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Productivity System Overview: “Getting Results the Agile Way”

Productivity System Overview: “Getting Results the Agile Way”

    If you have read anything that I have written on Lifehack.org, you probably already know that I am a complete Getting Things Done junky. But, like any good lover of productivity pr0n, I tend to look online for the “next best thing” when it comes to productivity systems and implementations.

    Recently I listened to Scott Hanselman’s software development podcast, Hanselminutes, on his own personal productivity system. This guy is a telecommuting, programming animal, so I was intrigued to see what he had to say.

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    Besides the normal use of GTD, Steven Covey’s 7 Habits, and the infamous Pomodoro Technique, Mr. Hanselman mentioned a book by another programmer, J.D. Meier, called Getting Results the Agile Way. This system takes some cues from the Agile software development methodology (more here at Wikipedia) and is a system based on producing results rather than activities, having boundaries and set tasks and goals you want to accomplish, and making time your best friend.

    This system seems pretty interesting and effective once you read into it. Let’s take a look at the key points of the Agile Way productivity system.

    What’s so different about this system?

    If you are a GTDer you may sometimes feel that you are bogged down in the minutiae of everyday task management, blindly checking off tasks as you finish them. If you are a 7 Habits kind of person then you may get caught up in the question, “What’s my life purpose?”.

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    The Agile Way offers a slightly different approach . It concentrates on the outcomes of your actions rather than the activities of checking things off your list. This approach has more of a directive off the bat, whereas GTD says that you need to clear the runway level before you get to defining what you want to do with your life.

    The Agile way also is all about reflection and making sure that you are producing some sort of results in your days, weeks, months, and years. The system takes the idea that projects and tasks are always changing, and because of that it is important to make sure that your plans of action are still valid and still producing results.

    Something else that Meier’s stresses is the power of “3”, and the first he lays out is the idea of using your Time, Energy, and Technique to continuously produce results. He says that if you manage your energy effectively by living with passion regarding your work, you can use your time, energy and passion, to produce better and more quality results.

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    The system explained

    You are probably thinking, “OK, enough with the na-na-nu-nu, energy equals results stuff. How do I use this system?”

    Meier’s has a really great “getting started” guide on the book’s site. Basically the system revolves around the power of “3”. Here are the basic steps:

    • Define 3 outcomes for your day
    • Define 3 outcomes for your week
    • Define 3 outcomes for your month
    • and define 3 outcomes for your year

    Basically, you want to identify the 3 things you want to accomplish for your day, week, month, and year and then at the end of each respective period review your results, find where you can grow and improve your technique, and plan again.

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      The Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, and Friday Reflection pattern is a simple habit for daily and weekly results. source: http://gettingresults.com/wiki/Getting_Started_with_Agile_Results

      Another nice idea is the “Weekly Results” paradigm where you first identify your “Monday Vision”, review your “Daily Outcomes, and then follow up the week with your “Friday Reflection”. This reminds me of the GTD weekly review, but allows you to be even more active with reviewing your actions and results.

      There are a ton of extra subtleties to the system, like creating time boundaries for certain portions of your life (Meier calls them “hotspots”) like, work, family, fun, creativity, spirituality, etc. By setting minimum and maximum times for these areas of your life, you are creating some sort work/life balance.

      First impressions

      Overall, I am extremely impressed with Meier’s system. So, impressed that I couldn’t believe that I haven’t heard of it before. What I like about it most is that it gives you some sort of direction for your days, weeks, months, and years. GTD is awesome at helping you identify and organize what needs to get done, but sometimes falls short in the actual “doing” part of the process. I could totally see a hybrid approach with GTD and the Agile Way to take stock of your current workload and then define what needs done during your weeks.

      Another nice thing about the Agile Way is that it is instantly implementable. You can sit down with a pen and paper (or a spreadsheet, Evernote, OneNote, text file, etc. for you geeky types) and start to define your day and week. This allows you to start concentrating immediately and isn’t filled with the initial overhead of GTD.

      So, I highly suggest that you take a look at Getting Results the Agile Way. You can pick up the dead tree edition at Amazon or read the entire book at the book’s site.

      More by this author

      CM Smith

      A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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      Last Updated on April 9, 2020

      10 Things High Achievers Do to Attain Greatness

      10 Things High Achievers Do to Attain Greatness

      Do you ever secretly wish that you could achieve more with your time? You are not alone. Most people want more from their lives but simply don’t know where to start.

      The good news is that learning to accomplish greatness in your life is totally possible if you learn to study other successful high achievers.

      Find out what sparkling new patterns you want to implement in your own life by studying what real high achievers do in the round up below.

      1. They Know What They Want.

      That seems pretty obvious, but if you don’t have a clear goal, dream or desire in mind, how will you know when you’ve gotten where you wanted to be?

      Successful people have clear goals and a clear vision for how to get there.

      For example, Albert Einstein remained obsessed with the big questions and problems of physics, and he knew exactly what he wanted to do: he wanted to answer the questions and solve the problems that no one else had been able to. And guess what? He did just that.

      High achievers dream specific, plan smart, and confidently strive toward success.

      2. They Focus on Their Goals.

      Once achievers know what they want, they are tenacious and focused on forward progress toward their goals. They don’t run over people or deliberately hurt people to get what they want, but they do stay focused on the end goal in all their interactions and daily tasks.

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      Elon Musk, with a net worth of $21.2 billion, is considered revolutionary.[1] Some might have seen his plans to totally reinvent transportation methods, including fantasy-like transportation methods in outer space, a little silly. But Musk proved them all wrong by staying focused on his goals with hawk-like attention to detail. He spends hours and hours at the office focusing on his goals in order to achieve them.

