Note: This article is updated at 10 Big Ideas on Productivity from Getting Results the Agile Way.
Are you using Getting Results the Agile Way to get ahead? If you know the best ways to use your time and energy, you can get exponential results. Agile Results, the system inside of Getting Results the Agile Way, is a synthesis of proven practices for motivation, time management, and productivity.
It’s a simple system for meaningful results.
Agile Results is flexible, so you can adapt it to work for you, and you can adapt it to any situation. It’s flexible by design. Darwin taught us that nature favors the flexible, and Agile Results is all about making things happen while thriving on change. Change is a constant, so it’s a great launching pad for a time management system and personal productivity practices.
While the system itself is simple, the ideas powerful. You can use them to instantly change your approach and break through barriers or limits holding you back, or wearing you down. People that read Getting Results the Agile Way use it to get better reviews, revamp their business, do better in school, etc. To bottom line it – they use it to get better, faster, simpler results, and make the most of what they’ve got.
The beauty of the system is that you can use it to do anything better. Whether you use 30 Day Improvement Sprints, Timeboxing, The Rule of Three, or Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, Friday Reflection, there is something for everyone to help you get ahead in our ever-changing world.
Here is my roundup of 10 big ideas from Getting Results the Agile Way:
1. Three Wins.
It's easy to spend a lot of time and yet not have anything to show for it, either for yourself or others. You can change that quickly and easily simply by getting intentional about creating wins. One of the big ideas in Getting Results the Agile Way is the idea of focusing on Three Wins or outcomes each day, each week, each month, and each year, as a way to focus and prioritize your time, energy, and effort.
There's no shortage of things to do. The key is to identify your wins and go for it. You can use Three Wins to get clarity on meaningful results. Simply identify Three Wins for the day, the week, the month, and the year, that you want to focus on.
You can use Three Wins to highlight what you want to make happen in the future, and to highlight what you made happen in the past. For example, what were your three wins for last week? What were your three wins for last month? What were your three wins from yesterday?
More importantly, by carving out and identifying wins you want to achieve, you get intentional about creating compelling outcomes. When you have compelling wins that you are aiming for, they can help lift you up and “pull” you through your day because they are your personal victories.
2. Fresh Starts.
Get a fresh start each day, each week, each month. To do this, you shift from "backlog burndown" to "value up." In other words, rather than worry about what you haven't finished, instead worry about what you want to achieve with the time and energy that you actually have.
It works by "turning the page" each day, each week, each month, each year. For example, instead of looking at today as a burden of yesterday's unfinished business, look at today as a new chance to create value. Your "To Do" lists and "unfinished business" are input, but should not be your burden.
If you take this forward-looking approach, over a backward-looking approach, you can approach each day with a beginner's mind. This Fresh Start mindset will free you up to seize new opportunities in each day, each week, each month, each year. It will also help you build momentum to make things happen.
One simple way to implement a Fresh Start is to write a new "To Do" list each day and each week that reflects the three wins you wan to achieve.
3. It's Outcomes, Not Activities.
Don’t confuse activity with results. It’s easy to spend time on things, but not actually achieve anything. On the other hand, If you know what you want to accomplish, in the form of an outcome, then you can focus on that.
When you don’t know what the outcome or goal is, it’s easy to throw hours, activities, or meetings at something, and yet not actually produce any meaningful results. On the other hand, if you get clear on the outcome, you can find short-cuts.
Using outcome is a simple way to “slow down to speed up.”
4. It's Value, Not Volume.
Less is often more, if you know what the value is. And value is in the eye of the beholder. Enough said?
5. Energy is Your Force Multiplier.
You don’t get more hours in a day. But you can change your energy. And, if you use your best energy, you can amplify your impact in powerful ways.
How do you change your energy? You can draw from your mind, body, or emotions. For example, if you connect what you do with your passion, you can find your drive from the inside out. If you link what you do to good feelings, you can create habits that your body will want to do. You can use your thoughts to change your feelings, and operate at a higher level.
6. Time is a First-Class Citizen.
Time is a great way to prioritize. For example, there is only so much you can do in a day. You can use different time horizons to plot out what you’d like to achieve within the time that you actually have.
