Getting Results the Agile Way: A Personal Results System for Work and Life

Agile Results Means…

  1. Outcomes over Activities.
  2. Time as a first-class citizen
    1. Rather than try to figure out how long something might take, start by figuring out how much time you want to invest in it
  3. Fresh Start
    1. It’s about thinking in terms of delivering value over simply working through the backlog. It’s about asking and answering what’s your next best thing to do
  4. Have a Bias for Action
    1. Do it, review it, and improve it.
    2. Action creates inspiration
  5. Fix time, flex scope
    1. Fix your time as much as possible. Don’t throw more hours at a problem each day. Bite off what you can accomplish
  6. Boundaries
    1. Setting boundaries is how you can add balance to life. Spread your time and energy across the important hot spots
  7. Test for Success
  8. Approach over Results
  9. Strengths over Weaknesses
    1. Rather than spend all your time improving your weaknesses, spend your time playing to your strengths
  10. Continuous Learning

Key Values in Agile Results

  1. Action over Analysis Paralysis
  2. Approach over Results
  3. Energy over Time
  4. Focus over Quantity
  5. Good Enough over Perfection
  6. Growth Mindset over Fixed Mindset
  7. Outcomes over Activities
  8. Strengths over Weaknesses
  9. System over Ad Hoc
  10. Value Up over Backlog Burndown

Hot Spots

The key areas of life that deserve your attention. As a heat map, they help you answer the questions “what’s on your radar?”

Know your top 3 pain points and opportunities

Life Frame

  • Mind: investing time in learning thinking techniques and keeping your mind
  • Body: investing time in keeping your body in shape and learning patters and practices for health. Eating, sleeping, working out.
    • Good to set a minimum, such as 3 hours
  • Emotions: keeping your emotions healthy, learning emotional intelligence, keeping your emotions in check
  • Career: Activities and projects for your job and other professional endeavors
    • Good to set a maximum, such as 50 hours
  • Financial: investing time to learn patters and practices for building and sustaining wealth
  • Relationships: relationships at home, work, and life. Create and maintain important healthy relationships that add value
  • Fun: investing time to play and do whatever you enjoy
    • Good to set a minimum, such as 3 hours

Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, Friday Reflection

Monday Vision

  • Each Monday, identify the most important tasks for the week
  • Take the time to see the forest from the trees
  • Use the rule of 3 to help you narrow down to the three most important outcomes for the week
  • “If this were Friday, what are the three most important results I would want to show?”
  • “What would pain me the most if it weren’t done by Friday?”
  • Focus on outcomes, not activities or tasks

Daily Outcomes

  • What three things do I want to accomplish today?
  • Start by listing out your MUST items. Then any SHOULD or COULD items. Then use the rule of 3 to bubble up what’s most important.
  • Rather than base your day on things you didn’t get done in the past, base it on what you want to accomplish and on what has the most impact or value for you at this point in time.

Friday Reflection

  • Evaluate what you accomplished, or didn’t, and why
  • Identify three things that went well
  • Identify three things that need improvement
  • Evaluate your energy levels
  • Carry your lessons forward to your next Monday Vision


It’s not doing less that makes you feel better or stronger. It’s spending more time in your strengths and following your passions, and less time doing things that make you weak.

Make and keep appointments with yourself; schedule time for execution or think time as you need it

Spend more time in your strengths than in your weaknesses: Push activities that make you weak to the first part of your day, and batch them

Balance is your friend

Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Yearly Results

Design Your Day

  • Start your day
    • Start with the rule of 3
    • Startup Routine
  • Design your day
    • Scan your hotspots
    • Compelling outcomes
    • Scenario-driven results
    • Carve out time for what’s important
    • Set boundaries and limits
  • Drive your Day
    • Worst things first
    • Pace yourself
    • Power Hours
    • Test your Results
  • End your Workday
    • Dump your state
    • Hang up your hat
  • End your day
    • 4 questions to cap your day
      • What did I learn?
      • What did I improve?
      • What did I enjoy?
      • What kind act did I do?
    • Shutdown routine