      Learn How to Stay Focused on Your Goals in a Distracting World.

      3. They Are Passionate.

      It’s very helpful when reaching for a big goal to not just get excited by it, but to truly be passionate about it.

      High achievers often talk about how much fun they are having, or say that they would do what they do even if they weren’t getting paid (and in the beginning, they probably weren’t). That’s the kind of passion and positive outlook you need to achieve your highest goals.

      Bill Gates, creator of Microsoft, began his successful career early in life by simply being excited about things like video games and computers. You can be like Gates too. Identify your passions and pursue them in your career.

      4. They Don’t Procrastinate.

      Some of the things we have to do to meet our goals or achieve our dreams are not very easy, but high achievers are able to focus on what needs to get done and actually do it instead of living in a world of dreams. They have a plan and they can follow it starting right now.

      Even though you may not be into arts, you must have heard of Vincent van Gogh, one of the most influential artists of all time. He is a perfect example of someone who not only dared to dream, but also dared to act.

      Instead of procrastinating or staying in a rut, he made a choice to pursue art and dove in head-first. Although he only worked for about ten years due to a tragically short life, van Gogh produced an estimated 900 paintings and more than 1,000 drawings.[2]

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      If you want to get more out of your life, then stop dreaming and start taking actions today, not tomorrow: How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

      5. They Create Their Own Opportunities.

      True achievers know that they don’t have to be stuck in a box – they can create their own story through hard work.

      Brené Brown is a respected social researcher and increasingly popular speaker and author. She has been hosted on Oprah. She has written and published a slew of popular self-help books, and she has one of the most-watched TEDx talks in history.

      Interestingly, Brown didn’t start her story in a glamorous way. In fact, many social sciences professionals scoffed at her unusual methods of research and her passion for the topic of vulnerability and shame. Brown, however, continued forging her own path until she reached her destination: greatness.

      Brown is a striking example of a person who knew what she wanted and paved her way into her own story of success with dedication. High achievers know that nothing good comes without hard work. They are willing to create their own opportunities and don’t expect to be handed cookie-cutter dreams in life.

      6. They Have Positive Attitudes.

      Studies of high-performing students find that the happiest students are those who excel most academically.[3] The same holds true for adults in business and in life.

      If you have a good attitude, enjoy what you’re doing and remember that setbacks are temporary, it’s a lot easier to be successful. Without negativity, there’s nothing to hold you back from achieving whatever it is you want to achieve.

      A positive attitude also helps people to think of what they are doing as important, which is a great way to stay motivated and working toward a goal.

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      Jim Carey, the famous comedian and actor, began looking for gigs as a teenager. At age fifteen, he performed onstage and completely disappointed the crowd with a less-than-successful first performance. Carey ultimately succeeded, though, by maintaining a positive outlook. He is known for visualizing success, staying positive, and continuing to work hard.

      7. They Have a Team They Can Count On.

      High achievers know they can’t do everything themselves. There’s a time very early on when you can go it alone, but even the smallest startups need help. It’s actually easier for a company‒or a dream‒to grow more quickly if there are more people engaged in making it work.

      Your team could even be one or two trusted individuals who have your back when things get hard. Stephen King, an iconic author, submitted one of his first novels, “Carrie”, to more than 30 publishers. He received rejection after rejection and even threw his manuscript in the trash. His wife was his team; she pulled the manuscript out of the trash and asked him to try again. “Carrie” was a hit and became a springboard to a successful writing career spanning more than 50 bestsellers.

      High achievers are able to foster great relationships and build teams that can help them achieve what they want even faster. They tend to have an eye for talent and are good at attracting the right people to their teams.

      If you want to be a better leader, these tips can help: How to Master Your Management Skills and Build a Strong Team

      8. They Take Time for Themselves.

      Amid all this hard work, multitasking and big dreaming, high achievers know they need to take care of themselves too. Getting sick in the middle of a major launch isn’t good for anyone.

      So a lot of stories you read about people who’ve had a lot of success will note that they eat well, exercise regularly, try to get enough sleep and even occasionally take time away from the office to refuel.

      Emma Stone, a highly esteemed actress, is open with the media about her struggle with anxiety and stress.[4] She reportedly practices self-compassion, meditation, and self-kindness to take care of herself.

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      Successful people know that sacrifice is often required for success, but they understand what they need to do to keep their bodies and minds performing well.

      9. They Don’t Bad-Mouth Others.

      High achievers know better than to burn bridges. They practice the advice that you shouldn’t say bad things about others, and they usually listen more than they speak.

      They also tend not to compare themselves to others or get envious. They’re so focused on what they want to do that they don’t stop to look around at what others are doing.

      10. They Never Quit.

      Tyler Perry, an accomplished director, writer, and performer, faced early failures in both his personal life and professional life. Perry pushed through these personal challenges and dealt with failure after failure with his first production. Finally, his production gained momentum, and he is now successful because he never gave up.

      High achievers are tenacious, sticking to their plans and goals as long as they need to in order to get where they want to be. If they didn’t stick with it, they wouldn’t achieve anything.

      Final Thoughts

      Success and achievement are not just for the people mentioned above — they are for you, too!

      Unlock your future by finding your passions and goals, and working hard. Pay attention to what other high achievers around you are doing, and follow suit.

      Before you know it, you will be creating your own famous success story.

      More Tips About Achieving Success

      Featured photo credit: Fabrizio Verrecchia via unsplash.com

      Reference

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