Table of Contents
Foreword A Word from the Author Introduction

Part I – Approach
Chapter 1 – Why Agile Results? Chapter 2 – Agile Results Overview Chapter 3 – Values, Principles, and Practices of Agile Results Chapter 4 – Hot Spots Chapter 5 – Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, Friday Reflection

Part II – Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Yearly Results
Chapter 6 – Design Your Day Chapter 7 – Design Your Week Chapter 8 – Design Your Month Chapter 9 – Design Your Year

Part III – Results Ex plained
Chapter 10 – Results Frame, Personas, and Pitfalls Chapter 11 – 25 Key s to Results Chapter 12 – 25 Strategies for Results Chapter 13 – Motivation Chapter 14 – Mindsets and Metaphors

Appendix
Cheat Sheet – Agile Results at a Glance Cheat Sheet – Supporting Practices Defined Template – Daily Planner Template – Weekly Planner 2

Template – Monthly Planner Template – Yearly Planner Template – Schedule at a Glance How To – Adopt Agile Results How To – Adopt the 12 Core Practices of Agile Results How To – Have a Strong Week Additional Resources

Dedication Acknowledgements Copy right

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

by J.D. Meier

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Getting Results the Agile Way Copy right © 2010 by Innovation Play house LLC All rights reserved. This book may not be reproduced in whole or in part, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review, without permission in writing from the author or publisher. For information, please contact us: Innovation Play house LLC PMB 325 227 Bellevue Way NE Bellevue, WA 98004 Email: innovationplay house@gmail.com Website: http://www.gettingresults.com Agile Results® and Agile Way ™ are trademarks of Innovation Play house LLC in the United States and/or other countries. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data has been applied for. ISBNs: Print: 978-0-9845482-0-0 Kindle: 978-0-9845482-1-7 PDF: 978-0-9845482-2-4 EPUB: 978-0-9845482-3-1 Legal Notice: While all attempts have been made to verify information provided in this publication, the publisher and the author do not assume any responsibility for errors, omissions, or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein. Further, readers should be aware that information in this book, including URL and other Internet Website references, is subject to change without notice. 5

Neither the publisher nor the author assumes any responsibility or liability whatsoever on behalf of any purchaser or reader of these materials. The purchaser or reader of this publication assumes responsibility for the use of these materials and information. Please remember that each individual’s success depends on his or her background, dedication, and motivation; there is no certain guarantee that y ou will get specific results.

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To Eileen, Mom, Dad, Beck, and Brad

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Dennis Groves. Alik Levin. Mohammad Al-Sabt. Donald Latumahina. Per Vonge Nielsen. Jason Tay lor. Gordon Meier. Sameer Tarey. David K. Andrew Kazy revich.com). Larry Brader. Sean Platt. Stewart. Rohit Sharma. Chaitany a Bijwe. Jimmy May. Richard Diver. Eduardo Jezierski. Jill Heron. Kevin Lam. Brian Maslowski. Peter Larsson. John deVadoss. Janine de Ny sschen. Mike de Libero. Gloria Campbell. Vidy a Vrat Agarwal. Erin M. Ethan Zaghmut. Michael Stiefel. Olivier Fontana.Acknowledgements I’d like to thank the following people for help with this book: Adam Grocholski. Julian Gonzalez. Karp. Molly Clark. Loren Kohnfelder. Paul Enfield. Samantha Sieverling. for their helpful feedback. Phil Huang. my blog. Rick Kirschner. Rob Boucher Jr. David Zinger. Eileen Meier. Steve Kay ser. David Wright. Wade Mascia I would also like to thank my loy al readers of (http://SourcesOfInsight. Daniel Rubiolo Mendoza. Patrick Lanfear. Anutthara Bharadwaj. Andy Eunson. Scott Stabbert. Rudolph Araujo. Jeremy Bostron. Prashant Bansode. Scott Young. Michael Kropp. Andrea Fox. Juliet du Preez. Don Willits. Dr. John Allen. Mark Curphey. Chenelle Bremont. Srinath Vasireddy. Praveen Rangarajan. Sources of Insight 8 . Tom Draper. Scott Hanselman. Mike Torres..

May y ou enjoy the rewards of bringing value. To that end. we seek out the tools and practices that will bring about that success. As is the law of nature. In the past. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. Having these great tools and practices that really work will help y ou to embrace change. When we recognize we aren’t getting the right result. we adapt and change our documented plan that is no longer working for us. there are several core premises that we follow to make impact and get results. I’ve seen J. he has shared the approach with any one who has asked. This is precisely where Getting Results the Agile Way can help. Most of these models usually fall short because they fail to factor in the “ability to adapt” as a primary premise. we don’t necessarily throw every thing out. and monthly —all without losing sight of the end game or y our long term objectives. When it comes to books. those of us in software development will find some of the concepts in the book familiar. but we evaluate our standing plan. and think through what’s most important to get done daily. If it has become out of date. Now. Although written for a wider audience. weekly. With agile software development techniques. One of the things I like most about the book is it has simple tools and techniques to help y ou break a problem down.” promising to improve efficiency and effectiveness if we just follow their prescription for success. and getting results! 9 . Bottom line is it’s all about the impact—not the activities. It happens in y our job and in y our personal life.Foreword One thing is certain—change happens. there are a wide variety of books that describe the next new “approach” or “method. he shares it with the rest of y ou. Meier time and time again use the core principles outlined in Getting Results the Agile Way to deliver outstanding value which has had a positive impact for our customers and partners across the world.D. These Agile practices have become mainstream in the software development arena because they really help y ou get better results and have a greater impact. One of my favorite quotes on change is from John F. determine the key outcomes. making an impact. our ability to adapt to change determines our success. Getting Results the Agile Way has “adaptability ” baked into the entire framework so y ou’ll be able to factor in and manage changes when they happen instead of them managing y ou. Kennedy : Change is the law of life.

Michael Kropp General Manager.Sincerely . Microsoft Corporation 10 .

and challenges that were bey ond my skills at the time. I could optimize for my main scenarios. One of the first things I did to survive was study the best of the best. For example. to fail right off the bat. For example. deal with it now and be done). Every day I had to play catch up from the day before. I learned the power of information management . I had to find the most effective technique possible. “Whatever doesn’t kill y ou makes y ou stronger. focus.” There were no boundaries to my day s. I found that keeping a simple list of actions outside of my email versus letting my inbox drive me. I learned that by setting time limits on things like administration and email. I learned the power of technique . we affectionately called this scenario. I learned the power of project management . Without time limits. and prioritization. Simply getting organized helped me get unnecessary information out of my way. I got more email than I could possibly read. my job went from working on smaller customer issues to driving projects and leading teams around the world. I simply threw more hours at any problem: I treated time as my silver bullet. more action items than I could possibly do. and I didn’t have the play book.e. Once I set limits. I couldn’t consistently produce effective results. I learned every thing I could about productivity from any body who was willing to share their sy stem with me.” However..” It reminded me of the say ing. I was overwhelmed. I didn’t notice this because I simply threw more time at problems. Of course. I hadn’t moved across the country. and helped me find the important information faster. I could better prioritize and focus. while others were “follow up. I found people in the company that got results. Inside the team. When I first joined Microsoft more than 10 y ears ago. When I moved to the patterns & practices team in Microsoft. each day bled into night. I was amazed how factoring out action from reference helped me cut my information overload. but never actually used. I learned the power of time management. I had to learn how to break big problems down and make progress over 11 . By pay ing attention to how I used information. but saved me countless wasted time and effort. some things were “fire and forget” (i. and I learned from them. leaving every thing and every one I knew behind. “trial by fire. when I didn’t have time limits.A Word from the Author Results was the name of the game. I learned to be accountable for my time. but I really was robbing Peter to pay Paul. It was a sink or swim environment. and I was consistently “burning the midnight oil. Without a technique.” I was amazed at how much information I had optimized for look up. not only put me in control.

I honed my sy stem. I learned to invest my life force in the following areas which I call Hot Spots: mind. It was one thing for me to get results. Through a lot of pain. budget. I realized how that impacted other areas of my life.D. I needed a sy stem for getting new people on each team up to speed quickly. body. Because I was continuously building new project teams. but it has been quite another to package it up for other people. and practices to integrate what I learned from productivity. project management. The result is a time-tested sy stem that scales up for large teams and down for individuals—it is a sy stem I can bet on time and again. I learned the impact of constraints in terms of time. it’s easy to get back on. I stepped back and focused on the principles. I learned the power of flexibility. and how to maximize the impact of the overall team. career. I could only spend my time and energy on so many things. so I learned that I need to be flexible. I’ve learned to find balance. the sum became more than the parts.time. The most important thing is that it’s simple. Learning project management helped me learn the discipline of getting results on big problems spread over time. financial. As the say ing goes. The problems I found with the sy stems I tried were that they were all or nothing. I learned to play to my strengths. and lean it down to the most effective parts. —J. positive psy chology. software development. emotions. while maximizing my results. I wanted to get out from under my backlogs. or they were tools-oriented. and I wanted agility and the ability to focus on opportunity. The buckets support each other. and fun. resources. I tested a lot of productivity sy stems. so if I fall off the horse. Under-investing in one area. just as over-investing in an area can take its toll. and feedback. “Necessity is the mother of invention. or they made me a slave to tasks and action items.” These challenges forced me to simplify my sy stem. and leadership skills. and so does my sy stem. Lastly. 12 . When I was investing too much in work. while setting boundaries and limits. or they were too complicated. By investing in those buckets. relationships. trial and error. limits y our results in other areas. Balance and sy nergy are y our friends. but if I spent my time and energy in the right things. As I mentored people and teams around Microsoft to help them get results. I learned the power of balance . This guide is the play book that I wish somebody had given me so many y ears ago for getting results. patterns. and energy. There's no one-size-fits-all. The key to balance is to know these buckets and then invest wisely. I learned that I needed to treat life like a portfolio of investments.

outlines its structure. and shows y ou how to apply the guidance to y our specific needs. This chapter introduces the guide.and long-term results. Agile Results® is a new. powerful sy stem for getting results. and it works for all aspects of y our life—from work to fun. It’s a sy stematic way to achieve both short. y our ability to learn and respond is one of y our most crucial skills to go from surviving to thriving. and they just aren't working any more. The key to achieving results in today ’s world is agility. Agile Results provides just enough planning to get y ou going but makes it easy to change course as needed. In a changing world. This produces effective results by focusing on outcomes over activities. 13 . Traditional methods are static.Introduction Agile means the ability to respond to change.

Adopt the approach and practices that work for y ou and incorporate them into y our daily routines.About This Guide This guide details a principle-based approach for getting results. as well as patterns and practices for great results. Agile Results is designed with the big picture in mind. and y early basis. while helping y ou live y our values and play to y our strengths. weekly. A mentor. monthly . A reference. balancing work and life. Use the guide as y our mentor for learning how to achieve y our objectives. The following are some of the many way s to use this comprehensive guide: A system for results. The guide provides end-to-end guidance for improving results on a daily. 14 . Use the guide as a reference and to learn principles. The guide encapsulates the experience and lessons learned from many subject matter experts.

and y ear using Agile Results. The guide is structured into three parts plus an appendix. week. Yearly Results” Part II explains designing y our day . “Results Explained” Part III provides a solid foundation for results. and practices. “Approach” Part I provides an overview of the Agile Results approach. Part I. It also explains the key s to motivation. Part III. 15 . Appendix This section provides step-by -step instructions and tools for turning the guidance into action. principles. Monthly. or use it as a reference for specific needs. Weekly. It includes a set of guiding principles and key strategies for achieving results. month.How This Guide Is Organized Read this guide from beginning to end. Hot Spots are introduced. along with key values. Part II. “Daily.

By understanding the motivation for the sy stem first. II. Read “How To – Adopt Agile Results” and “How To – Adopt the 12 Core Practices of Agile Results” in the Appendix section of this guide. and how-tos. this how-to describes a path that puts it all together.How to Read This Guide The following table shows a number of way s to get started. or better y et. “Chapter 1 – Why Agile Results?” presents the motivation for Agile Results. they can give y ou better footing in the sy stem. templates. If y ou want to simply start test driving Agile Results. Energy. describing the problem it 16 . (2) Monday Vision. and (3) Hot Spots. The overview helps y ou understand the big picture and puts context to the procedures that come afterwards. y ou'll have that in the back of y our mind as y ou read other material. actionable guidance. Flip to the back of the guide for the Appendix section. and having a “Why ” are important concepts found in this book. motivation. It provides quick. The first section of this guide—Part I. building on earlier concepts. Daily Outcomes. If y ou want to explore key techniques in Agile Results. The second section of this guide—the Appendix—is an in-depth reference. where y ou’ll find cheat sheets. y ou can immediately start getting the benefits of work-life balance and focused results. Friday Reflection pattern. Scenario Approach As a guide … As a reference … Simply read the guide end-to-end. the best way is to start with “How To – Adopt Agile Results” in the Appendix section. each chapter presents the big ideas. Just by adopting these three parts. read “How To – Adopt the 12 Practices of Agile Results. of course. and focuses on highlights. the best way to get the most value from the guide. step-by -step guidance for adopting the three key parts of Agile Results: (1) The Rule of 3. providing specific. and III—is intended to be read end-to-end. Reading the book from beginning to end is. This is the simplest way to get started and provides an incremental approach to adopting Agile Results.” You can adopt the practices incrementally. Take a test drive … This guide is really two books in one.

When y ou read “Chapter 3 – Values. 17 . When y ou read “Chapter 2 – Agile Results Overview.addresses and what makes it different and effective. Principles. and Practices of Agile Results. The rest of the guide provides support and detailed advice to ensure best results as y ou implement the sy stem and integrate it into y our life.” y ou’ll have a good understanding of the main parts of Agile Results.” y ou’ll have a thorough understanding of the sy stem.

Daily Outcomes. and Practices of Agile Results Chapter 4 – Hot Spots Chapter 5 – Monday Vision. Principles. Friday Reflection 18 .Part I – Approach In This Part: Chapter 1 – Why Agile Results? Chapter 2 – Agile Results Overview Chapter 3 – Values.

Chapter 1 – Why Agile Results? Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked. —Bruce Lee 19 . while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.

just doesn’t work in today ’s world. 20 . Instead. Don’t let the simplicity fool y ou. You can even apply Agile Results to y our existing productivity sy stem by apply ing the principles and practices. Agile Results is elegance in action. and emotions. as well as in private life. may be switch careers once or twice. Before going into the nuts and bolts of a solution. This chapter explains how Agile Results differs from other sy stems y ou may have seen or tried. Learn how to improve y our life with effective results. it’s important to know the problem it solves and what sets it apart. as well as what distinguishes it as effective for every thing y ou apply it to. Rethink y our goals. It’s a cross-discipline approach for results that combines some of the most effective techniques in human performance for y our mind. Agile is the ability to respond to change. y our ability to learn and respond is one of the most crucial skills to go from surviving to thriving. That doesn’t mean give up planning. May be when y ou grew up. and then retire happily ever after. Learn the three key s to results.In This Chapter Learn how Agile Results is different from other sy stems. learn how to adjust y our sails to the winds and tides and sail wherever it is y ou want to go with y our life. Mini-goals and actions go a long way towards y our biggest and most impactful results. In a changing world. It’s been tested in some of the most complex working environments. It combines the art and the science of results. Rather than a static set of dreams and ideals. test y our results along the way and carve out the path that works for y ou. learn a job. Agile Results is a flexible sy stem for getting meaningful results. This big up-front design and long-term planning. One of the most important concepts in Agile Results is the idea of agility. y ou thought y ou could go to school. body.

Scrum and Agile practices are helping individuals and teams prioritize more effectively. Highly effective project management techniques are available today for managing scope. 21 . What’s needed is an understanding of the art of results. There’s a gap between the state of the art and the state of the practice. the State of the Practice There are many state-of-the-art techniques people around the world are using every day to improve their results and amplify their impact. You regularly feel overwhelmed and drained. They even help athletes use stress to be their best. focus and results of world class athletes. The state of the practice looks more like this: You can’t keep up with change. sports psy chologists have great techniques for improving the energy. and scheduling. y ou learn the least about the most important thing that can change y our life. You don’t finish what y ou start. Yet. and things are changing faster than ever. the full potential of all this learning is rarely achieved in practice. and respond to change. In software. The problem is. What does get finished isn’t what y ou actually wanted. while y ou may learn a lot of things in school or on the job. You feel like there’s never enough time. estimating work.The State of the Art vs. For example. get to working results faster.

Identify up front at what point do diminishing returns become unacceptable. start taking action and testing y our results. four hours for 22 . Fresh Start. This will help y ou cut y our losses and figure out how to optimize y our time. It’s about doing “good enough” for now. You can also fix time within work. and throwing more time and energy at problems won’t necessarily produce the results y ou want. Windows of opportunity are important. You get a fresh start each day. A simple way to remember this is “Do it. What was important last month or last week might not be what’s important now. This also includes using timeboxes effectively. Outcomes are the results y ou want to accomplish. For example. Just doing more activities. and improve it. It’s about asking and answering what’s y our next best thing to do. Time as a First-Class Citizen. Test Your Results. checking off items from a task list. start by figuring out how much time y ou want to invest in it. time is a first-class citizen. Outcomes provide a lens for focus. and working out. y ou define what good will look like and y ou give y ourself a compelling path to work towards. and versioning y our results. each week. rather than try to figure out how long something might take.What Makes Agile Results Different? What makes Agile Results different is that it integrates the world’s best techniques for results. 1. Outcomes over Activities. y ou’ll find that action creates inspiration. That’s the agile part—be responsive to what’s important now. Working on the right things to produce the right results for y our current situation is a recipe for success. the inspiration can follow. each month. It’s about thinking in terms of delivering value over simply working through y our backlog or crossing off a laundry list of to-dos. Flex Scope. y ou set y ourself up for success. What y ou take on is just as important as what y ou let go or “slough off. Use feedback to improve y our plans. Testing y our results is a way to find the risks and surprises earlier versus later. It’s like going to see a movie and then enjoy ing it more than y ou expected. each y ear. review it. y ou can decide that work is an eight hour day within which y ou set timeboxes to produce results: an hour for administration.” You don’t want to be a beast of burden where one more straw breaks y our back. sleeping. Fix Time. 4. For example. Have a bias for action. 5. A lot of people wait for their moment of inspiration before they start. but what they don’t realize is that simply by starting. The main thing is to set a fixed time for eating. In Agile Results. Time changes what’s important. If y ou fall off the horse. Rather than do a bunch of analy sis and commit to a big plan up front. y ou can get back on. 2. By starting with outcomes. By fixing time.” In addition. 3.

You also don’t want to burn y ourself out by just throwing y our energy into things. 7. The Rhythm of Results. y ou identify y our tests for success. for example. Knowing y our tests for success helps y ou prioritize. By using more effective techniques. You won’t throw more hours at the problem each day. monthly. tell y ourself. “What will good look like?” Simply by figuring out the three outcomes y ou want for the day. Your approach should play to y our strengths and limit y our weaknesses. This is how y ou use y our time and energy more effectively . “I’ll spend no more than an hour on that. Within that time frame. execution. weekly. If y ou miss a train. You can spread y our time and energy across the important Hot Spots. Boundaries are simply minimums and maximums. Your approach is y our foundation. Setting boundaries is how y ou can add balance to y our life. Version y our results over time. 9. and Technique. tell y ourself. for example. At the same time. This is about flowing value incrementally. Approach over Results. spend y our time play ing to y our strengths. Think of it as a set of trains that come and go from the station. It’s what y ou fall back on when y ou don’t know the way forward. At a higher level. What y ou won’t do is flex time. the week. y ou might fix time to be a 40-hour or 50-hour work week. Your approach should be consistent with y our values. Time. 11. 10. Tests for Success. y ou want to catch certain trains because of y our time frames and windows of opportunity . Energy. Rather than spend all y our time improving y our weaknesses. You have an idea of what y ou want to accomplish and what good will look like. “I’ll stop when I start to feel tired. They throw all their time in one area at the expense of other areas. energy. 8. Setting boundaries is a key to success. and the y ear. two hours for think time. y ou will bite off the work y ou can do. and technique.6. and a minimum of an hour on communication and relationships. You’ll gradually learn to bite off what y ou can accomplish and manage y our plate more effectively . Boundaries. How y ou accomplish y our results is more important than the results themselves in the long run.” You can set boundaries in terms of energy . the month. The rhy thm of results is y our daily. They ’ll work on something until they crash. y ou can amplify y our results. Your tests for success answer the question. and y early results. You can set boundaries with time.” Most people trip up by not setting boundaries. You should also be able to improve y our approach over time. Strengths over Weaknesses. y ou can catch the next one. You don’t want to just throw more time at problems. You’ll produce more effective results by spending the right time and energy on the right things. Your results are a combination of time. Iterate on y our results. Your approach should be sustainable. While it’s important to reduce 23 .

and ultimately y our results. and changing y our approach. y ou’ll go further.y our liabilities. In areas that y ou are weak. When y ou have a sy stem. It’s about taking action. y ou can find more effective mentors or pair up with other people who help y ou amplify y our results. In the next chapters. while it’s another to have a sy stem y ou can count on. When y ou have routines for how y ou produce results. and testing new way s to achieve y our results. y ou’ll improve the way y ou produce results. Continuous Learning. y ou’ll see the “What” and “How” behind Agile Results. and produce more effective results by spending more time in y our strengths. one of y our best moves is to partner or team up with others that supplement y ou. y ou can tune and prune what works for y ou. y our passions. y ou can learn and improve. Learning is a first-class citizen. Skills aren’t static. You’ll see how to achieve y our best results by combining the power of multiple patterns and practices. Improving the way y ou produce results. 13. While improving y our results. y our bottlenecks. System over Ad Hoc. 24 . It’s about personalizing y our approach and continuously refining it to meet y our needs. 12. If y ou can’t outsource y our weaknesses. have more passion. y our weaknesses. getting the feedback. The world’s not static. Your weekly reflection will help y ou learn more about y ourself in terms of y our strengths. You’re not static. It’s about letting go of what’s not working. It’s one thing to produce results randomly. will improve y our enjoy ment and fulfillment no matter what y ou work on.

y ou make things happen. Knowing how to produce results effectively and efficiently. You spend less time working but produce more effective results. You regularly enjoy power hours and creative hours to unleash y our best results. changes y our game. You have a rhy thm of results that helps y ou get up to bat time and again. 25 .Life’s Better with Results When y ou lead a life of results. You find y our best work-life balance. and Agile Results helps y ou with that too. Whether it’s getting y our body in shape. Sometimes having fun is the result y ou want. You’re responsive to change and have unlimited energy to take on whatever life throws y our way . You play to y our strengths and live y our values. results is the name of the game. achieving excellence at work. You learn the best way s of doing things over time and avoid painful pitfalls. or just getting things done around the house. Here are some examples of how Agile Results can work for y ou: You find y our flow and are focused and engaged in whatever y ou do.

The Way of Results The way of results is moving forward. You get more out of life when y ou know what y ou want to get. You get more out of life when y ou have a sustainable approach. The key is a flexible approach that supports y ou. It’s taking action. It’s learning over failing. It’s valuing y our time. 26 . It’s having an enjoy able journey towards a compelling end in mind. It’s outcomes over activities. It’s balancing y our demands. It’s growth over decline. It’s meaningful results.

3 Keys to Results You can master y our time management only to spend y our time on the wrong things. What are the real key s to results? 27 . You can master task management and miss windows of opportunity .

Figure 1. but y ou can change y our level of energy. The Key to Time Management Is Energy Management Managing y our energy is how y ou produce more results in the same amount of time. y ou improve y our results. Key 1. 28 .1 Three Keys to Results There are three key s that can change y our game pretty quickly . You don’t get more hours in a day. If y ou can spend more time in y our power hours or add more power hours to y our week.

If y ou’ve thrown time and energy at problems. Your mind. Energy and Technique The key to results is using y our time and energy more effectively and efficiently. You can eat right. if y ou’ve approached productivity as simply managing time. sleep like a baby. 29 . simply by swapping out for more effective techniques. body . think of y our mind. and emotions. but y ou don’t have enough energy. if y ou have a lot of energy. but y ou don’t have the right technique. and get ripped at the gy m. In contrast. If y ou throw time at a problem. and emotions play off each other. The Key to Results Is Time. For example. then y ou’ve potentially missed out on producing meaningful results or play ing to y our passions. y ou can churn and burn. If y ou’ve tackled productivity as an exercise in task management. Key 3. y ou can get phy sically drained. y ou can spend way more time than y ou need to. mentally drained. On the other hand. body. The key is to spend y our time working on the right things with y our best energy and the best techniques. The Key to Energy Management Is Passion Living with passion is a key to y our best results. but never actually get the results y ou want. When y ou think about energy . The three key s of results are shifts in thinking.Key 2. You will see how to apply these key s throughout this guide. there’s a good chance that y ou can get back a lot of time and energy each week. Your energy depends on fulfilling y our passions. but y ou didn’t focus on exploring y our techniques. then y ou’ve missed out on the benefits of managing energy. or emotionally drained. and y ou throw time at the problem. You can’t just throw time at problems.

There are three key s to results: (1) improve y our results by improving y our energy . (2) spend more time in y our passion to improve y our energy . energy . 30 . and (3) combine time. Agile Results has a special emphasis on simplicity . There is a gap between the state of the art and the state of the practice when it comes to results. and technique for y our most effective results.In Summary Agile Results is a personal productivity sy stem that combines the best patterns and practices from a variety of disciplines.

in life.Chapter 2 – Agile Results Overview You see. but few people actually do what they know. —Tony Robbins 31 . Knowing is not enough! You must take action. lots of people know what to do.

32 . patterns. This is a guideline that helps y ou prioritize and scope. Agile Results is a sy stem for results. personal.In This Chapter Learn the basics of the Agile Results sy stem. and practices for getting results. Rather than bite off more than y ou can chew. This helps y ou see the forest from the trees since y our three outcomes for the y ear are at a higher level than y our three outcomes for the month. y ou ask y ourself. They ’re y our lens to help y ou focus on what’s important in y our life. Friday Reflection. simply make a list of the key areas that need y our time and energy. It helps to organize y our Hot Spots by work. At a glance. To find y our Hot Spots. They are the key levers in the sy stem. and y our three outcomes for the week are at a higher level than y our three outcomes for the day . y ou bite off three things. and the y ear. It draws from lessons learned as well as from bodies of knowledge in project management. the month. On Friday s. Each week is a fresh start. and what three things need improvement?” This weekly pattern helps y ou build momentum. “What three things are going well. and life. It’s a collection of principles. it’s important to have scannable outcomes—a tickler list that easily answers the question. y ou think about three outcomes y ou would like for the week. y ou should be able to quickly see the balls y ou’re juggling and what’s on y our plate. Learn how to map out important areas of y our work and life so y ou can invest y our time and energy more effectively . Daily Outcomes. y ou reflect on lessons learned. y ou have a map for y our results. This is a simple time-based pattern. Hot Spots are y our main dashboard. You can use The Rule of 3 at different levels by picking three outcomes for the day. Each day y ou identify three outcomes y ou would like for the day. and personal development. Hot Spots help y ou map out y our results. the week. “What do y ou want to accomplish?” When y ou know the results y ou want in y our Hot Spots for y our work and personal life. Learn a pattern for weekly results. On Monday s. It’s a simple sy stem optimized around time. They can represent areas of opportunity or pain. Here are the key parts of the sy stem: The Rule of 3. Monday Vision. software engineering. Then for each of these key areas. Hot Spots. This chapter provides an overview of the Agile Results sy stem.

Agile Results is compatible with and can enhance the results of any productivity sy stem y ou already use. 33 .You can use Agile Results for work or home or any where y ou need to improve y our results in life.

34 .Agile Results at a Glance This is a bird’s-ey e view of Agile Results.

35 .

contribute to the results y ou want to accomplish. The key to success is looking ahead just enough to know that the next vital few things y ou do. y ou fix time and flex scope. They guide y our actions. respond to a changing world. 36 . Agile Results is not a checklist of things to do. y ou will find a way there. A shift in thinking about time is required. It’s taking action towards compelling outcomes and producing incremental results. live y our values. Think of it as working backwards. This is a sharp contrast from focusing on tasks or task management. You then bite off only what y ou can chew.1 Agile Results at a Glance As mentioned earlier in the guide. Creating outcomes is an important concept in Agile Results. while improving y our efficiency and effectiveness. This means y ou set a fixed amount of time for y our results each day .Figure 2. It's not a way to do “more stuff” in y our life. and spend more time doing what y ou love. It’s an adaptable productivity sy stem focused on outcomes over activities. While tasks are important. In Agile Results. It's a way to balance what's important. Agile Results is a sy stem for work and life. It’s being flexible and responsive to change. alway s mindful of y our objectives. if y ou focus on the end game.

In contrast. over-investing in y our career can damage y our relationships. For example. y ou 37 . investing in y our relationships can help with y our career. work. in the right job. Invest in Your Hot Spots Invest y our time and energy across y our Hot Spots. Figure 2. and focus.Hot Spots Hot Spots are key areas that deserve y our attention. making the right impact can take care of several of y our Hot Spots. ignoring y our body can hamper y our fun. Hot Spots can also negatively impact one another. y ou find a way so that it gets easier to amplify y our results across the Hot Spots.2 Hot Spots These could be reflected in projects or simply as either work streams or activities. These could be areas of opportunity or they could be pain points. working with the right people. Scannability is important—think of tickler lists where each item is just enough information to remind y ou. Balance is important since Hot Spots tend to support each other. Ideally. investing in y our mind and body helps with y our emotions. This is a key for agility . For example. and personal. they are areas that need y our time. Either way . on the right things. For example. if y ou’re not in the right job. In each of these Hot Spots. y ou’re either growing or dy ing. Likewise. y ou can think in terms of life. You can use Hot Spots as a frame for reflection to keep a gauge on y our success. At a high level. What’s important is to know at a glance what y our Hot Spots are and what y ou want to accomplish. energy .

They are a set of categories that tend to be important for continuous success. keep y our emotions in check. and have fun. You can think of them as a portfolio of results: Mind Body Emotions Career Financial Relationships Fun Mind includes investing time in learning thinking techniques and keeping y our mind sharp. Career includes y our job and professional activities. Active projects are the work projects that y ou are actively working on. focus on these areas to get crisp at work: Activities Active Projects Backlog Activities are any thing y ou need to spend y our time and energy on. and working out. sleeping. Life Frame The Life Frame is a set of Hot Spots for life.might find y ourself working extra hard to grow y our mind. learn emotional intelligence. Fun includes investing time to play and do whatever y ou enjoy . Body includes investing time in keeping y our body in shape and learning patterns and practices for health. it’s about learning skills for feeling good. but y ou plan 38 . the basics are eating. and keep y our emotions in check. The Emotions category includes investing time to keep y our emotions healthy. The Financial category includes investing time to learn patterns and practices for building and sustaining wealth. Any thing y ou’re not actively working on. congratulations. work. Work Hot Spots If y ou don’t work for a living. y ou can skip this part. Otherwise. and life. The Relationships category includes relationships at home.

y ou can simply think of all the balls y ou are currently juggling at work. rather than have them float around in y our head. You know y ou have a good set of lists when y ou can quickly tell at a glance what y our current projects are. is y our backlog. Backlog is the list of projects y ou plan to do but aren’t actually working on. The outcomes will help y ou see the forest from the trees.to. y ou have a place to put things. Personal Hot Spots These are y our personal projects and things y ou spend time on outside of work: Activities Active Items Backlog Activities are any thing from a recurring task to things y ou need to spend y our time and energy on. If y ou aren’t used to thinking in terms of projects. In each project list. Active Projects are the personal projects y ou are actively working on. For y our active projects. a simple thing to do is make a simple list for each of y our active projects. y ou should see a set of outcomes at a glance. 39 . You can do the same for y our backlog: make one list for each backlog project. This gives y ou a place to write down important outcomes. By having a list. this could be any thing from writing a book to fixing the house. these are the balls y ou are juggling at home.

y our three outcomes for the week will help guide y ou. identify three compelling results y ou’d like for the week. This is The Rule of 3. Friday Reflection This figure shows a simple pattern for weekly results. Then on Friday s. It’s y our chance to define what a good week will look like. Friday Reflection On Monday s. Take the time to see the forest from the trees.Monday Vision. Figure 2.3 Monday Vision. A simple way to accomplish this is to ask y ourself. 40 . Daily Outcomes. “If this were Friday. Each day identify three key results for the day . Use The Rule of 3 to help y ou narrow down to the three most important outcomes for the week. what are the three most important results that I want to have under my belt?” Here are the key s to Monday Vision: Each Monday . y ou reflect on y our accomplishments. Daily Outcomes. Monday Vision Each Monday is a fresh start to a new week. identify the most important outcomes for the week. You can then carve out the results to help y ou get there. it’s easy to remember three things and also easy to prioritize three things.

“What three things do I want to accomplish today ?” If y ou do nothing else. It’s lightweight and works whether y ou use pen and paper. Here are the key things to keep in mind: Identify three outcomes for the day. Rather than think of it as backlog burndown. Then. Ideally. Each day. it’s actually combining simplicity with focus. 41 . As y ou fish y our various streams for potential actions. Next. You get a fresh start each day. y ou base y our day on what y ou want to accomplish and on what has the most impact or value for y ou at this point in time. Name y our list using today ’s date (e. Note that even if y ou already have a to-do sy stem. y ou focus on the most valuable things (whether for y ou. or store things electronically . Now. whenever y ou look at y our to-do list. and a conscious choice around value and results. prioritization. y our job. y ou can use whatever is already working for y ou. You decide on what to carry forward each day .) Adjust y our outcomes as appropriate. or other people). Simply add y our three outcomes to the top.g. Remember that value is in the ey e of the beholder. is a clean slate. simply write down or remember three of y our most important outcomes for the day. y ou have y our tests for success. Rather than base y our day on things y ou didn’t get done in the past. conversations. email. Your three outcomes will help guide y ou and help y ou prioritize y our actions and tasks against the results y ou want to achieve. or bursts of brilliance throughout the day . think in terms of value up—each day is a new opportunity to deliver value. list any of y our SHOULD or COULD items. Writing things down can also help put things in perspective. There are several benefits to using Daily Outcomes. Each day. 2010-01-11). this is the guiding question. be mindful of y our three outcomes. use The Rule of 3 to bubble up what’s most important.Daily Outcomes Ultimately . While it seems simple.. start by listing y our MUST items. (Your streams include meetings. a whiteboard. Lower priority or lower value naturally sloughs off. Value can be for y ourself or others. These are the results y ou’ve chosen as the most important and will therefore get the laser-like focus they deserve. The benefit of writing down y our list is that it gives y ou a place to dump things so that y ou don’t fill y our head with noise.

based on y our results. Over time. A good reflection sy stem is not simply listing three things going well and three things to improve. Here are the key things: Evaluate what y ou accomplished. Identify three things that need improvement. This simple process can have amazing impact across y our work and life. and change y our approach. It’s y our chance to identify things that y ou want to stop doing. The more y ou check y our results. or didn't. Carry y our lessons forward to y our next Monday Vision. the more y ou will learn to adjust y our own expectations. Friday is a great day to reflect back on y our week. 42 .Friday Reflection One of the most important things y ou start to learn is y our actual capacity. and why . weekly reinforcement will make a substantial difference. Evaluate y our energy levels. Identify three things that went well. and each day is another chance to get up to bat. as well as things that y ou want to start doing. It’s taking the time to use it as a true learning session. as well as set expectations more effectively with others. Remember that each week is a fresh start. especially if y ou’re using the time to really hone in on what’s working. It’s a process of continuous improvement that helps y ou refine y our overall process for results. what’s not.

Figure 2. y ou can make it easier to perform a task each time instead of try ing to remember what to do. This is input for y our Daily Outcomes list. especially when a task is done 43 . Friday Reflection. Reference is simply input for y ou. If y ou have to filter through a bunch of reference to find y our actions. Think of it as putting y our routines down into writing. Daily Outcomes. Here’s a summary of each ty pe of information around action items and taking action: Daily Outcomes Weekly Outcomes Queues Scripts Daily Outcomes is the tickler list of outcomes that y ou create each day as part of y our Monday Vision. it’s better to have a home for action items and a home for reference items. it’s also a place to put things that y ou won’t get done for the day. but that y ou need to remember. Scripts is y our repository for step-by -step instructions.Action Factoring y our actions from y our reference information is one of the simplest moves to improve y our results. the friction adds up. Queues are the tickler lists of outcomes and tasks that y ou created for each of the significant projects and key activities identified for y our Hot Spots. By having them written down. Instead. each script is a list of steps in sequence to help y ou perform a task.4 Action This is especially true if y ou tend to have a lot of tickler lists and reminders that are really more notes than actions.

Another benefit is that it saves time should y ou have to delegate the task to others. You can also use it as a baseline for improvement by sharing y our script with others and getting feedback.infrequently . 44 .