Design Your Week

  • Map out your Week
    • Baseline your schedule
      • Key things to include: Sleeping, eating, working out, meetings, work time, free time, activities
    • Identify committed time
    • Map out your strengths and weaknesses
    • Identify free time
  • Design your week
    • Set boundaries and limits
    • Fix time for eating, sleeping, and working out
    • Carve out time for what’s important
    • Consolidate related activities. Task switching and hopping around can eat up a lot of your time and lessen your effectiveness.
    • Consolidate weaknesses
    • Add strengths, spend 75% of time on things that make you stronger
    • Schedule free time
  • Drive your week
    • Scan your hotspots
    • Start with the rule of three
    • Monday vision, daily outcomes, friday reflection
  • End your week
    • Friday reflection
    • Show and tell
  • Improve your week
    • Increase the number of power hours
    • Increase your creative hours
    • Schedule things you need time for
    • Add buffers, have some breathing room
    • Avoid all or nothing thinking
    • Make time to recharge
    • Experiment between morning person and night owl

Design Your Month

  • Make a list of all your outcomes
    • Imagine the month was over, what would you regret most if you didn’t complete?
  • Prioritize outcomes by MUST SHOULD COULD
    • Trim down your musts to 3 items
  • Assign outcomes to each week

Design Your Year

What if you could look back a year from now and say with confidence that you achieved the three most important changes that you could make in your life right now?

If this were next year, what 3 things would you want to be different.

If you had three wishes to grant yourself, what would you wish for?

Productivity Pitfalls

  1. Analysis Paralysis
    1. You never think you have enough knowledge to act on the problem and it always seems like there’s more you can know. It’s true, and it’s a trap.
  2. Do it when you feel like it
    1. You don’t always feel like doing things, even when they’re in your best interest. Having routines and schedules can help a lot.
  3. Don’t know the work to be done
    1. When you don’t know the work to be done, it’s very easy to get in over your head.
  4. Lack of boundaries
    1. Lack of boundaries gets in the way of work-life balance. It can be as simple as missing a meal.
  5. Perfectionism
    1. Not starting something because you know you won’t be perfect
    2. Never finishing something on time because you’re too busy perfecting it
    3. Beating yourself up over your results instead of appreciating your learning and growth

Keys to Results

  1. Results over Productivity
  2. Approach over Results
  3. Value is in the eye of the beholder
  4. The sweet spot between talent, passion, and value
  5. Efficiency and effectiveness. Efficiency is doing things better, effectiveness is doing the right things
  6. Meaningful work
  7. Motivation + Technique. If you have motivation without technique you’re a motivated idiot. Technique without motivation and you won’t accomplish anything.
  8. Boundaries are your friend
  9. Time, Energy, and Technique
  10. From Unconscious Incompetence to Unconscious Competence
    1. Unconscious incompetence: you don’t know what you don’t know
    2. Conscious incompetence: you know what you don’t know
    3. Conscious competence: You can think your way through an exercise and perform it with some conscious effort
    4. Unconscious competence: You can perform the task without thinking about it
  11. Have a bias for action
  12. Results build momentum
  13. Actions speak louder than words
  14. You can’t argue with results
  15. Passion is your fuel
  16. You get what you focus on
  17. Leadership is influence

Strategies for Results

  1. Goals are vehicles. Make SMART goals
  2. Know your own rhythms and cycles
  3. Treat time as a valuable resource
  4. Fix time, flex scope. Effective 40-hour workweeks beat inefficient 50,60,70,80 hour workweeks. Energy goes up when time is fixed–there’s always an end in sight.
  5. Ask what’s the next best thing to do
  6. Value delivered is more important than backlog burndown. Backlogs rot with time.
  7. Make it a project, chunk it up