Time is also a great foundation to build your time management upon. That’s why the backbone of Agile Results is the Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, Friday Reflection pattern. The days of the week are durable. What you do with them is up to you. In this way, time is your foundation and platform for results.
The most important insight though, is that time changes what's important. That’s why “To Do” lists get stale, and you can quickly find yourself buried in a mound of irrelevant burden. The trick is to take a fresh look, each day, each week, each month, each year to see what matters now. You can also use this to look ahead and anticipate value. What will matter next month or next quarter or next year? You can use time to better understand value, and to help you make trade-offs among where to spend your time.
7. Be the Author of Your Life.
With Agile Results, you “write your story forward”, one day at a time, one moment at a time, one story at a time. You do this by choosing your wins to focus on, and by focusing on the change. The challenge is in the change, and change is where the value is. That’s also what stories are made of. Stories are about the change.
For example, you don’t just “call back a customer.” You “win a raving fan.” The one-liner story reflect a challenge, a change, and value for you and others.
You can use Agile Results to live your values and to drive from your life style. The big idea here is to connect what you do, with why you do it. When you start with your “Why”, you kindle your fire and you make things more meaningful.
Using stories to drive your day, week, month, and year, helps you connect your purpose and your passion, while flowing value along the way. In this way, not only are you the director of your life, but you are the author, writing your story forward.
8. Weekly Rhythm of Results.
In Getting Results the Agile Way, the Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, Friday Reflection pattern is a way to structure your time management and productivity by anchoring it to the week. The days of the week won't change anytime soon, so you can use this simple pattern to structure and plan your time management and productivity. It’s also a great way to create a simple learning loop of continuous improvement.
On Mondays, identify three wins you want to achieve for the week. Each day, identify three wins you want for the day. On Fridays, identify three things going well, and three things to improve. Each week, you will carry forward the insights that help you tune and improve your results.
This weekly rhythm helps you establish a simple way to flow value. You can chunk things down into your little wins each day, and overall add up to your bigger wins for the week. This is also a simple way to create progress, while also enjoying the benefits of continuous learning. Because it's anchored to days of the week, it's also easier to remember the structure. For example, if you woke up today and it was Monday, you know to identify your three wins for the week as part of Monday Vision.
If you adopt Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, Friday Reflection, you instantly have a way to plan your results on a daily and weekly basis.
9. Productive Hours and Creative Hours.
One of the most powerful ways to unleash what you’re capable of is to use your Power Hours and Creative Hours more effectively. Throughout the week, you have periods of time where you are either more productive or more creative. You also have hours that really are your downtime. For example, for many people I know, 3:00 P.M. is time for their afternoon break, myself included. I know I wont be my most productive or my most creative so I work around that, instead of fight it.
If you pay attention during the week, you’ll start to notice that there are recurring patterns of when you are at your creative best, and when you are your most productive. The key is to identify these times and to better leverage them. For example, I use my Power Hours as my most productive times of the day. I can move mountains during these times. On the other hand, I use my Creative Hours for creative breakthroughs, to figure out what’s next, or to innovate in some way, shape or form. It’s some of my best “think time” while I play with ideas.
10. Productivity is a Personal Thing.
It takes time and experimentation to find your flow and get your groove on. Agile Results is a flexible system for meaningful results. It’s designed to be “stretch to fit” and easily tailored. Rather than a rigorous system of rules, it’s a system of principles, values, and a handful of practices. It’s also designed to be inclusive of other systems. Most importantly, it’s designed to be easily shaped based on personal preference and style. Whether you want to be a productive artist or a highly-productive achiever, or simply savor more of life and achieve work-life balance, Agile Results flexes for you and with you.
The key to any system is “just enough process” so that you can adapt it as situations and circumstances change. The other key is to be rooted in principles, so that the system overall is durable and evolvable. The principles provide the stable part, while letting you easily adapt to change.
Agile Results embraces Bruce Lee’s philosophy:
“Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own.”
Agile Results is there for you. All you have to do is grab it and run with it. The book, Getting Results the Agile Way, is the best way to get started, and you can use Getting Started with Agile Results as a quick start guide.