Monthly Results are tickler lists of actual results accomplished each month. but supporting information would be y our reference. then on Friday. notes. Weekly Results are tickler lists of actual results accomplished for each week. Use the Weekly Results and Monthly Results to keep score. list y our actual results as Weekly Results. For example.5 Reference It may help y ou perform y our action items but it’s not actually actionable information. Notes are tickler lists of insights or data points or any thing y ou need to refer to as y our notes. and results. For example. list the three outcomes y ou want for the week on Monday . for y our Weekly Outcomes. Do the same thing for y our Monthly Outcomes and Monthly Results. It’s a great way to keep track of y our progress. Figure 2.Reference Think of reference as information that y ou need to refer to. Here are some examples of collection pools: Ideas Notes Monthly Results Ideas is a repository for y our ideas. y our to-do list would be y our actions. it also comes in handy if y ou need to report y our status to someone else. 45 . Consider having a single place to consolidate y our ideas. Also consider making a simple way to scan y our weekly and monthly results to make sure that y ou’re moving in the direction y ou want to go. You can use collection pools to consolidate and organize y our reference information.

schedule time for execution or think time as y ou need it. the more energy y ou will have. Block time for what’s important. The beauty is that once y ou’ve organized y our calendar in a way that supports y ou. Here are the key things to keep in mind: Schedule y our results. The more time y ou spend in y our strengths.6 Calendar It’s easy to fall into routines simply by how. It’s how y ou organize y our time. and less time doing things that make y ou weak. where. Your calendar is one of y our most important tools. It’s spending more time in y our strengths and following y our passions. y our calendar drives y ou. If y ou don’t drive y our calendar. The more energy y ou have the more y ou can accomplish with less effort and less churn. Remember it’s not doing less that makes y ou feel better or stronger. Spend more time in y our strengths than in y our weaknesses. y ou have more energy for every thing y ou do and y ou get to recharge. Figure 2.Calendar Carve out time for what’s important. Balance is y our friend. Make (and keep) appointments with y ourself. and when y ou spend y our time. 46 .

a week or a month. rendered daily . y ou can quickly look at the bigger picture. weekly . The results add up fast.The Rhythm of Results Having a rhy thm for y our results helps y ou build routines and improve y our ability to get results. Use The Rule of 3 to accomplish three meaningful results each day. it’s a very simple way to frame out results. Then. the three results for the month are at a much higher level than the three outcomes for the week. it’s easy to step back and think in terms of three items. 47 . It’s an incremental sketch of y our results. Weekly. For example. It’s a quick way to traverse a lot of action that’s spread over time while not getting bogged down in the tasks themselves. and each month. each week. and monthly results. Most importantly. Rather than get caught up in the details. Daily. whether y ou’re looking at a day. Monthly Results Think of the rhy thm of results in terms of daily. and monthly . which are much higher than the outcomes for each day. weekly.

On Friday s. Daily Outcomes. body. Design y our weekly schedule so that y ou make time for what's important and y ou balance across y our Hot Spots. emotions.In Summary Invest y our time and energy across y our Hot Spots. financial. Friday Reflection is a pattern for weekly results. and fun. 48 . On Monday s. relationships. identify three key results y ou want for the day . Monday Vision. Each day . think of three things going well and three things to improve. career. identify three key results y ou want for the week. The Life Frame is a set of Hot Spots for life: mind. Factor action from reference information.

and Practices of Agile Results Absorb what is useful. Add what is uniquely your own. Principles. Discard what is not.Chapter 3 – Values. —Bruce Lee 49 .

If y ou find y ourself distracted by another focus. One way to think of the Agile Results approach is that it’s an iterative and incremental sy stem for producing results in y our life. If not. up-front design. focus each day on three Daily Outcomes (many of which will drive y our three weekly outcomes). It’s y our call. Rather than big. The core practices are a simple set of methods and techniques for implementing Agile Results. or they ’re not. Learn the key practices of Agile Results. Though Hot Spots are an integral part of Agile Results. You don’t have to adopt all the practices at once. 10 principles. Agile Results is flexible. Simply adopt the practices y ou need. Agile Results is optimized for responding to change. Learn the key principles of Agile Results. These three are either the most important outcomes for y our day. including the trade-offs I made. Adopting this pattern. it’s a lifetime pattern for results and success. A minimal implementation is simple. The principles are guidelines. consider resetting y our focus to one of the three which y ou’ve defined as the most important outcomes of the day. 50 . The supporting practices (found in “Cheat Sheet – Supporting Practices Defined”) provide additional tools for success. and 12 practices. Daily Outcomes. learning y our own strengths and weaknesses. The foundation for Agile Results is a set of 10 values. weekly. adopt the Hot Spots. Next. they transform the principles and values into action. Next. Whenever I come to a fork in the road. y ou don’t need to pay full attention to them to get started. As y ou establish a rhy thm of results. it’s about paving a path and finding a way forward. Use The Rule of 3 to decide three results y ou want to accomplish today. The values provide insight into how I shaped Agile Results into a sy stem. adopt the Monday Vision. If so. and making adjustments which work best for y ou. Indeed. and use Friday Reflection to analy ze what worked and what didn’t. the principles help me choose a path. improve y our rhy thm by adopting new practices. y ou have a means for achieving daily.In This Chapter Learn the key values of Agile Results. monthly. Dedicate laser-like focus to achieving these three results. It’s a flexible sy stem that y ou can tune or tailor as needed. Friday Reflection pattern: use Monday Vision to define three outcomes for the week. and y early results. And y ou can adopt them one at a time. perhaps y ou should swap it for one of y our initial three results. ask y ourself whether that should be the next best thing to do.

the key to energy is following y our passion and living y our values. actions. You also become more flexible in y our approach. Values are a way to help make trade-offs when there are a lot of options and possibilities. start taking action. It’s not about doing more. You can control y our attitude. Focus on keeping y our energy strong. 8. and y ou can change y our course as needed. Action over Analysis Paralysis. then focus on reducing y our key liabilities. System over Ad Hoc. Don’t let perfectionism get in the way. Having a sy stem for results is a powerful thing. and response. Focus is y our force multiplier. You also pay more attention to y our situation and feedback. Energy over Time. 3. and working out. Spend more time in y our strengths than in y our weaknesses. Your results will inform y our thinking. 9. Here are the key values in Agile Results: 1. Growth Mindset over Fixed Mindset. 7. You’ll get more done in one power hour than throwing lots of hours at a problem when y ou just don’t have the energy. Good Enough over Perfection. Focus over Q uantity.10 Values Values set the stage. It gives y ou a 51 . than to continuously block y ourself while striving for perfection. Use y our results as a gauge and for feedback. This flexibility is y our key to results. Spending more time or doing more things isn’t a good measure of productivity. By getting clarity on what y ou want to accomplish. 6. Strengths over Weaknesses. y ou help avoid learned helplessness. Rather than over-engineer or try to figure out every thing up front. If y ou do work on y our weaknesses. 2. In addition to eating right. y ou can be flexible in y our approach. A growth mindset means that y ou can learn and respond. Rather than spend all y our energy improving y our weaknesses. Outcomes over Activities. By adopting a growth mindset. An effective sy stem uses values to help guide and identify relevant principles and practices. Results are the best measure. Taking action is the best antidote for analy sis paraly sis. y ou can place value on where y ou spend y our time. spend y our energy maximizing y our strengths. You can’t control y our results. Approach over Results. 4. You’ll get more pay back. 5. sleeping well. It’s about focusing on the right things. It’s better to produce something that y ou can improve or iterate on. By focusing on y our results instead of y our activities. A fixed mindset means that y ou think something was born that way and won’t change. It’s how y ou will improve over time.

This is a value-up strategy. y ou get in the habit of asking. Rather than just work through y our backlog. By having a sy stem for the basics. y ou free y our mind by having trusted places to look and a trusted process to fall back on. Value Up over Backlog Burndown. or y our employ er. other people. Most importantly. y ou have something to fall back on or to turn to when y ou need it. y ou can move y ourself up the stack and automatically invest y ourself in higher level matters. You can experiment more. When y ou get off track. 10. By thinking in terms of value up.firm foundation. “What’s the next best thing to do?” 52 . think in terms of creating value. This can be value for y ourself.

Version Your Results. Consider boundaries for the following Hot Spots: mind. Focus on daily. Set boundaries in terms of time or energy. 53 . Version 3 will be better than version 2 which will be better than version 1.10 Principles Principles are simply a set of guiding rules. Next. As y ou change and as things change around y ou. y ou can flow value. 5. relationships. 80/20 Action. You should keep y our action items separate from reference. career. and fun. It also helps y ou build credibility with y ourself and others. 8. Set Boundaries. use y our learning to improve y our results. Flex Scope. monthly. Here are the key principles for Agile Results: 1. bite off what y ou can chew within those boundaries. financial. Rather than spend 80 percent stuck in analy sis and only 20 percent doing. Less Is More. Factor Action from Reference. Find a way to flow value. First set time boundaries. Rather than wait for a big bang at the end. The key is to have a minimum in some categories and a maximum in others. Fix Time. Deliver Incremental Value. weekly. Continuous Learning. If it’s not working. 3. emotions. 7. let it go. it's about shifting to spend 80 percent of y our time in action. Building a rhy thm builds a habit that y ou don't have to think about. body. 9. 6. Rhythm of Results. Chunking up y our results helps y ou build momentum. and y early results. 4. Treat time as a first-class citizen. This helps reduce the signal-to-noise ratio. 10. Change Your Approach. 2. Tune and adjust as y ou go. This helps y ou fight perfectionism and produce incremental results. You can improve y our results on each pass. The habit becomes a ritual that produces a feeling of accomplishment. Bite off what y ou can chew and reduce work that’s in flight.

Organize outcomes by y our work. financial. and relationships. Each week focus on spending more time on activities that make y ou strong and less time on activities that make y ou weak. 3. 2. Each day is a new chance for results. create a list of outcomes for y our Life Frame Hot Spots: body. and then bite off more. Monday Vision. reflect on y our results. each week. Instead. Alway s start with y our three most important outcomes for the week (The Rule of 3). Decide what three results y ou want to accomplish each day . create a new list each day. The Rule of 3 will help y ou stay focused on the vital few things that matter. Scannable Outcomes. The key to an effective Daily Outcomes list is that y ou keep y our three outcomes for the day at the top. decide on three things y ou want to accomplish (The Rule of 3). Combined with the 10 values and 10 principles. y ou should be able to see what y ou want to accomplish and what y ou’re spending y our time and energy on. mind. For example. first nail the three items y ou want to accomplish. the 12 core practices complete the foundation of Agile Results: 1. Decide three results y ou want to accomplish for the week. Daily Outcomes. Set limits.12 Core Practices of Agile Results At the heart of any sy stem is a set of practices. Outcomes guide y our actions. This also helps y ou manage scope. and life Hot Spots. The three outcomes for the y ear are bigger than the three outcomes for the month which are bigger than the three outcomes for the week which are bigger than the three outcomes for y our day. At a glance. Alway s start y our list with y our three most important outcomes for the day. Keep y our outcomes scannable at a glance. This helps y ou see the forest from the trees. career. Strong Week. 6. Weekly Outcomes. Create a new list each week. 4. This way y ou have a reminder of what y ou want to accomplish. It’s the practices that make or break a sy stem. Identify y our three key outcomes each day. 5. stuff the things that make y ou weak into a 54 . Friday Reflection. emotions. and each y ear. personal. Think of it as a buffet of results and y ou can keep going back—just don’t overflow y our plate on each trip. By doing y our worst things first. This is the heart of y our Daily Outcomes. It’s all too easy to bite off more than y ou can chew. each month. while listing the rest of y our to-dos below that. The Rule of 3. Each week is a new chance for results. Each day. fun. Think of this as what’s on y our radar. Push activities that make y ou weak to the first part of y our day. At the end of the week. y ou create a glide path for the rest of the day. Use daily tickler lists for action items. Make progress each day . Daily Outcomes.

The 12 core practices are part of the foundation of Agile Results. Do it if now is the time: it’s the next best thing for y ou to do. Yes. 8. Timebox Your Day. y ou’ll get up again. Weekly Results. Monthly Results. and Scripts. To start. then it’s reference. or delegate it. This might mean limiting the time or quantity. Notes. Pick one thing to improve for the month. if the stuff that makes y ou weak is taking more than 20 percent of y our day. y ou can carve up y our day into big buckets: administration. Monthly Improvement Sprints. Triage incoming action items to either do it. Some information is not actionable. You decide that no problem is personal. Each month. If y ou get knocked down. and people time. pick something new. and y es. Or if necessary. in that case. 10. y ou can alway s repeat a sprint. Neither are y our results. 12.7. Queue it (add it to y our queue) if it’s something y ou need to get done. work time. Delegate it if it’s something that should be done by somebody else. then find a way to keep it within that 20 percent boundary. it might be good to know. Do the same with people. Reference Collections. Life is not static. balance it with more things that energize y ou and make y ou strong. Set boundaries for how much time y ou spend on things. or it will cost y ou more pain. Schedule it if y ou need a block of time to get the work done. it might be helpful information. 9. Growth Mindset. Spend more time with people that make y ou strong and less time with people that make y ou weak. You can store y our reference information as tickler lists or notes. Here are some example reference lists y ou might keep: Ideas. Apply this to y our week too. schedule it. queue it. Be careful not to confuse the things that make y ou weak with challenges that will actually make y ou stronger. Queues. 11. Track y our actions with tickler lists. but now is not the right time. Weekly Outcomes. pervasive or permanent. Triage. But if it’s not actionable. Consider the following action lists: Daily Outcomes. Remember to check out the 55 . it helps y ou figure out where to optimize y our day and prioritize. The idea is that 30 day s is enough time to experiment with y our results throughout the month. and Yearly Results. this gives y ou a chance to cy cle through 12 things over the y ear. If y ou keep time a constant (by ending y our day at a certain time). time or effort to do it later. Because y ou might not see progress in the first couple of weeks while y ou’re learning. Grow y ourself stronger over time. For example. think time. a month is a good chunk of time to check y our progress. Action Lists. Push the toughest things that drain y ou to the start of the week to create a glide path. now is the most opportunistic time. Sometimes y ou just can't get rid of the things that make y ou weak. This is simply a decision—decide that y ou’ll learn and grow. timebox.

supporting practices. To see a list of these supporting practices along with their description. see “Cheat Sheet – Supporting Practices Defined” in the Appendix section of this guide. they provide additional tools for success. 56 .

Next. You don't have to adopt Agile Results all at once. y ou can adopt the Agile Results practices incrementally . it's flexible by design. Daily Outcomes. Knowing the values helps y ou understand the priorities and trade-offs of the Agile Results sy stem. adopt the Monday Vision. The principles are guidelines which help y ou make choices. Next. and practices as a starting point. Friday Reflection pattern to help y ou achieve weekly results. Use the values. 57 .In Summary Tailor and adapt Agile Results to suit y our own needs. The simplest way to get started with Agile Results is to adopt The Rule of 3 and identify three results y ou want to accomplish for today. adopt Hot Spots to help achieve a balanced life. principles.

we never concentrate our power. —Tony Robbins 58 .Chapter 4 – Hot Spots One reason so few of us achieves what we truly want is that we never direct our focus.

Learn how to invest in y our relationships more effectively . Next. By having a simple set of Hot Spots. By investing across y our Hot Spots. That’s the agile part. Start by identify ing y our most important Hot Spots for work. Knowing the results y ou want for y our Hot Spots forces y ou to get clarity. What’s important will change as y ou learn more and gain clarity or adjust to new situations. personal. This chapter is an elaboration and drill down into the concept of Hot Spots as it applies to Agile Results.In This Chapter Learn how to use Hot Spots to focus and invest y our time and energy in major areas of y our life. y ou keep y our life in balance and y ou invest in y ourself for the long run. simply identify minimums and maximums where y ou need them. Remember that the sum is more than the parts and that the Hot Spots actually support each other. create “scannable outcomes” so y ou can see at a glance y our Hot Spots and desired outcomes. Finally. The key is setting boundaries. To set boundaries. makes it easy to update y our goals and aspirations as they change. like a tickler list. y ou have a way to keep y our life in check. explicitly name the outcomes y ou want for each of these Hot Spots. Keeping them simple and scannable. Time has a way of changing what’s important now. and life. 59 . Factoring the Hot Spots out is a way to help y ou focus and get clarity on where a particular dimension of y our life is at. Learn how to use Hot Spots to set boundaries to improve y our work-life balance. Hot Spots help shine the spotlight on things that are important. The primary goal of using Hot Spots is to have a quick way to identify. organize and scan what’s important.

More importantly. Figure 4. y ou can imagine areas that y ou’ve neglected and are now causing y ou pain phy sically. body.Hot Spots Where do y ou need to spend y our time? What do y ou need to focus on? Hot Spots is a simple metaphor for thinking about what’s important. and may be a bit of focus would help y ou unblock results in these Hot Spots. business ideas. 60 . y ou can imagine new interests. career. personal. emotions. simply visualize the clusters of important things going on in y our life. emotionally. The heat map can show either opportunities or pain points. and life. You can think of y our life Hot Spots in terms of mind. and focus should be. at the macro level. Heat maps are often used in the military to show clusters of important activity. etc. it can be tough to see the bigger picture. On the pain side. a bird’s-ey e view of what’s important. For y our heat map. Imagine y our Hot Spots as a heat map. May be they are just a little tougher than they should be. For example. See the Forest from the Trees When y ou’re in the thick of things. financially. y ou can think of Hot Spots in terms of work. On the opportunity side. energy. Hot Spots can help y ou see the forest from the trees in a few way s. it’s where y our attention. or potential game changers. financial. This is especially true if y ou don’t know what to look for.1 Hot Spots It’s where the action is or should be. You can also imagine areas that have a lot of friction.

61 . and roles for each. At a lower level. In fact. Within each of those Hot Spots. it’s easier to gain insight. Your heat map of Hot Spots let’s y ou take a step back. “Where should y ou invest y our time for maximum results?” When y ou think of y our results as a portfolio. Instead. You can start to see patterns. You get a better lens for what’s working and what’s not. You also want to avoid spending all y our time fighting fires while missing out on opportunities.relationships. You would either spend all y our time updating the map to be complete or bury what’s important among the details. while ignoring or under investing in others. They can help y ou find key indicators for y our personal performance. and the goal is to more thoughtfully spread y our life force across this portfolio. y ou need to know y our main threats and opportunities. body. You can do the same for work and personal. if y ou aren’t sure where to start. y ou can then identify the main things that are important for y ou. relationships. it helps y ou manage risk. financial. y our primary threats are things that negatively impact y our mind. look for the big threats and opportunities in y our work projects and activities as well as y our personal projects and activities. activities. You already spend y our time and energy on a variety of things. Hot Spots help y ou answer the question. y ou can at least think of y our work and personal Hot Spots in terms of y our projects. and Hot Spots allow y ou to identify areas that need the most attention. and y our map doesn’t need to be complete. You want to avoid getting blind-sided or over-investing in one area at the expense of another. Your opportunities are things that will add value or improve y our life in these areas. and fun. career. that would actually get in the way. You want to find the right levers to either get unstuck or maximize y our results. For example. When y ou know where to look. are y ou investing in y our relationships? Are y ou investing in fun? Your portfolio will have its ups and downs. You might be overinvesting in some areas. When y ou know what to look for. and fun. emotions. Hot Spots as Your Portfolio Your Hot Spots is y our investment portfolio. The portfolio metaphor helps y ou carve out time for what’s important. At a high level. “What’s on y our radar?” You don’t need to know all the details. y ou can figure out which levers matter most. You should be able to know at a glance where the pain or opportunity is. Hot Spots as Your Heat Map As a heat map. y our Hot Spots help y ou answer the question.

This works in conjunction with the portfolio metaphor. The opposite is to have an endless list of pain points and an endless list of opportunities that y ou will never act on. 62 . It will also help y ou avoid getting overwhelmed. the more y ou benefit from consolidating and organizing y our pain and opportunities. For example. are y ou investing the same time and energy in y our work as in y our personal life? Are y ou making time for fun? With the Hot Spots y ou have a frame for balancing y our results. Know Your Top 3 Pain Points and Opportunities One way to achieve clarity of mind is to know y our top three pain points and opportunities. Think of this as simply packaging up y our pain and opportunities so that y ou can free up y our mind and take action more effectively . the more y ou have going on in y our life. When y ou have a set of Hot Spots. In fact.Balancing Your Hot Spots Hot Spots give y ou a bit of scaffolding to help structure and support y our life. It’s also an easy way to turn pain and opportunity into action. This will help y ou focus when it counts. y ou can better balance y our life.

such as y our body. or emotions. mind. Personal Hot Spots would include any projects.Organizing Your Hot Spots At a high level. activities or roles at home or any where outside of work. the simplest way to organize y our Hot Spots is by three areas: Life Frame Work Personal Life includes y our key areas in life. Work Hot Spots would include any projects. 63 . activities or roles at work.

Includes activities and projects for y our job and other professional endeavors. and working out. as well as the trade-offs y ou make. Includes investing time to play and do whatever y ou enjoy . and life. y ou can be more deliberate about how y ou spend y our time and energy. Here’s a starter set of categories y ou can use to think about the areas in y our life that need y our focus and energy : Table 4. Includes investing time in keeping y our body in shape and learning patterns and practices for health. Includes investing time to learn patterns and practices for building and sustaining wealth. The most important basics are eating. work. y ou get penalized.1 Life Frame Hot Spots Mind Description Includes investing time in learning thinking techniques and keeping y our mind sharp. Body Emotions Career Financial Relationships Fun By identify ing a set of Hot Spots. sleeping. 64 . Includes investing time in keeping y our emotions healthy . On the other hand. learning emotional intelligence. y ou get rewarded.Life Frame This is the big picture. The key is to create and maintain important. and keeping y our emotions in check. if y ou ignore these categories. You can also focus on finding key patterns and practices that help y ou improve in these areas. Includes y our relationships at home. It’s about learning skills for feeling good. There are certain areas in life that if y ou invest in. healthy relationships that add value to y our life. It’s how y ou chunk up y our overall time and energy.

2 Asking Q uestions with the Life Frame Hot Spots Key Q uestions How to improve y our intellectual horsepower? How to improve critical thinking? How to ask better questions? How to find better answers to y our questions? How to get fit? How to improve y our body ? How to manage y our health? How to improve y our emotional intelligence? How to feel good? How to deal with life’s ups and downs? How to manage y our career? How to climb the ladder? How to follow y our passion? How to build y our wealth? How to protect y our wealth? How to share y our wealth? How to improve y our relationships at work? How to improve y our relationships at home? How to grow y our network? How to leverage y our network? How to have fun? How to integrate fun into y our life? How to balance play with work? Mind Body Emotions Career Financial Relationships Fun Setting Boundaries 65 .Asking Questions with the Life Frame You can use the Life Frame to help y ou ask better questions to drive results. Here are some example questions for each Hot Spot area: Table 4.

This is how y ou start improving plate management and pushing back effectively.3 Setting Boundaries with the Life Frame Hot Spots Boundaries Mind Body Emotions Career Financial Relationships Fun Minimum of 8 hours Minimum of 3 hours Maximum of 50 hours Minimum of 3 hours In this case. y ou might set a maximum on career and a minimum on relationships. Set y our limits and test results. Note that y ou might need to set the opposite limits. If not properly allocated. they can also work against each other. y ou learn how to become more effective. You can only spread y our life force over so much. You’re forced to bite off only what y ou can chew. Use y our Hot Spots to set boundaries. The key is to reduce time spent while increasing value and improving y our 66 . step one is deciding to spend no more than 50 hours each week on y our career Hot Spot. The worst mistake it to continually throw more time at problems. and fun. body . y ou avoid getting unbalanced and spending too much time or energy in a category at the expense of others.You should set minimums and maximums for y our Hot Spots in terms of time and energy. Key Insights When y ou set a minimum in the right categories. The categories help support each other. y ou’ll use them wisely . For example. When y ou set a maximum in the right categories. Schedule time in y our calendar to reflect and reinforce these boundaries. For example. The key is to use boundaries and limits to keep y ourself balanced and improve y our results. if y ou only have three hours to throw at a particular Hot Spot. This keeps y ou from getting over-invested. Table 4.

efficiency and effectiveness. 67 .

y ou should see a set of outcomes at a glance. For example. y ou can improve y our results and free up y our mind to focus on higher-level strategies and outcomes. and then list the rest after that. y ou can very quickly remind y ourself of what’s important and y ou can very quickly adjust y our plans if y ou’re not getting where y ou want to go. This is y our “queue. simply think of all the balls y ou are currently juggling at work. The outcomes will help y ou see the forest from the trees. If y ou aren’t used to thinking in terms of projects. To get a handle on y our activities. mentoring. 68 . identify y our key activities. They can help serve as scaffolding for y our work life. Make one list for each project in y our backlog that y ou are not actively working on. For active projects.” It’s a place where y ou can queue up y our work. You know y ou have a good set of lists when y ou can quickly tell at a glance what all the current projects on y our radar are. You can then identify the main outcomes that y ou want for each of these activities. the first thing to do is make a list for each one of y our active projects. etc. holding meetings. rather than store it all in y our head. role. This gives y ou a place to write down important outcomes or tasks. recurring activity. list the most important three results at the top. You may have a lot of outcomes or results that y ou want to achieve. rather than having them float around in y our head. and things that y ou plan to work on. This will let y ou see y our job at a glance. The value of these lists is that they are a simple way to stay focused on what y ou want to accomplish. By periodically reviewing these lists. They are lightweight and scannable. role or responsibility and see y our three main outcomes at a glance. By having a list. managing budgets. or responsibility. In each project list.Work Hot Spots You can group y our Hot Spots at work into the following buckets: Activities Active Projects Backlog Work Hot Spots is a very simple way to get a handle on y our job by thinking in terms of y our recurring activities. In this case. Make a list for each big. They are easy to update or throw away as needed. y ou have a place to put things. You can do the same for y our backlog. y ou can quickly walk each significant activity. y ou may have activities such as administration. themes. and major roles and responsibilities. This way. but that y ou aren’t actively working on right now (y our backlog). By organizing y our mind. any active projects that y ou’re working on.

69 .

This could be any thing from writing a book to fixing the house. 70 . These are the balls y ou are juggling at home.Personal Hot Spots You can group y our personal Hot Spots into the following buckets: Activities Active Projects Backlog These are y our personal projects or activities outside of work. And the advice just covered for work Hot Spots is applicable here as well.

I can look for and learn success patterns and good habits from books. passion. They want some of the next level down inside the buckets. or my own trial and error. I share some examples of breaking Life Frame Hot Spots down into actionable categories. Doing so can provide the clarity to define actionable steps. feeling good. y ou can more thoughtfully invest y our time and energy in y our relationships that really count. but evolvable set of areas to invest in throughout y our life. 71 . It gives me way to focus my energy as well as organize any information or insight for that Hot Spot. but effective map of “what’s going on” in y our life. Part of investing in y our relationships means knowing how to map them out effectively. Your relationships serve as a foundation for the rest of y our success. You can imagine that over a lifetime. but they don’t have an effective way to think about the various relationships in their life. In the next two sections. if I know I need to invest in “emotions” as a Hot Spot. Sometimes when I explain the Life Frame to people.Additional Considerations for the Life Frame Hot Spots Your personal and work Hot Spots reflect y our current projects and activities. Your life Hot Spots are a durable. With this map in y our hand. People know that relationships are important. so it’s worth adopting a new lens for looking at the people in y our life. Breaking the Hot Spots down into more actionable categories can help y ou get traction and make progress in that Hot Spot. The relationships Hot Spot is can also be a sticking point. they want some elaboration on the Hot Spots. For example. and how to think about the relationships Hot Spot in a way that’s more actionable. By having a simple way of looking at y our relationships. y ou can drill into any of the key areas of y our work life or personal life or the bigger picture. Next. etc. mentors. Your Hot Spots create a simple. how do I think about that? I can start by breaking emotions down into things like emotional intelligence. this creates a pretty deep personal knowledge base of insight and action.

etc.) Creativity Critical Thinking Learning Mental Models Optimism Vision Body Dental Eating /Nutrition Exercise (e. gustatory . Table 4.. task at hand. prevention. coping with and reducing anxiety ) Clarity (e. You may want to add some other Hot Spots for y our life. such as spiritual or social. vision. It’s a high level way to remind y ou to spread y our life force across y our meaningful buckets. y oga. etc. olfactory .) Senses (auditory . sports.. kinesthetic.Examples of Life Frame Hot Spots Here are some simple prompts to help y ou think of Hot Spots in y our life. and visual) Sleeping Stress Sy stems (cardiovascular. digestive. It’s a way to more thoughtfully invest in y ourself. etc.g. illness. hereditary or acquired diseases. medicine.g. Pilates..) Health/Medical (e. martial arts..e. weightlifting. 72 .g. The list is not meant to be complete or exhaustive.4 Example Hot Spots Hot Spot Example Hot Spots Mind Anxiety (i. disease. purpose. The key is to have a simple heat map of what’s important for y ou.

acceptance.) Outcomes Projects Relationships Roles Tasks Financial Active Income Budget Business Credit (e.. etc. credit rating.. etc...g. immune. anticipation. fear. etc.g.) Empathy Passion Career Activities Deliverables Development Expectations (e. reproductive. nervous. debt. surprise. muscular. sadness.g. loss. anger. excretory .endocrine. joy .g. and skeletal) Emotions Emotional Intelligence Feeling Good (e.) Insurance Investments Nest Egg Passive Income Retirement Real Estate 73 .) Emotions (e. etc. dealing with depression. y ours. credit score. y our boss’s. skin. respiratory . disgust.

Savings Spending Taxes Relationships Family Work Circle of Friends Fun Free Time Hobbies/Interests Indoor Recreation Outdoor Recreation Travel Vacations 74 .

special interest. People will flow in and out of y our life. Table 4. More precisely. clubs. teams. Another important concept in relationships is to continuously invest. friends. y ou are an island. Be a great friend. manager. 75 . You can tell y ourself y ou are a rock. Your relationships are growing. y ou can think of relationships as connections. cross-team groups. You can then think of y our roles in those connections. Be a great mentor. onli The idea in relationships is to invest based on what y ou want to accomplish.Relationships Hot Spot Explained Investing in y our relationships will serve y ou throughout y our life. partners. Interactions and Roles You can think of y our relationships as the roles and interactions that are important in y our life. Teammates. the people at work. etc. groups. relatives.5 Interactions and Roles Hot Spots Family Work Friends Family . Friends. or they ’re dy ing. Get the people on y our side to make things easier at work or to sell y our ideas. Be a good role model. Life’s not static. key etc. but the reality is y ou share the world with people. community . peers. Your Hot Spots for relationships are any roles and interactions that are important in y our life. whether it’s y our family. y our friends. Your role is what part y ou play in that relationship. For example. be the father y ou want to be. or the people in y our community. and y ou need no one. Make the most of it.

career. By having a simple set of Hot Spots. Hot Spots as an investment portfolio helps y ou manage risk and determine where to invest y our time for maximum results. financial. y ou have a way to keep y our life in check. 76 . a minimum of 8 hours in relationships). a minimum of 3 hours in body. Know the three most important pain points in y our life. Set boundaries for y our time in y our key Hot Spots (for example. y our Life Frame (for example. emotions.In Summary Hot Spots are focal points and help y ou create a heat map of both opportunity and pain in y our life. Schedule time in y our calendar for y our key Hot Spots. Know the three most important opportunities in y our life. a maximum of 40 to 50 hours in career. body . mind. and fun). Identity a simple set of Hot Spots for y our life. relationships.

—Miles Davis 77 . Daily Outcomes.Chapter 5 – Monday Vision. Friday Reflection My future starts when I wake up every morning … Every day I find something creative to do with my life.

Friday Reflection pattern for weekly results. How y ou frame and organize y our results for the week play s an important part in y our success. Friday Reflection pattern. It's too easy to churn or find y ourself in task saturation. only to find out it’s not the results they needed or wanted. It’s easy to get overwhelmed.In This Chapter Learn the Monday Vision. Daily Outcomes. y ou determine y our three most important outcomes. On Friday s. y ou improve y our ability to get results. Daily Outcomes. Learn how to use Monday s to set y our vision for a great week. Friday Reflection pattern. It’s a simple weekly pattern in which each week is a new chance to get results. Daily Outcomes. y ou reflect on y our results. you can get back on. The solution is a sy stem—a simple sy stem y ou can count on. not have to think too hard to implement. Another common mistake is to confuse activities with outcomes. Each week. 78 . each week is a fresh start. In other cases. Each week y ou know y ou’re spending y our time on the right things. At the heart of Agile Results is the Monday Vision. If you fall off the horse. That’s the idea behind the Monday Vision. It’s easy to beat y ourself up over what y ou didn’t finish. Learn how to use Friday s to reflect on y our results and make improvements to y our routine. Rather than feel overwhelmed by y our backlog. It might be that they ended up missing an important time window or losing any sort of work-life balance. In this sy stem. y ou feel good about y our accomplishments. they spent all their time doing activities but not actually producing any results. On Monday s. they produced results. The reality is that without a sy stem it’s easy to get off track. One of the most important techniques I share with those I mentor is how to manage their tasks. In some cases. It’s easy to spend all y our time on task management. Learn how to use The Rule of 3 for carving out daily results and weekly results. I’ve seen many smart people throw a lot of hours at their weeks only to fail in one way or another. y ou might spend a lot of time doing a lot of activities but not actually accomplish any thing. There are alway s more things to do than there is time in a day. It’s easy to find y ourself at the end of the week. and turn into a lifelong habit. That is. Each day. wondering where y our time went. y ou figure out three outcomes y ou want for the week. This pattern helps y ou tune and prune y our results. In fact.

Each Friday . simply identify three outcomes— compelling results—y ou’d like for the week. make time to reflect on y our results. It’s time-tested. For example. Daily Outcomes. Here's the approach in a nutshell: Table 5. y ou can alway s bite off more. Monday Vision Daily Outcomes Friday Reflection That’s the basic pattern. This is y our chance to see how y ou’re doing at getting done what y ou set out to do. Friday Reflection Item Description On Monday s. What’s important is those three parts. may be y our week starts on a Sunday rather than on a Monday . Identify three things that are going well. use them for input.1 Monday Vision. Friday Reflection Monday Vision.Monday Vision. but for y our Daily Outcomes. identify three compelling outcomes y ou want to accomplish. Identify three things that need improvement. Daily Outcomes. While the 79 . Daily Outcomes. This is a balanced look at y our results. However. If y ou’ve established what y our Hot Spots are. Whenever y ou ask y ourself what’s the next best thing for y ou to do. If y ou complete y our three key outcomes for the day . In addition. You use these three outcomes to help y ou prioritize all of y our tasks and focus on results. Use y our three outcomes for the week from y our Monday Vision as input. y ou can tailor it for y our scenario. At the start of each day . it’s also a good time to check y ourself against y our three outcomes for the week and notice any recurring patterns. You may have a laundry list of tasks. y our three outcomes should guide y our answer. identify the three most important things y ou can accomplish for that day . Friday Reflection is a simple but effective pattern for results.

It’s the same pattern I’ve used to lead teams at Microsoft to ship on time and on budget while still keeping a work-life balance. In fact. It’s helped me through the best of times—and the worst of times. What makes it work is that it’s a simple way to organize y our results. This is the same weekly pattern I’ve used for y ears to get results in extreme scenarios. Daily Outcomes. Friday Reflection pattern is significant. each piece of the Monday Vision.whole is more than the sum of its parts. It works. And it’s self-correcting. What y ou learn each Friday . It’s the same sy stem I’ve used to help the people I mentor get their life back and get on track. y ou can fold back into each new week. y ou can incrementally adopt each piece. 80 .

Key Benefits The Monday Vision. Friday Reflection. When y ou have a routine. If this is Monday. reflect on y our week and think of three things that went well and three things y ou’d like to improve. It’s Simple It’s simple enough that y ou can immediately apply it. Daily Outcomes. It really is that simple. It’s an Easy Way to Stay on Track Rather than ad hoc. 81 . then y ou have to ask y ourself whether y ou picked the right outcomes or if y ou need to improve y our approach. On any given day. As y ou practice each day . If y ou’re accomplishing y our results. y ou can improve it simply by adopting the routine of Monday Vision. then y ou know y ou’re on the right track—good job! If y ou’re not accomplishing y our results. simply identify three outcomes for y our day. If this is Friday. then identify three outcomes for y our week. If it’s not working for y ou. It Helps You Make Course Corrections Sooner Rather than Later It allows y ou to be more responsive to things that might arise. Daily Outcomes. It helps y ou get back on the saddle again. Even if y our current approach is already working for y ou. y ou get more effective. It Helps You Keep Your Eye on the Prize Having three outcomes is a way to set y ourself up for success. y ou adjust it. Friday Reflection pattern provides a simple framework for y ou to organize each week. y ou can improve it. it’s a sy stem. Here are the main benefits of adopting this pattern: It’s a Starting Point It’s a place to start.

but y ou stay flexible. One of the worst pitfalls is to have a rigid sy stem where y ou can’t respond to change. With this approach. Another common pitfall is to get bogged down in a sy stem where the tool drives y ou. Life can throw y ou curve balls. It’s just-intime so that y our plans are timely and relevant. You’re in control. Having a weekly sy stem for results helps y ou keep swinging at—and hitting—whatever life throws at y ou.It’s just enough planning so that y ou have a map for y our week. 82 . You alway s get to figure out what y ou’re next best thing to do is in the context of the results y ou want to accomplish. y ou’re the driver.

They ended up in monolithic lists or complicated slicing and dicing to get simple views for next actions. It was easy to get lost in activity instead of driving by outcome. It's a sy stem with simple habits and practices. They didn't account for the human side. Stuff that should slough off wouldn’t. pen and paper work fine. (Don't carry them forward—if they 're important. 83 . allowing y ou to course-correct and integrate lessons learned. Why some other approaches haven’t worked: They were too complex or too weird. You get rid of the noise in y our head (the buzz of all the little MUSTs.Why This Approach Works Here’s why this approach has worked for me and many others: It's self-correcting by providing opportunities for course corrections throughout the week as well as from week to week. I particularly enjoy my Friday Reflections. Keeping y our working set small helps y ou prioritize faster and make course corrections as needed. It's not technology bound. COULDs floating around). It's a sy stem to consistently check y our path. let’s take a closer look at how it works. SHOULDs. Keeping the list (or lists) up-to-date and managing status were often more work than some of the actual to-do items. Friday Reflection pattern. While I learn every day. I also found a new enjoy ment in Monday s because I'm designing my day s and driving my weeks. I've tweaked and simplified it as I've shown others over time. and a snowball effect would ultimately make the approach unwieldy . y ou’ll rehy drate them when needed. Your next actions—y our MUSTs—are immediate and obvious relative to SHOULDs and COULDs. Daily Outcomes. Now that y ou have a better understanding of the strengths and benefits of the Monday Vision. Unimportant items slough off. I've been using Agile Results now for y ears.) You manage small and simple lists—never a big bloated list. When y ou’re not at y our desk.

84 .

