the opinion of psychology professor Carol Dweck. She believes that our attitudes can be conventionally divided into two types: invariance (fixed mindset) and growth (growth mindset).
People with a fixed mindset believe in fate and believe that success is determined by factors beyond their control: genetics, IQ, parental income, and so on. Those characterized by a growth mindset hold the opposite view: they determine how they will live their lives and understand that it is possible to change if not everything, then very much.
Dweck concluded that people with the second type of thinking achieve better results and generally enjoy life more. Therefore, you should try to form exactly the mentality of growth.
Remember that you are responsible for your life, you make decisions yourself, and you can make up for what you might have missed: improve your education, develop the necessary skills and abilities, work on your appearance, develop your charisma and sociability, become more organized.
Try to develop and become better every day. Such an approach will definitely make life more interesting, more meaningful and, perhaps, even more successful.