“What would be the most pain if it weren’t done by Friday ?” Focus on outcomes. 3 Outcomes for the Week Start with three outcomes. not activities or tasks. There’s a good chance y ou may have lots of activities and tasks. It also helps y ou get in the habit of prioritizing y our time and energy.Monday Vision Monday Vision is simply a practice where each Monday. This is y our chance to draw a line in the sand and decide what y ou will and won’t do. helps y ou stay focused during the week. “If this were Friday. y ou identify the most important outcomes for the week. To do so. Use questions to guide y ou. Simply identify three results for the week. 85 . what are the three most important results I want to show?” and. Knowing where y ou want to be by the end of the week. ask y ourself questions such as. There are a lot of things competing for y our attention. This is about carving out three results for the week that y ou truly care about. This helps y ou work backwards with the results in mind.

and COULD is just a pipe dream. SHOULD. Instead. Check y our three outcomes for the day against y our three outcomes for the week to see if y ou are on track and trending in the right direction. You may have a sea of tasks. When y ou know that each move y ou make is working towards y our meaningful outcomes. That said. P3s. I’ve also found that many of the people I mentor had similar experiences. You can alway s bite off more later. Don’t get caught up in y our backlog. P2. Priority 2. y our team. y our best moves. y our manager. While this might be helpful in task management sy stems. think of the three most valuable things y ou can accomplish today and apply laser-like focus toward doing so. P3). P2. Challenge y ourself to pick the three most valuable results that y ou can reasonably accomplish. but ultimately. and y our best responses for the situations y ou’re in. I found better results. then y ou know that y ou’re making y our best play s given the circumstances. such as completing a draft of a chapter in y our new book. or having y our best workout session. This focus will help y ou quickly come to terms with prioritizing what’s on y our plate. Consider what’s valuable for y ou. You decide. it helps to simply think in terms of MUST. You can’t control every thing. This can be any thing. COULD mindset to help y ou organize y our P1. I’ve used numbering sy stems for my outcomes and to-dos in the past. SHOULD would be nice. etc. There’s something about the language that helps y our brain prioritize better when y ou think in terms of MUST versus SHOULD or COULD. Consider what y ou can reasonably accomplish and what would be the most valuable. and COULD. if y ou prefer a numbering sy stem. That’s it. MUST. Priority 3 (or P1. For example. I’ve found that in terms of a daily list. or finishing a meaningful slice of y our project at work. SHOULD. y our project. SHOULD. COULD to organize and prioritize my results. by using MUST. y our family. COULD There are lots of way s to rank and prioritize. 86 . SHOULD. there’s nothing stopping y ou from using a MUST. 3 Outcomes for Today Identify y our three best results for the day. y ou might use numbering sy stems such as Priority 1. but y ou can control y our choices. Value is alway s in the ey e of the beholder.Daily Outcomes Daily Outcomes are simply the three results y ou want for y our day. MUST is what y ou must get done.

conversations. or bursts of brilliance throughout the day . y ou have a good sense of y our priorities and can better deal with potentially randomizing scenarios. Start by listing y our minimum MUST items. There may be things that seem easy to do. For example. before doing so. Next. At least then y ou know y our trade-offs. 2009-03-12). What’s the Next Best Thing to Do? When y ou find y ourself wondering about y our next steps. y ou might find that it would be more efficient to walk the halls rather than have email dialogues with them. There may be things y ou want to do. “What’s the next best thing to do?” This simple question can go a long way. remind y ourself of y our three outcomes for the day and y our three outcomes for the week. 87 . make a new list. given y our available time and energy. email. Your input streams include meetings. Each day. y ou can batch that as well. use The Rule of 3 to bubble up to the top of the list the three most compelling outcomes for y ou. answer whether that’s the next best thing for y ou to do. Since y ou do this at the start of y our day . then y our SHOULD and COULD items. Title it by date (for example. This list can also help y ou batch y our work. if there are a lot of folks y ou need to email. While y ou may choose those for practical reasons. If y ou need to get perspective.Daily Outcomes Lists You can use y our Daily Outcomes as y our to-do list. if y ou know there's a bunch of folks y ou need to talk to in y our building. On the other hand. Use this list throughout the day as y ou look through y our various input streams for action. then first ask y ourself.

For example.Friday Reflection Friday Reflection is a practice where y ou evaluate three things going well and three things to improve. By having a dedicated time for reflection. while letting go of the bad. Think of this as carry ing forward the good. y ou evaluate. Analy zing is easy. This helps y ou avoid over-analy zing y ourself throughout the week. By focusing on both what’s going well and what needs improvement. This is one of the most significant way s to continuously improve y our quality of life. One way to make Friday Reflection a regular part of y our weekly routine is to make it a recurring appointment on y our calendar. then on Friday. particularly with continuous weekly practice. It's actually easy for y ou to do this for months as well. It’s also y our chance to celebrate y our wins and feel good about y our ability to learn and respond.m. y ou also keep y ourself balanced. During the week. It’s all too easy to focus on just the negative and miss out on the positive—what’s going well or what’s working. simply block off 30 minutes on Friday s at 10:00 a. it's very easy to review a week's worth and see patterns for improvement. y ou can better focus on the “pitch” and not the “scoreboard” throughout the week. but give y ourself that time in case y ou need it. y ou perform. Your insight and key takeaway s feed into y our Monday Vision. Friday Reflection is also a chance to evaluate what y ou got done—or didn't—and why. 88 . You may not need the full time. week over week. Trends stand out. Because y ou have a flat list of to-do lists chunked up by day. This is truly y our chance to get clarity on y our personal success patterns and what y ou need to change.

or capitalizing on a new opportunity . Identify and define y our own tests for success. Friday Reflection pattern. Daily Outcomes. then y ou need to either redefine success or redefine y our outcomes. Clarity is a skill. 3. Tests for Success. 6. You may have hundreds of tasks in y our backlog. think in terms of flowing value. simply by focusing and concentrating y our effort toward y our next best things to do. Remember that value is in the ey e of the beholder. it’s easy to stay fully engaged and produce y our best results. or it could be as 89 . turn to The Rule of 3. You might prioritize having a barbeque on y our deck. now y ou have specific scenarios or experiences that y ou are lighting up and making happen. Value Delivered over Backlog Burndown. or how y ou help others picture what y our results will look like. This is agility in action. 5. Framing y our results is simply how y ou picture it in y our mind. Rather than feel like a slave to a backlog. Find a Way to Flow Value. Whenever y ou feel overwhelmed. You get to define three outcomes for the day and the week. When y ou know y ou’re working on the right things. Rather than just mow the lawn or clean up the back. You can alway s make incremental progress. For example. The Rule of 3. A good way to figure out tests for success is to use scenarios or to craft stories. either to y ourself or to others. The more y ou practice framing y our results for the week (by getting a good vision of what y our three results will really look like). This will give y ou clarity. Set simple limits. Scenario-Driven Results. if y ou’re working on y our backy ard. 1. then something is off. This gives y our work meaning. the easier it gets. but take the time to figure out y our three most meaningful results for today. If achieving the results won’t actually be a success. See if y ou can chunk y our results down. and peace of mind. Framing Results for the Week.Additional Considerations Here are some additional considerations to keep in mind and help y ou when y ou adopt the Monday Vision. Your show and tell could be demonstrating some software y ou built. 4. lay ing in y our hammock and enjoy ing y our rose garden as key scenarios to optimize around. whether it’s an item from y our existing backlog. One way to do this is to have a “show and tell” where y ou show y our results to others. focus. Rather than just focus on reducing y our backlog. This is a great way to practice setting and resetting expectations both for y ourself and others. Imagine in y our mind what success looks like. 2. and it improves the quality of y our life. This will impact both y our mindset and y our results. walk the scenarios that matter to y ou. y ou’ll be making conscious decisions over what y our next best thing to do is. If y ou aren’t flowing value.

and more responsive to any opportunities. and y ou can adjust y our approach. No matter how well y ou plan or how predictable things seem. Timeboxes. This helps y ou avoid overspending y our time in one area at the expense of another. Have a Buffer. Use time limits to help y ou spend y our energy more effectively. things sometimes suddenly come up. 90 . clear y our plate faster. Bite off what y ou can without having a plate that’s so full that y ou’re paranoid about running into y our boss and getting y et another item to add on top. If y ou’re plate is too full and y ou have no buffers. Life happens. y ou won’t see any opportunities—only threats to y our already over-burdened schedule. and to invest y our time across the things that matter most. 7. 8. You also don’t want to be in the situation where one more straw breaks the camel’s back. Think of y our work like a buffet: instead of piling it on. Have a buffer for them.simple as showing off a room in y our house that y ou cleaned. If people don't value what y ou are showing. y ou'll know earlier rather than later. A timebox is simply a limit or constraint in terms of how much time y ou will spend on something. take smaller portions. more agile. and make multiple trips. This will keep y ou lighter.

91 . decide on three outcomes for the day. y ou can tune and prune it based on what y ou learn about y ourself and the situation or context that y ou find y ourself in. Trust the sy stem as a way to help y ou see the forest from the trees while dealing with y our every day tasks and activities. Your outcomes should sound like results or achievements. On Friday s. On Monday s. figure out three results for the week. Each day.In Summary The Monday Vision. whether it’s personal results at home or personal results on the job. Use the sy stem to support y ou in whatever y ou need. It’s a flexible. not activities and tasks. Focus on outcomes. adaptable sy stem that y ou can tailor to suit y our needs. Friday Reflection pattern helps y ou make the most of each week. Reflect on y our results. Daily Outcomes. ask y ourself what three things are going well and what three things need improvement. Because it’s a sy stem.

Part II – Daily. Monthly. Y early Results In This Part: Chapter 6 – Design Your Day Chapter 7 – Design Your Week Chapter 8 – Design Your Month Chapter 9 – Design Your Year 92 . Weekly.

Chapter 6 – Design Your Day It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. —Bruce Lee 93 . Hack away at the unessential.

Given that we spend our lives one day at a time. Travel light. y ou can work backwards from that. Remember as a kid waking up each morning to a new and exciting day ? That’s the point y ou need to start from. emotions. y ou can carve out time for what’s important. 94 . We’re creatures of habit.In This Chapter Learn how to set y ourself up for success each day using “tests for success. have y ou made time for free time? Have y ou made time to invest in the important Hot Spots in y our life (mind. and ending y our day in a way that supports y ou. Chances are y ou’ll surprise y ourself time and again. enjoy ing the process. The difference is now y ou have skills. spending y our time on compelling outcomes. Each day is a fresh start. and it’s easy to fall into habits or routines that limit us. or achieving important results in y our life. Test y our limits. Another way to improve y our day is to add more power hours. body. It really boils down to what y ou spend y our time on. and all the limits y ou bring to each new day. Is y our day by design or by default? One of the simplest way s to improve y our day is to use The Rule of 3 to identify three results y ou want for the day. y ou can think about y our day in terms of events or highlights.” Learn how to structure y our day to maximize y our results. Learn how to chunk y our day to avoid being overwhelmed. y ou can choose how y ou spend it. then y ou can still walk away with lessons that will help y ou shape a better tomorrow. the real difference in our lives is how we spend each day. You looked forward to growing up so y ou could do whatever y ou want. financial. relationships. You can choose to spend y our power hours having fun. making time for what’s important (including free time). the quality of how y ou spend it. Baggage brings y ou down. You can think about y our day in terms of activities. it’s how y ou spend it. For example. just give y ourself a chance. Or. Unfortunately over time. blasting through obstacles. career. may be y ou started to think that life isn’t as full of possibilities or as limitless as y ou once thought. You also picked up some good habits and some bad habits. If y ou think of y our day as a fixed budget of time. and fun)? The secret of a successful day is enjoy ing y our startup routine. Test y ourself. It’s not how much time y ou have. But what’s limiting y ou? You are. While y ou won’t get more time each day. If things don’t work out today. When y ou know what y ou want to accomplish. You can also use outcomes or results as a gauge for y our day. and who y ou spend y our time with. Don’t pick up y our bags today.

The following table summarizes how to map out y our day using key practices: Table 6. we’ll walk through these key practices so that y ou know what to do for each one. 95 .1 Designing Your Day Item Key Practices Start with The Rule of 3 Startup Routine Start Your Day Design Your Day Scan Your Hot Spots Compelling Outcomes Scenario-Driven Results Carve Out Time for What’s Important Set Boundaries and Limits Drive Your Day Wear the Right Hat Worst Things First Pace Yourself Power Hours Test Your Results End Your Workday Dump Your State Hang Your Hat Up End Your Day 4 Questions to Cap Your Day Shutdown Routine Now.Designing Your Day You can structure y our day for success.

If y ou know y ou're working on the right things. If y ou set the rules.” It’s y our chance to define y our success. It’s about starting the day on y our terms in a way that empowers y ou to be y our best. it's easier to give y our all—to find y our motivation. and a strawman of my project plan. For example. It’s not. These are y our “tests for success. that’s not an effective start. and y ou get a clean slate each day . and a bluebird on y our shoulder.Start Your Day A good startup routine helps set the pace for the rest of y our day. for today I want a draft of my chapter complete. If y ou wake up and want to immediately crawl back to bed. You get to chart y our course. You get to define what good looks like. y ou can prioritize more effectively. start y our day with The Rule of 3. Start with The Rule of 3 If y ou remember nothing else. blue skies. There are a lot of little mini-decisions during y our day that y ou can influence by knowing where y ou want to go. If y ou know what y ou're try ing to accomplish. Know the minimum y ou want for the day —simply identify three results. If y ou start by quickly looking over the time y ou'll spend for the day. Startup Routine This is how y ou bootstrap y our day. You can’t run ahead if y ou can't see what's in front of y ou. y ou know how to pace y ourself. however. but these are three results y ou want for the day. Here are some of the main reasons to start y our day with The Rule of 3: You define the three tests for success. You might have lots of tasks that roll up to these three outcomes. It’s the activities y ou do 96 . then y ou have a map to guide y ou through y our day and to lead y ou if y ou get lost in the thick of things. y ou win the game. a fun lunch. You already have a startup routine. Remember that y our three outcomes aren’t tasks. When y ou map y our day. Those are the lines I’ve drawn in the sand for the day . necessarily about starting y our day bright-ey ed and bushy -tailed with sunshine.

workout for 30 minutes. 97 . and my calendar to see if I need to adjust my three outcomes. and take the back way to work. my startup routine is to wake up. and I think of my three most compelling outcomes for the day . For example. on weekday s. I listen to my favorite music. On my drive to work. my queues.to start y our day and feel grounded. When I get to work. eat breakfast slowly. I scan my inbox. shower.

You should have a map of y our Hot Spots in easy view. such as y our active projects and any important roles or activities or events. Strike a balance. While it’s easy to get in the habit of only working on the most painful Hot Spots. You also have Hot Spots for work. financial. Don’t get stuck simply treading water and reducing pain. Compelling Outcomes Turn y our heat map into compelling outcomes. Scan Your Hot Spots Think of y our Hot Spots as a heat map of what’s important. while other Hot Spots will represent the leaks in y our life that y ou need to fix. Carve out a chunk of y our life force for working on improvements and leading the life y ou want to live. body. boil them down into a set of results or outcomes y ou would like to see. It’s counter-productive to make a 98 . y ou can quickly see all the balls y ou are juggling. At a high level. whether y ou write them on paper or store them electronically. career. and fun. outcomes are the results y ou want. Some of y our Hot Spots will represent opportunities in y our life. If y ou accomplish y our three outcomes. y ou can alway s bite off more. relationships. going on an adventure. or being a parent. The point is this—at a glance. If Hot Spots are the areas that need y our time and energy. emotions. After y ou scan y our Hot Spots. y ou set y ourself up for success. whether that’s fixing up y our house. feeling.Design Your Day Designing y our day is a simple exercise in creating enough scaffolding for y our day . stop and think whether y ou need to start investing more of y our time and energy in Hot Spots that really change y our game and open new doors. What’s important is that y ou first explicitly define what y ou want to accomplish. It boils down to reducing pain and increasing pleasure. Designing y our day is as easy as deciding three outcomes y ou want and then spending the day thinking. It helps y ou keep track of y our day so it doesn’t get away from y ou. y ou have a stable set of Hot Spots for life: mind. You can also adjust y our three outcomes if y ou find they just aren’t the right things for right now. Keep it simple. It also reminds y ou of what’s important and steers y ou clear from spending time on things that don’t move y ou closer to where y ou want to be. and doing whatever it takes to accomplish that. By investing in these areas throughout y our life. You also have Hot Spots for y our personal projects and roles. and y ou can use the Hot Spots as a way to cherry -pick what the most important value is that y ou can deliver (whether to y ourself or to others).

but if y ou trimmed the tree so that y ou can use the hammock … now. y ou can identify y our own tests for success. Are y ou spending the right amount of time today on those three results y ou want to accomplish? The default pattern is to try and fit them in with all y our existing routines. It’s one thing to work on a task. y ou make time. This is where The Rule of 3 helps. or even the y ear. The point is to make it compelling. clear the bushes. A more powerful approach is to make time for y our three results today and optimize around that. If y ou don’t make time for what’s important. No matter what task or activity y ou work on. It’s another to know what the outcomes are and what good looks like. If that’s not big picture enough. rather than a laundry list of tasks (such as mow the lawn. This might mean disrupting other habits and routines y ou have. Perhaps the lawn is OK for now. This is about distilling a few good enough results for now that y ou can reasonably make progress on. why not ask them what good looks like? Involve them. etc. y ou can also identify compelling outcomes. One way to figure this out is to identify what results y ou want for the week. For example. If y ou’re not getting the results y ou want. that would really make it a great experience. Scenario-Driven Results Walk the scenarios.” Then y ou can evaluate whether mowing the lawn is the next best thing to do. but this is a good thing. y ou get an idea of what y ou’re working towards. turn it into a scenario. Simply by visualizing the scenario or the experience y ou want. If this is a task y ou’re doing for somebody else. This is a way to test what good might look like. If y ou have a compelling “Why . If this is a task y ou’re doing for y ourself. then think about the three results y ou want for the month. the more you’ll get great results. You can identify tests for success that inspire y ou along the way. This way y ou don’t get surprised when y ou finish and they aren’t impressed. it doesn’t happen. Simply by turning all y our activities into compelling outcomes and using scenarios and experiences to test the end in mind. rake the leaves. It’s also the same technique that helps y ou find compelling outcomes. You can help reduce crossed expectations. It’s a quick and simple exercise that helps y ou find y our way through the laundry list of chores. Carve Out Time for What’s Important You don’t have time. such as “enjoy the y ard. The more you get in the habit of making time for what’s important.). If y ou know what y ou want for the week.” y ou’ll find a way . y ou can start asking better 99 . y ou dramatically improve y our ability to get results.laundry list of results y ou want. then y ou can back it up from there to determine the results y ou need for today to get closer to where y ou want to be.

In addition. to 8:00 a. For example. Decide on the minimum and maximum time y ou want to allocate for each.) Are you investing time in the most important Hot Spots in your life: mind. Here are some things to think about when y ou’re carving out y our time: How much time minimum should you spend today for each of your three outcomes? How much time maximum should you spend today for each of your three outcomes? Are you spending too much energy in below the line activities? (This is where you’re just treading water and making it through each day.m. financial. look back through y our life and decide. emotions. career. Lastly. body. sleeping and working out. y ou might also decide that y ou’ll take “weekends off” but work intensely during the week. May be y ou start accomplishing y our results but don’t like what y ou get. lunch is at 12:00 noon. may be a different thing happens. and that nothing gets in the way. but not actually getting ahead. You can step back and ask whether y ou’re choosing the right outcomes for The Rule of 3.m.m. One of the most important things y ou can do is to fix time for eating. For example.m.) Are you spending enough time in above the line activities? (This is where you feel you’re on top of your day and investing your time where you get the most impact. What’s important is that y ou do this by design and not by default. what was the most effective approach y ou had for working out? What were y our best routines for eating and sleeping? If y ou don’t have routines that work. If y ou just do the default it can be easy to spend all y our time in the wrong places or spend too much time in one area at the expense of another. For example. It’s also easy to underestimate the amount of 100 . You can set boundaries at a high level.questions. y ou might decide that breakfast is at 8:00 a. “What’s the range of time and energy y ou want to spend to make it happen?” This helps y ou avoid over-investing or even under-investing. It’s answering the question. fun? Set Boundaries and Limits Chunking up y our day is easier if y ou use timeboxes and set boundaries.. now y ou know to prioritize and figure them out. y ou might decide that y our workout is from 7:00 a. and dinner is at 5:30 p. You can also set up boundaries and limits for accomplishing y our three outcomes for the day. If y ou fix time for these three things and then work y our day around these. Think of these as part of y our personal success patterns and fine tune them. y ou help set y ourself up for success. relationships. are y ou investing enough time? Are y ou investing the right energy ? Are y ou using the right approach? Or.

then y ou need to pay attention. This is y our chance to start practicing how y ou estimate y our time.work involved. You’ll get better with practice. 101 . If each day what y ou estimate to take three hours takes y ou six hours instead.

May be y ou need to kick some arse and take names. It’s easy to spend y our day reacting. If y ou’re not driving. Worst Things First This is a practice I learned long ago—doing worst things first. but at least y ou’ve charted a potential course. Now that y ou have a map. Don’t let things loom over y ou. it’s easy to decide on things such as whether y ou can take a leisurely stroll or whether y ou need to get it in gear and really kick some arse. Whenever possible. It’s the execution of y our results. especially if y ou don’t have a plan. A power hour is when y ou feel at y our 102 . Either way. feeling. The idea is to “get it over with. But rather than save y our biggest hurdle for the end. that’s another hat. Driving y our day is the thinking. may be y ou need a more exploratory mindset. I try to schedule these hurdles for the earlier part of my day or week when I’m at my strongest. worst things first. and it has become one of my most effective habits. It’s human nature to move away from pain. then y ou can drive y our day . I’m talking about the stuff that needs to happen sooner rather than later. and doing part. If y ou push those things to the end of the day or the end of the week. You still need to be flexible. y ou’re reacting. do it up front when y ou are y our strongest. I’m not talking about the stuff I can ignore forever. Using a hat as a metaphor. Wear the Right Hat Adopt the right mindset for the situation. Once y ou have a plan.Drive Your Day Drive or be driven. they loom. but that I won’t enjoy doing. Why loom longer than necessary ? That’s draining. sometimes I have a meeting or a conversation or even just a task for the day that I’m not looking forward to.” For instance. y ou can wear different hats for different situations. If y ou start y our day with three outcomes y ou want to accomplish. Switch out hats that aren’t working. so y ou put on y our explorer’s cap. y ou at least have a rough map for y our day. this is about recognizing that y our mindset will be the biggest influence on how y ou approach y our day and how y ou react to it. For example. One of my mentors gave me this tip. Power Hours Having power hours is y our best asset for the day. Have a set of hats y ou can trust and wear the right hat for the job.

then y ou’re not enjoy ing the spectrum or cy cles of y our day. start testing y our results and inform y our own opinion. You can spend y our power hours on whatever y ou want. The quicker y ou test y our results. really take y our breaks. y our energy reserves get stronger as y ou flex them. You accomplish more in that one power hour than y ou do spending several hours or even day s not in the zone. this is about both exploring y our limits and testing ideas against reality. y ou can start to find way s to have more power hours in y our day. The key is to set y ourself up to have power hours in the first place. First. and y ou won’t find y our flow. think of the day as a series of sprints. Just like any muscle. then it’s job one to find it. it’s thinking about how y ou can break y our own limits and surprise y ourself. Rather than think of it as a marathon. As y ou pay attention to y our power hours. Rather than decide up front whether y ou can do this or y ou can’t do that or that’s impossible. For example. Really. then y ou’ve found a way to create a power hour on demand. it’s easier to set y our pace. When y ou’re working. y ou might find y ourself with only one or two power hours a day. if y ou find that just taking a quick. be fully engaged. Give y our best where y ou have y our best to give and maximize y our energy bursts. y ou want to test y our assumptions about the work as early as possible and find any surprises. When y ou take y our breaks. five minute walk gets the creative juices flowing again. Test Your Results Testing y our results is one of the most important practices y ou can adopt. If y ou don’t have a single power hour in y our day (or just don’t know when it is). It’s not engaging. If y ou only have one speed. Look back on y our day and y our week to answer these questions: Are there times that you seem to get a whole lot done no matter what the task? Do you find you concentrate better at certain times of the day? When do you feel like a fully fueled race car rather than a broken-down jalopy? At first. It’s easy to let y our past failures limit y our 103 . Make the most of them and set y ourself up for more. the quicker y ou get feedback to make better decisions as well as find any fallback plans if needed. Pace Yourself When y ou have a map of y our results. Second. Don’t spend all y our time doing every thing halfway.strongest and in the zone.

learn what y ou can from the experience but don’t let it get in the way of y our future results. or y our approach. But keep in mind that scenarios can make a big difference. In that case. so does y our approach. the context.future successes. it may have very well been due to the scenario. 104 . If y ou’ve failed before.

Another approach y ou can use is to start asking y ourself different questions that aren’t work-related. such as. You need to shift y our mind from thoughts of work to thoughts of home. Here are a few practices that y ou can use to help y ou transition from work. They can then pick their hat up the next day.End Your Workday When y ou end y our workday. One practice some people use is to hang their hat up. what’s important is that it’s in a place y ou trust. They simply visualize a tree in front of their house. Dump Your State Some of the most effective people I know use this simple practice—they dump their state at the end of the day. and they hang their hat up on that tree before they go inside. 105 . the last thing y ou want is for y our wheels to keep spinning. They write down whatever they were working on so that they can easily pick up where they left off. Hang Your Hat Up Just going home doesn’t cut it. You need a transition. Whether this is in a notebook or a text file. “What would I like to do tonight for fun?” Changing the questions changes y our focus.

y ou can improve y our day ’s end and set y ourself up for success. are y ou reading a book that helps y ou wind down. different shows will produce different results. an effective shutdown routine helps y ou wind down. Sleeping well is the means to starting the next day refreshed. One routine is to ask y ourself four questions to help put the focus on some of the most important aspects of y our day. Just like having an effective startup routine helps bootstrap y our day. reading a book. test watching a comedy . It’s actually better to test a variety of patterns to see what helps y ou the most. 106 . 4 Questions to Cap Your Day At the end of each day . or are y ou reading material that makes it hard for y ou to fall asleep? Simply notice the results y ou’re getting and test different approaches. The other is to have an effective shutdown routine. 2. meditating. I also use them to appreciate life's little lessons each day. For example. Simply by adding certain routines. if y ou tend to watch the news before y ou sleep. 3. whether it’s watching TV.End Your Day How y ou end y our day matters. You might think it would be easy enough to think of a great shutdown routine. but it helps make sure I don't slip into life's auto-pilot mode. If y ou like to read a book before bed. but there are a lot of variables. etc. 4. What did I learn? What did I improve? What did I enjoy? What kind act did I do? I use these questions to reflect on daily improvements as well as course-correct. It's a simple practice. Both routines help y ou wind down from y our day . I ask my self the following: 1. Shutdown Routine This is how y ou end y our day. The key to an effective shutdown routine is testing different patterns until y ou find one that helps put y ou in the right frame of mind for a more restful sleep. What's interesting too is that this simple practice can actually raise y our happiness level by focusing on important aspects of y our day in a positive light.

Lastly. Test y our results and change y our approach if it’s not working. Get creative. may be the happy ending is just the perfect tension and release y ou need for the perfect slumber. in addition to how y ou feel at the end of y our day. Test some new patterns. If y ou’re not waking up refreshed. So go ahead and find what works for y ou. y ou’re the most important judge.There’s a lot of research and opinions. if y ou watch a comedy where the main character alway s gets into a stressful situation. Explore y our results. 107 . Then again. chances are that it’s what y ou did the night before that makes all the difference (barring any medical conditions. It’s less about the activity y ou do and more about how it impacts y ou or how y ou react to it. but the most important thing is to find what works for y ou. of course). and y ou have a lot of empathy. At the end of the day. For example. it’s also important to notice how y ou feel when y ou wake up. may be this is not the best thing for y ou before bed.

Example of a Day by Design Here’s an example of a day by design: Table 6.2 Example of a Day by Design 108 .

109 .

110 .

“I don’t feel like doing it. I don’t have to think too hard about what to do next or get lost in the steps. You are paving a path through the execution. if there's a routine y ou have with lots of movable parts. Can y ou imagine if athletes only trained when they were inspired? This will seem especially counter-intuitive if y ou’re the ty pe that waits for inspiration. I encourage y ou to create execution checklists for any friction points or sticking spots y ou hit. In this case. however. y ou’ll find that while y ou don’t start off inspired. Execution Checklists Creating execution checklists is a simple. while I’m running through the steps. routine task that y ou need to get done. The key though is that y ou raise y our chances for inspiration by getting up to bat. This helps me plan the main steps while I’m in think-mode. Then. 2. but once y ou’re doing it. This is great when y ou feel over-burdened or if y ou have a mind-numbing. y ou're leaving a trail of what worked. In this case. For instance. y ou may have an exercise routine that y ou aren’t inspired to do. Just start. If y ou’re say ing to y ourself. An execution checklist is not a to-do list. find enough motivation to keep going). once y ou take action. y ou're thinking through what y ou have to get done. To create it. There are two main scenarios: 1.Additional Considerations The following are some additional considerations for improving y our day : Action Before Motivation Stop waiting for lightning to strike. capture the steps down and tune 111 . don’t wait for inspiration to come. and other day s y ou won’t. I simply write the main steps down before I start the task. This works great for tasks that y ou'll have to perform more than once or y ou have a routine y ou want to improve. y ou may find y ou actually enjoy it (or at the very least. but effective technique for improving results. is that some day s y ou will get inspiration.” remind y ourself that y ou might feel like doing it once y ou’re actually doing it. This can help y ou avoid task saturation and reduce silly mistakes while y ou're in execution mode. You are planning the work to be executed. For example. In many cases. That’s the nature of the beast. y our motivation follows. The truth. It’s a list of steps in sequence to perform a specific task.

When y ou start to worry. Your power hours might also be how y ou leverage y our ideas from y our creative hours. Another benefit of consolidating y ou worries into a worry break is that y ou give y our troubles their own focus so that y ou can begin to address them and start to find more effective patterns. but now it’s time to let go. You might also find that y ou thrive best when y ou add more creative hours to y our week. By having a designated time for this. For example. putting new ideas together. While in other cases. Let y ourself think of all the worst-case scenarios. y our creative hours are focused on free-form thinking and exploration. seeing a group of problems together may lead y ou to discover a common solution. It’s the mindset that’s important. or any execution steps y ou want to improve. They ’re really a state of mind—a state of day dreaming. Shed 10 Years in 10 Weeks . Dr. Creative Hours Creative hours are those times when y our mind feels free to explore ideas: creating new ideas from scratch. y ou may find that some of y our problems can be broken down into smaller problems and tackled as needed. During y our break. Whereas y our power hours may be focused on results. remind y ourself that y ou made a specific time for it.” If y ou find y ourself stressed with worry throughout the day. it's very effective whether it's for a personal task. Test y our results. Rather than try 112 . y ou make it easier to stay focused during the rest of y our day. Designate a halfhour break for worry ing. Then Make It Right This is a simple rule of thumb that can help y ou dramatically accomplish more. Worry Breaks In his book. Julian Whitaker suggests taking a “worry break. it’s better than randomly entertaining these thoughts throughout the day. or that y our creative hours change the game and improve y our power hours. y ou might find that y our power hours free up time for y our creative hours. Then there are other worries that just needed a moment of y our time. a team task. worry as much as y ou want and as intensely as y ou want. As simple as this sounds. or simply reflecting. the less distracted y ou’ll get throughout y our day . The more y ou stick to using y our worry breaks.them over time as y ou gain proficiency. You might find that creative hours are y our perfect balance to power hours. then consolidate it. Ultimately. Make It Work.

This will help keep y ou out of analy sis paraly sis. of focusing on anticipating. Test Drive Your Results Get in the habit of doing dry runs. On the other hand. or put y our 113 . This helps y ou reduce task switching and improve y our efficiency . Worse. y ou’ll produce more effective results. all y our improvements along the way are insignificant because y ou never get to the point where y ou or any body else can enjoy them. More people fail by never finishing or by wallowing in perfectionism or analy sis paraly sis. Batch and Focus Consolidate similar tasks and do them in a batch. then y ou can show off what y ou’ve accomplished so far while deciding how “right” y ou want to make it. You’ll also find y our surprises earlier versus later. Instead. or dependencies so y ou can adapt as needed before y ou paint y ourself into a corner. surprises. More importantly. Then go back and improve them. Testing y our results helps y ou very quickly find gaps. Take action. You’ll find that there are many things y ou can’t anticipate. y ou’ll build y our confidence and momentum. Friction can be any thing from a sloppy desk to an over-complicated task y ou need to perform regularly.to perfect things as y ou go along. If y ou try to improve as y ou go. This builds momentum. Create glide paths so that y ou can more easily fall into the right habits and practices. y ou’ll break y our rhy thm and y ou won’t get the benefit of batching. y ou often won’t know when to stop. Reduce Friction Find way s to reduce friction. often to y our own detriment. leave y our sneakers by y our bed so y ou can just get up and run first thing in the morning. focus on learning and responding. For example. if y ou bite off enough to complete a meaningful chunk and make it work. Make it work. learn. If y ou’re in the habit of thinking every thing through in y our head. and then make it right. y ou won’t complete things. If y ou have to keep task switching. By having working results. shift to thinking less and doing more. and hopping around. Your chances are better by getting working results y ou can improve. Alway s find the simplest path through to get to a working result. changing focus. try to complete things first. Then go back and improve as needed. and respond. Friction adds up and can eventually provide enough resistance that y ou stop doing the activity entirely. If y ou don’t complete things.

For example. I spend no more than 10 minutes. Quantify It Sometimes setting a quota is better than using a timebox. Start with a number y ou can easily hit and then add more. The key is to think in terms of incremental hurdles. 114 . Eat an elephant a bite at a time. This will help y ou deal with problems that overwhelm y ou as well as with information overload.favorite music within easy reach of y our workout. I routinely do a quick sweep of my desk before I start work. can y ou think of three compelling goals for y our y ear? Can y ou think of three results for today that y ou would enjoy working on? When y ou get stuck on something that seems large and overwhelming. now let’s go for three. and I can get to work with nothing in my way . Doing so allows me to carve out a nice clean space free of distractions. then try chunking it down into smaller quantities. Can y ou do one push up? OK.

Begin by creating three compelling outcomes. Scan y our Hot Spots. Create compelling outcomes. Create a shutdown routine.In Summary Structure y ou day for success. Create a startup routine. 115 . Carve out time for what's important.

Chapter 7 – Design Your Week A goal is not always meant to be reached. it often serves simply as something to aim at. — Bruce Lee 116 .

This will improve y our energy and help y ou continuously renew. y ou can bite off three things for the week and three things each day. All y ou really have is time. give y ou energy and make y ou feel powerful. Imagine spending more time each day on the things that make y ou strong. You can carry the lessons forward from one week into the next. 117 . You can use the Monday Vision. By designing a week that supports y ou. not by design. Is y our week by design or by default? One of the keys to results is owning your schedule. Imagine a week filled with power hours. that’s a schedule by default. or it can drive y ou. If y ou have recurring activities. and have enough energy to accomplish whatever y ou want. creative think time. it’s about sustainable results. This simple pattern gives y ou a fresh start each week and each day . whether it’s because it’s a fresh start. Each week is a fresh start. The most important thing y ou can do is fix time for core activities that keep y ou going: eating. or it’s a chance to experience more of what y ou want. Imagine a week where y ou spend each day working on the right things with the right people and making the right impact. By designing y our week. It’s not just about weekly results. You can drive y our schedule.In This Chapter Learn how to design a week for sustainable results. get enough movement. Imagine looking forward to the start of the week. y ou can spend more time in y our strengths and less time in y our weaknesses. and enough free time that y ou feel balanced and effective. Learn how to add more power hours to y our week. Friday Reflection pattern for weekly results. Investing in these is investing in y ourself. so the key is to make the most of it. y ou set y ourself up for weekly results. and working out. Daily Outcomes. Using The Rule of 3. sleeping. This is a week by design. y ou probably added them over time without realizing it. Imagine a week where y ou get enough sleep. Seize the opportunity now to design a week which actually supports you. Learn how to make more free time each week. Your week is a large chunk of time to get a handle on.

Friday Reflection End Your Week Friday Reflection Show-and-Tell 118 . and Working Out Carve Out Time for What’s Important Consolidate Related Activities Consolidate Weaknesses Add Strengths Schedule Free Time Drive Your Week Scan Your Hot Spots Start with The Rule of 3 Monday Vision.1 Designing Your Week Item Key Practices Baseline Your Schedule Identify Committed Time Map Out Your Strengths and Weaknesses Identify Free Time Map Out Your Week Design Your Week Set Boundaries and Limits Fix Time for Eating. Sleeping.Designing Your Week Table 7. Daily Outcomes.

Having a simple map of y our week makes it easy to play with “What if” scenarios. it’s easier to spot problems.Map Out Your Week Before y ou can improve y our week. creating a simple map of y our week helps. Include the hours and the day s of the week. Baseline Your Schedule Start by mapping out y our week and get a good baseline of y our schedule. y ou first need a bird’s-ey e view of y our schedule. y ou can create a simple matrix. If y ou know what y our week looks like at a glance. Here’s an example template: Table 7. To create a map. such as. It’s also easier to test potential solutions in terms of rearranging y our schedule.2 Baseline Your Schedule 119 . what if I used Monday to take care of most of my administrative tasks or what if I used Friday to catch up with people.

Here are some key things to include: Sleeping Eating Workouts Meetings Work time 120 .On y our map. write down y our activities and how y ou spend y our time.

Be honest.Free time Activities Identify Committed Time Identify y our committed time. It might be scattered all over the board. start by thinking about which activities y ou look forward to and which activities y ou dread. Your goal is simply to map out what y our current free time is. This might include meetings. 121 . Map Out Your Strengths and Weaknesses Identify which activities make y ou weak and which activities make y ou strong. other people’s schedules. You’ll get a chance to fix it. You might find y ou don’t even have any free time. or activities that y ou can’t move. What’s important is that y ou take a good look at what it currently is. If y ou’re not sure. The goal is to be able to see y our activities at a glance and know whether they make y ou weak or strong. Your goal is simply to map out which time is fixed versus which time is flexible. These are scheduled items that aren’t flexible. Identify Free Time Identify y our free time.

Another way to do this is to push the main things that make y ou weak to the start of y our week. It’s about making improvements in how y ou spend y our time. they won’t happen. to the start of y our day. It’s not about making a perfect week. Make time for important activities. No work on the weekend. here are some examples: Dinner on the table at 5:30 p. Eliminating them early creates a glide path for the rest of the week.m. Here are the key s to designing y our week: First baseline y our schedule. Note y our committed time and free time. Start with simple boundaries. Consolidate activities that make y ou weak as much as possible. By getting y our weaknesses out of the way. Tuesday night is date night. y ou can spend the rest of y our day in y our strengths. y ou can make some dramatic improvements in y our energy and how y ou feel. batch and focus on key activities. etc. Move those activities that make y ou weak to the morning when y ou can.2 Set Boundaries and Limits 122 . Here’s an example: Table 7. body . Push for spending 75 percent of y our time each day in activities that make y ou strong. and fun. Create time blocks to consolidate. Think of this as worst things first. Try using Hot Spots and setting boundaries. they will take over other important parts of y our life. If y ou don’t make time for things. Push the 25 percent of the time y ou spend in weaknesses. If y ou don’t set limits for things. fun time. time with people. including alone time.Design Your Week By shuffling y our schedule around. Set boundaries and limits Setting boundaries and limits is how y ou achieve y our balance. Set a maximum on career and a minimum on relationships. Spend more of y our time on y our strengths.

y ou have a great start and help ensure that y ou invest in y ourself. Sleeping. They enjoy their meals at allotted times throughout the day : for some it means eating 123 . while increasing value and improving effectiveness and efficiency . if y ou only have eight hours to throw at y our day. The key is to reduce time spent. This forces y ou to bite off only what y ou can chew. They know how much sleep they need. The worst mistake is to throw more time at problems. Fix Time for Eating. y ou’ll use them wisely . and Working Out One of the most effective patterns for improving y our week is having consistent times for eating.Hot Spot Minimums and Maximums (per week) Mind Body Emotions Career Financial Relationships Fun Minimum of 8 hours Minimum of 3 hours Maximum of 50 hours Minimum of 3 hours Don’t spread y our life force too thinly . The Hot Spots categories support each other. they make sure they go to bed at the right time for the right amount of hours. For example. Key Insights When y ou set a minimum in the right categories. This is how many of the most effective people structure their week. The first step is to decide to spend no more than 50 hours each week on work. therefore. If y ou set those in place and work every thing else around that. When y ou set a maximum in the right categories. y ou learn how to become more effective. and working out. sleeping. This is how y ou start improving time management and pushing back effectively . y ou avoid getting unbalanced and improving other categories.

By fixing time for eating. however. one of the most common patterns for successful people is to work out first thing in the morning. The key is to figure out what’s important to y ou and put it on y our map. Likewise. y ou’ll improve y our focus. By making time for things. it happens. When it comes to exercise. y ou won’t have to spend as much time thinking about them as y ou find way s to improve efficiencies and reduce friction. y ou’ll have random success. If y ou leave it to chance. they can work against y ou. These three activities are core for y our energy and are core energy patterns that support y ou. Consolidate them. Your time allocations should match y our priorities. consider doing all the activities that make y ou weak in the first hour of y our day when y ou are y our strongest. Consolidate Weaknesses Activities that make y ou weak might be scattered throughout y our week. What’s important is making time. Make it a part of y our schedule by design. y ou make time for things. 124 . It’s task-switching and hopping around that can eat up a lot of y our time and lessen y our effectiveness. if y ou work out in the morning every weekday. it also ensures that the workout happens. Another pattern is to work out after work as a way to cap off their work day and transition to home. Eventually. Consolidate these as well.three times a day while others prefer smaller portions five times or more a day. y ou can push as much of these weakening activities as y ou can to the start of y our week. Some people work out at the very end of the day if they can’t find any other time that works. For example. y ou’ll find way s to glide into y our routine. This gives them a continuous block of “me” time from the night before into the start of their day . This optimizes y our routines and frees up more time. y ou help make sure y ou take care of the basics. Compartmentalizing y our time like this keeps y our energy strong. If y ou schedule it. When neglected or improperly managed. Carve Out Time for What’s Important You don’t have time for things. For example. thus helping to enforce a boundary for ending their work day. Consolidate Related Activities It’s common to have activities spread throughout the week that would be better off done in a batch. sleeping and working out.

schedule more of it. 125 . it’s easier to stay fully engaged. It might seem strange to schedule y our free time. For example. it’s easier to truly enjoy y our free time if y ou’ve already allocated time to get the things done that y ou know y ou must do. Schedule Free Time If y ou want to increase y our free time. Also. one technique is to schedule lunches with people y ou enjoy and that cataly ze y ou. For example. You can also schedule activities y ou really enjoy to the end of each day and at the end of the week so that y ou have something to look forward to. if y ou know a break is scheduled.Add Strengths The secret to improving y our energy is to add more activities that make y ou strong throughout y our day and week. but it will liberate y ou. and y ou end on a high note.

If y ou get that done. y ou can alway s bite off more. This is 126 . You can drive or be driven. The key is to figure out y our capacity and to improve y our ability to set or reset y our own expectations. Scan Your Hot Spots Remember to scan y our Hot Spots. The key s are really to keep balance and to spend more time in y our strengths and less time in y our weaknesses. Driving y our week isn’t complicated once y ou know the main techniques. Friday Reflection pattern. simply think of three outcomes or results y ou want for the week. Start with The Rule of 3 When y ou start y our week. You can create y our own Hot Spots. then I recommend reading “Chapter 4 – Hot Spots” to get a good foundation in this basic tenet of Agile Results. Daily Outcomes. Friday Reflection The heart of y our week is the Monday Vision.Drive Your Week You can either drive y our week or y ou can be randomized and react. but picking three things will help y ou prioritize and stay focused. they are y our balancing point in life. Monday Vision. You’ll also start to get a better sense of how well y ou can accomplish what y ou set out to do. but y ou can also start with this frame: Mind Body Emotions Career Financial Relationships Fun If y ou have not done so already. Daily Outcomes. especially once y ou get in the thick of things. This might force y ou to bite off smaller and smaller things until y ou can get some consistency in y our results.

On Monday s. 127 . y ou figure out three results for the day that help y ou move towards y our three results for the week. y ou simply imagine—if this was Friday. y ou envision what y ou’d like to accomplish for the week.the scaffolding to support y our weekly results. y et consistent pattern y ou can count on. what three results would y ou like under y our belt? Each day. At the same time. On Friday s. It’s also how y ou’ll improve over time. It’s a simple. y ou reflect on y our results. It’s how y ou’ll get a fresh start each week and each day. y ou stay flexible so that y ou’re alway s working on the next best thing for y ou to do.

128 . Ask y ourself what three things are going well and what three things to improve. take the time to really embrace the fact y ou delivered. make the most of it. In addition. Think of it as the downward side of a mountain. This can be for y ou or for others. take the time to analy ze y our results against what y ou set out to do. Friday Reflection Carve out a half-hour on Friday s to reflect. Are y ou surprised? What’s getting in the way ? How might y ou do it differently ? These are opportunities to improve and refine y our ability to get results. It’s great to see y our results come to fruition. If y ou’re on a team. Keep the end of y our week as simple as possible. Wednesday is hump day for a reason. Step through them. Your reward will be a job well done. If it is just for y ou. By the end of the week y ou should be on y our way down from y our climb. show and share y our results. Reflect on y our results and carry what y ou learned forward. If y ou worked hard on something all week. Rewarding y our own ability to deliver results is how y ou keep y ourself inspired and lessen y our dependence on other people to acknowledge y ou. Show-and-Tell End y our week with a show-and-tell.End Your Week When y ou end y our week. this can be especially valuable as a way to share y our results.

As one of my mentors put it. Count how many creative hours y ou have during the week. The more realistic y ou are about how much time things take. It might even help by first finding y our worst parts of the day to identify y our non-power hours. make time available but also don’t spend too much time on things. Plowing through y our work is easy and y ou’re in y our flow. The trick. simply checking things off a list). Increase it from there. until y ou unblock y our best results.e. then simply think of these as free hours to let y our mind wander and explore or reflect. If y ou’re the creative ty pe. The key is to stay balanced and spend more time in strengths and less in weaknesses. and y ou’re in the zone. y ou might benefit from adding more creative hours. there are a few key practices y ou can explore for improving y our results. shoot for ten.” Make sure the time investment matches the value. If it’s not enough. This includes giving it the proper amount of time needed. If y ou don’t think of y ourself as very creative. You are going for meaningful results in y our life. If y ou currently have a handful of power hours over the course of the week.Improve Your Week Once y ou have the basics in place for an effective week. You add power hours by changing the activities y ou do or moving things around in y our schedule. Increase Your Creative Hours Just like adding power hours. Adding power hours is one of the best way s to improve y our results for the week. schedule more and set y ourself up so that they truly are creative hours. Schedule Things You Need Time For Scheduling things is one of the best way s to make sure it happens. Your power hours are the times throughout the day when y ou’re most productive: y our energy is strong. y our mind is clear. of course. It’s y our life by design.. Your time is 129 . Remember that y ou’re not going for productivity (i. the better y ou get at accomplishing them. is to find a balance. It’s also about making sure y ou accomplish what’s important to y ou. Increase Your Power Hours Count y our power hours. this will be especially important. You find y our power hours by pay ing attention to the points in the day where y ou get y our best results with the least amount of effort. “Don’t spend 20 dollars on a 5-dollar problem.

give y ourself more than enough time to get to work. Other people find they simply can’t be creative in certain situations or that they can’t be productive in others. and practices that recharge and renew y ou. This way y ou aren’t stressed by the traffic and have made allowances for things to go wrong. One of the most important buffers is y our morning buffer. and things will go wrong. For example. If y ou run too tight a ship. patterns. Experiment Between Morning Person and Night Owl Some people find that they are more creative at night but are more productive during the day. The more y ou account for things going wrong. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. It’s this learn-and-respond pattern that will see y ou through each day . y ou’ll find things will go wrong more often and throw y ou off. the less stress y ou’ll experience and the less things will actually go wrong.one of the most important resources y ou have. Avoid All-or-Nothing Thinking Don’t let all-or-nothing thinking ruin things. Therefore. You need to make sure y ou have the energy to keep going. Life has lots of unexpected curve balls. Roll with the punches. Add Buffers Don’t let all y our activities bump up against each other—have some breathing room. depending on the 130 . It’s that pattern that will produce results. Things do go wrong. Don’t let one bad apple spoil the bunch. Make Time to Recharge Renewal is an important part of y our cy cle. Invest it wisely . Pay attention to how y ou respond in terms of energy to different activities and find the routines. Experiment between being a night owl and a morning person to see which patterns work best for y ou. Some things that drain some people actually recharge other people. each week and each month. it’s important to know what actually recharges y ou versus what drains y ou. Having y our weekly routines will help y ou gradually improve and respond to change. so allow for them by design. You might even find that these patterns switch.

For example.season. 131 . y ou might prefer to be a night owl in the winter and a morning person in the summer.

In Summary
Design y our week to support y ou. Use the Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, Friday Reflection pattern to drive y our week. On Monday s, identity three compelling results for the week. On Friday s, reflect on three things going well and three things to improve. Baseline y our schedule. Set boundaries and limits. Fix time for eating, sleeping, and working out. Consolidate the things that make y ou weak. Add strengths to y our week. Schedule free time to y our week.

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Chapter 8 – Design Your Month
Fall seven times, Stand up eight. —Japanese Proverb

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In This Chapter
Learn how to create a scannable map of y our month. Learn how to design a more effective month. Learn how to use The Rule of 3 to keep scope creep at bay . This chapter shows y ou how to map out y our month for monthly results. Mapping out y our month helps y ou to really prioritize and focus on the most important results. It also helps y ou see another level up bey ond y our weekly results. This is especially helpful when y ou have longer term projects. Things can take y ou by surprise. While y ou can’t predict every thing, y ou can improve how y ou anticipate y our month. You do this by mapping it out.

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Month at a Glance
Your Month at a Glance should show y our queue, each week, and the three top priority outcomes for each week and for the month. The following table is an example template: Table 8.1 Month at a Glance

Note how the Queue is organized by MUST, SHOULD, and COULD. This is a helpful way to chunk up y our backlog. You can record y our results for each week in the Completed column. The template is lightweight by design, allowing y ou to easily make adjustments without having to spend a lot of time in administration. Don’t worry about directly connecting the dots between y our daily outcomes, weekly outcomes, and monthly outcomes. Instead, think of each as a different perspective and scope, and they complement each other. They will often align, but the most important thing is that y our daily, weekly, and monthly outcomes serve y ou: helping y ou stay focused on y our next best thing to do and achieve the results y ou need.

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Mapping Out Your Month
The key to mapping out y our month is to chunk it down and do a piece at a time. Here is a summary of the flow of steps I take to map out the month: Step 1. Make a list of all y our outcomes. Step 2. Prioritize y our list of outcomes. Step 3. Assign outcomes to each week. It really is that simple. Now, let’s walk through each step in more detail.

Step 1. Make a List of All Your Outcomes
Make a list of all the outcomes y ou want for the month. This is where windows of opportunity really matter. Imagine if the month was over, what are all the things y ou would regret the most if y ou didn’t complete them? Dump every thing y ou can think of. Let the ideas flow freely and don’t edit them in this step—just write them down.

Step 2. Prioritize Your List of Outcomes
In this step, y ou prioritize y our list of outcomes. At this point, y ou probably have a good sized “laundry list.” The goal for this step is to chunk up y our list of outcomes so y our highest priority items float to the top. I recommend chunking it up using the following priorities: MUST SHOULD COULD I’ve found that it helps to simply think in terms of MUST, SHOULD, and COULD. MUST is what y ou must get done, SHOULD would be nice, and COULD is just a pipe dream. Your MUSTs are y our next actions; they are immediate and obvious relative to y our SHOULDs and COULDs. I use MUST, SHOULD, and COULD because I find those terms resonate better. Alternatively, y ou could use priority 1, priority 2, and priority 3 (or p1, p2, and p3). Use what works for y ou. You know it’s working when y ou’re able to identify the most important results based on either 136

impact or windows of opportunity . In fact, missing windows of opportunity is the biggest oversight people make. Time changes what’s important. It can also significantly amplify the impact of what y ou get done, or what y ou don’t get done. There’s a lot to be said for “a stitch in time saves nine.” When prioritizing, include estimates taking into account the best time to work on specific tasks. Doing so gets y ou from good results to great. As y ou prioritize y our list of outcomes, make sure to trim down y our MUSTs (or whatever equivalent label y ou’ve chosen) to no more than three items. You can alway s bite off more after y ou complete y our three MUSTs. Priority and focus are y our best friends. Your worst enemy is scope creep. Keep it at bay by using The Rule of 3.

Step 3. Assign Outcomes to Each Week
In this step, y ou assign the three highest priority outcomes for each week. These should work towards y our three outcomes for the month. Notice how y ou can zoom out to the big picture by looking at three results for the month, or y ou can zoom in to more details by looking at three results for the week. It’s this ability to zoom in and out that helps y ou see the forest from the trees and keeps y ou focused on y our best results.

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In Summary
Think in terms of monthly results. Know the 3 most important outcomes for the month. Know the 3 most important outcomes for each week.

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Chapter 9 – Design Your Year The best way to predict the future is to create it. —Peter Drucker 139 .

and enjoy the journey along the way . and deliverables. That's the idea behind focusing on three great results for the y ear. I had to question whether this was how I was going to set my goals for the y ear. (2) finish my book. across multiple projects. He put all the key project events on it. I tried to get precision and accuracy around goals. They could see when there might be bottlenecks or resource constraints. I pushed all my thinking aside and asked a very simple question. what are three great results I would want?” Without hesitation. and collected. and how to get there. He included people on the teams for their input as he mapped out the project milestones.In This Chapter Figure out y our three best results for the y ear. I would feel a sense of fulfillment if I turned the page of another y ear of my life and found that I had achieved these three things for the y ear (or at least come really close). and tactics. Learn how to create a scannable map of y our y ear at a glance. design a more effective y ear. Every body could easily see the map with the end in mind. Seeing y our y ear at a glance is another. to finding y our dream job. When I finally got clarity. I did. “If this were next y ear. Learn how to design more effective months to support y our y ear. objectives. The inspiration for seeing my y ear at a glance came from one of my colleagues. I first learned to focus on three great results for the y ear by study ing goals and objectives. strategies. He was alway s calm. They could see and plan for holiday s. I answered: (1) get to my fighting weight. activities. One of his secrets was his calendar on the wall. Knowing y our three great results for the y ear is one thing. (Interestingly. cool.) Since it sounded almost too simple to be useful. It was a simple view of the y ear at a glance. completing this chapter means finishing the writing for my book. It's about having the three most important things to y ou. Something inside me told me that I finally found the secret sauce for significant change. It also helps y ou see y our y ear at a glance. to taking an incredible journey. I thought to my self: If this works so great for dealing with complicated projects and dependencies … why not use it for life? And so. under y our belt. 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? This could be any thing from getting to y our ideal weight. and (3) take an epic adventure. for the y ear. 140 . This chapter helps y ou achieve three great results for the y ear.

such as starting y our own business. or they can be about getting y ourself out of pain.3 Great Results for the Year Your three great results for the y ear are the three most important changes y ou want in y our life at this time. “If this were next y ear. If y ou had three wishes to grant 141 .1 Three Great Results for the Year For my example. Grant Yourself 3 Wishes You can almost think of this as granting y ourself three wishes. I picked three things: 1. Book – because it's the greatest gift I can give others—the gift of results. financial. career. 2. body. These could be about making y our dreams happen. such as getting out of debt. relationships. emotions. 3. Fighting weight – because I want the feeling of freedom and flexibility . Epic adventure – because I want to test my self and create great experiences to look back on. and fun. what are three things I would want to be different?” Figure 9. These could be related to y our work or personal life. Think about y our life Hot Spots: mind. What are the three most important things y ou want to achieve? The simplest way to get to some insightful answers is to ask y ourself the tough question.

the more y ou can invoke y our other senses. y ou give y ourself clarity about the end in mind while stay ing flexible in how y ou get there. When y ou imagine y our wishes come true. By making meaning and assigning significance to each wish or result. before you told yourself what you couldn’t do. When I decided that the ability to run longer distances was an important result for me. Imagine Your Wishes Briefly imagine what it would be like if y ou accomplished each of y our three wishes or results y ou want for the y ear. You can alway s change them. Play at it. I imagined what it felt like to run free. red and y ellow. If the results y ou imagined don’t feel compelling or inspiring. y ou haven’t found y our three wishes. What’s important is that y our three wishes are compelling for y ou.y ourself. Listen to y our gut instinct. what would y ou wish for? Dream big before y ou whittle away to what y ou think is realistic or possible. This is the same kid with the big dreams: back before anybody told you what you couldn’t do. I simply asked. What’s important is that y ou first trust y ourself to put out on the table what y our three wishes would be. “Can I make it?” Instead. y ou want to be able to honestly say that y ou spent y our time on the things that matter most to y ou at this moment in y our life. Don’t work at it. such as planning the results y ou want and when y ou want them. What does it feel like? What does it smell like? What does it sound like? What does it taste like? The “sweet taste of success” isn’t just a metaphor. y ou unleash y our most resourceful self. If y ou achieve these three things within a y ear from now. then try this exercise—see it on the big screen. or worse. Imagine y ou’re in a theater and y ou’re watching the movie about one of y our wishes. but instead of using magic. let y our inner child say three things y ou want. and the more y ou have working for y ou. I imagined the cool. If y ou have a tough time imagining how it looks. You can alway s refine them. For now. My body felt so lean and so strong that I didn’t have to ask. Go ahead and grant y ourself these three wishes. “Where do I want to go?” The Why Behind Your Wishes 142 . The better y ou can see it. I imagined a long winding road through the mountains. You have all y ear to hone and refine. Here’s a quick example. don’t merely see it in y our mind’s ey e—invoke all of y our senses. we’re going to use the power of intention and the power of project management to make things happen. By using some simple project management skills. I could smell the outdoors so much that I could almost taste the flowers. crisp autumn air as I ran through a blaze of trees with sun burnt leaves of orange.

Once y ou have chosen y our three wishes, the best thing y ou can do is find out why they matter so much. The simplest way to do this is to just start writing down why they matter. Take each result y ou want to achieve and write a hearty paragraph about why it really matters to y ou. Ask y ourself, “Why do I need to make this happen?” Don’t critique y our thoughts. Instead, just pluck y our reasons as they flow and plot them down. Think of it as y our personal manifesto, and if y ou should forget why y ou do what y ou do or get knocked off y our horse, this will be y our reminder. If y ou can’t write at least a paragraph of why each one is so important to y ou and why y ou need to make it happen, then consider whether y ou picked y our three best results for the y ear. When y ou’re designing y our y ear, y ou really want to invest y our life force where it matters most.

Test Your 3 Wishes
Know the true result y ou want to achieve; don’t get stuck on how y ou get there or confuse a means with the ends. By separating the ends from the means, y ou give y ourself flexibility in how y ou get there. For example, y ou might think y ou want a Ferrari. What y ou might actually want is to feel free or to feel strong. There are plenty of faster, less expensive, and more effective way s than buy ing the Ferrari. If y ou think y ou really need the Ferrari, then try before y ou buy —rent one for the day. Experiment with y our dreams and test them to figure out what y ou really want. Remember the adage, “Be careful what y ou wish for, because y ou just might get it.”

Making Your Wishes Happen
When y ou have y our big goals in front of y ou (and y ou will because y ou can easily remember y our three wishes), y our world suddenly conspires with y ou. You’ll find y ourself noticing all sorts of things that y ou didn’t before. Have y ou ever bought a new car, only to suddenly see the same car on the road when y ou never noticed how many there were before? Your mind is an amazing filter. By setting y our sights and living with focus, y ou expand y our awareness. You start to realize how many people and resources, in addition to y our own abilities, are available to help y ou. In fact, a useful exercise is to simply make a list of all the people, resources, and skills that can help y ou make y our dreams happen. By clarify ing y our y early results, y ou guide y our daily , weekly , and monthly results. By keeping these loosely connected, y ou allow for change while keeping y our ey es on the prize. It’s the full power of the Agile Results sy stem working for y ou. You get a fresh start each day, each week, each month, and each y ear to make progress against whatever the most important results are in y our life. It’s this rhy thm of results that helps y ou respond to change while getting results along the way . 143

Goals Setting and Your 3 Wishes
While focusing on three results or three wishes for the y ear doesn’t necessarily replace y our normal goals setting exercise (although it might), y ou can use it to guide and supplement any other goals setting or planning exercises. It’s really about helping y ou make mindful choices so that another y ear of y our life doesn’t slip by where y ou ask y ourself at the end of the y ear, “How did I let that go?” or, “Why didn’t I just focus on that?” Goals and objectives are powerful tools. However, y ou should be able to see the forest from the trees, and no tool or technique should overshadow y our power to dream up great results for y our life. That starts inside y ou, and the key here is just letting it out. You’re perfectly free to use all of y our tried-and-true goal setting methods. Consider this exercise, however, as the icing on top or as the firm foundation y ou can use to drive the rest of y our goals and objectives from, or any where in between. Don’t throw out goal setting methods that work for y ou, but do make sure that y ou give y ourself a chance to dream up and design y our best y ear possible. It’s y our life—dream big dreams and grant y our wishes.

Questions and Answers About Your 3 Results for the Year
While explaining this approach to a friend, he had some questions. I figured the best thing I can do is share those questions with y ou, along with my answers, since many of y ou may have the very same questions: Q uestion: How do I evaluate goals that are applicable as yearly goals versus monthly? Answer: It’s OK to be off. You can alway s adjust, but if y ou can’t do it within the month, it’s probably something for the y ear. Keep in mind that if y ou finish one of y our goals, y ou can add another. The simplest way to test y ourself here is to ask y ourself, “If this were next y ear, what are the top three things I would regret the most if I didn’t accomplish them?” Don’t live a life of regret. Lead a life of action and results. Like any thing, y ou’ll get better with practice. Just thinking in terms of three things that y ou want to accomplish for the y ear is a start in the right direction. If y ou accomplish them in less than a y ear, then good for y ou—y ou’re ahead of the game. It’s an open buffet, so grab y our next three results; just don’t bite off more than three at a time. If y ou start try ing to remember y our four or five most important things, then y ou lose the power, perspective, and focus of keeping the three most important 144

results right in front of y ou.

Q uestion: How do I track progress against my yearly goals when my monthly goals are derivatives of the yearly, and not the whole goal? Answer: The simplest way is to evaluate y our monthly results. Simply list y our key accomplishments and progress each month. You can then evaluate y our immediate results against the bigger picture. Three months in, are y ou a quarter there? Six months in, are y ou halfway there? Or, do y ou have a specific block of time when y ou’ll achieve y our results. For example, to take my “epic adventure” I blocked off October as the month to make it happen.

Q uestion: What are examples of a good yearly goal? Answer: When I see people a y ear later, some of the most profound and meaningful changes are these: a new position or a new job, a new life sty le, a new house, a new body, a new or improved relationship, a new outlook on life, more smarts or skills at their craft, a new hobby, an epic adventure, etc. Just about any significant change takes more than a day or week or month to accomplish. Other goals could also simply be a change that y ou want in y our life, and y ou’d like to practice throughout the y ear. For example, y ou might want to eat less candy, or y ou might want to quit smoking. By focusing on a habit, giving y ourself a y ear, and moving toward y our outcome each month, y ou can structure y ourself for success. You can also give y ourself additional leverage by adding these practices: daily, weekly and monthly results; checking y our progress at the end of each month; and using monthly improvement sprints when y ou need to add focus. Allow for the fact that change is hard. You might fail multiple times; just keep getting back on the horse, learn from each setback, and carry the good forward. Don’t break y ourself against y our own goals by biting off too much or beating y ourself over the head with them; instead, use them to lift y ou and guide y our choices.

Q uestion: How do I properly set boundaries on what a yearly goal encompasses? Answer: Worry less about the boundaries and more about being able to say y our three great results y ou want for the y ear to y ourself and to others. You’ll naturally find the boundaries during the progression of the y ear. You’ll either be driven by some great pain or by some great pleasure; at which point, y ou’ll need to respond. 145

Like y our daily, weekly, and monthly results, y our y early results are flexible and should support y ou. If work is y our biggest pain point, chances are one of y our three great results will be about work. If y our personal life is a struggle, chances are y ou’ll have at least one of y our three great results about y our personal life. If y ou are having trouble finding the right three things, consider a more structured approach: (1) pick one great result for work; (2) pick one great results for home and personal life; and (3) pick one great results from one of y our life Hot Spots (mind, body, emotions, career, financial, relationships, and fun).

Q uestion: Is it appropriate to change a yearly goal mid-year? Answer: Yes, and that’s actually a key to Agile Results. Agility is about responding to change. The key is making sure y ou change y our goals for the right reasons. Your test is alway s, “What’s the next best thing to accomplish in y our life?” To stay out of the short-term trap, check y ourself against different time periods. What’s the next best thing to accomplish in y our life for the next month, the next y ear or the next ten y ears? When y ou check y ourself against these different time frames, it quickly changes y our perspective on how important something is. For example, eating that cake might feel good right now, but what do y ou want for y ourself for the month or for the y ear, and does that help y ou? You can use time frames to bound y our goals, prioritize y our actions, and correct course. The most important thing is that y ou are taking action towards y our most important results, and y ou may very well find that y ou need to change y our goals as y ou get more clarity. You may find that what y ou thought was a goal was really a means to an end. You might also find that what was important before isn’t important now. Time changes what’s important. It’s also a changing landscape. As things change in y our life, y ou have to respond, driving from the inside out. This is about responding, not reacting, and embracing the fact that life happens, things change, and so can y ou. If y ou embrace this, y ou can make change work for y ou instead of against y ou, and look forward to a fresh start each day, each week, each month, and each y ear, including fresh goals for y our best results.

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Year at a Glance
This section shows y ou how to map out y our y ear to create scannable months. When y ou can see y our months at a glance, y ou can anticipate better and create better plans—or at least get surprised less. Having a rough idea for y our months helps y ou to feel more empowered and to take steps necessary to improve y our monthly results by design.

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Mapping Out Your Year
Things can take y ou by surprise, unless y ou expect them. While y ou can’t predict every thing, y ou can improve how y ou anticipate y our y ear. You do this by mapping it out.

Recurring Activities
List y our recurring monthly activities. For example, y ou might list seasonal sports y ou participate in. It’s less about being complete, and more about identify ing the big things y ou spend y our time on during the y ear.

Key Events
List any key events. To keep it simple, start with birthday s and holiday s. Next, include any of y our vacations or big projects. Next, list any events that y ou participate in. Then, list the big events that impact y ou. For example, for my work at Microsoft, there are a number of big industry -wide events that I need to be aware of throughout the y ear. By noting the timing of these events, I can be proactive about preparing content to supply to event coordinators, or at the very least, know when people won’t be available to work on my projects. Before I mapped out these events in advance, I was continually surprised, either doing last minute work or losing key people from my projects. Once I started making maps each y ear, my ability to anticipate improved, making it easier to design my project schedules to accommodate big events.

Meaningful Milestones
A milestone is a significant point in development. They help y ou chart progress along the way during a larger project. If y ou already do project work, it will be natural for y ou to know y our big milestones, such as project start, checkpoints along the way, and when y ou are done. If y ou don’t normally do project work, y ou can assign milestones to any big task or body of work that y ou have.

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Year at a Glance Templates
The following templates can help y ou quickly map out y our y ear. You can use a pen and paper, a whiteboard, a spreadsheet, or whatever works best for y ou. The main idea is to capture a month-by -month picture of y our y ear, including recurring activities, key events, and meaningful milestones. One template focuses on plotting out the key events for the y ear. The other templates focuses on plotting out the key outcomes y ou want for each month. Together, these templates help y ou organize y our thinking and planning for the y ear. In addition, y ou can find the Yearly Planner template in the Appendix section of this guide; this template combines capturing y our three outcomes for the y ear, y our key outcomes, and y our key events all at a glance.

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personal projects. Table 9. vacation. recurring events. such as y our mid-y ear and annual reviews. holiday s. include y our big projects. and include any other meaningful milestones that help y ou see y our y ear at a glance. and key events. You may be significantly surprised the first time y ou do this exercise.1 Events for the Year Template Example Here is an example of using the Events for the Year template: 150 . You can quickly plot out birthday s. unless y ou had a good picture of y our y ear already . On the work side.Template – Events for the Year at a Glance This template is helpful when y ou need to first map out the big picture of y our y ear.

2 Example of Events for the Year 151 .Table 9.

152 .

153 .

Table 9. If it looks like I have too many months without flowing the right results.4 Example of Outcomes for the Year 154 . It also puts a stake in the ground. Mapping this out also helps me spot bottlenecks and potential problems well before I run into them.3 Outcomes for the Year Template Example Here is an example of using the Outcomes for the Year template: Table 9. and then identify the activities that will support that outcome. then I can adjust my focus and where I spend my time. This tells me where I’ll be spending my time. I find it easier to first identify the results or outcomes that I want for a given month.Template – Outcomes for the Year at a Glance This template is a list of y our activities and outcomes on a month-by -month basis.

Three day s alone with wif kids.When January Enjoy skiing February Be a successful little league coach March Be a successful little league coach April Be a successful little league coach May Be a successful little league coach Home expanded to add more space for kids June Home expanded to add more space for kids July House Remodel Relationship vacation. 155 .

August House Remodel Relax with wife September Surprise birthday party for wife Thanksgiving October Surprise birthday party for wife November Good Thanksgiving December Life perspective for kids 156 .

Create a scannable map of y our y ear at a glance. Design more effective months to support y our y ear. 157 .In Summary Identify y our three key results for the y ear.

Personas.Part III – Results Explained In This Part: Chapter 10 – Results Frame. and Pitfalls Chapter 11 – 25 Key s to Results Chapter 12 – 25 Strategies for Results Chapter 13 – Motivation Chapter 14 – Mindsets and Metaphors 158 .

Chapter 10 – Results Frame. —Peter Drucker 159 . effectiveness is doing the right things. and Pitfalls Efficiency is doing things right. Personas.

By having a frame. Instead.In This Chapter Learn about the Results Frame and how to use it as a lens for organizing and sharing information in the productivity space. and that’s the most important point. y ou can evaluate y our existing body of knowledge for strengths and weaknesses. think of it as a map of the territory. and provide a place to put new principles. The power of personas is more than just a mental model for behaviors. when y ou need to tackle a tough problem. By having a name for different personas. For example. or it may mean changing y our approach. Learn key Productivity Pitfalls. find y ourself a good Simplifier. y ou might swap modes from Thinker to Doer. patterns. The Results Frame provides a backdrop for organizing and sharing principles. and practices for results. For example. You can also use the personas to improve teamwork. You can use the frame to organize y our thinking. The frame itself is simply a set of Hot Spots. patterns. y ou can respond more effectively. It’s important that y ou don’t internalize situational problems. guide y our learning. reducing information overload. In any case. 160 . The Productivity Personas defines and names a common set of behaviors. y ou might choose y our Thinker hat. If y ou understand and recognize these pitfalls. If y ou’re a Maximizer. or even changing the situation. For example. find y ourself a good Finisher. while other problems may be due to y our approach. and practices that y ou learn for productivity. When y ou need to take action. One thing to keep in mind is that some problems may be due to the situation. You may be aware of some of the negative patterns. You alway s control y our attitude and response. it’s also important that y ou don’t think of y ourself as a victim. if y ou’re a Starter. Awareness is the first step. y ou’re never helpless. but y ou’re missing techniques for focus. The Productivity Pitfalls are common mistakes that get in the way of results. simply recognize the problem and respond. Learn key Productivity Personas. Responding may simply be changing y our expectations. but this provides a robust set that y ou can use to identify problems y ou may be running into. as well as improve y our own effectiveness through more effective pairing. This helps y ou evaluate new information while at the same time. y ou can improve y our self-awareness and be deliberate about which persona y ou choose to use for a given situation. At the same time. y ou might find that y ou have plenty of techniques for task management.

You can use the following Results Frame to help y ou make sense of the results space: Table 10. How y ou get y our head in the game. and attention. Chunking up a problem makes it easier to tackle.Results Frame—Hot Spots for Results If y ou don’t know what y ou’re looking for. How y ou manage the cost and speed of y our results. How y ou organize and manage information. How y ou choose what’s more important. y ou’re not going to see it. and working out. How y ou manage y our energy in terms of thinking. as well as avoid information overload. Efficiency and Effectiveness Energy Management Expectations Focus Goals and Objectives Information Management Learning Mindsets and Motivation Planning Prioritizing 161 . and doing. How y ou set meaningful goals and objectives for y our results. feeling. How y ou map out the work to be done. as well as how y ou manage the quality of y our results. improve. as well as how y ou take care of y our eating.1 Results Frame Hot Spot Action Description How y ou take action and manage y our activities towards results. and correct course. energy . How y ou focus y our time. sleeping. How y ou set and reset expectations with y ourself and others. How y ou find the lessons.

You can use this frame as a backdrop for finding. How y ou manage and schedule y our time. organizing and sharing y our knowledge about getting results. Each Hot Spot represents an actionable bucket. 162 . but the problem is that some maps are better than others. How y ou correct y our behavior.Self-Awareness Self-Discipline Task Management Time Management How to improve y our knowledge about y ourself in terms of achieving results. By using an organizing frame. The productivity space is a well-travelled path. y ou can more effectively manage and prioritize large collections of information. How y ou manage y our tasks and action items. You can think of the Results Frame as a map of categories or topics that are important— the Hot Spots for results.

Love prototy ping an idea. but doing is somebody else’s game. complete things and move on.2 Productivity Personas Persona Notes Starts things but doesn’t alway s finish. The key is to use the personas as a lens on behavior. Does their job. Finds the maximum impact. Brings things to closure. Some are more effective than others. Effective finishers. Finds the simplest path. Analy sis is their game. Strips things down to the minimum. Their energy comes from thinking up new ideas and kicking things off. They tend to get their job done. They may not come up with new ideas. You can analy ze y ourself. but they have a preference for taking action. They ’ll find way s why y ou 163 Starter Finisher Thinker Doer Simplifier Maximizer . and common interactions. other people. Finds the faults. The trick is to know y our preferences and the preferences of others. They don’t have to act on their thoughts to enjoy them. No persona is good or bad. Thinking is what they do best.Productivity Personas Personas are a simple way to share examples of the different ty pes of behaviors. Is a fit and finish ty pe of person. Is an “ideas” person. Good enough for now is OK in their book. Any body can be a mix of some or all of the various personas. but once they ’ve figured it out. they ’re ready to move on to something else. It’s finished when they say it’s finished. depending on the situation. Here’s a set of personas relevant to the results space: Table 10. We all have the capacity for the various behaviors.

Is a numbers person. Finds the opportunity in any situation. Sees the forest from the trees. Treats every thing like a work of art. Turns their latest priority into other people’s problems. Likes to control things. Dabbles here. Knows how to sell ideas. The world is their sandbox. the project. Communicates the value. but they ’ll find a workaround. They ’ll be done when it’s done. Loves the details and will want to see things through. Like Details. It may not be the optimal solution. They ’re passionate about spreadsheets. Likes the big ideas and doesn’t want to get lost in the minutia. Where there’s a will. They don’t have 164 Can Do Opportunist Perfectionist Details Big Picture Facts and figures Controller Tinkerer Marketer Achiever Randomizer Day dreamer . They want quantifiable measurements. Likes to tinker. dabbles there. and they ’ll find it. They ’ll critique themselves. they too like spreadsheets.Critic can’t or why it’s wrong. This could be the Doers. Dots the i’s and crosses the t’s. or their ideas. It will be done just as soon as it’s perfect. Likes to accomplish things. finishing isn’t their game. They ’d rather dream than do. Likes to dream up better way s for better day s. or their world. their work. Finds a way . Any thing is fair game. there’s a way . Whenever that is. Quality is their name.

They only send belated birthday cards since they know they ’ll never send them out on time. Finds way to put off to tomorrow.to act on their dreams to enjoy them. what they really should do today . Procrastinator 165 .

Use the Productivity Personas to know y ourself. 166 . for y ourself and others. Improve the Situation. Know Yourself. The labels are for behaviors. don’t let y our inner Critic or Perfectionist get in the way of y our Doer.3 Ways to Use Productivity Personas The personas give y ou a quick way to identify and label patterns of behavior. Swap out for more effective personas based on the scenario. if y ou really need a Starter for the situation. not for limiting or boxing in personalities. Use the Productivity Personas to pair up with other people and improve y our own effectiveness. You can also use the Productivity Personas to create more effective teams or to optimize teamwork. y ou can use them to y our advantage. Here are three way s y ou can use the Productivity Personas to y our advantage: 1. then see if y ou can find somebody who can play the role. “Who can I team up with to get results? How can I build more effective teams? Who should be paired up on the team for best results?” 3. “When am I at my best? Am I more of a Starter or a Finisher? Am I more of a Maximizer or a Simplifier? Am I more of a Thinker or a Doer?” 2. “What are the best behaviors for the situation?” Remember to use the Productivity Personas as a lens. Ask y ourself. For example. but y ou can’t break out of Finisher mode. You can imagine how some behaviors work better with others and how some can create conflict. You can use this lens to help y ou understand the behavior and preferences of y ourself and other people. and to choose more effective behaviors as well as to optimize y ourself and others in any situation. If y ou’re aware of the personas. For example. The key is to be aware of the preferences. Ask y ourself. Team Up. More importantly. Ask y ourself. they provide a lens. Any body can demonstrate any of the behaviors at any time.

One way to help balance y our analy sis with action is to set limits on how much time or energy y ou’ll spend analy zing and giving y ourself small time boxes for taking action.. Do It When You Feel Like It “Do it when y ou feel like it” works against y ou in a few way s. Perfectionism Pitfall # 1. You never think y ou have enough information to act on the problem and it alway s seems like there is more y ou can know. It’s not whether y ou fall. You might find that all y our analy sis doesn’t actually help when y ou try to apply it. y ou’ll get up again. don’t worry. it’s whether y ou get back up. You don’t alway s feel like doing 167 . especially if y ou’re a heavy thinker or y ou really enjoy analy zing problems. Don’t know the work to be done Pitfall # 4. That’s what this guide is for. There’s a world of difference between dreaming up solutions and actually implementing them.Productivity Pitfalls There are lots of way s to fall off the path. and nobody ’s going to keep y ou down—not even y ou. Do it when y ou feel like it Pitfall # 3. Pitfall # 2. I find that either setting a minimum in terms of time that I’ll spend taking action or setting a minimum in the quantity of steps that I’ll take (e. If y ou get knocked down.g. Lack of boundaries Pitfall # 5. take three actions on the problem today ) helps me stay out of analy sis paraly sis. even small steps. The problem is. that’s true and it’s a trap. The way out is to start action on the problem. Top 5 Productivity Pitfalls Here are the top five productivity pitfalls that I’ve seen time and again the limit people’s results: Pitfall # 1. Analysis Paralysis “Analy sis paraly sis” can be y our worst enemy. If y ou suffer from some of these issues and don’t know the solution. You can get back up quicker when y ou recognize the problem. Analy sis paraly sis Pitfall # 2. and make progress on the problem. so that y ou gain momentum as well as feedback on y our thinking.

You can then compound the problem by throwing more time and energy at the problem. Most importantly. When y ou don’t know the work to be done. ask the people that do or who have done it before.things. they don’t have the skills to make the most of it. Don’t Know the Work to Be Done “Don’t know the work to be done” is another arch-enemy of results. Having a time for things works just like having a place for things. y ou can get surprised along the way by things y ou didn’t expect or anticipate. Pitfall # 3. y ou’re missing opportunities to practice and improve y our skills. When y ou don’t know the work to be done.. even when they ’re in y our best interest. and y ou bleed y our work into all area of y our life. start by making time for breakfast. One of the best way s to counter this problem is to map out the work. It can also mean that y ou push y ourself past y our own limits. For example. y ou don’t get the right people doing the right things. Make time for working out by actually scheduling it. Another countermeasure is to expect the unexpected—keep a buffer of time and energy so that y ou can respond instead of react. It can mean that y our day never ends. Think of it as getting more chances to get better at what y ou do. One of the most effective way s to combat the problem is to simply make time for things and schedule y our routines. You can use routines to improve y our performance and results. Lack of Boundaries “Lack of boundaries” gets in the way of work-life balance. and dinner. and then. If y ou don’t know the work. lunch. they miss opportunities along the way. Imagine if competitive athletes only practiced when they felt like it. Pitfall # 4. it’s very easy to get y ourself in over y our head. Find y our best time for going to sleep and guard it. y ou can add some boundaries.m. It can be as simple as missing things like breakfast or lunch. When y ou don’t know the work to be done. From there. then y ou know exactly what a lack of boundaries feels like. It can mean spilling y our work over into the weekend. Setting boundaries doesn’t mean there won’t be exceptions. While they ’re waiting for inspiration. working to the point of diminishing returns. while y ou’re waiting for y our inspiration. and without a buffer.” and it’s helped him stick to his boundaries for y ears. such as “no work on the weekend” or “no work during the week nights. The best countermeasure for a lack of boundaries is to put some simple boundaries in place. y ou can’t estimate the time or energy it will take. When y ou don’t know the work to be done.” A friend of mine set a simple rule of “dinner on the table at 5:30 p. y ou may find y ourself overwhelmed and downtrodden. You can also miss out on a lot of opportunities along the way. If y ou find y ourself working well past y our best energy. This pitfall holds back aspiring artists too. when inspiration does come along. but at least 168 .

so y ou need to stay flexible. There are three main problems with “perfectionism. manageable hurdles. Third. Beat “perfectionism” by thinking of results as a path. For example. rather than one giant one that y ou can't jump over.” First. The other thing to keep in mind is that things happen in cy cles or stages. Second. the most crippling form of perfectionism is when y ou don’t start something or won’t even try because y ou know y ou won’t be perfect. Instead of try ing to write perfect prose or bullet-proof code the first time through. not a destination. This expectation allows me to cross-check that I’m stay ing balanced and taking care of the basics. Getting something done “good enough” for now.” then iterate.y ou now have a simple framework that supports y ou. Pitfall # 5. seeking the perfect plan takes a lot of analy sis. 169 . y ou beat y ourself up over y our results instead of appreciate y our learning and growth. during a project ramp up. make the first draft “good enough.” After all. The key is to iterate on it: create a series of smaller. I expect to spend more time and energy than I usually do at work. Perfectionism “Perfectionism” often goes hand in hand with “analy sis paraly sis. Simply by thinking in terms of “versioning” y our results can help y ou balance getting it right with getting it done. y ou never finish something on time because y ou’re busy perfecting it. It’s scaffolding for sustainable results. is better than missing the window of opportunity or overengineering it.

recognizing them. and eliminating them from y our habits and practices will go a long way toward unleashing y our potential. The beauty is that many of these Productivity Pitfalls are directly within y our control. y ou will be better prepared to defeat them or avoid them entirely . Summary of the 30 Common Productivity Pitfalls Here is a brief explanation of some of the most common pitfalls when it comes to productivity and getting results: 1. Simply by knowing what they.3 30 Common Productivity Pitfalls These pitfalls reflect the most common patterns of problems that I’ve seen across a wide variety of situations and people when it comes to getting results. Table 10.30 Common Productivity Pitfalls If y ou can at least recognize the common Productivity Pitfalls. Analysis paralysis. You think y ou can … y ou think y ou can … or can y ou?… or what 170 .

Do it later. about this way … or that way ?… or what about …? Well. Churn. but y ou keep doing the same thing. something else is more important. It’s just a little too much resistance.2. No satisfaction. It’s their fault. Later never comes. Burnout is when y ou shut down. y ou wait until the very end— only to find out that y ou’ve missed the mark. You’ll eventually let them down. This is when y ou let y ourself down. This means y ou don’t know how much effort or time it might take. Crossed-expectations. or worse. back to the drawing board … Big bang. but now it’s all about the rewards. Do whatever it takes. You’ll spend every last bit of y our precious life force try ing to pull it off. 12. You’ll do it when y ou feel the inspiration. 10. A little now might be better than nothing later. You don’t need to make time for it. y ou’ll just wait and then strike when the iron is hot. Don’t know the work to be done. 8. You’ll step on whomever or whatever y ou have to. Click … scroll … click … scroll … click … scroll … click … scroll … ah. there’s that file that y ou use every day ! It’s not a lot of overhead. It’s more important what other people say than how y ou feel about the work y ou do. y our supporters lost interest and trust. 4. Rather than delivering value along the way. 9. All y ou need is some more caffeine. Doing a good job used to be its own reward. May be it’s just y our aim to please people where y ou just can’t say no. You don’t know the work to be done. 14. 5. 11. or the expectations weren’t accurate. just not up front. 6. or when it does. Why does it alway s happen to y ou? Burnout. just applause or money. 16. You hit a ceiling. 15. Sure y ou used to enjoy it. 7. Biting off more than you can chew. Death by a thousand paper cuts. Blamer/victim. You barely notice it. Do it when you feel like it. 13. 171 . Friction. expecting different results. Churn is when y ou spin y our wheels against a problem but don’t make progress. 3. Any free time is more time to burn the candle. This also means y ou don’t even know who whom to ask for help. but y ou don’t feel like y ou’re making progress. You rob Peter to pay Paul. or y ou let somebody else down. When things go wrong and if y ou don’t know any better. Burning the candle at both ends. It happens when y ou keep try ing to solve the same problem. Externalize instead of internalize. y ou might end up thinking the world is out to get y ou. but it adds up. You either failed to reset expectations. May be y ou think y ou really can boil the ocean. y ou lost interest along the way. Doing the same thing. Downtime is for wimps. It’s just a little—about a thousand times a day .

and that worked for a while. Getting stuck. Perfectionism. Lack of buffer. Time for y our body or for y our mind gets monopolized by time on y our work. 18. If y ou can’t be the best. This is when y ou tell y ourself that no matter what y ou do. The problem is. y ou limit other people. You know y ou really should do it. The workday spills into the night. One more straw will break y our back. You thought y ou could talk y ourself into it. 24. There are lots of way s to end up here. 23. Bigger is better!… and more complex … and a little tougher to finish … and tougher to fix … and no way are y ou doing it over—it’s too big and too complex! Watching the scoreboard. Your container limits y our results. Gradually.” Not letting go. Monolith. Limiting metaphors are a good example. the tougher it is to let go. Go ahead just let somebody try and ask y ou to do just one more thing. it won’t work. You get mad when nobody appreciates all the hard work y ou did. but y ou hold on. Sometimes work is a limiting container. You basically shut down and stop try ing.17. You let y our supply side get in the way of the demand side. but y ou think there should be. “Keep y our ey e on the ball. The say ing is. Worse. but it just doesn’t feel good. And more likely than not. y ou never start … or y ou never finish on time … or y ou never finish at all. It’s easy to put y ourself in a box. Sometimes how y ou think about or frame the situation becomes a selfimposed limitation. Instead of creating a glide path. 172 . Learned helplessness. but y ou just gradually stop doing it. What’s the use in try ing? All y ou get is pain. It’s not working. There’s no demand. the friction snowballs. Limiting beliefs or assumptions. that nobody asked y ou to do to begin with. and learning from what works. Congratulations—y ou found y our ceiling! It doesn’t feel good. y ou ignore the friction. the worse the situation stay s broken. changing y our approach. You keep y our ey e on the scoreboard. 25. You limit y ourself. Work spills into the weekends. 28. Limiting situation. You’ll be fine … as long as every thing goes just right. 19. Lack of boundaries. 21. 27. 26. 22. 20. The key s to getting out are taking action. You’re pretty sure y ou can’t do it though y ou never tried. and nothing changes for the foreseeable future … Lack of demand. but now y ou’d rather do nothing than something that just doesn’t feel good. It’s never good enough. When y ou’re play ing y ou’re thinking about working and when y ou’re working y ou’re thinking about play ing. but it’s a habit y ou carry forward. It’s not serving y ou. The more y ou hold on. that’s not where y ou focus should be. but more importantly y ou need to know how to get out. You haven’t really thought about it. This is the worst place to be.

It will be done when it’s done. but y our hammer just won’t turn the screw. You perpetually miss deadlines. 30. just not the right approach. no results. 173 . Wrong approach.y ou’re too busy beating y ourself up to carry what y ou did accomplish forward. 29. lots of time. or worse. at the expense of other areas of y our life. Lots of energy. You throw more motivation at it. Throwing time at the problem. y ou continually meet deadlines. You’ve got the right idea.

y ou can choose to adapt y ourself to the situation. feeling or doing. For the situation. You can change different things about y ou. 174 . adjust the situation to better suit y ou. y ou can change y our thinking. Once y ou recognize something. or y ou can try and avoid those situations all together. it’s easier to change it if it’s not working for y ou.Knowing Is More Than Half the Battle Chances are that as y ou read the Productivity Personas and the Productivity Pitfalls. y ou identify with some of them. For example.

For example. patterns. You can think of patterns in a couple way s. A pattern might simply be a tendency or set of acts that y ou observe (i. scheduling results is an effective practice. versus just hoping they get done. For example. by thinking about results in terms of principles. patterns. sharing. and practices.e. flex scope” which means set up time for things and bite off less to fit within the chunk of time that y ou have.. y ou can create and grow y our personal knowledge base for getting results. The power of patterns is that by naming them. For example. It’s a way to make sure y ou have time for things y ou need to do. this simple guideline might serve as the foundation for many other guidelines. y ou can share solutions more effectively. As an underly ing principle. “flow” is a pattern where y ou are fully engaged in an activity. It’s a “how” or a “way ” to do something.Principles. 175 . You can also think of a pattern as a problem and solution pair. Collectively. You can think of a principle simply as a guideline or as a fundamental law or how something works. You can think of practices as simply methods or techniques. a behavior pattern). Patterns. and practices. a principle might be “fix time. and Practices for Results One of the most effective way s I’ve found for finding. and mapping out large bodies of knowledge is to use principles. where the pattern itself is the name of the solution.

and practices for getting results. The Productivity Pitfalls give y ou a lens for looking at common sticking points or bottlenecks to y our best results. The Productivity Personas help y ou understand behaviors. it’s y our habits and practices that y ou use to get the results y ou’re getting in y our life.Putting It All Together When it comes to getting results. y ou unleash y our best results. y ou want to consider both y our sy stem and y our knowledge. which can limit or amplify y our impact and results. The sy stem side is y our approach or process (such as Agile Results). By improving y our knowledge of principles. On the knowledge side. 176 . and practices for getting results and by continuously improving y our sy stem for getting results. Ideally. y ou enjoy the process of getting the results y ou want. patterns. the Results Frame is a simple way to map out and organize how y ou think about getting results. in addition to the results themselves. It’s also a way to organize y our principles. patterns.

and practices for improving results. patterns. 177 . if any . Know the Productivity Personas to help y ou understand and improve y our own effectiveness whether alone or on a team or in any situation.In Summary The Results Frame is a set of Hot Spots to help y ou analy ze and learn information in the productivity space. Use the Results Frame to find actionable principles. apply to y ou. Know the most common Productivity Pitfalls and which ones.

—Benjamin Franklin 178 .Chapter 11 – 25 Keys to Results Words may show a man’s wit but actions his meaning.

In This Chapter Learn the sweet spot for results. Learn a conceptual model for competency . It’s less about figuring out the right things to do up front and more about taking action and making course corrections based on feedback. examine whether y ou’re working on stuff that’s not valued. They stay committed to their outcomes. Understanding this difference helps y ou shift from thinking about efficiency to focusing more on effectiveness. Learn the difference between “above the line” and “below the line. tuning and pruning their abilities as they go. even when it’s tough to do so. By focusing on effectiveness. This chapter is an overview of some of the key concepts for getting results. y ou end up improving y our efficiency. y ou’ll be able to handle resistance more effectively. They learn how to make the most of what they ’ve got and they keep taking action. This is the secret behind the most successful people. They may make a lot of mistakes. They drop the stuff that’s not working and stick with the right things. For example. This is the ultimate key to success. You also might realize that may be y ou don’t have effective boundaries. But they turn their failures into lessons. but not producing the results y ou expect. but flexible in their approach. y ou might realize that y ou’re simply in an early stage of competency. y ou can also figure out more effective strategies. If y ou know some of the underly ing concepts. 179 . Results and productivity go hand in hand. but there’s a difference. Or perhaps y ou’re investing a lot of time and energy. You also end up pay ing attention to the results y ou’re getting. By knowing the concepts.” This chapter helps y ou get some quick fundamentals of results under y our belt.

The 25 Keys to Results Here’s a set of 25 powerful lessons on being effective and getting results. 180 . You don’t have to memorize the concepts. Some will be more obvious than others. Simply familiarize y ourself with the ideas. Doing so will provide a firm foundation for y our personal productivity practices and results routines. Some will be counter-intuitive.

Instead of using efficiency as the ultimate measure of success. don’t just do more things for the sake of doing. results tend to be associated with more meaning and significance: “What did y ou accomplish? What matters? Is it working?” Therefore. value. focus more on results. and impact—now that’s getting results! 181 .” In contrast.Key 1: Results over Productivity In my experience. I’ve found that productivity tends to be associated with “doing more. make it more about effectiveness.

y ou’re not focusing on y our actions. y our approach. Most importantly. and y our response. What y ou can control is y our attitude. You’ll win some. This is an important distinction. y ou’ll have an internal gauge of y our performance. Keep y our ey e on y our actions and let the score take care of itself. You can make y our best play in each scenario.Key 2: Approach over Results Just like y ou can’t control all the events in y our life. You’ll lose some. 182 . If y ou focus on the scoreboard. And y ou’ll learn a lot. y ou can’t control y our outcomes.

If y ou’re working on a lot of low-priority items. the busier y ou get. high-stress scenario. “Who was I doing it for?” If it was for y ourself.Key 3: Value Is in the Eye of the Beholder One common pitfall is throwing a lot of time and effort at things. If y ou keep feeling a lack of appreciation. a pattern is that the more y ou work on low-priority items. The more y ou become a dumping ground. the more overloaded y ou will feel. y ou’ve worked y ourself into an unrewarding. the more y ou become a dumping ground. and no fun to be around. or could y ou have invested the same time in something else and felt like y ou made a more important impact. By failing to work on what’s valuable and by failing to understand and reset expectations. only to find that when y ou’re done. don’t expect to get the rewards. ask them whether what y ou’re working on is really the most important thing to them. then ask y ourself. If y ou were doing it for somebody else. 183 . the busier y ou get. nobody cares. In fact. was it what y ou most cared about. underappreciated. Now the worst happens—y ou’re overworked.

184 . The sweet spot for results is the intersection of talent.Key 4: The Sweet Spot—Talent. Passion is the ultimate driver. and value. or loving what y ou do. and Value One of the secrets of happiness is doing what y ou love. passion. Chances are if y ou look to y our best strengths. y ou’ll find some of y our passions. Passion.

Figure 11.1 The Sweet Spot for Results

185

Key 5: Efficiency and Effectiveness
Efficiency is doing things better. Effectiveness is doing the right things. The key is to be both effective and efficient. You get there by working first on effectiveness. If something’s not working, change y our approach. Once y ou’re doing the right things, work on improving y our efficiency. You can improve y our efficiency through repetition and modeling from successful people. It’s also important to have a tight feedback loop.

186

Key 6: Meaningful Work
Meaningful outcomes are the foundation of meaningful work. Meaningful outcomes help guide y our work. If y ou have a vision for the end in mind, then y ou have something to work towards. To figure out meaningful outcomes, y ou ask y ourself what y ou want to accomplish. One of the challenges is when it feels like y our work has no meaning. You’re the ultimate filter for every thing that happens in y our life. You assign the meaning to y our work. Make the work meaningful. One way to create meaning is to master y our craft. Do so by focusing on continuous learning and improvement. Teaching y our craft and being a mentor for others is another way to both amplify y our learning and y our impact. Work on stuff that’s valued. This makes work more meaningful. You should be aware whether it’s valued by y ou, y our employ er, or y our customer. It’s fine if it’s valuable to y ou but nobody else, but be aware of it. You may be in the wrong line of work or working on the wrong thing.

187

Key 7: Mindset and Motivation
Mindset plus behaviors shape y our actions and y our results. Your mindset has a lot to do with how y ou’ll pace y ourself, how y ou’ll gauge y our progress, how y ou’ll work through resistance, how much y ou’ll enjoy the work, and how much energy y ou’ll bring to the table. Is this a sprint or a marathon? Are y ou chipping away at the stone or blasting dy namite? Do y ou focus on one pitch at a time or getting as much done as possible? Your mindset will be shaped by the metaphors y ou use to guide y ou. Motivation includes the drivers and the why behind y our actions. Your motivation will give y ou the extra energy to produce amazing results. It’s the why behind y our actions that will either lift y ou or suppress y ou. The key to effective results is having a compelling “Why.” A compelling “Why ” will also help pick y ou back up when y ou get knocked down.

188

Key 8: Motivation and Technique
One of my mentors once told me that motivation is not enough. You need technique. If y ou have motivation without technique, y ou’re just a motivated idiot. If y ou have great technique, but no motivation, y ou won’t accomplish any thing. But if y ou have motivation and technique, y ou can produce great results.

189

Key 9: Boundaries Are Your Friend
Boundaries are the limits y ou set. Some of the most effective boundaries y ou can set are time boundaries. For instance, y ou can set a minimum of time y ou’ll spend improving y our body each week. You can set a maximum of time y ou’ll spend working each week. You can set a minimum of time y ou’ll spend on working y our relationships each week.

190

Key 10: Time, Energy, and Technique
Where y ou spend y our time is one part of results. The techniques that y ou use and the energy y ou bring are the other parts. Your best results will be the intersection of y our time, energy, and techniques. The important point here is that just throwing time at a problem isn’t the most effective solution. Just throwing energy at a problem isn’t the best solution either. The right techniques can dramatically reduce y our time and effort, while amplify ing y our results.

191

Figure 11. Energy.2 Time. and Technique 192 .

You need to consider whether the work y ou do is “above the line” or “below the line. Work that’s “below the line” is just expected.” Valued and Expected Here’s a figure to help y ou visualize the concept of “above the line” and “below the line. Value is in the ey e of the beholder.Key 11: Above the Line or Below the Line Some things y ou do will be “value-add.” 193 . The funny thing about “below the line” work is that doing more of it won’t get y ou ahead. Some people call this “the cost of doing business” or “the tax y ou pay .” Work that’s “above the line” is considered value-add. but not doing it will likely cause y ou pain. It’s like treading water.” Others will just be expected.

3 Valued and Expected In the figure. the dotted line separates what’s expected from what’s valued. If y ou want to 194 .Figure 11.

4 Above the Line Note that even in “above the line” work.maximize y our impact.” Above the Line—Valued Here’s a figure to help y ou visualize “above the line. 195 .” Figure 11. y ou should still prioritize to maximize value to y ourself or others. y ou need to first take care of what’s expected. and then focus on value “above the line.

it’s especially important to prioritize.Below the Line—Expected Here’s a figure to help y ou visualize “below the line. Some points to ponder: Is the work that you do considered “above the line” or “below the line”? Where are you at in terms of achieving results: “above the line” or “below the line”? Are you working on stuff that’s valued? Who is the value for: you or somebody else? 196 .” Figure 11.5 Below the Line Note that in “below the line” work. they can dramatically take away from y our perceived value or y our ability to thrive. If y ou miss the important things.

missing basic expectations that minimizes y our overall effectiveness. The fix is usually reprioritizing what’s on y our plate. and resetting expectations with y ourself and others.The important thing is for y ou to have an appropriate frame of reference for the value of what y ou’re doing. 197 . this might be “below the line” to somebody else. You also might find that y ou’re stuck taking care of every thing that’s “below the line” and y ou can’t get y our head above water. or worse. figuring out what the real values and expectations are. If y ou don’t feel appreciated for what y ou’re doing. The last place y ou want to be is grinding away on something that neither y ou nor any one else will value.

Buffers allow y ou to welcome and act on the opportunities if y ou choose to. Each day can bring new opportunities or new priorities. this means y ou have to learn y our own capacity. Develop a habit of defining buffers for the unexpected. You’ll build momentum. clear y our plate faster and go up for seconds. 198 . mentally.Key 12: Manage Your Plate Don’t overflow y our plate. and emotionally. It slows y ou down. phy sically. To manage y our plate effectively. Instead.

You don’t have to think y our way through it—that’s unconscious competence. and unconscious competence—when y ou’re learning a new skill. Conscious Competence. 199 . if y ou drive a stick shift. Think in terms of these four stages— unconscious incompetence. y ou don’t have to think about shifting gears. Unconscious Incompetence.Key 13: From Unconscious Incompetence to Unconscious Competence There is a popular concept in psy chology that explains stages of competence. It’s automatic. conscious incompetence. You don’t know what y ou don’t know. conscious competence. 4. it required a lot of effort because y ou had to think through every move. Unconscious Competence. It’s burned into y our body and it just knows what to do. Here are the four stages: 1. when y ou first learned. You can perform the task without thinking about it. 3. Conscious Incompetence. Have y ou ever noticed how some things y ou just don’t have to think about? For instance. Now y ou know what y ou don’t know. However. 2. You can think y our way through an exercise and perform it with some conscious effort.

With enough practice and repetition. y ou do so at the intellectual level. You have an emotional connection to it. You understand it intellectually . Your body just knows what to do. You’ll feel a certain way about it. As y ou build experiences. Level 2: Emotional. Level 3: Physical. 200 . When y ou first learn something. y ou’ll form emotional connections to the information.Key 14: 3 Levels of Learning You can think of learning something in terms of three levels of learning: Level 1: Intellectual. You can regurgitate the information. You can think through it logically. y ou’ll burn things in at the phy sical level. It’s burned into y our body .

Key 15: Spend 80% on Action. 201 . You’ll act on more of y our ideas. 20% on Thinking The idea is to shift from more thinking to more doing. You’ll improve y our habits. spend 80 percent doing and 20 percent thinking. You’ll get more feedback from y ourself and others. but a ship in motion can. Rather than spending 80 percent of y our time thinking and 20 percent doing. Have a bias for action. A ship at anchor can’t course-correct.

202 .Key 16: Factor Thinking from Doing Think … think … think … think … think … This is analy sis paraly sis. Decide and go. For example. but no time on doing. y ou might start with three actions y ou can do with this idea. You can analy ze y our results and change y our approach. You can also use quantity limits. If y ou have a habit of spending all y our time thinking. You slow y ourself down when y ou think through every thing y ou do. You’re stuck in thought mode. then try giving y ourself time limits. but don’t slow y ourself down in the process. Or worse. y ou’re second-guessing y ourself every step of the way . Combat analy sis paraly sis by thinking and then acting.

Results.Key 17: Results Build Momentum First. When y ou don’t get results. Worse. 203 . Like a snowball that grows larger as it rolls. build y our confidence. let’s look at what happens when y ou don’t get results. Next. y ou start to doubt y ourself. Momentum builds. one success builds on another. It feels good. and it’s a downward spiral. let’s look at what happens when y ou produce results. y ou start to feel drained because it feels like y our efforts aren’t working. even just small wins. other people start to doubt y ou. Now. Another effect is that getting results in one area tends to lead to results in another.

You won’t have time to master every thing. If y ou keep bumping into ceilings. they ’ll drag their feet or make y ou have to work too hard or block y ou. If they ’re for y ou.Key 18: It’s What You Know and Who You Know One of the most effective way s to improve y our results through who y ou know is know the gate keepers or the influencers or opinion leaders. The influencers and opinion leaders are the ones who people ultimately look to for decisions. and limit the time y ou spend with the drains. y our network will open or close doors for y ou. and it’s better together. People can be for y ou or against y ou. etc. You’re the sum of y our network. Life’s a team sport. Add the cataly sts to y our life. Tune it and prune it like a Bonsai tree. Life’s not static and neither is y our network. they make things easier. 204 . Instead. leverage people. The gate keepers are people who control resources. If they ’re against y ou. and in today ’s landscape. Being good enough isn’t good enough. The people in y our life can create or limit opportunities. y ou might be try ing to go it alone. People are y our greatest resource. opportunities. money.

You can do so by sharing the knowledge to the benefit of others. sharing it for free without asking for reward. However. or by at least raising awareness of it in some form or another. takes away y our power. but it needs to stand out from the crowd to be recognized. while actions may speak louder than words. that doesn’t mean they will alway s be heard. 205 . no action. Sometimes y ou need to shout about y our work (without being arrogant).Key 19: Actions Speak Louder Than Words All talk. You can think of power as y our ability to act. Too many people hope their work will be seen.

y ou save y ourself a lot of time and wasted energy. and find some potential paths.Key 20: You Can’t Argue with Results When y ou wonder whether something is possible or what might work. If y ou can find a working example or point to tangible results. then y ou can work backwards from what works. You can evaluate that outcome against what y ou want to accomplish. 206 . If it’s a match. Results make a good argument. it’s tough to argue with results. While results don’t justify the means. they show a possible outcome.

Key 21: Change Happens The only constant is change. and expecting it. and y our ability to respond to the unexpected that will dramatically change y our feeling of empowerment as well as y our personal effectiveness in more scenarios. Write them down so y ou can see the y ear at a glance. y our mindset of embracing change. You won’t anticipate every thing. 2. but it’s this gradual improvement of anticipation. Build y our anticipation skills. that means y ou’re not in a good enough vantage point to see what’s going on in the sy stems y ou’re in. y ou can treat change as an opportunity. There are two things y ou can do here: 1. Life’s not static. was actually a progression in a sy stem that y ou just weren’t aware of. You’re not static. What might appear to be out of thin air. If y ou find y ourself constantly reacting to change. You’ll notice that the most significant changes are during key events. 207 . Change y our mindset to embrace change. By anticipating change. Your situation is not static. One of the way s to break out of a perpetual reaction loop is to start to identify recurring events that happen throughout the y ear.

208 . to help y ou refuel. For instance. Another way is to spend more time in other areas that y ou do enjoy . One way to enjoy what y ou already do is to come up with a new mental model or metaphor. y ou might think of it as mastering y our craft. If y ou’re continuously run down.Key 22: Passion Is Your Fuel Energy flows where y our passion goes. it’s likely that y ou’re spending too much time on things y ou don’t enjoy. or find a way to enjoy what y ou do. Either follow y our passion.

Once y ou tell y our brain something is important. it gets resourceful. Your brain can only focus on so much at a time. You’ll suddenly notice more opportunities showing up all around y ou. but now they ’re in focus.Key 23: You Get What You Focus On When y ou know what y ou’re looking for. 209 . y ou start to see more of it. Think of it as a lens. The opportunities were there. Part of the reason why this works is because of y our Reticular Activating Sy stem (RAS): a filter sy stem for y our consciousness that brings relevant information to y our attention.

If y ou improve y our influence. 210 . On the other hand. Resistance wears y ou down. y ou amplify y our impact. and this includes one on one as well as influencing a room or a team or a crowd. when y ou know how to influence effectively. While y ou can alway s make things happen without other people on board. Influence includes y our ability to get other people to follow. y ou set y ourself up for success. People help y ou instead of block y ou or make things difficult. this creates resistance.Key 24: Leadership Is Influence John Maxwell teaches us that leadership is influence.

211 . You can think of metaphors as emotional picture words.Key 25: Metaphors Shape Your Experience You’re the most important meaning maker. They can lift y ou up or bring y ou down. including the words y ou use and the pictures y ou paint. How y ou make meaning largely has to do with y our self-talk.

while effectiveness is doing the right things. Combine motivation and technique to produce more effective results. Embrace change and build y our anticipation skills. Find the sweet spot for results by blending talent. and having a buffer. energy . Know that value is in the ey e of the beholder. Efficiency is doing things better.In Summary The 25 key s represent cornerstone concepts for getting results. Manage y our plate by biting off what y ou can chew. blend time. If it's not working. Create effective metaphors to motivate y ourself or others. and value. For more effective results. and technique. change y our approach. 212 . Pay attention to the results y ou're getting. passion. Invest more time taking action.

you may end up where you are heading. —Lao Tzu 213 .Chapter 12 – 25 Strategies for Results If you do not change direction.

One way to get started is to identify three strategies that are most helpful for y ou now. since they might be new way s for y ou to tackle old challenges. pay particular attention to the ones that y ou aren’t familiar with. Changing y our strategies can be one of the best way s to get unblocked or to unleash y our potential. While each strategy is independent. methods or techniques. find a way to test and judge it based on y our results. simply familiarize y ourself with the set and draw from them as needed. Strategies are a big picture perspective while tactics are a small picture perspective. Learn how to create a more enjoy able path on y our way to y our results. while other times they are competing. What y ou don’t know can hurt y ou and knowing the right strategies is like knowing the play book. These strategies complement the 25 Key s to Results found in Chapter 11. You can use strategies to help design y our approaches and to evaluate potential practices. Rather than try to decide or buy into a strategy. but keep in mind that sometimes strategies support each other. As y ou read the strategies. 214 .In This Chapter Learn how to treat time as a valuable and limited resource. many of them work better together. Mix and match strategies. You can think of the strategies as guiding approaches: they guide y our tactics while y ou pursue y our goals. Instead of try ing to memorize or implement all of these strategies. Learn how to improve y our results by changing y our mindsets. Ultimately. y ou must map relevant strategies to y our situation. This chapter helps y ou fill y our play book with some time-tested strategies for getting results.

The common theme across them is that they can make a significant difference in y our ability to accomplish the results y ou want. What y ou do with them is up to y ou. Knowing is often half the battle and there’s a good chance that some of the strategies may surprise y ou.The 25 Strategies for Results The strategies are a culmination and integration of many lessons learned over many people. 215 . These lessons show up time and again in various contexts.

I made the mistake of asking a customer. Often they were doing one thing. but try ing to accomplish another.Strategy 1: Outcomes over Activities An outcome is result or consequence. Be committed to y our outcome. “What are y ou try ing to do?” I originally learned this distinction when I worked in Microsoft Developer Support. Time and again. This lesson shows up time and again. there’s lots of way s to get there. 216 . One simple way to train y our mind to switch to focus on outcomes is asking y ourself. Asking “What are y ou try ing to accomplish?” might sound subtle. An activity is a pursuit in which y ou’re active. If y ou focus on activities. The key take away is that if y ou know where y ou want to go. let’s say y ou’re reflecting on y our results for this last month. If y ou start listing all y our activities. Work backwards from the end in mind by figuring out the outcomes y ou want to accomplish. but stay flexible in y our approach. so what? That’s a bunch of activity. For example. but accomplish little. might do a lot. we’d fix the wrong problems. “What are y ou try ing to do?” So. but it’s a big difference in results. “What do y ou want to accomplish?” The trap y ou can fall into is asking y ourself. What did y ou actually accomplish or achieve or make progress on or improve? Those are y our outcomes.

While reaching for a goal. realistic. That’s why y ou want goals that stretch y ou. timely goals. y ou become something more. SMART Goals SMART is an acrony m to help y ou improve y our goals: S = Specific M = Measurable A = Actionable R = Realistic T = Timely You support y ourself better by creating specific. 217 .Strategy 2: Goals Are Vehicles Alway s remember that goals are vehicles. measurable. They are a means to an end. actionable.

Leverage the System One of the most important strategies is to leverage the sy stem rather than work against it. and the key triggers or events. find a way to make the sy stem work for y ou. This includes the people involved. You also know who needs to be involved when y ou need to get things done. If y ou know how things work. the activities involved. Sometimes. y ou know where y ou fit in. Instead. When y ou figure out the sy stem. 218 .Strategy 3: Know the System When y ou need to produce results. one of the best things to do is figure out the sy stem. y ou can end up fighting unnecessary battles or doing things at the wrong time or just plain working too hard to produce results. If y ou don’t know the sy stem. part of y our job is to figure out the key levers y ou can pull. it’s as simple as knowing when to try and pull things off.

Other times. Know Your Own Rhythms Most people have an off season and an on season. There are a lot of relevant analogies and metaphors here: ebb and flow. if it’s not working. high tide and low tide. but a consequence of bad timing. 219 . You might have experienced the upside of this when every thing just seemed to go y our way and y ou were riding a wave. I move some heavy rocks in the winter to set my self up for great results throughout the spring. bull and bear. For example. I can better time my plans. In this case. but if it happens. great. I’ve found it’s better to first figure out what they are and leverage them. By recognizing the cy cle I’m in. off season and on season. I don’t plan on being brilliant in the summer. As such. You might have experienced the downside of this when y ou either had an idea the market wasn’t ready for or y ou did too little too late. it is. I know that I also go through bursts of learning and growth. while other times.Strategy 4: Know the Cycle Sometimes time is not on y our side. I could fight my self or I can work with my natural tendencies. I’m more on a plateau and have to work hard at it. I don’t mind working extra hours in the winter. Cy cles and rhy thms can dramatically impact the success of what y ou do. wax and wane. I tend to be more on in the spring and fall and more off in the summer and winter. A lot of failures aren’t the result of bad ideas. it’s far more effective to work with my tendencies. I do mind working extra hours in the summer. then. While I could change my patterns. figure out what to change. Use well-timed strategies to leverage y ourself. Have y ou ever tried to swim against the tide? If y ou know the rhy thms and know the cy cles y ou can make them work to y our advantage or at least set better expectations.

Consider investing a minimum of five hours on y our relationships. Make Time for Priorities Stephen Covey teaches us to make time for the big rocks. They have a better idea of what they want and what they don’t want.Strategy 5: Treat Time as a Valuable Resource You can’t buy more time. career. it’s tough to be great on the job if y ou don’t get enough sleep. the way they want it to be. They figure out way s to fix things that aren’t working and they come up with new things to try. or whatever. y et it’s an exercise that can improve y our life. however. You can. financial. Make thoughtful decisions in how y ou invest y our time. and keep y ou growing. If y ou value y our time. You can also use time limits as a shutoff valve. make y ou happy. If y ou waste y our time. body. If y ou don’t invest in y our relationships y ou can miss out on fun and y ou can make life difficult for y ourself on the job. They get clarity in their thinking. others will too. They feel more in control of their life and don’t feel like they are in constant reaction to the world around them. Time is the main ingredient in life. such as when y ou’re spending too much time on the job. It’s tough to give y our best if y ou never have fun. relationships. Your circumstances will influence what makes the most sense. y ou get what y ou spend y our time in. others will too. They are more deliberate about gradually making their world. this is y our discretionary budget of time to spend on whatever y ou want. Think of y ourself as the main manager of y our time. Ultimately. Failing to define free time in y our 220 . emotions. Make Free Time Whether y ou think of it as down time. but the key is to not over-invest in one area at the expense of another. For example. What are y our big rocks? In the big picture. spend it more wisely. invest a minimum of two hours a week on y our body. They support each other. A friend who does marathons say s. You must make time for each of these. In order to thrive. and fun. Make Time for Yourself People that make time for themselves tend to operate better. she gets results by putting in her hours. free time. For example. y ou must spend time in things that make y ou strong. Scheduling y our free time might sound like overengineering. One of the most important factors in y our consistent success is how y ou treat time. start with y our basics: mind.

and then it’s too easy to get over-extended. 221 .schedule may result in having no buffers.

improved techniques. but flex scope. 80-hour work weeks. Now. Better Techniques Now. instead of spending three hours on email. You can sprint when y ou can see the finish line. I had multiple vendors on my projects and their time was fixed at 40 hours. better energy management. We bit off what we could chew and prioritized value. I had to optimize the team around a 40-hour work week. Effective 40-hour work weeks beat inefficient 50. To optimize the results. Now. If y ou fix time.Strategy 6: Fix Time. Before y ou threw time at the problem and y ou never really noticed how ineffective and inefficient y our approach was. Interestingly. this turns out to be an Extreme Programming practice. instead of throwing more time at the problem. There’s alway s an end in sight. but flexed scope. You start to question the efficiency and effectiveness of y our techniques. y our energy goes up. Fixing time leads to improved time management. You prioritize y our meetings. It’s that simple. The End of Scope Creep 222 . y ou decide to spend one or less. y ou’ll improve y our success in many areas of y our life. You start to set limits within y our day. Prioritizing Gets Easier Here’s the deal. Energy Up When y ou fix time. 60. y ou can test different approaches to see what works best. y ou might set a boundary of a 40-hour work week. with time as a constant. For example. the most important thing happens. 70. We fixed time. and ultimately better results. y ou’re forced to produce results in a fixed set of time. You’re more deliberate about how y ou spend y our discretionary time. That meant that when the rest of the team went above and bey ond it didn’t help because the core team was out of sy nch. For example. Flex Scope Several y ears ago my circumstances demanded a new way to think about time and scope. Your world changes.

things fall off y our plate.If y ou flex time. y ou hit more windows of opportunity. This builds momentum. When y ou fix time. 223 . or worse. Why say no if y ou’ll get to it in the future? You’re not sure when and y ou’re not sure how. You become more reliable to y ourself and other people. When y ou’re not sure. You routinely cut into y our nights and weekends and wonder about that my th called work life balance. but y ou’ll get to it. then the tendency is to overflow y our plate. Now. Next. consider the opposite. y ou chunk it down. That’s how it starts. You get in touch with y our capacity . y ou have a rough idea of how much to bite off. If time is fixed. y ou throw more time at them to get them done. Finish what’s on y our plate before going up for more. because y ou stop biting off what y ou can’t chew.

It forces y ou to be more deliberate in how y ou spread y our life force across y our portfolio. Personal Projects You can diversify y our results at multiple levels. If y our relationships are slipping. It matters where y ou spend y our time and energy. or y ou’ll later trade y our wealth for y our health. Simply having a mental model to look at y our portfolio of results is the first step to dramatically improving y our effectiveness. body. It’s a Numbers Game Another important reason to diversify y our results is because it’s a numbers game.Strategy 7: Diversify Your Results This works hand-in-hand with fixing time and flexing scope. it was the concept. Life Frame. Sometimes. Sometimes. Your vital few results will 224 . relationships. the time just wasn’t right. career. Don’t trade y our health for y our wealth. You’ll find that y ou get more of what y ou focus on and more of what y ou spend time and energy on. It’s hard to predict when things won’t work out. y ou can be selective about y our high risk bets. Work Projects. seize the opportunity to carve out more time for them. You spread y our life force across certain investments. For example. financial. It’s all about trade-offs. Take a lot at where y ou’re over-investing and under investing. and a minimum number of hours on y our health each week. think time. By diversify ing y our results and prioritizing in terms of focus on y our vital few. it was the approach. and execution time on a daily basis? Personal Projects: How can you carve up your time for your personal projects and make progress on the ones that are most important to you? When y ou diversify y our results. consider the following opportunities: Life Frame: How can you carve up your overall time across your mind. emotions. y ou spread y our risk. Sometimes. For example. You can think of y our results as a portfolio. Prioritize the vital few things that matter most. and fun? Work Projects: How can you carve up your time for administration. and don’t neglect areas that really need y our attention. y ou might establish a maximum number of hours in y our career. Set minimums and maximums.

but use y our portfolio to keep things in check and not lose sight of the bigger picture. Yet when y ou have a good bet. then y our relationships or body can go downhill. The problem is that life has more than one basket. alternatively. y ou can redirect y our energy and re-establish momentum when something else just isn’t working out. Too much time having too much fun will weaken y our body or mind. not to go for it! Follow y our passion. The opposite is to put all y our eggs in one basket. 225 . The different buckets support each other and help improve y our overall effectiveness. If y ou spend all y our time in y our career.cushion y ou when y ou stumble.

trade-offs. at the start of y our day. because there is no one answer. It’s a great question to tackle because time is y our most precious resource. Before y ou worry about whether y ou have the right answer. You might already ask y ourself in fuzzy or indirect way s. The question can be more powerful than the answer. You can’t make more of it. Instead. 226 . That’s completely different than asking y ourself such a pointed question at the start of y our week. it’s a quick check to help y ou course correct. and focus meet. get in the habit of asking the question. You can only spend it more wisely.Strategy 8: Next Best Thing to Do What’s the next best thing to do? Believe it or not. the key difference in a lot of productivity sy stems boils down to answering that question. priorities. This is where all y our outcomes. Your mind is a powerful resource when y ou ask the right questions. or in the moment.

right here. The key here is delivering value over backlog burndown. the better chance that it’s time has come and gone. Backlogs Rot with Time Backlogs tend to have two problems. The second common problem is they are often overly detailed plans. That would be a problem if all things were equally important. “A plan is a list of things that will never happen. Value Is in the Eye of the Beholder Alway s remember that value is in the ey e of the beholder. each moment. The longer an item sits in a backlog. At the 227 . let it serve y ou. A Catalog of Potential Action Instead of being backlog driven. but time changes the value of things. Don’t be surprised if y ou don’t get a raving review when all y ou did was below the line work. Thus was coined the say ing. Stick with tickler lists with just enough notes to feed into y our decisions and to remind y ou what’s important. or that something else is more important now. You probably have more things to do than there is time in the day. How do y ou know? It’s based on what y ou want to accomplish (y our outcomes). Your backlog is an input for y ou. y ou get to choose the most valuable things to do. but y ou should never be a slave to it. It might be an item in y our backlog. You backlog is a catalog of potential action. y ou need to know whether what y ou’re doing is considered above the line or below the line. how y ou want to maximize y our impact. It might not. each day. right now. Know who the customer is when y ou’re working on something. think in terms of value delivered. and what’s valued. If it’s for not for y ou. Is it y ou for y our personal learning? Is it for y our boss? Get clarity on that first.” It’s better to elaborate and add detail when y ou’re actually going to do something. Below the line is simply expected. Above the line is valued. First. This is where asking y ourself what’s the next best thing to do really comes into play.Strategy 9: Value Delivered over Backlog Burndown Like the camel loaded with one too many straws on its back. Instead. y our backlog can wear y ou down. Instead. Don’t become a beast of burden to y our backlog. backlogs rot over time. Don’t get bogged in details. even break y ou. each week. Doing so will result in missed opportunities. Backlogs tend to be a laundry list of items that once were important.

with y ourself and others. don’t screw up great results by failing to meet basic expectations.same time. Part of y our success is how y ou manage expectations. 228 .

y ou turn it into something more manageable. make it a project. etc. You can version y our results. You can weigh the benefits of it against other things y ou might invest y our life force in. 229 . You want it long enough to get useful results and meaningful feedback.Strategy 10: Make It a Project If y ou want to get real results. y ou’re better off in the long run of doing many short projects over one long marathon. or measure y our results on. Remember that the power is in treating something as a project. Now y ou have something real to focus on or direct y our energy towards. if it’s the next best thing for y ou to do. a six-month project. Jump incremental hurdles over try ing to scale a major wall. y ou could have a day project. For example. associate actions to. For example. At the end of y our project. You have something specific and y ou can experiment with the best way s to accomplish it. Chunk It Up Based on my experience on many projects over many y ears and the experience of others. y ou can evaluate y our results. You give it a start and a finish. For example. You build momentum. y ou might do a short project to test y our results. You get a fresh start. When y ou make something a project. Giving it a name puts y ou in control. One effective way to right-size them is to do it by time. but not so long that it wears y ou down and y ou can’t see the end in mind. a three-month project. You can figure out the work involved. Not happy with y our results? May be it’s time for version two. a weeklong project. You now have a named thing that y ou can prioritize. You now have a named thing that y ou can put on the backburner. let’s say y ou want to improve how y ou handle y our email. a month-long project. Projects can vary dramatically in size. You can drive it from cradle to grave.

figure out the activities each week that make y ou weak and that make y ou strong. It may be things y ou enjoy. Things that make y ou strong give y ou more energy when y ou perform them. By consolidating them and shoving them into timeboxes. You never look forward to them. This list is y our insider’s guide to improving y our energy levels. a good way to start is by pushing as much of the things that make y ou weak to Monday s and to the morning in y our day. Some y ou may have control over. The beauty of designing a week that supports y ou is y ou get to practice every week. y ou either luck into weakness or luck into strength. May be y ou haven’t even identified what makes y ou strong and what makes y ou weak? Figure Out Your Weekly Strengths and Weaknesses First. 230 . Know the key s and continuously work towards and refine them. Otherwise. or it might not. Consolidate and Compartmentalize Your Weaknesses Next. Things that make y ou weak are those which leave y ou feeling drained—not in a good way. y ou already have a weekly schedule. By structuring y our day s and week like this. Knowing y ourself is a huge advantage over ignorance. fix y our week. Whether y ou designed it on purpose or not. Don’t leave y our success to luck. Based on Peter Drucker’s recommendations and what I’ve tested in practice. The activities that drain y ou might be spread out all over the week. there’s a good chance y ou’re spending a lot of y our time on things that make y ou weak. Pay attention to what makes y ou strong. y ou stop the energy leaks throughout y our week. y ou design y our momentum. Don’t let y our weaknesses spring leaks in an otherwise potentially strong schedule. Pay special attention to what makes y ou weak.Strategy 11: Have a Strong Week Unless y ou’ve been deliberate about y our schedule. This is y our chance to create a strong week by design. Compartmentalize them. some y ou don’t. y ou line up things that make y ou strong right after to give y ou a boost. Ideally. to get over y our major humps. Why does this work? You use the strongest part of y our day.

You probably already represent y our work to y ourself in some way. etc. If it’s not working for y ou. test it for a month to decide whether this is right for y ou. May be y ou think of y ourself as the lone cowboy. a Maximizer or a Simplifier. May be y ou’re Atlas with the world on y our shoulders. You should know y our strengths such as detail oriented or quick on y our feet or great presentation skills. Whenever there’s work to do. 2. consider the opportunity to pair up with other personas. Introverts are more focused on internal ideas and y ou may prefer to work alone or in small groups. Again. For example. You probably know whether y ou are a starter or a Finisher. test adopting a positive mindset for a month. Introvert or Extrovert. this means getting y our alone time. If y ou’re an extrovert. adopt instead a growth mindset where y ou test y our ability to thrive and to learn. change y our mindset. 231 . Mindsets and Motivation. think about which persona helps y ou best and put on that hat. You should reduce y our liabilities and invest more energy in growing y our strengths over y our weaknesses. then y ou can choose and adopt more effective strategies. However y ou are thinking of it.Strategy 12: Know Yourself You can learn all the strategies in the world. If y ou’re an introvert. If y ou know y our own patterns. This opens a lot of doors to y ou. a Thinker or a Doer. 4. strengths. if y ou realize that y ou tend to be negative. Metaphors. Another is taking the bull by the horns. Here are some way s to know y ourself in relation to personal productivity : 1. and weaknesses. 3. Know y our pattern and set y ourself up to keep y our energy high. this is one of the most powerful things y ou can do. there’s a good chance they won’t help. but if y ou don’t know y our own patterns. Extroverts on the other hand may want to work as part of larger teams or where there’s more real-time communication. You should know and respect y our weaknesses. write these down. May be y our work is like herding cats. If y ou have a fixed mindset (one which assumes that things are the way they are and y ou can’t improve them). Think of metaphors that empower y ou and swap them out for the ones that make y ou weak. Additionally. If y ou’re a Finisher. this means spending time with others. think of things in terms of skills waiting to be developed. Rather than just think of things as natural talent. 5. then see if y ou can find a good Starter to help get y ou going. Personas. Are they helping y ou or working against y ou? One metaphor that helps me is thinking in terms of mastering my craft. Strengths and Weaknesses.

y ou can make time to refuel. they ’re alway s on time and they never miss deadlines. The key is to see what it feels like to do things on time and to trade perfection for timely results. or play the songs that get y ou fired up when y ou need to link things to good feelings. 8. You can also find way s to work y our passions into y our current job. such as versioning y our results and improving each time. and adopting beliefs such as perfection is a journey not a destination. If y ou know this. Otherwise. Find way s to overcome y our perfectionism. It’s also y our reminder and checkpoint to stay on track. y ou might find new way s to enjoy old things. You should know which end of the spectrum y ou fall. 11. Find way s to look forward to what y ou do. Know how to push y our own buttons. and regularly miss deadlines. 10. Create more glide-paths for y ourself. Compelling “Why. Some people like to work alone. Some people care a lot more about time than others. Time. see if y ou can arrange y our projects to support y our most effective work sty le. For example. Workspace Pattern. Other people care a lot more about quality and actually taking their time. Passions. the trick is to take action and let motivation follow. You know y our patterns better than any body. but with other people. Set daily . recognize the issues and ask friends and mentors for strategies that help y ou improve y our effectiveness. Pay attention to what makes y ou feel good: certain memories. are late to parties.” Make sure y ou know why y ou do what y ou do. The problem is that action comes before motivation. If y ou keep finding y ourself procrastinating. There’s alway s a way. Another issue is that most people think they have to talk themselves into doing something. and work on way to reduce friction. 9. Linking to Good Feelings. They are quick to set dates and meet them. If y ou know y our passions. Some people have it more than others. One quick solution is to simply start taking more action. then again. 12. Some people like to work with others. recall the memories that make y ou feel great. certain songs. if y ou whistle while y ou work. Fighting Procrastination. Most people have some trace of perfectionism. weekly . Focus on getting drafts or strawman or prototy pes done over fit and finish. certain thoughts. If y ou tend to be scope and quality driven. Think the thoughts that make y ou feel good. They often send belated birthday cards. monthly goals and bite off a little at a time. test focusing more on time for a month. 7. If y ou know this about y ourself. Some people like to work on their own thing. This is y our simple most important carrot that y ou can use to help motivate y ourself when the going gets tough. it’s just a matter of degree. one of the common problems is y ou’re thinking too much and y ou talk y ourself out of it. To put it another way. One of the 232 . Others are somewhere in the middle. Fighting Perfectionism.6.

but it’s about finding a balance with sharing “good enough” sooner versus too little too late. That just doesn’t work in today ’s world. It’s one of the toughest things to learn. 233 .worst failure patterns I see time and again is this: “It will be done when it’s done” and the recurring missed deadlines that inevitably follow.

pair with a Doer. pair with a Finisher. If y ou’re a Maximizer. Consider teaming up with somebody at work. I’ve seen a lot of people get stuck. Find somebody to complement y our skills. If y ou’re a Starter. pair with a Simplifier. team up. Most people that are good at something. The trick is often finding and asking the right person. 234 . For whatever reason. like to share what they know.Strategy 13: Team Up Pair up. they hit an invisible wall. y ou just need to know what y ou want and go for it. Pairing with the right person got them over it. buddy up. Consider teaming up with somebody on something y ou want to learn. This keeps momentum and y ou get the benefit of sy nergy . whatever. If y ou’re a Thinker. There’s a lot of mentors in the world.

y ou now have a script that y ou can improve. They decide and go. First. If y ou think y our whole way through every step. This isn’t about being mindless. If y ou think through y our actions up front. You don’t critique while y ou brainstorm. Likewise.Strategy 14: Factor Thinking from Doing What do the most successful people that get results have in common? They don’t second guess themselves every step of the way. then. Basically. If this is a routine that y ou’ll perform regularly. The same holds true for brainstorming. For example. I call these improvement scripts. then. y ou review it and improve it. They don’t analy ze every thing while they do it. Why is this such a big deal? This is how y ou avoid task saturation and shutting down. y ou think. y ou brainstorm. y ou execute. In fact. 235 . Instead. There’s another benefit to this approach. for task execution. If y ou find y ourself constantly drained. y ou slow y ourself down and y ou wear y ourself down. It’s also how y ou avoid analy sis paraly sis. the recommendation is to write it out and then edit. y ou do it. You can literally script y our success. This is one of the secrets the Air Force uses to turn ordinary people into extraordinary pilots. y ou can write the key actions to execute. It’s about factoring y our thought processes. if y ou edit while y ou write. then. y ou critique. That’s the thoughtful part of y our brain. y ou burn up y our prefrontal cortex. there’s a good chance y ou aren’t taking enough breaks or y ou are interspersing too much thinking with y our doing.

it makes sense for y ou to go slower and be more thoughtful to get the routine down or learn a new technique. 236 . y ou can’t be second guessing y ourself along the way . When y ou’re practicing. but in this case. You might even be doing a dry run. it’s being clear about whether y ou’re practicing or y ou’re performing.Strategy 15: Factor Practice from Performance This is related to factoring thinking from doing. Simply perform. When y ou’re performing.

You can want it to work all y ou want. That’s the key to success. measure against effectiveness. If it’s not working change y our approach. but y ou have to be honest with what y ou’re getting. You can’t argue with results.Strategy 16: Measure Against Effectiveness How do y ou judge a technique? Measure by what works. For something to be useful. 237 . of course. it first needs to be effective. is finding the right technique. It needs to work. There are many way s to accomplishing something. Throw out what works in favor for what works. the challenge. More importantly.

Don’t react to what y ou don’t understand. the faster y ou can change y our approach to something that might work better. The quicker y ou have a good sense of how things are actually working out. The pitfall is to kid y ourself when it counts. Pay attention to what y ou’re getting. y ou produce results. but y our gut say s something is off. You might be picking up on something intuitively that y ou just haven’t figured out how to rationalize y et. A simple way to use y our intuition more when y ou’re analy zing what y ou’re getting is to ask. Trust y our intuition. dig deeper. If y our mind say s things are on track.Strategy 17: Know What You’re Getting When y ou take actions. y ou’ll eventually figure out what y ou intuitively sensed. “What does my gut say ?” 238 . As y ou ask better questions. Producing results is a constant exercise in course correction. Alway s balance y our intuition with y our mind. This includes both qualitative and quantitative feedback. There are alway s clues.

especially by telling y ou which paths to avoid. but at least y ou aren’t starting from scratch. y ou can ask y ourself.Strategy 18: Model the Best One of the way s to find the best technique is to model from others or to find reference examples. Stand on the shoulders of giants. For example. That’s both the art and the science of results. You’d be surprised how little it takes though to figure this out. One of the worst mistakes people make is reinventing the wheel. They can save y ou a lot of time. You may have to tailor their guidance for y our situation. Thin slicing simply means extrapolating expectations about behavior by watching somebody in small periods of time. chances are y ou’re not the first. “Best” is subjective and context dependent. What’s important is that y ou meet y our objectives in the most effective and efficient way y ou can. You can gain a lot of insight into behaviors through “thin slicing. They ’ll know what works and what doesn’t work. 239 . Leverage Your Heroes You can also think of this as an exercise in impersonation. “What would Einstein or da Vinci do in this scenario?” This is a great way to switch y our thinking and gain new perspectives. No matter what y ou’re doing. I know it sounds obvious. but I see a lot of people just ask smart people or just ask their friends. You want to find a few people that are succeeding where y ou want to succeed. find people that are getting the results y ou want. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. This assumes that y ou know enough of the other person’s thought patterns and behaviors to draw from.” a concept introduced by Malcolm Gladwell in his book. Find the Mentors When y ou look for mentors.

Sometimes it works better to try to prove y our right. There’s a good chance y ou’ll be surprised. Don’t be afraid to be wrong sometimes! 240 .” You don’t alway s know what y ou’re capable of. y ou can start to make better estimates.Strategy 19: Test Your Results One useful metaphor for this is to “do a dry run. You don’t want to be the bottleneck to y our own success. One of the big surprises for people is when they believe they can’t do something and they actually test their can’ts. y ou can start asking better questions. Call it an experiment and see what y ou can do. Don’t rely on y our ability to predict what y ou can do. prove it. The fastest way to get some useful feedback is to test y our results. Remember that what the mind can conceive. testing y our results early on is important so that y ou get a relative gauge of what y ou know. If y ou really think y ou can’t do something. as well as potential risks. Lastly. take action and get real feedback instead. and y ou can start figuring out where the most valuable places are to spend y our time. the body will achieve. As soon as y ou get some tangible feedback. don’t know and need to know next.

how might y ou solve it?” I’ve used this many times to get my self and other people out of deadlocks. “How can I solve this?” and y ou keep responding. You want to ask people who are relevant to y our scenario or problem. or y our get rich quick friend who saw the latest infomercial? You want to ask people with results. simply because they got stuck on needing a perfect answer instead of a potential path. if y ou did know.” switch the question and answer this instead: “Well. The right questions can save y ou from working on the wrong things.Strategy 20: Ask Better Questions The right questions can dramatically improve y our results. Instead.” I think the name say s a lot. “I don’t know. If y ou get stuck in a loop when y ou ask y ourself. It’s about focusing on the solution. They can improve y our state of mind. or using the wrong approach. “solution-focused questions. “How can I improve this?” Your questions should support y ou. Ask Yourself Better Questions Avoid asking y ourself “Why ” questions. “How can I make the most of this?” or. y ou can easily avoid deadlocks and keep forward momentum. They can get y ou out of a bind. You’d be surprised how many people get stuck here. the wrong questions can waste y our time and put y ou in a deadlock. instead of dwelling on the problem. They can improve y our efficiency and effectiveness. One way to move forward is asking those who don’t really know for somebody who does. You want to ask people who are also capable of helping. “How can I solve this?” or. If y ou know how to ask more effective questions. an accountant who handles the taxes of many small businesses each y ear. ask more resourceful questions such as. Solution-Focused Questions I call empowering questions. but keep moving forward. You can save y ourself a lot of wasted time simply by asking y ourself if y ou’re asking the right person. not disable y ou. such as “Why can’t I do this?” You’ll put y ourself in a non-resourceful state and y our mind will come up with reasons why y ou can’t. Ask the Right People One of the fastest way s to waste y our time is to ask the wrong people. In contrast. Who knows more about which small businesses are working. It’s biased by design to help keep y ou 241 . go ahead and start asking. If y ou aren’t sure.

For example. meaning. One of the most important questions is “Are the right people here?” If not. and Action Some of the best questions y ou can ask are pretty basic. 242 . Effect. A few of the right questions can go a long way in improving y our results. there’s no point in having the meeting. Meaning. a time-based question would be “Is now the right time?” A question about cause would be “What’s the root cause?” A question about effect would be “If we do this. You’ll learn more by doing and get better feedback. cause. Time. “Do we have the right people?” or. “What’s the best thing to do?” One practical way I use this is when I have a meeting. Cause. and action. what will be the impact?” A question about meaning would be “What does this mean?” You might ask a question about action such as.from getting stuck in analy sis paraly sis and for taking action as quickly as possible. You can ask questions about time. effect. They will be y our greatest ally in terms of producing results. Asking solution-focused questions that are forward looking and optimistic will help y ou keep moving ahead as y ou face adversity and friction.

y our mind. y ou’ll enjoy the process. y our relationships. Pressure can help y ou improve y our performance. For example. or a novice can profoundly impact how much enjoy ment y ou get along the way. focus on one pitch at a time. The opposite is doing y our time and then wondering where y our time went —one pitch at a time. Instead of the scoreboard. and y our fun. y our emotions. Is it a sprint? A marathon? An epic journey ? An adventure? A SWAT mission? One Pitch at a Time The more the pressure is on. More importantly . asking y ourself. You have to enjoy the process. and it’s not just because of the destination.Strategy 21: Enjoy the Process Don’t let the focus on results trump y our approach. a mentor. This doesn’t mean that every aspect along the way tickles y ou pink. Right now are y ou worry ing about something y ou haven’t finished? Or did y ou decide this was the next best thing to do and y ou’re lost in the moment. an expert. You become more along the way without sacrificing the basics along the way : like y our health. “Working on y our masterpiece” is an entirely different experience than just try ing to get something done. the more likely y ou are to watch the scoreboard. how can y ou use this? All it takes is a simple shift in mindset to go from hating a task to savoring the moment. if y ou decide to master y our craft. and focus on it. but y ou need to focus on the right things. Trust that whatever y ou are doing at the moment is what y ou decided as y our next best thing to do. This sets y ou up for learning and growing. Whether y ou see y ourself as a craftsman. Metaphors work wonders for helping y ou enjoy the process. This is also true for the metaphor y ou use for work. The beauty of this approach is it works instantly. Have a Metaphor Sometimes enjoy ing the process is as simple as changing y our mindset. You’ll improve y our performance. then each session is a new opportunity to improve y our efficiency and effectiveness. Find Your Passion 243 . What it means is that y ou feel the journey is worth it. or y ou won’t achieve sustainable results.

It’s helpful to work backwards from when y ou want the results. For example. Chances are that before y ou go looking somewhere else. 244 . Pace Yourself Your pace can have a lot to do with y our energy and enjoy ment. What’s the key ? Be deliberate about the pace y ou choose. Find the Lessons There’s alway s a lesson to be learned. Sometimes. Slow can be a great way to savor the moments as y ou go. Is it a marathon or a sprint? Is it a series of sprints? This is where knowing the sy stem and knowing the cy cle come into play. what y ou might just need is the thrill of a race with y ourself or a race against time to really get it in gear and enjoy what y ou’re doing. energy flows. The other is to find y our passion. One way to do this is to connect to y our values. when I lead my projects I turn them into epic adventures. I have value adventure. Other times. Fast can be fun and it can be furious. look for the lesson—that’s where experience comes from if y ou choose to learn from it. y ou can find way s to enjoy what y ou do. One approach is to follow y our passion. the turtle really does win the race. Energy is y our fuel for results. You need to find the pace that best supports y ou. This is also where knowing y ourself really pay s off. and I find that connecting to my values helps me find my passion in whatever I do. This can include important timing windows. When y ou don’t get the results y ou expect.Where attention goes. You can then setup mini milestones.

You’ll end up linking the workout to feeling good. and emotions working with y ou instead of against y ou. Resistance Makes You Stronger While the ideal scenario is y ou can make every thing feel good. One technique y ou can use is to play y our favorite songs. body . Now y ou have y our mind. It’s like somebody pushing the weight sideway s while y ou’re try ing to work out. 245 . but y ou’ll get stronger from the exercise. Ultimately. if y ou’re on y our path. When y ou lift weights. If y ou simply try to talk y ourself into something. What it means is that the resistance y ou’re facing isn’t actually helping. One thing that helps is to remember that resistance makes y ou stronger. then all y ou end up with is a logical argument that’s not very motivating. You get more leverage on y ourself if y ou create an emotional connection. It’s actually important to link what y ou do to good feelings where possible. it may not feel good at the time.Strategy 22: Link It to Good Feelings One of the important key s to enjoy the process is to link y our routines and activities to good feelings. What y ou have to watch out for is “pushing the weight sideway s” (a phrase coined by my colleague Jason Tay lor). resistance makes y ou stronger. let’s say y ou don’t like the pain of working out. For example. that’s not very effective in the long run. If y ou try to motivate y ourself by promising rewards down the line. the reality is y ou can’t. This holds true for when y ou’re facing intellectual challenges as well.

Play to Your Strengths Another way to make the most of what y ou’ve got is to play to y our strengths. The simplest way to play to y our strengths is to spend more time in y our strengths.Strategy 23: Make the Most of What You’ve Got You’ll end up in a lot of situations that aren’t ideal. 246 . y ou get more results by maximizing y our strengths. Your ability to stand strong when tested will serve y ou in the long run. That’s called life. and less time in y our weaknesses. Get in a Resourceful State One of the best way s to make the most of any situation is to ask y ourself. “How can I make the most of this situation?” This will put y our mind in a more resourceful state. While y ou can improve y our weaknesses.

y ou work on y our recall. You also get exposed to more questions and perspectives. Rather than just recognition. This requires sustained thinking and focus. Teaching requires y ou to burn info in at a deeper level. Through repetition and practice y ou’ll want to burn it at an emotional and phy sical level. It forces y ou to learn the information at a deeper level. 247 . One of the best forcing functions that to drive information home is simply the thought process of asking and answering questions. as y ou put the information into practice. Of course. y ou’ll want to know it bey ond the intellectual.Strategy 24: Teach What You Need to Learn One of the best way s to learn something is to teach it.

You can gauge the level of maturity of y our sy stem by how well y ou can either ramp other people up to do what y ou do or how easily y ou can hand over the reins. Create routines or checklists that support y ou. For example. Thinking on paper is powerful.Strategy 25: Pave the Way Forward If y ou think of y ourself as a pathfinder. Make It Easy for Others Create a glide path for others. not the other way around. pave a path towards it. This is where y our checklists. identify y our trouble spots. Make It Easy for You Create a glide path for y ourself. Rather than stumble on results. You’ll probably find way s to reduce the friction or find way s to enjoy the process more. y ou can focus on reducing friction: walk y our path endto-end. Once y ou create a script. The creative replies may surprise y ou. y ou can improve the path by doing some simple things. and then tune and prune the path to improve the results. You can share y our script with others and ask for feedback on improving it. y ou can evaluate its efficiency. and techniques come into play . Your sy stem should support y ou. If y ou treat what y ou do like a sy stem. y ou can improve y our results. 248 . y ou can improve it sy stematically. routines. When y ou find a path that works.

Tailor and adapt the strategies to suit y our scenarios and context. Mix and match strategies as appropriate. 249 .In Summary Familiarize y ourself with the 25 strategies for getting results and draw from them as needed to help y ou turn the underly ing principles into action. Test strategies to find what works. Use the strategies to help guide y our tactics.

—Plato. Greek Philosopher 250 .Chapter 13 – Motivation The first and best victory is to conquer self.

The most important point about self-discipline is that you don’t talk yourself into it. You might think y ourself into something. Then there’s self-discipline: the ability to correct y our behavior.” Self-discipline is a muscle that gets stronger the more you flex it. and outcomes. self-discipline is only ever driven from y our thinking. the more effective you’ll be at getting the results you want in your life. Learn the key pitfalls that work against y our motivation. feelings. When inclined to do otherwise. 251 . Motivation is the “Why ” behind the goal. One of the most important things I realized is that motivation can come from your thoughts. perhaps inspired by y our thoughts. or your body. You might feel motivated. And how do y ou decide? Your motivation. But to commit to self-discipline. it’s a decision. It’s y our little engine that say s y ou can. Will is based on thinking and reason to create action. it’s y our initial motivation that convinces y ou it’s worth it. self-discipline helps y ou do the right thing in the moment for y our long-term benefit. Motivation is rooted in emotion. According to Stephen Covey. (Self-discipline is simply correcting or regulating y our behavior for the sake of improvement. The undisciplined are slaves to moods. Motivation and self-discipline work hand in hand. It’s also the same force that on a good day can help y ou move mountains. and passions. The better you know your own drivers and levers. when the rest of y ou say s y ou can’t. Lose y our initial inspiration and self-discipline keeps y ou going. Motivation is a life-long skill that y ou can improve through self-awareness and proven strategies. “Only the disciplined are truly free. Learn the key factors that influence y our motivation. appetites. Motivation can be y our initial inspiration.” vision. On the other hand. Or y our body might motivate y ou.) It helps y ou get back on course when y ou fall off y our path. as a seasoned runner feels the urge to go running.In This Chapter Learn how to improve y our motivation and self-discipline through a compelling “Why . Success reinforces y our self-discipline. You simply decide.

1 Why You Do What You Do 252 .Figure 13.

Great wordsmiths have given us powerful perspectives on motivation and self-discipline. —Nido Qubein Motivation is the fuel necessary to keep the human engine running. —John C. Stand up eight. Some people have an amazing way with words. —Japanese Proverb It's not whether you get knocked down. Maxwell Fall seven times. —Vince Lombardi The price of discipline is always less than the pain of regret. —Zig Ziglar Happiness comes when you believe in what you are doing.Motivational Quotes Quotes reflect the wisdom of the ages. it's whether you get up. Here are a handful of my favorite quotes: You don’t overcome challenges by making them smaller but by making yourself bigger. know what you are doing. —Brian Tracy 253 . and love what you are doing. The right quote can lift y ou up and get y ou back on track when y ou need it.

in y our head). then y ou’ve associated more pain with doing it than not doing it. You’ll go further out of y our way to avoid pain than gain pleasure. it’s pain.. y ou’ll find a way. but usually it's rooted in the past or future (i. but logically it doesn’t make sense. Likewise. y ou might feel a lot of pain. Pleasure You can’t alway s talk y ourself into liking something. emotional. Gradually. while seeking pleasure. y ou feel pain. It’s a survival mechanism. y ou seek to thrive. If there’s something y ou keep doing. but won’t. Listening to y our favorite songs or power songs helps y ou link pleasure. Whether the pain is real or imagined and whether it’s phy sical. When y our basic needs are unmet. Once y our basic needs are met. y ou slide towards things that feel good and away from things that don’t. Phy sically. This is why y ou might talk y ourself into working out. Your perceived pain now might outweigh y our perceived pleasure down the line. y ou’ll find a way.Pain and Pleasure Pain and pleasure are the key s to motivation. When y ou really want something. when y ou really want to avoid something. The problem is that’s only at the intellectual level. it’s easy to slide out of it. y ou’re either getting pleasure from it or avoiding pain. it’s still pain. The memory of past pain and anticipation of future pain are also key aspects. but if y ou don’t find a way to enjoy it. Pain If there’s something y ou want to do. One common technique is to listen to y our favorite songs. That pain drives y ou to survive. or mental. You have to pay attention to y our emotional response. 254 . Whether it’s the fear of rejection or the fear of failure.e. This includes reducing pain. In-the-now pain can make y ou stop. For example. It could be a timing issue. y ou might know that working out is good for y ou and y ou would think that should be enough to enjoy it.

It’s y our single best tool to keep y ou going. the why becomes obvious and lets y ou latch onto it.Compelling “Why. y our compelling “Why ” may lead to a compelling vision. Compelling Vision It’s easier to stay motivated if y ou see the end in mind. A compelling vision is a scene y ou can easily conjure with the end in mind—it’s how y ou imagine the world will be different. and Outcomes Your compelling “Why . especially a compelling one. y ou might have a fuzzy picture of the end in mind.” If y ou really like the end in mind. Your “Why ” will help guide y ou through. Compelling Outcomes An outcome is the end result. have a compelling “Why. Tasks and activities are the means to get there. In his mental movie he would see himself running his upcoming race. or it may take some work. is a tool to help y ou stay the course. He visualized watching himself on the screen of his favorite theater. Difficulty discovering a compelling “Why ” may be an indicator that there’s something else y ou’d rather spend y our time on.” vision. Compelling “Why” Why are y ou doing this? If y ou don’t have a reason y ou feel strongly about.” Make it y our cause. A friend of mine used a movie technique to finish an Iron Man competition. and outcomes support y ou on y our path to results.” Vision. You may have to get creative. You can think of y our vision as the future picture. The outcomes are the results y ou will experience. chances y ou may give up in the face of resistance. It might have looked good on paper. Whenever y ou start out on a path. Additionally. A vision of the end in mind. Have a compelling “Why ” to help y ou get back up if y ou get knocked down. Sometimes y our compelling vision creates a compelling “Why. One common reason people give up on their goals is that the why wasn’t important enough. If y ou want to make something happen. Sometimes it’s easy. He added a lot of details to make it vivid: his film is shot high from a helicopter with his favorite announcers calling out his name as he crosses the finish line. He attributes visualizing his success as a movie to his actual success in the race. It’s like having a finish line. but it wasn’t compelling. Some outcomes are 255 . They didn’t emotionally connect with it. A good test is whether y ou can draw y our vision. and y our outcomes as the details or highlights of the scene.

that’s why. at work. or group (i.e. make it as precise as possible.. feel. know what the group values). Value is in the ey e of the beholder. team. Don't settle for a fuzzy notion of results. Imagine results that y ou can see.more valuable than others. hear. y ou line up value against business objectives and the culture of y our tribe. and touch. 256 . Think of outcomes as sets of results y ou want to achieve.

Give y our best and focus on the learning. then clean it up in the next version. see if y ou can redefine the problem. or examples of how not to do things. You might think the work is not good enough. improving each time. You might think that y ou’re not good enough or smart enough. It's a common way to get y ourself stuck. Lack of Boundaries. Some problems require chipping away at the stone. Few problems can withstand sustained action that builds momentum and confidence. Perfection comes in many forms. Don’t wait. Another way is to work one version at a time. The rigor of their routines gives them their inspiration. Waiting for Inspiration. By giving y ourself time limits. but y our constant action gradually wears it down. Understanding all these pitfalls helps avoid them. until finally y ou breakthrough. Excitement and energy comes from learning and growing. then flip it. Imagine if athletes only practiced on day s they felt inspired.10 Pitfalls of Motivation There are many common my ths and some bad practices that take away y our motivation. try a new approach. do a first version of the work as a rough cut. and so on. For example. One way to fight perfectionism is to call the work an experiment. Don’t fall into the trap of analy sis paraly sis. Another key is to know y our own patterns and anti-patterns. If y ou’re spending 80 percent of y our time mulling on the problem and only 20 percent working on the solution. Don’t let perfection get in the way of good enough. When y ou are stuck. not spinning y our wheels. it may not seem like much. It’s easy to burn y ourself out if y ou continually go round and round on a problem without making progress or if find y ourself solving the same or similar problems repeatedly. The more y ou practice. until they are finally integrated into y our body. to emotional. Develop routines that are easy to stick with and that give y ou chances to grow y our skill and be y our best. Timeboxing is another way to help fight perfectionism. 2. Motivation follows action. or find a mentor. Anti-patterns are simply bad patterns. 1. Churning. 3. Analysis Paralysis. the more y our skills evolve from intellectual. You must set y ourself up for flow opportunities or being “in the zone” to happen. spending too much time on the problem instead of the solution. 4. tackle one piece of it. Perfectionism. it’s important that y ou also recognize the difference between churning and a problem that just takes time. 5. Some day s are better than others. Have y ou noticed when y ou push y ourself past y our limits y ou 257 . but when inspiration happens they ’re ready to act on it. Be careful. y ou do y our best with the time y ou have.

Choosing the Wrong Motivation. It’s good to know the score. These little things stop people far more often than larger forces. Death by a Thousand Paper Cuts. Instead. When y ou focus on the task at hand. and wasting precious mental energy. Set y ourself up for success by creating glide-paths for y our most important routines. Remember that goals are a vehicle. Watching the Scoreboard. This builds momentum. Periodically check y our direction against where y ou want to be. take smaller bites and finish faster. Don't invest y our time. Don’t burden y ourself with past defeats. Instead. At first y ou might not notice any friction in y our initial burst of enthusiasm and inspiration. Set limits and use them to keep y ourself fresh. but don’t let it become a distraction. But inspired action only takes y ou so far. y et usually go unseen. a means to an end. Be careful what y ou wish for. Pick y ourself up when y ou fail—it's OK. Focusing on the scoreboard is a way to create anxiety without improving. 9. 10. because y ou just might get it. By noticing friction (even minor ones) early on. Beating Yourself Up. Don’t bite off more than y ou can chew. y ou can nip it in the bud while y ou still have momentum. 7. and resources only to find out y our ladder was up against the wrong wall. focus on the vital things toward achieving y our best results. All this friction adds up. 8. to over-sustained thinking. Use it to improve. Overwhelming Yourself. Focus on y our current level of play. giving it y our best. to waiting too long to eat. and take the scoreboard as feedback. 258 . The power of goals is that y ou grow while y ou stretch to reach them. Incremental success becomes a habit. energy. y ou set y ourself up for improved performance. Focus on the Hot Spots in y our routines to reduce a little friction each day. lose energy fast? This could be any thing from stay ing up too late. This adds up to great improvement over time. another easy trap to fall into. Don’t let the wrong motivation take y ou off track. but don’t let that be y our focus. A simple way to break this pattern is to start simple and achieve success. Be wary of “should” thinking. Your focus should be on one pitch at a time.6. slowing y ou down. Friction in y our daily routines builds up over time. Don’t create y our own walls that y ou can’t scale by overloading y ourself.

Use Pain and Pleasure to Get Leverage. if y ou have a bunch of activities that drain y ou. a compelling one. Frame it in a compelling way. y ou need some time-tested tools to help y ou get going. Find a way to enjoy it. Another part to setting boundaries is having a fixed time for eating. Use timeboxes to limit the amount y ou do or to create time for short burst work. consolidate and batch them for an hour in the morning to get them out of the way. use routine. Make resistance y our friend —it makes y ou stronger. Here are ten key strategies for motivation: 1. See the End in Mind. Set Boundaries. For example. You might not have the “perfect” map from point A to point B. Bootstrap y our routines by creating glide paths or simple way s to start. is key to driving results. You can also use time boundaries to limit or compartmentalize pain. Rely on passion and in finding way s to enjoy doing what's good for y ou. not on discipline.10 Key Strategies for Motivation When the problem is motivation. Focus on the learning. Master y our craft. 5. You need to know when y ou’re done as well as what good results look like. Self-discipline is often about trading away pleasure now (or even accepting some pain) for pleasing results later. ensure it will happen. And it’s also easier to keep going when know that y ou will like where y ou’re going. Having a purpose. Sometimes it’s as simple as redefining y our purpose when y our original purpose isn’t working. Make It Meaningful. Make it pleasurable to do it. such as by play ing y our favorite songs. Make It a Routine. 2. Link tasks to pleasure. Use the right metaphor. Course corrections are easier and more accurate when y ou know y our progress toward y our destination. Don't just vaguely imagine it—see it in y our mind’s ey e. Is it a mountain or a molehill? Are y ou on a mission? Sometimes all it takes is the right emotional picture word to give new meaning to y our activity . sleeping. Some things are a tradeoff: pay now or pay later. Use checklists to improve. Don’t just assume y ou’ll automatically like something over time. A good test is if y ou can draw y our vision or concisely tell others what y ou’re try ing to accomplish. 6. 3. but at least know y our destination. 4. Master Self-Discipline. Set a quota. Change how y ou feel about the stuff y ou do. Instead of discipline. You can help it along by finding a more compelling reason or associating fun things. It’s easier to stay the course when y ou can see the finish line. Make it painful not to do it. Redefine it. Flex y our self-discipline muscles. and 259 . You don’t have to make y ourself work too hard every time.

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working out—this is an extremely common success pattern. The sum of establishing these three routines is more than the parts because these three activities support each other. Having a routine for them helps y ou learn y our energy patterns; y our body also learns what to expect. For example, what y ou think is a motivation issue may really be a lack of sleep. Sometimes, it’s simply because y ou don’t eat at regular intervals that y ou lose energy. Working out often helps people sleep better and eat better. Build Momentum. Set Incremental hurdles. Success builds momentum. One of the simplest way s to get into this pattern is to start with something simple that will lead to success. Incremental success becomes a habit. Take Action. Motivation usually follows action, not the other way around. You’ll also find that if y ou put in the hours, y ou’ll have more chances for inspiration. Take full advantage of those inspirations when they occur. Reward Effort Over Performance. You can control y our effort, but not results. So focus on rewarding the effort and performance will follow in time. By focusing on what y ou control, y ou teach y ourself to consistently give y our best, independent of the outcome. This raises y our level of skill and sets y ou up for more positive outcomes. Team Up. One of the most effective way s to find motivation is to team up with somebody . Find somebody who complements y our strengths. If y ou’re a Starter, find a Finisher. If y ou’re a Maximizer (somebody who goes for completeness), find a Simplifier (somebody who simplifies). If y ou can, find somebody who’s been there or done that before. Their experience can save y ou a lot of wasted time or energy. They can benefit honing their skill and leveraging experience, while learning something new along the way . You need to make it mutually beneficial to sustain it.

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Self-Awareness is Your Best Strategy
Self-awareness is y our best strategy for motivation. You need to know what makes y ou tick. You gain this self-knowledge through reflection, asking the right questions, and pay ing attention to y our patterns. The more y ou know y ourself, the better y ou can drive y our own results. Observe which techniques work for y ou and which don't. For example Do you like to work alone or with others? Does your encouragement come from internal or external factors? Do you know how to switch hats to switch your mindsets? Do you know your energy drains and your catalysts? Do you know how to use more meaningful metaphors?

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20 Key Factors for Motivation
What y ou don’t know can hurt y ou, or at least work against y ou. While the simple model of motivation is based on pain and pleasure, y ou can master motivation by understanding what influences it. I’ve outlined twenty key factors that can unleash a more motivated y ou. Some of these y ou can control more than others, but total awareness is critical. Pay ing attention to these factors sheds light on what is and isn't working for y ou in various scenarios. You have to know what y ou’re looking for in order to see it. Use these factors as a new lens for uncovering what might be blocking y ou right now, or even over a lifetime. You need to experiment and learn what works best for y ou. Knowledge truly becomes power when applied to motivation. Here are the factors: 1. Pain and Pleasure. A simple model to think of motivation is pain and pleasure. We move towards pleasure and away from pain. Pain avoidance usually trumps pleasure seeking. 2. Needs. You must satisfy y our basic needs before moving up the stack. In other words, y ou’ll do more to get food and shelter before seeking out higher level goals. 3. Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation. Intrinsic motivation is how y ou motivate y ourself by y our thoughts, feelings and self-talk. For example, y our reward might be the satisfaction of a job well done. Extrinsic motivations are external carrots and sticks, such as praise, money, or fear of punishment. For sustainable results, try to link things to intrinsic motivation and values. 4. Attribution. Do y ou attribute y our success to things y ou control and y our competency , or do y ou think it’s bey ond y our control and just luck? 5. Competence vs. Chance. If y ou attribute y our success to things y ou control, y ou’ll prefer work based on y our own competence. If y ou attribute y our success to external factors, y ou’ll prefer work that’s based on competence and chance. 6. Values. The more y ou value something, the more motivated y ou will be to achieve it. You cannot be motivated by something y ou don’t value. 7. Passion. Passion is y our inner fire and the best fuel to get results. You can either chase the passion y ou know or find passion in what y ou already do. Knowing y our preferences, strengths, and skills, helps to find y our passion. You often have to look for the passion, but also know when it just isn't there and move on. 8. Resistance. Resistance makes y ou stronger. But too much can also demotivate y ou if it creates too much pain or stops y ou in y our tracks. When y ou workout, knowing that the resistance is making y ou stronger enables y ou to enjoy the pain or at least tolerate 262

it better. 9. Mindsets and Metaphors. The mindsets and metaphors y ou choose are the filters that shape y our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. For example, do y ou feel more motivated when y ou’re on a “quest” or just doing the “daily grind”? Are y ou “mastering y our craft” or just “putting in y our time”? Are y ou “standing strong when tested” or just getting “beat down”? 10. Thoughts. Your thoughts create y our feelings. This is why y our self-talk or how y ou visualize something can either motivate or demotivate y ou. 11. Feelings. If y ou enjoy how something feels, y ou’ll do it more. If y ou don’t like how it feels, y ou’ll do it less. You might be aware of how y ou feel or y ou might not even notice it. It’s tough to keep doing something if it doesn’t make y ou feel good either in the moment, or if y ou can’t imagine the benefit in the future, or if y ou don’t value the long-term benefit. Link things to good feelings for sustainable results. 12. Body. Your body can help y ou or work against y ou in terms of motivation. The three key activities that support each other are eating, sleeping, and exercise. One of the non-obvious threats to motivation is a lack of sleep. If y ou’re not at y our best, test y our sleep patterns by sleeping different durations and noticing the impact. If y ou want something badly enough, y our passion can overrule y our body, but that’s not sustainable. On the flip side, y ou can eat right, sleep right, and be in great shape, but without passion, y ou might not feel very motivated. Here’s the surprise—action can come before motivation, and y ou’re more likely to take action when y ou’re body has the power it needs. 13. People. Do the people y ou spend y our time with usually cataly ze or drain y ou? Pay attention to the people and interactions that give y ou energy and take it away. Consider changing the people or changing how y ou interact. 14. Tasks. Do the tasks y ou work on cataly ze or drain y ou? Do y ou look forward to them or drag y our feet? Pay attention to the tasks y ou work on. Some will make y ou strong, while others will make y ou weak. Consider change the tasks or changing y our attitude about the task. 15. Workspace. If y ou have a place for things and things in their place, y our mind is freed up for better things. Give y ourself a glide path for results by reducing little frictions that get in y our way . 16. Work Style. Most people have a preference, but might not be aware of it, unless y ou think about it or experiment. There are three basic patterns: (1) y ou only like to work on y our own thing; (2) y ou like to work on shared tasks as part of a group; or (3) y ou like to work on y our own thing, but within a group. Find y our best fit and try to work within that sty le. Don't accept work y ou will have to do in a sty le y ou aren't well suited for. 263

17. Culture. Culture is the shared values of a group. It’s what they value by actions, not by words. For example, y ou might value results over process, but the culture at work might value process over results. Work that isn’t valued will be difficult to get motivated for if y ou are externally driven. If y our motivation is internally driven, it’s less of a problem, but it’s still an issue for y ou. Ideally, work within a culture that matches y our values. 18. Introverted vs. Extroverted. If y ou’re introverted, y ou prefer to think first and then act. You derive most of y our energy inwardly from ideas and concepts. You likely prefer work y ou can do alone that requires concentration. In contrast, if y ou’re extroverted, y ou probably prefer to act first and think later. You draw energy largely from other people or from things. Your motivation mostly comes from other people. 19. Short-term View and Long-term View. Some people have an easier time trading long-term gain for short-term pain than others who demand immediate gratification. Ideally, learn to master both. Work at finding way s to make things more enjoy able in the present and so y ou don’t depend purely on a long-term. Find way s to work for the long-term where slow and steady wins the race. 20. Skill Variety, Task Identity, and Task Significance. Consider the meaningfulness of y our work. Skill variety is the range of skills y ou need to perform y our task. Task identity is the notion of a task as a whole, identifiable unit of work. Task significance is about how much the task means to others. These three factors often influence y our motivation and ultimate satisfaction in a task.

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In Summary
Know y our own drivers and levers; the better y ou know them, the more effective y ou'll be. Practice self-discipline; it’s a muscle that gets stronger the more y ou flex it. Be aware of y our thoughts, y our feelings, and y our body —it’s where motivation comes from. Have a compelling vision of the end in mind. Have a compelling “Why ” to help remind y ou of y our mission and deal with resistance. Know the key pitfalls of motivation so y ou can avoid them. Know the key strategies for motivation so that y ou can motivate y ourself more effectively . Know the key factors for motivation so that y ou can troubleshoot motivation issues more effectively , as well as use the right tool for the job.

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Chapter 14 – Mindsets and Metaphors
Many people die at twenty five and aren’t buried until they are seventy five. —Benjamin Franklin

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as well as how y ou perceive and respond to events. You can easily change y our mindset by asking different questions or “switching hats. Learn how to effectively change y our mindsets to improve y our effectiveness in any situation. The key to inspired action is using powerful imagery to invoke y our emotions. and sage. I push my self to my limits. World-class athletes use metaphors. A common example is whether y ou see the glass “half empty ” or “half full.In This Chapter Learn how to use mindsets and metaphors to improve y our motivation. Metaphors can be enabling or disabling. until an angel who needs his wings shows him what’s right with it. This chapter shows y ou how to make the most of y our mindsets and metaphors. on the situation. The trick is knowing how to switch mindsets. and I mentor others. When I think of stages in life. It shapes y our actions and y our thoughts. focuses on what’s wrong with his life. play ed by Jimmy Stewart. While there are lots of way s to change y our mindset. visualizations. and doing. changing y our metaphors. When I work on big projects that need to make big impact. too. or changing the questions y ou ask y ourself. Your personality ty pe influences y our motivation. and attribution. One of my most effective mentors taught me to think of metaphors as emotional picture words. For example. or future) shapes y our thinking. and winning mindsets to produce powerful results—y ou can too. With the right metaphor. Learn how to make the most of luck. feel. so metaphors have an impact on how y ou see y ourself and how others see y ou. the main character. king. focus. y ou can inspire y ourself to action. give my best where I have my best to give.” Your mindset can quickly change what y ou think. while extroverts get their energy when they ’re with others. and do. Asking “What’s wrong with this picture?” is completely different than asking “What’s right?” In It’s a Wonderful Life . Where y ou put y our focus (such as on y ourself or others.” This inspires me and the team to bold action. The irony of a mindset is that sometimes y ou don’t know that y ou’re stuck in one until y ou step out or adopt a different mindset. I think of boy. George Bailey. A mindset is a mental attitude. introverts tend to get energy when they ’re alone. I think of it as an “epic adventure. He realizes he’s actually had a wonderful life. warrior. feeling. During my warrior y ears. present. or in the past. In 267 . A colleague said he thinks of me as the director of blockbusters.” This chapter also helps y ou know the impact of personality ty pe. I’ve found these to be the most effective way s: changing y our questions. With the wrong metaphors y ou can quickly create a dark cloud that consumes y ou.

or mope through each day like Eey ore. empowering metaphor we can all use: “You’re the director of y our life. and when I’m not the quarterback.fact. y ou decide. 268 . Here is a simple. I need a quarterback I trust. or the world is y our oy ster and y ou look for the pearls. In The Last Lecture . Bruce Lee considered himself first and foremost a fighter and this metaphor shaped his life. Choosing y our mindset and metaphors is one of the most powerful things y ou can do to shape y our every day experience. and ultimately y our life. Randy Pausch taught us to choose whether we spring through life like Tigger. Another metaphor that helps me on projects is knowing whether I’m the quarterback or the coach.” Whether life is a bowl of cherries and y ou get the pits. I like the mentor metaphor over guru.

y ou can also spend it creating more alternatives. expanding opportunities. finding flaws at every turn. When y ou operate from a scarcity mentality. and finding abundance. Find a way forward. With an abundance mindset. Abundance mindset 2. 269 . It does mean spending more time finding solutions than finding problems. y ou can ensure that y ou’re focusing y our energies on the right things—finding a way forward rather than just throwing more roadblocks in the way. While the negative mindset can be helpful in some situations. Positive mindset 3. You expand solutions to be inclusive of y our ideas as well as others. This doesn’t mean y ou should avoid looking for flaws or stop using y our critical thinking when evaluating ideas. y ou create a larger space. With a negative mindset. While y ou can spend y our energy competing. Rather than fight for resources. You find a way to create more opportunities. y ou find more. Being cognizant of y our mindset. Rather than fight turf wars. and not get limited by our own negativity or the negativity of others. y ou operate in survival mode and focus on threats and competition instead of opportunities and collaboration. avoid falling into a pattern of getting dragged down and stuck by y our own pessimism.3 Mindsets that Support You Your mindset can work either for y ou or against y ou. it either supports y ou or drags y ou down. we need to be able to switch out of it. Growth mindset Adopt an Abundance Mindset over a Scarcity Mindset Covey and others teach us to think in terms of abundance and avoid a scarcity mindset which can limit our ability to think in terms of possibilities. we quickly focus on what’s wrong with the situation. y ou start with the assumption that there’s more space and more resources than what y ou might see by default. We need to see the opportunities and the upside of things. The three mindsets that support y ou are 1. Adopt a Positive Mindset over a Negative Mindset We need to be able to see what’s right with a situation.

Adopt a Growth Mindset over a Fixed Mindset Swap out a fixed mindset with a growth mindset. You're either climbing or sliding. 11. If at first y ou don't succeed. fixed world. If y ou take y ourself too seriously. don't just give up. 10. A growth mindset is a learning mindset. Fail fast. Treat perfection as a path. it's that y ou get back up. but I see it work for my self and others. If y ou only chase instant successes. many times before finding “success”—it's a part of innovation. Call it an “experiment. y ou can teach an old dog new tricks. 7. versus instant success. y ou attribute results to innate ability and discount learning. there's no in-between (and the slide down is faster than the climb up!). Rather than seeing the potential to shape things or grow y our abilities over time. Remind y ourself there are no failures—only lessons: one more way how “not” to do something. 8. It’s the belief that y ou can improve at whatever y ou do through the right training—it’s believing in y ourself and y our own potential. Focus on lessons over failures. 3. 6. individual improvement and created the best winning team in history . not a destination. run. 4. Use little improvements over time. If y ou're a perfectionist—like I was … er. Give yourself time. And y es. sprint and sprint again. You're probably a master of y our craft. 2. You think people are naturally good at what they do—they either have it or they don’t. Here are some way s to adopt a growth mindset over a fixed mindset: 1. The faster y ou “fail. Remind yourself you're growing or dying. If y ou have a fixed mindset. every day. Build momentum. crawl. unchanging. Start with something small. John Wooden focused his team on continuous. y ou miss out on opportunities. 5. It's not that y ou don't get knocked down. if y ou're like me. It's consistent action over time that produces the greatest results. y ou'll never get out alive! 9. y ou see a static. Try again.” the faster y ou learn. 270 . Learn to bounce back. A lot of times the difference between results is time. Jumping an incremental set of hurdles is easier than scaling a giant wall. am … er … still fighting it—y ou know what I mean.” This sounds like a trivial frame game. Focus on little improvements and distinctions over time. Walk. whatever it is y ou do each day. Don't take yourself or life too seriously. Or. Remember folks like Thomas Edison who “failed” many.

Have a learning approach. Build on what you know. y ou take y ourself with y ou.12. It's growth. 14. 13. I realized they 're all around me every day . For me. It's their pride and joy. The better I got at some things. Now. Timeboxes. Learn to like what growth feels like. and focus go a long way for results. I know that's what growth feels like. I used to hate the pain of my workouts. Now I like awkward and new things. No matter where y ou are or what y ou do. I use 30 Day Improvement Sprints. Then. I used to wonder where the “mentors” are. Bring y our game wherever y ou go. It doesn't have to be official. Most people like sharing how they got good at what they do. the more I hated how awkward I was at some new things. little improvements at a time. 271 . 15. Find somebody who's great at what y ou want to learn. Find a mentor and coach.

Wearing a hat can put y ou in a certain mindset and reduce conflict that y ou might normally feel try ing to manage several different opposing viewpoints. When y ou’re in a highly political setting. Keep in mind that y ou should alway s test y our assumptions. The key is using the right hats for the right situations. Similar to a metaphor. When y ou’re in execution mode. but adopting a different set of assumptions can help y ou reach different conclusions y ou might not otherwise explore.How to Change Mindsets There are a few way s to change y our mindsets: 1. the kick arse or action hat can get y ou in trouble if not using the political hat first. rather than assume there’s not enough. “Why me?” or. Wear a different hat. “What’s the use in try ing?” 2. Ask yourself a different set of questions. Have a set of imaginary hats where each one represents a different mindset. Example Hats Here are some example hats y ou might put on: Table 14. Adopt a different set of assumptions. For example. 3.1 Example Hats for Results 272 . y ou don’t want to be wearing the analy sis hat or the fear hat. Adopt a different set of metaphors. Asking y ourself how y ou can make the most of the situation or how can y ou thrive instead of survive is a very different set of questions than asking y ourself. This gets in the way of energy moving and forward progress. For example. 4. rather than life as a tragedy. y ou can change y our mindset by changing y our hat. assume there’s more than enough and y ou just need to find it. y ou could see life as a dramedy . You want the action hat. complete with drama and comedy . Switching Hats Have y ou ever put on y our thinking cap? That’s the idea here. Simply put on y our hat when y ou need it.

When y our hat isn’t working. 2. y ou can alway s use y our favorite song or mood music. One quick way to put y our hat on is simply remember the feeling. put on y our explorer hat. For example. To break y ourself out of analy sis paraly sis. 3. put on y our solution engineering hat to leverage y our most resourceful self. When y ou know y ou need y our focus and concentration. other times more action. it truly is a power hat. When y ou need to learn new information. Remember the feeling. Remembering how y ou felt when y ou were in a certain mode? You can restore the power of that moment in an instant. Experiment. If y ou’re not into hats. Sometimes y ou need to do more thinking. It’s whatever y ou can use to help y ou switch gears effectively. I wear this hat: my “kick arse and take names” hat. Explorer Thinker Doer When I have to get serious results.Hat Description Solution Engineer When y ou have a puzzle to solve. swap it out with one that does. I actually have a hat that I use for this occasion. It’s a power song for me. Although I can just imagine wearing this hat. put on y our thinker hat. one of my favorite songs is “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne. 273 . How to Switch Gears Using Your Hats There are a few things to keep in mind that will help y ou effectively switch gears using hats: 1. Make it a game of exploring the new terrain. Have a set of hats that serve you. put on y our doer hat and start taking action. Don’t be afraid to try out new hats to add to y our repertoire. It was my wrestling team’s theme song and it alway s got me pumped.

Introverted vs. Awareness is y our friend. Prefers a self-pace. Wants to be involved in decisions. objective world. Doesn’t like routine. Feeling Thinking ty pes are interested in sy stems. Doesn’t want the details. 274 Introverted Feeling Extroverted Thinking Extroverted Feeling . Likes goals and tasks. Wants the details. y ou can choose situations.2 Summary of Preferences by Personality Type Preference Description Introverted Thinking Preference for task and process. If y ou know y our preferences. and patterns. and ty pes of work that suit y ou better. Summary of Key Preferences by Personality Type The following table presents a summary of key preferences for the different personality ty pes as it relates to motivation: Table 14. Here are some key distinctions between the personality ty pes: Thinking vs. Likes to help. Extroverts are directed towards the external. Doesn’t enjoy working alone. structures. Extroverted Introverts are directed towards the subjective world or their internal representation of ideas and values. Feeling ty pes are interested in people and their feelings.Personality Types and Motivation There’s a link between personality ty pes and motivation. Likes routines. Preference for task and results. approaches.

try changing y our focus from the result to the task. Here are some examples of where y ou can put y our focus: The task The value of the task How y ou perform the task Your competence Your performance The result The lesson 275 . To change y our focus. change the questions y ou ask y ourself. Direct y our focus to get in a more resourceful state. etc. y ou can lift y ourself up or put y ourself down. If y ou find y ourself stuck. or from y our competence to the value of the task.Where to Put Your Focus Focus is whatever y ou’re thinking about. Depending on what y ou focus on.

the future might seem daunting or demanding. Sometimes. try shifting to future possibilities. Focus on the task at hand or one day at a time. then dwell on y our successes. y ou can bring y ourself down. not y our past mistakes. or Future Shifting tense is an incredibly effective way to improve y our motivation. ask y ourself how y ou can make the best of the situation. Keep a few of y our best memories on hand to remind y ourself that y ou can alway s surprise y ourself or that y ou can make things happen. present. however. Present. You can use the future to imagine exciting possibilities. In contrast. If y ou must dwell. 276 . y ou can invigorate y ourself. Rather than ask y ourself why y ou messed up. simply by remembering one of y our past. y ou can switch y our focus to the present. You may not be aware of it. but y ou probably already use the past. if y ou dwell on a past mistake.Past. For example. instead. You’ll be most successful when y ou can choose the right tense to focus on to improve y our effectiveness for y our current scenario. best experiences. and future to lift y ourself up or bring y ourself down. remember a time in y our life when y ou gave y our best and y ou felt y our strongest. In that case.

You see the problem as something about y ou. personal. and pervasive. You generalize the problem and it permeates into other areas of y our life. “Why does this alway s happen to me?” This is why framing y our challenges with the right mindset is so important.3 Permanent. permanent. Personal. Martin Seligman teaches us that learned helplessness is when y ou automatically think that there’s nothing y ou can do that can make a difference. bey ond the immediate concern. Permanent. One of the lessons from Seligman is his frame for how we explain misfortunes: permanent. You make the problem permanent. and Specific 277 . It happens when y ou make a problem personal. and pervasive. and Pervasive Seligman teaches optimism as a skill. can be enough to help y ou challenge y our perspective. Here’s a summary of each dimension: Table 14. permanent.Learned Helplessness Dr. It happens over a series of experiences. Simply by knowing that looking at problems through these lenses (permanent. Temporary. it’s easy to see problems as personal. The trick is to step out of y our problems and logic y our way through them. You make the problem pervasive. personal. and Pervasive Category Description Personal You make the problem personal. For example. Rather than see the problem as something that will change over time. and pervasive) can lead to learned helplessness. Permanent Pervasive When y ou’re in the thick of things. and pervasive. Situational. The beauty of these lenses is simply by knowing what they are and the issues they create can help y ou get more mindful and be more thoughtful about how y ou see the world. y ou’re making the problem personal if y ou ask. even though y ou can. Personal. y ou see it as unchanging.

How do y ou combat learned helplessness? You might be too close to the problems. situational (it’s not about y ou). and specific (don’t generalize or blow it out of proportion). The key is to move from critic to coach and step out of the situation and get a more objective perspective. Another key is to measure against effectiveness. y ou can think of them as temporary (nothing is permanent). y ou can learn to test additional lenses. For example. 278 . By design. when y ou look at problems. but y ou might be an unfair critic. You might have some skills to build or some flaws to fix. It’s about pay ing attention to what y ou’re getting and testing y our results. permanent. and pervasive. Get perspective on the problems and don’t fall into automatic thinking. y ou might see problems as personal. How do y ou know which lens to use? Let feedback and results be y our guide. By default.

Solution-Focused Questions Instead of problem-focused questions. Keep moving forward. Use questions to get resourceful. and not vice versa. By asking solution-focused questions. A problemfocused question would be “Why does this alway s happen to me?” A solution-focused question would be “What’s the solution. what can I do to fix this?” Solution-focused questions help find a way forward. It means that y ou should spend 80 percent of y our energy on the solution and 20 percent on the problem. ask y ourself solution-focused questions. They put y our mind in a more resourceful state. learning and adapting rather than sitting in analy sis paraly sis. Examples of Solution-Focused Questions Here are examples of solution-focused questions: What’s the best I can do for this situation? If nothing were to ever to change. 279 . what might it be? Keys to Solution-Focused Questions Here are the key s to solution-focused questions: Focus more attention on the solution than the problem. Stay out of analysis paralysis. y ou switch y our mind into a more resourceful state. what’s the one quality or skill I need to truly enjoy this? How can I make the most of it? How can I respond to the challenge? If I knew a solution. Your brain suddenly starts drawing on all y our resources internally and around y ou to solve the problem. This doesn’t mean y ou should ignore understanding the problem.

Emotional.” You can regurgitate it or repeat the information. there are awkward stages. At this level. You have no emotional connection to it. Even if y ou enjoy learning. this might be thought of as fluency . It’s taking a step back to take two steps forward. You might get stuck because y ou don’t feel like y ou’re progressing or y ou don’t get feedback that y ou’re learning. It means something to y ou and y ou have a feeling 280 Intellectual Emotional . This can seriously hold y ou back. y ou intellectually “get it. and Physical One of my mentors gave me a frame for thinking about learning. Here’s a summary : Table 14.4 Intellectual. Remember the first time y ou tried to ice-skate or ride a bike or drive a car or just about any thing? That’s what growth feels like. In the performance world. it’s easy to get stuck or discouraged. y ou have to ask if y ou’re pushing y ourself enough or if y ou might have found some natural talent. The challenge is that y ou have to stay with it to work through y our sticking point or to remind y ourself that the time y ou spend now will pay off down the line. though. Emotional. It’s easy to lose perspective or even forget that there’s a learning stage.Ability and Motivation Your ability can dramatically impact y our motivation. and phy sical. For example. and success builds momentum. y ou have an emotional connection to the information. Don’t let this learning stage become a barrier for y our results. but it’s just information. learning how to ty pe can feel like taking a step back. emotional. When growth doesn’t feel awkward. Intellectual. You can think of learning in three levels: intellectual. and Physical Category Description At this level. Growth Feels Awkward When y ou’re learning and growing.

Unconscious Incompetence. You don’t have any experience or emotional connections that help y ou build expert judgment or develop y our intuition. Your muscle memory and basal ganglia just know what to do. You know how to do it. You know what y ou don’t know. For example. I didn’t want to practice. You haven’t put it into practice. It’s when information really sinks in because of personal experience. Flow 281 .” Without building fluency. shifting gears effortlessly while y ou think about other things (unconscious competence). I figured once I could hit a note that was good enough. 3. 2. As driving the stick shift becomes a habit. when I was y ounger and learning how to play the saxophone. This is when y ou bake it into y our body . It’s also why y ou might stop short of y our potential. Conscious Competence. I never enjoy ed the ability to just play the instrument without working too hard and having to think my way through it each time.about it. Conscious Incompetence. My body never learned how to “just play it. y et not actually master it. From Unconscious Incompetence to Unconscious Competence There’s a theory in psy chology that explains the four stages of competence: 1. It’s when y our body can just reach for the alarm clock without thinking. When y ou first learn how to drive a stick shift. eventually y ou can drive without thinking. 4. I got it intellectually. Unconscious Competence. One of my favorite examples is learning how to drive. Why practice when I already proved I could do it? Why ? Because I didn’t build competency . You can do it without thinking. As y ou practice y ou can start to think y our way through it (conscious competence). Phy sical This explains why y ou can study a lot of information. You just know what to do. You don’t know what y ou don’t know. but y ou have to think y our way through it. y ou very quickly learn that y ou don’t know how to do it (conscious incompetence).

The key to finding y our flow state is learning something to the point it’s baked in. It’s when y ou’re in the zone. one where y ou can get to a flow state before y ou quit. but not so challenged that y ou get overwhelmed. Flow happens when y ou’re challenged enough to be fully engaged. So the trick is to choose a goal that’s appropriate for y our level of competence. 282 . The level of challenge y ou take on combined with y our level of integration gives y ou flow.The “flow” state is what many of us crave. A skill is baked in when y ou can do it without thinking about it.

then y ou won’t improve. Stability is whether y ou view something as changeable over time and how volatile or stable it is.5 Ways to Look at Competence and Chance Concept Description Attribution theory is a term in social psy chology for how people explain the behaviors of others or of themselves. there are three dimensions for characterizing success or failure: (1) locus.Competence vs. It’s also how they explain why things happen. Attribution Theory Attribution Theory of Motivation Internal vs. and (3) controllability . Chance Were y ou lucky or was it skill? Whichever label y ou choose to assign to y our results can have a big impact on y our motivation. such as luck. such as an outside factor (the situation). and it’s selfperpetuating. If y ou don’t practice because y ou don’t think it will make a difference. such as through skills and competence. such as within the person (y our disposition). For our discussion. This is whether y ou attribute results internally . or whether it’s external. You get what y ou expect. Here are some important concepts and theories that I draw from: Table 14. Locus is whether it’s internal or external (it’s the location or position). Bernard Weiner expands on the attribution theory as it relates to motivation. External Self-Perpetuating 283 . it’s what they attribute their results to. Controllability is whether something is within y our control. (2) stability . or outside of y our control.

” I heard it long ago. y our results are feedback. control y our actions and make y our best play s. but don’t get overly focused on results. then stop.Luck Is When Skill and Opportunity Come Together My favorite definition of luck is what my friend’s dad alway s used to say. At the same time. You won’t hit the ball out of the park if y ou don’t get up to bat. when y ou really can influence the outcome. start stepping up to the plate. y our actions. If y ou are beating y ourself up over things that y ou don’t control. 284 . what y ou can own and control is y our attitude. but remembered it throughout my life. Focus on y our approach over results. In other words. and response. Most importantly. find what works for y ou. Use y our results as feedback to refine y our approach. “Luck is when skill and opportunity come together. Regardless of the theory. If y ou’re dismissing things as luck or situation. and just because y ou get up to bat doesn’t mean y ou’ll hit it out of the park.

Example Metaphors Here are some examples of common metaphors: Table 14. and influence how y ou make meaning. a “slippery slope” invokes the image of a hill that is precarious and easy to slide down quickly . y ou can use metaphors to represent powerful states. metaphors shape y our overall experience. it is likely that y ou already use metaphors often in y our thoughts and conversations. at least on an emotional level. They help y ou make meaning. here’s why : 1. we tend to create that picture any way —and the emotions that go along with it. It therefore has a tendency to become reality. filter what y ou perceive. Why Metaphors It’s about language and the pictures we hold in our minds. Choose y our metaphors thoughtfully . 3. Whether or not the picture is an accurate representation of what we are relating it to. For example. They empower y ou to change how y ou think and feel (and y our thinking and feeling impact y our doing). so people use it to refer to situations that easily lead down dangerous and irreversible paths. Creating a vision and holding it in our heads will tend to steer us towards the emotions and feelings that we associate with such a picture. 2. especially if it’s by default and not by design).6 Example Metaphors Positive Metaphors Chipping away at the stone 285 metaphors . In fact. With this emotive use of words.Metaphors for Motivation A metaphor is a word or group of words which creates a picture and evokes emotion. They shape y our experience. The bottom line is. You are the most important meaning maker (and perhaps not alway s the best.

Get rid of metaphors that aren’t working and find new ones. the metaphors y ou choose shape y our experiences and y our reactions. Choose positive metaphors appropriate to the situation. It’s important to have a reliable set that y ou can draw from. For example. it’s y our context and how y ou think about a particular metaphor that decides whether it’s positive or negative. Metaphors are strongest when they are tied to y our emotions. then change the metaphors y ou’re using. Pick your metaphors carefully. Ultimately. ask y our friends for some of theirs. How to Use Metaphors Effectively Here are the key s to using metaphors more effectively : Have a working set of metaphors.Grab the bull by the horns Expedition Mission Ey e of the tiger Your ship has come in Your ship is sailing and y ou’re on it Whether a metaphor is positive or negative is up to y ou. Then again. For better or worse. If y ou can’t figure out y our own. some people might like the challenge. Choose metaphors that inspire you or hold deep meaning. y our results. and change direction as needed. If y ou’re not getting closer to the feeling states y ou want. most people would probably think of an uphill battle as negative. Pay attention to feedback. 286 .

In fact. from any one y ou can. Everybody Has Flaws One of the key lessons from one of my mentors is that every body has flaws. Use models to help y ou unleash y our best.” Instead. Many people go from ordinary to extraordinary by doing great things. a lot of what makes somebody a hero in somebody ’s ey es is that they do something great despite the odds or against the odds. find the people that inspire y ou to new levels. Instead. Be YOUR Best It’s not about being as good as or even better than y our heroes at something. find a relationships hero. If y ou have a relationships challenge. 287 .Heroes Have some heroes. Some of our favorite heroes are the ones that triumph over something. Have a Collection of Heroes Use the most relevant hero for the job at hand. Find the people who inspire y ou and that y ou can learn from. It’s a buffer of expertise and inspiration. they are not y our dictators. find a productivity hero. Whether y our battle is good versus evil or simply try ing to change y our game. These can be comic book heroes or real-world ordinary people. if y ou have a productivity challenge. And y our heroes are y our guides to show y ou y our options and to see what’s possible. There is no reason to stay in their shadow. You don’t have to find “great people. Find the heroes that have the relevant super powers where y ou need them most. don’t let flaws get in the way of learning what y ou can. For example.” In other words. I say again—it’s about being YOUR personal best. and heroes fall. Heroes rise. look for people that do “great things. it’s about unleashing y our personal best. Find the best of the best.

In Summary Choose more effective mindsets and metaphors to improve y our results in any situation. Be careful whether y ou internalize or externalize y our success. and whether y ou chalk things up to luck. that y our confidence and motivation does increase as y ou move through the four stages of competence and find y our flow. situational. Ask more solution-focused questions to control y our focus and put y ourself into a resourceful state that concentrates on moving forward. Change y our mindsets by changing the question or changing y our hat. adapting. Be assured. however. they are y our most important filters shaping y our experience. and temporary . Defeat learned helplessness by adopting a growth mindset and by treating problems as specific. and solving the problem. 288 . A healthy view on good luck is to view it as skill and opportunity coming together. Remember that growth can feel awkward at times.

Provides step-by -step instructions to help y ou implement key solutions from the guide. Template Template Template Template Template – Daily Planner – Weekly Planner – Monthly Planner – Yearly Planner – Schedule at a Glance How-Tos. and y early results. monthly.Appendix In This Part: Cheat Sheets. Cheat Sheet – Agile Results at a Glance Cheat Sheet – Supporting Practices Defined Templates. How To – Adopt Agile Results How To – Adopt the 12 Core Practices of Agile Results How To – Have a Strong Week Additional Resources 289 . Summarizes key information into quick reference sheets. Provides empty templates to help y ou organize y our daily. weekly.

the key concepts.Cheat Sheet – Agile Results at a Glance The following is a tickler list of the sy stem. and the practices. 290 .

Mental Model This mental model is a simple way to remember Agile Results: 291 .

292 .

293 .

Weekly Workflow 294 .

Daily Outcomes. Friday Reflection Daily Outcomes Weekly Outcomes Queues Action Reference Schedule The Sy stem Key Concepts Time as a First-Class Citizen Fresh Start Test y our results Fix Time. Flex Scope Boundaries Tests for Success Outcomes Over Activities Approach Over Results The Rhy thm of Results Time.Key Concepts Category Items The Rule of 3 Hot Spots Monday Vision. Energy . and Technique Strengths Over Weaknesses Sy stem Over Ad-Hoc Continuous Learning 295 .

2. 7. Friday Reflection 3. 9. 2. 5. Daily Outcomes 5. 4. 9. Monday Vision. 6. Weekly Outcomes 296 . 3. 10. 5. 8. Scannable Outcomes 4. Principles. 80/20 Action Change Your Approach Continuous Learning Deliver Incremental Value Factor Action from Reference Set boundaries Fix Time. 4. Daily Outcomes. 7. Flex Scope Less is more Rhy thm of Results Version Your Results 1. 10. and Practices Category Items 1. The Rule of 3 2.Values. 3. 8. Action Over Analy sis Paraly sis Approach Over Results Energy Over Time Focus Over Quantity Good Enough Over Perfection Growth Mindset Over Fixed Mindset Outcomes Over Activities Strengths Over Weaknesses Sy stem Over Ad-Hoc Value Up Over Backlog Burndown 10 Values 10 Principles 1. 6.

8. 11. Strong week Timebox Your Day Triage Monthly Improvement Sprints Growth Mindset Action Lists Reference Collections 297 . 10.12 Practices 6. 9. 7. 12.

Weekly . Flex Scope Buffers Energy Strong Week Power Hours Park It Learning 30 Day Improvement Sprints Improvement Scripts Lessons Learned Pair Up Planning 298 The Rule of 3 Daily Outcomes Weekly Outcomes Tests for Success . Daily Outcomes.Supporting Practices Category Practices Monday Vision. Monthly Results Rhy thm of Results Mindsets and Motivation Compelling “Why ” Switch Hats Growth Mindset Time Boundaries Timebox Your Day Allocated Time Fix Time. Friday Reflection Daily .

Diversify Your Results Reduce Open Work Doing Do It. SHOULD. Improve It Just Start Scripts Fail Fast Test Your Results Batch and Focus Chunk It Down Sweeping Good Enough for Now Organizing Scannable Outcomes One Place to Look Action Lists Reference Lists Prioritizing MUST. COULD Worst Things First Next Best Thing Triage 299 . Review It.

Cheat Sheet – Supporting Practices Defined This is in addition to the 12 core practices found in “Chapter 3 – Values. and Practices of Agile Results.” 300 . Principles.

Weekly . Monthly Results Mindsets and Motivation Compelling “Why ” Switch Hats Time Allocated Time Boundaries Buffers Fix Time. Review It.Supporting Practices for Agile Results Summary Table Category Practices Rhy thm of Results Daily . Improve It Fail Fast Good Enough for Now . Flex Scope Energy Park It Power Hours Learning Improvement Scripts Lessons Learned Pair Up Planning Diversify Your Results Reduce Open Work Tests for Success Doing 301 Batch and Focus Chunk It Down Do It.

COULD Next Best Thing Worst Things First 302 . SHOULD.Just Start Scripts Sweeping Test Your Results Organizing One Place to Look Prioritizing MUST.

y ou can allow y ourself 30 minutes to get to work instead of 10. such as setting mini-milestones. For example. If it’s important. You can buffer with time. things get easier at work. y ou may not like what spills over. three actions. Another approach is to simply quantify it: for example. Buffers. It also ensures that y ou spend time in some areas that y ou might otherwise ignore or forget about. For example. if there’s traffic. Setting boundaries helps keep a sustainable pace. One thing that might surprise y ou is scheduling y our free time. This helps y ou focus rather than task switch. 3. This means setting minimums and maximums on how y ou spend y our time. make time for it. and anxiety in y our life. The following are supporting practices for Agile Results: 1. You can also create a buffer by keeping y our plate only three-quarters full. Batch and Focus. When y ou do something more. By spending time on y our body. y ou find way s to improve. For example. Allocated Time. this way. Block time for key things on y our calendar. Boundaries. Buffers are the padding y ou put in y our time to allow for surprises. Chunk y our work down. You might find y ou have less free time than y ou think. Chunk It Down. 2. If y ou schedule it. 5. three outcomes. stress. Compelling “Why. such as creating incremental hurdles. y ou keep y our energy strong. Another way to add buffers is to have transitions. You can also chunk down time. y ou may also make find y ourself lashing out at any threats in terms of more work. One practice that works well for a lot of people is to block a few hours in a row for execution. y ou don’t get frustrated. You can chunk y our work down in terms of complexity. may be working out after work helps y ou transition to y our personal life. by spending time in y our relationships. This can be as simple as deciding 303 . You build momentum as y ou get results. 6. y ou keep y our mind fresh. The simple act of adding buffers can help reduce friction. Consolidate similar tasks. y ou are unable to respond as effectively to new opportunities. Another practice that works well is to set aside time for a particular ty pe of task and batch it all at once rather than do it throughout the week. and this is a quick reality check to make more free time. By spending enough time and energy in the right categories. it happens.” Find a “Why ” that drives y ou. Thus. If y ou keep y our plate completely full. You don’t need to adopt them all. It also helps y ou find efficiencies. 4. By spending enough time in fun.Supporting Practices for Agile Results Defined The Agile Results practices support each other. y ou get sy nergy. etc.

Perform. y ou can get back on. and month is a new chance for results. weekly. relationships. One way to deal with perfectionism is to focus on good enough for now. This will help see y ou through the dark times as well as help y ou live y our values. Don’t critique y ourself throughout the process. it’s easy to step back and think in terms of three items. 9. week. In terms of projects. as well as a few innovation projects for learning and growing. catch the next one. I try to have a vital few that I spend most of my focus on. Having a rhy thm for y our results helps y ou build routines and improve y our ability to get results. and monthly results. At work. rather than focus on external rewards. Daily. The key is to internalize it. Then. Decide and go. Diversify Your Results. and then analy ze y our results. I can quickly look at the bigger picture. Fail Fast. I try not to have all my eggs in a single basket. career. This means I’m not overly invested in one thing. Failure is part of the learning process. a week or a month. I think of the rhy thm of results in terms of daily. This is the key to balance. what might be right for y ou might not be right for some. take the action. If y ou fall off the horse. 8. You can use different lenses. the sooner y ou can adjust as needed. Establish a rhy thm of results. Taking action is the key. weekly .7. Each day. Review It. and monthly . Remember. Fail early and fail often. Weekly. Just get started. then evaluate. whether I’m looking at a day. once y ou get some feedback. If y ou miss a train. This will help y ou avoid analy sis paraly sis. thinking and doing. body. I can try to accomplish three meaningful results each day. financial. Rather than get caught up in the details. It’s a sketch of y our results that y ou can incrementally render daily . It’s a quick way to traverse a bunch of action that’s spread over time. I check how I’m spending energy across administration. that y ou want to master y our craft. Using The Rule of 3. When y ou perform tasks. You can improve it later. For example. Most importantly. emotions. and fun. Monthly Results. Learn and move on. just get something to done first. and not get bogged down in the tasks themselves. 12. 304 . the three results for the month are much higher level than the three outcomes for the week. Good Enough for Now. Do It. 11. it’s a very simple way to frame out results. Just Start. each week. If y ou look at y our results across y our life as a portfolio. y ou can choose where to invest more and where to cut back. perfection is in the ey e of the beholder. It adds up fast. relationships. The sooner y ou hit y our glass ceilings or tackle y our high risks. which are much higher than the three outcomes for each day. 10. and I can keep perspective and balance while remaining responsive to change. and each month. Improve It. You can alway s correct course once y ou get going. For life in general. I check how I’m investing in mind.

p2. SHOULD.13. and COULD to prioritize y our potential tasks. y ou find a mentor. SHOULD. Park It. Getting three MUSTs done each day quickly builds momentum. y ou start to bite off more. 20. if y ou need to use a prioritization sy stem that is number centric (for example. SHOULD. review y our results. Improvement Scripts. Identify three things that worked well. If y ou are having trouble. This also helps y ou see the forest from the trees. Power Hours. Pairing up or teaming up can be a great way to complement y our strengths and get results. Ask y ourself. This works in conjunction with keeping y our information scannable. focus on y our three MUSTs for the day. look for a finisher (or vice versa). One simple way is to create a tickler list that shows y our most important results for the month. 19. 14. priority 1. The key is to pair up with the right people. Lessons Learned. use it with y our to-do list if y ou have one. or p1. This helps y ou keep score. rather than y our MUST dos. 18. Use MUST. SHOULD. Write down steps to perform a specific action or routine. in this case. You may find as y ou get more effective. 21. The Rule of 3 helps. y ou’ll see immediate improvement. Whether y ou have a paper sy stem or an electronic sy stem. and COULD by mapping it accordingly. so they don’t actually ever get any meaningful work done. Monthly Results. Pair Up. Next Best Thing. at least for the time being. This also works well on projects. Focus on increasing y our power hours. and this simple reframing can help y ou get y our energy back. If it feels like y ou’re churning and not making progress. For example. Remind y ourself to value y our time. if y ou’re a starter. think of y our CHOOSE TOs. then change y our language. however. If y ou get really good at focusing on y our MUSTs. p3). It’s a sense of accomplishment. Then. 15. Sometimes it makes sense to park something y ou’re working on. Carry forward y our lessons learned. 17. then y ou can still think in terms of MUST. Note: If the word MUST creates a sense of heaviness for y ou or y ou find y ou no longer look forward to getting y our results. You can come back to it later. Each month. MUST. the key is to have one place to look for all y our action items and y our reference information. Each month is a good time to take stock of y our accomplishments and reflect on what if any thing y ou need to change going forward. “What’s the next best thing to do?” It’s a cutting question that helps y ou prioritize in the moment. A power hour is where y ou 305 . This puts y ou back in power. priority 2. One Place to Look. I’ve found it much more helpful to think in terms of MUST. and COULD. it might make sense just to park it for now. Identify three things that didn’t work well. This is especially effective for learning new things. Where people fall down is they mix too many SHOULDs and COULDs into their work each day without realizing it. and priority 3. 16. COULD.

For example. When y ou reduce work that’s in flight. then y ou do a cleanup when y ou have a better vantage point or when y ou can batch the work. You can write y our routines down as a set of steps. Writing routines down can help find way s to improve. Instead. You might also need a hat for “kicking arse and taking names.22. By adding more power hours. You’ll improve y our overall effectiveness by changing y our mindset to match the challenge in front of y ou. while others might be driven by y our biorhy thms. Either way. the more chances y ou won’t finish. Sweeping. do a quick dry run. You can also avoid thrashing or spending too much think time while y ou’re try ing to perform the routine. One effective way is to timebox and see what sort of results y ou can produce in an hour. Switching hats will help y ou switch modes. or may be y ou are better in the afternoon or at night. y ou can better focus on the task at hand and bring it to completion. You might find that y ou have certain power hours throughout the day. May be in school y ou remember putting y our thinking cap on. Scripts. 25. It’s better to finish one thing before spinning up a bunch of other things. 26. May be y ou have power hours in the morning. or try a show and tell of y our results to see what y ou can do. 24. This improves y our efficiency and y our effectiveness. Sweeping is a way to periodically clean things up. feel like y ou’re incredibly productive and y ou’re in the zone. and need to know next. The more work y ou have that’s not finished. Switch Hats. y ou might sweep y our lists once a week. The first step is just noticing when they occur. y ou might need an analy tical hat. Note that some people like to literally wear different hats for different purposes. One technique to change y our mindset is to imagine putting on an imaginary hat. Test Your Results. Task switching is an enemy of results. y ou can spend less overall time on y our tasks. You can use different hats for different purposes. Things get messy. 23. This will quickly tell y ou where y our 306 . For example. Some power hours might be due to the ty pe of activity y ou work on. Reduce Open Work. You can also use y our scripts to avoid common mistakes. y ou can find way s to optimize to have more power hours. once y ou know the pattern for y our power hours. You might spend a night every other week cleaning up open issues on y our project. Sweeping is a tremendously powerful technique because it frees y ou up from over-engineering perfection up front or try ing to over-police something with a bunch of gates. Test y our results quickly to find out what y ou know. don’t know. You let the work run its course. Reduce the work y ou have in flight. This also helps y ou avoid death by a thousand paper cuts.” You might need a hat for more tedious or mundane activities. You might sweep y our notes once a month. It’s easy to talk y ourself out of something or to analy ze y ourself into a string of impossibilities.

y ou should have a strawman in mind of what good looks like. 27.bottlenecks might be or where y ou need help. Worst Things First. Start y our day with the worst things first. Basically. You can think of this as test-driven results. If y ou know what good looks like. it’s easier to move towards y our target. 307 . y ou can take it off y our plate early and enjoy the rest of y our day . y ou readjust as y ou go along and learn more. A lot of failed results are actually failures to define success. Rather than having something loom over y ou throughout the day. It’s when y ou have the most energy. then. Tests for Success. 28.

308 . List all the tasks and activities that y ou need to perform.Template – Daily Planner Identify three outcomes for the day. Use y our three outcomes to focus and prioritize y our tasks and activities.

309 . y ou can choose more effective actions or tasks. By identify ing the three results y ou want each day. You can then identify three results y ou want for each day. The most important step is to simply identify three results y ou want for the week. Simply fill out as much or as little as y ou know.Template – Weekly Planner Your weekly planner will help y ou identify results and actions for each day.

Outcome 1 – 2.Monday Vision Identify three results for the week: 1. Outcome 3 – 310 . Outcome 2 – 3.

Week at a Glance Each day . identify three outcomes for that day . 311 .

312 . 3. 3. Identify three things to improve: 1. 2.Friday Reflection Identify three things going well: 1. 2.

Limit y our MUST to the three most important outcomes. y ou can start to see how y our results each week feed into the results y ou want for the month. 313 .” list y our actual results at the end of each week. y ou might find it easier to simply list the three results y ou want for the month. or COULD. When y ou’re just starting out. Under “Planned. Under “Completed. against y our outcomes. A simple way to work through the monthly planner is to list things y ou would like done for the month in y our Queue. Gradually.” decide three outcomes y ou want for each week of the month.Template – Monthly Planner You can model y our results for the month by focusing on three results for the month and then three results for each week. This will help y ou reflect on whether y ou are getting the right results or if y ou need to adjust y our targets or y our approach. Prioritize the items by MUST. SHOULD.

Outcomes Identify three outcomes for the month: 1. Outcome 1 – 2. Outcome 3 – 314 . Outcome 2 – 3.

Month at a Glance 315 .

list any work activities and events that y ou can think of.Template – Yearly Planner The goal is to create a scannable y ear at a glance. Think of it as a rough sketch unless y ou have hard dates set for things. This helps y ou visualize y our time for the y ear. Next. list y our personal events that y ou can think of. 316 . if the y ear were over. what are three results y ou want under y our belt? To complete the template. This can include recurring items. You can think of this as a map of results for y our y ear. You can simply list any key outcomes that y ou want for certain months. The most important step it to identify three outcomes for the y ear. A simple way to do this is ask y ourself. such as bills or taxes or birthday s. This will help y ou better anticipate and plan. first. where y ou can see the key activities and events for y our y ear.

Outcome 3 – 317 .Outcomes Identify three outcomes for the y ear: 1. Outcome 2 – 3. Outcome 1 – 2.

1. 2. 1. 2. 2. February 3. 1.Year at a Glance When 1. 2. 1. 318 Outcomes Events . 2. June 3. 2. April 3. 1. 1. May 3. January 3. March 3.

1. 2. September 3. 319 . 2. 2. 1. August 3. 1. 1. December 3. October 3. 2. November 3. 1.July 2. 2. 3.

identify the regularly recurring things in y our life (such as events and appointments). a whiteboard. Whether y ou use paper. y ou can see where y ou invest y our time. or an electronic form.Template – Schedule at a Glance You can use the Schedule at a Glance template as a guide to baseline y our weekly schedule and help y ou identify where y our time goes. identify y our true free time as well. It’s like looking at y our portfolio. Once y ou can see y our weekly schedule at a glance. y ou can then make more thoughtful decisions about where y ou spend more or less of y our time—designing a more effective week that supports y ou. 320 .

321 .

How To – Adopt Agile Results 322 .

giving y ou the power to achieve whatever y ou want with sustainable results. and the life Hot Spots. the Monday Vision.Summary This article shows y ou how to adopt the Agile Results sy stem. while supporting continuous growth and learning. Agile Results also helps y ou manage y our energy across y our work and life. Agile Results is a simple results sy stem. You can adopt or tailor pieces as y ou see fit. You can adopt the basics of Agile Results in under five minutes. Daily Outcomes. Agile Results is action-oriented with an emphasis on outcomes over activities. By adopting The Rule of 3. Friday Reflection pattern. 323 . y ou establish a rhy thm of results and achieve work life balance.

Daily Outcomes. Friday Reflection Pattern Step 3—Adopt the Life Hot Spots 324 .Contents Objectives Summary of Steps Step 1—Adopt The Rule of 3 Step 2—Adopt the Monday Vision.

Daily Outcomes. Learn how to adopt life Hot Spots to achieve work-life balance and spend y our time and energy on the most important things in y our life.Objectives Learn how to adopt The Rule of 3 to focus and prioritize y our action. Learn how to adopt the Monday Vision. Friday Reflection pattern to establish a rhy thm of results. 325 .

each month. The Monday Vision. By spending time in fun. When y ou finish y our three outcomes. relationships. and y ou can let things go. Each day. y ou might need to set a boundary on how much time y ou spend at work. The most important concept for the life Hot Spots is to set boundaries in terms of time or energy. Each day is a fresh start. This is about setting y our sights on three meaningful results for y ou. Rather than focus on every thing that y ou haven’t finished. career. the sum is more than the parts. By treating time as a first-class citizen. emotions. and taking simple. the Monday Vision. and relationships. Daily Outcomes. By having a sy stem y ou can count on. Friday Reflection pattern is a simple weekly results sy stem. and using that to drive y our day. You are also limiting what’s on y our focus so that y ou don’t overwhelm y ourself. and (3) complete an outline of y our project plan. Rather than focus on y our endless backlog or overload. y ou shift y our focus to the three most valuable things y ou can do today. “What’s the next best thing for y ou to do?” The most important thing about The Rule of 3 is that y ou are focusing on outcomes over activities. such as “Tuesday night is date night. It can be as simple as (1) have a great lunch experience with a friend. On Friday s. y ou can set effective boundaries and achieve work-life balance. The heart of the sy stem is the sy nergy of three things: The Rule of 3. It’s y our chance to wipe the slate clean and cherry -pick y our most important items. y ou focus on answering the question.” 326 . y ou can prioritize more effectively. Daily Outcomes. and each y ear. The simplicity is part of its effectiveness. y ou perform better at work. y ou identify the three most important outcomes for the day. It works by establishing a rhy thm of results. so is each week. y ou clarify what y ou want to accomplish. and life Hot Spots. and fun. The Rule of 3 is about identify ing three outcomes each day. (2) complete 10 draft pages for y our next book. On Monday s. When y ou invest in these areas. By investing in y our mind. When y ou know what y ou want to accomplish. y ou can alway s grab more. body. consistent actions towards y our results. it helps y ou get back on y our feet again. prioritizing value. financial. y ou identify the three most important results for the week. using a rule such as “Dinner on the table at 5:30. body. For example. Friday Reflection pattern. By starting y our day with three outcomes. y ou keep y our mind and emotions in good shape. y ou reflect by asking y ourself what are three things going well and what are three things to improve? Life Hot Spots is a heat map for y our life and a way to invest y our time and energy in areas that matter: mind.” You might want to set a minimum of time in y our relationships.Overview Agile Results is a simple and effective results sy stem for personal productivity.

Daily Outcomes.Summary of Steps Step 1—Adopt The Rule of 3 Step 2—Adopt the Monday Vision. Friday Reflection pattern Step 3—Adopt life Hot Spots 327 .

the Month. “What are three results I want for the day ?” While it’s recommended that y ou write them down. The Rule of 3 is about identify ing three outcomes each day. “What are three outcomes I want for the day ?” or. The Rule of 3 has been used with success in a variety of contexts. A simple check is if y ou can say y our three outcomes for the day . the month. y ou keep better perspective. whether y ou’re in the hall or in y our car or wherever y ou are. and the y ear. start y our day by asking either. It’s sticky. 328 . and three is an effective limit. the Week.Step 1—Adopt The Rule of 3 The simplest way to adopt Agile Results is to start using The Rule of 3 to start y our day. and the Year You can use The Rule of 3 to help y ou see the forest from the trees. Apply The Rule of 3 to the Day. and people tend to be good at remembering things in threes. it’s more important that y ou internalize them. By identify ing y our top three results y ou want for the day . Each day is a fresh start. so y ou don’t have to look them up. To use The Rule of 3. the week.

When y ou get distracted throughout the day. y ou can simply add y our three outcomes to the top. You can prioritize any incoming actions against y our desired results. y ou can remind y ourself what y ou wanted to accomplish. If y ou already have tasks lists. You learn y our focus and capacity. This reminds y ou what y ou’re driving for.Don’t overwhelm y ourself. Guidelines Here are some guidelines for adopting The Rule of 3: They are y our tests for success. The Rule of 3 is about identify ing only and no more than three outcomes each day . If y ou aren’t completing the three results y ou set 329 .

for the 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)? 330 . If y ou’re not sure where to start. or y ou might be biting off more than y ou can chew. y ou might be picking the wrong things. and one thing for y our job each day . pick one thing for y ourself. one thing for y our family.

Step 2—Adopt the Monday Vision. On Friday s. Don’t create a laundry list of results. Guidelines Stick with three outcomes for the week. The more effective feedback y ou provide y ourself. start y our day by asking y ourself. In other words. what three results would y ou like to have achieved? At the start of each day. For example. instead. Identify y our three outcomes for the day. before y ou 331 . Identify 3 things going well and 3 things to improve. if y ou find that y ou are accomplishing y our three results for the week. if y ou look ahead to Friday. Identify the three most meaningful outcomes. is it because y ou are getting distracted? Are y ou not picking the right three things to begin with? This is y our continuous improvement loop. Daily Outcomes. “What are three things to improve?” You can then feed y our results into the next week. Identify 3 compelling outcomes each day . Daily Outcomes. To adopt the Monday Vision. at the start of the week. The idea is that each week is a fresh start. y ou find that y ou aren’t finishing y our three results each day. Friday Reflection pattern. after y ou complete y our three results. Friday Reflection pattern: Item Actions Monday Vision Daily Outcomes Friday Reflection Identify 3 compelling outcomes or results for the week. Summary of the Monday Vision. Daily Outcomes. are they the right things? Can y ou push back on what’s on y our plate? If. Friday Reflection The following table summarizes the Monday Vision. Daily Outcomes. identify y our three most important results. Each week is a new chance to tune y our results and learn more about y our capacity and bottlenecks. the more y ou can improve y our results. identify y our three most important outcomes for the week. at the very start of y our day. You can alway s bite off more. “What are three things going well?” and. Friday Reflection Pattern This is y our pattern for weekly results.

try to find the success pattern so that y ou are conscious of why and how. When y ou identify three things to improve. feeling or doing. This is how y ou drive y our day versus react to it. try to find the specific patterns that aren’t working so that y ou can identify specific actions to change. Checkpoint Do you know your three Do you know your three Do you know your three Do you know your three most important outcomes for the week? most important outcomes each day? key things going well? key things to improve? 332 . whether it’s thinking.are overwhelmed or in the thick of things. When y ou identify three things going well.

and set more effective boundaries. y ou’ll use them wisely. and fun. Setting Boundaries You should set minimums and maximums for y our Hot Spots in terms of time and energy. To adopt the life Hot Spots. y ou set y ourself up for success. y ou’ll achieve work-life balance and improve y our results in all areas of y our life. and y ou help limit the impact of potential downturns. By setting effective boundaries. This keeps y ou from getting over-invested. if y ou only have eight hours to throw at y our day. The worst mistake is to throw more time at problems. The life Hot Spots are Mind Body Emotions Career Financial Relationships Fun By investing in these areas. Hot Spots Boundaries (per week) Mind Body Minimum of 3 hours 333 . setting a minimum helps y ou to avoid getting unbalanced and to improve other categories. in the worst of times and in the best of times. The key is to reduce time spent. body. Use y our Hot Spots to set boundaries. Set a maximum on career and a minimum on relationships. In the right categories.Step 3—Adopt Life Hot Spots Life Hot Spots are a set of high priority categories that help determine where to spend y our time and energy. simply use the categories as a lens to identify y our pain or opportunities. what actions or outcomes y ou want to focus on. while setting a maximum encourages y ou to learn to be more effective. For example. This also gives y ou a concrete way to achieve work-life balance. while increasing value and improving y our efficiency and effectiveness.

Test y our results. Now it forces y ou to bite off only what y ou can chew. This is how y ou start improving plate management and pushing back effectively. step one is deciding to spend no more than 50 hours each week on y our career Hot Spot. Set a minimum of time to spend on fun. The categories help support each other. Set a minimum of time to spend on y our relationships. If the time limits y ou set aren’t working. 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? 334 . If not properly allocated. adjust them and test again. they can also work against each other.Emotions Career Financial Relationships Fun Minimum of 8 hours Minimum of 3 hours Maximum of 50 hours In this case. Guidelines Set a maximum of time to spend on career. You can only spread y our life force over so much. Set a minimum of time to spend on y our body .

How To – Adopt the 12 Core Practices of Agile Results 335 .

but the more y ou adopt. When y ou fall off the horse. These practices are complementary. and then sy stematically adopt the practices. 336 . You don’t have to adopt the practices all at once. By putting the practices in place. the better the results.Summary This article shows y ou how to adopt the 12 core practices of Agile Results: y ou’ll review the 12 core practices. y ou structure y ourself for success. y ou have a sy stem in place that will help y ou get back on.

Contents Objectives Overview Summary of Steps Step 1—Review the 12 Core Practices Step 2—Create Your List of Scannable Outcomes Step 3—Adopt Daily Outcomes Step 4—Adopt Weekly Outcomes Step 5—Design Your Week Organizing Your Action and Reference Information Adopting 30 Day Improvement Sprints Adopting Additional Practices 337 .

Learn how to spend more time in things that matter most to y ou. 338 . Learn how to have a more effective day .Objectives Learn how to adopt the 12 core practices of Agile Results. Learn how to reduce open work and executing the work y ou have way more effectively . Learn how to have a more effective week.

body. tend to be the ones that fail—every thing ends up a priority so there is no priority. y ou consistently renew y our skills and energy as y ou spend more time in y our strengths and the things y ou enjoy. and practices for time management and personal productivity. 8. sports psy chology. 3. and y ou get these things done faster than other people can). 2. Friday Reflection Monthly Improvement Sprint Reference Collections Scannable Outcomes Strong Week The Rule of 3 Timebox Your Day Triage Weekly Outcomes The core practices of Agile Results help y ou build a personal results sy stem for daily. 4. as well as principles. emotions. while learning and responding to changing environments. By investing in y our life Hot Spots (mind. and positive psy chology. weekly. play to y our strengths (as this renews y our energy. It's this little idea of reducing open work and executing the work y ou have way more effectively. Some way s to do this include the following: reduce task switching. and effective. and techniques to produce more effective results at work and home. y ou end up with a sy stem for sustainable results. Letting the right things go is realistic. Stop taking on more until y ou finish what's on y our plate: eat the hot stuff first and let stuff slough off. say “No” effectively (by pushing for y our strengths and setting/getting clear on y our requirements for success: “I can do this. if …”). relationships and fun). In addition. 9. It combines practices from software engineering. 10. It’s holistic in that it combines time. each week. energy. 11. Get more effective at cy cling through what's on y our plate. each y ear). financial. Action Lists Daily Outcomes Growth Mindset Monday Vision. and know y our capacity (by cy cling through The Rule of 3 each day. 12. people that don't let stuff go. and y early results. practical. each month.Overview The 12 core practices of Agile Results are 1. so y ou can flow results. 339 . patterns. Daily Outcomes. 7. monthly. 5. career. 6.

Summary of Steps Step 1—Review the 12 Core Practices Step 2—Create Your List of Scannable Outcomes Step 3—Adopt Daily Outcomes Step 4—Adopt Weekly Outcomes Step 5—Design Your Week 340 .

Queues. Neither are y our results. but if it’s not actionable. Track y our actions with tickler lists. 7. Consider the following action lists: Daily Outcomes. Think of this as what’s on y our radar. Keep y our outcomes scannable at a glance. 5. 3. The idea is that 30 day s is enough time to experiment with y our results throughout the month. Organize outcomes by y our work. and Yearly Results. Daily Outcomes. 2.” but I’ve included it here for convenience: 1. and life Hot Spots. Reference Lists. For example. Weekly Outcomes.Step 1—Review the 12 Core Practices Familiarize y ourself with the 12 core practices of Agile Results. You decide that y ou’ll learn and grow. It might be helpful information. 30 Day Improvement Sprints. Decide what y ou want to accomplish for the week. You can alway s repeat a sprint. and good to know. Make progress each day. personal. y ou should be able to see what y ou want to accomplish and what y ou’re spending y our time and energy on. emotions. then it’s reference. At the end of the week. Notes. Friday Reflection. ask y ourself what are three things (The Rule of 3) y ou want to accomplish? Alway s start y our list with y our three most important outcomes for the day. pervasive or permanent. and Practices of Agile Results. This gives y ou a chance to cy cle through 12 things over the y ear. mind. Each day. You might not see progress after the first couple weeks while y ou’re learning. This is reference information. Each day is a new chance for results. Scannable Outcomes. These definitions are found in “Chapter 3 – Values. Some information is not actionable. Daily Outcomes. At a glance. Pick one thing to improve for the month. Action Lists. Use daily tickler lists for action items. Outcomes guide y our action. Principles. fun. The key to an effective Daily Outcomes list is that y ou keep y our three outcomes for the day at the top. Monday Vision. career. create a list of outcomes for y our Life Frame (body. 4. You can store y our reference information as tickler lists. pick something new. and relationships). This way y ou have a reminder of what y ou want to accomplish. and Scripts. You decide that no problem is personal. 341 . financial. Each month. Here are some example reference lists y ou might keep: Ideas. Growth Mindset. and create a new list each day. A month is a good chunk of time to check y our progress. Weekly Results. 6. while listing the rest of y our to-dos below that. If y ou get knocked down. y ou’ll get up again. Monthly Results. Life’s not static. reflect on y our results. This is simply a decision.

More importantly. Identify y our three key outcomes. by following activities that make y ou weak. It’s all too easy to bite off more than y ou can chew. You can try shuffling around when y ou do certain activities. You also might find that some activities really are a drain on y ou and y ou should limit them. each week. and working out aren’t getting in the way. are y our activities during the week strengthening y ou or weakening y ou? You can do a few things.. Worst case. it helps with a lot of things: work-life balance (day s can chew into nights can chew into weekends). then go ahead and bite off more. By doing y our worst things first. and then wonder where y our day went. etc. prioritizing (time is a great forcing function) Carve up y our day into big buckets (e. are bigger than the three outcomes for y our day. If y ou're not getting the throughput y ou want. y ou don’t have activities that weaken y ou loom over y ou throughout the day. Identify three key outcomes each day. y ou can rebuild y our energy and spread y our energy throughout the day. 9. Assuming that y our regimen for eating. Follow them up with activities that strengthen y ou so y ou get y our strength back. blogs. Timebox Your Day. consolidate activities that drain y ou to y our mornings so that y ou can get them over with when y ou are strongest. Strong Week. The three outcomes for the y ear are bigger than the three outcomes for the month are bigger than the three outcomes for the week. Using timeboxes helps strike balance. Better y et. For example. sleeping. This also helps y ou manage scope. y ou can easily spend all day reading mails. If y ou keep time a constant (by ending y our day at a certain time). each month. The Rule of 3. work time.8. Push activities that make y ou weak to the first part of y our day. y ou might move them to the morning or move them later in the day. Each week focus on spending more time on activities that make y ou strong and less time on activities that make y ou weak. y ou should evaluate y our energy levels. doing selftraining. administration. think time. aliases. This helps y ou see the forest from the trees.. You might try pairing up on some activities. Spend more time with people that make y ou strong and less time with people that make y ou weak.g. Do the same with people. 10. During y our Friday Reflections. This Rule of 3 will help y ou stay focused on the vital few things that matter. y ou create a glide-path for the rest of the day. Timeboxes also help with pacing. and then figure out how much time y ou're willing to give them. just don’t overflow y our plate on each trip. figuring out where to optimize y our day. and each y ear. If y ou only have so many hours to 342 . y ou can ask y ourself: Are y ou working on the right things? Are y ou spending too much time on lesser things? Are there some things y ou can do more efficiently or effectively ? Without a timebox. This is the heart of y our Daily Outcomes. connect time). If y ou nail the three items y ou wanted to accomplish. Think of it as a buffet of results and y ou can keep going back. with activities that make y ou strong.

11. Queue It. Schedule It. Delegate It. if it’s the next best thing for y ou to do. 12. Each week is a new chance for results. Weekly Outcomes. Schedule It. Queue It (add it to y our queue). if it’s something y ou need to get done. if y ou need a block of time to get the work done. y ou’re more careful to spend my high energy hours on the right things. or if it will cost y ou more pain. Do It. Triage. Triage incoming action items: Do It.produce results. Create a new list each week. but now is not the right time. 343 . time or effort to do it later. or Delegate It. if it’s something that should be done by somebody else. Alway s start with y our three most important outcomes for the week (The Rule of 3). or now is the most opportunistic time.

or activities that y ou need to spend y our time and energy on. identify up to three outcomes (results) y ou want: Identify Outcomes for Work Hot Spots For each project or major activity at work. work Hot Spots and personal Hot Spots. The key is to identify the outcomes that y ou want for y our life Hot Spots. projects. Hot Spots are simply areas of focus. Scannable Outcomes. y ou implement the following practices: Reference Lists. and The Rule of 3. identify up to three outcomes y ou want: 344 . Identify Outcomes for Life Hot Spots For each Hot Spot.Step 2—Create Your List of Scannable Outcomes In this step.

identify up to three outcomes y ou want: 345 .Identify Outcomes for Personal Hot Spots For each project or major activity at home.

You might decide y our most important outcome is that y ou accomplish nothing. This serves as an Action List to remind y ou of the three key things y ou want to accomplish for the day . y ou implement the following practices: Daily Outcomes. Triage.Step 3—Adopt Daily Outcomes In this step. simply add y our three outcomes to the top. and Action Lists. but the idea is to be 346 . The big thing to keep in mind here is that these three outcomes are y our tests for success for the day. Create a List of Daily Outcomes Each day. create a new list and name it the current date. If y ou already have a to-do list sy stem. Here is an example: Keep the following points in mind: Each day. The three outcomes help y ou focus and prioritize every thing y ou do. only if it’s one of the three next best things for y ou to do. You can carry over an outcome the next day. It’s up to y ou how y ou set y our bar. Timebox Your Day . Let things slough off. The Rule of 3. Each day y ou will create a new list of outcomes for the day. You get to define what y our best results for the day are. Make a fresh list each day. Don’t carry over every thing each day . Let things slough off based on priority . Each day . This keeps it simple and lets y ou review y our week by each day . identify and write down y our three results y ou want for the day. identify the three most important results.

This will help y ou prioritize where y ou spend y our time during the day . administration. and connect time). then. Technique Description 347 .g. Carve up y our day into big buckets (e. Here is an example: Keep the following points in mind: Set an overall limit for y our work day. work time. figure out how much time y ou're willing to give them. For example. The idea is to know where y our time goes. set limits. Treat it as a baseline and stay flexible. Triage incoming items against what y ou want to accomplish for the day .. This is y our time budget. Change the amount of time y ou spend on things. To do so. Triage Your Incoming Actions You most likely have to manage incoming action items throughout y our day. some day s y ou may need to spend more time in planning. This is one of the simplest and most effective way s to change y our results.mindful and exercise y our choices thoughtfully . think time. either in terms of minimums or maximums. Timebox Your Day Treat y our time as a limited budget. Spend it on the things that are most important to what y ou want to accomplish.

Do It It’s the next best thing for y ou to do. or it will cost y ou more pain. Add it to y our queue if it’s something y ou need to get done. If it’s something that should be done by somebody else. Queue It Schedule It Delegate It 348 . but now is not the right time. If y ou need a block of time to get the work done. or now is the most opportunistic time. time or effort to do it later.

Friday Reflection Use the Monday Vision. This serves as an Action List to remind y ou what’s important for the week. Daily Outcomes. The Rule of 3. identify three outcomes for the week. identify three outcomes 349 . Growth Mindset. Daily Outcomes. It’s a cy cle of improvement. Use what y ou learned from y our Friday Reflection to improve the next week. On Monday s.Step 4—Adopt Weekly Outcomes In this step. and Reference Lists. On Friday s. Monday Vision. Daily Outcomes. reflect on y our results and identify what’s going well and what needs to improve. Adopt Monday Vision. Friday Reflection pattern to drive y our weekly results. Create a List of Weekly Outcomes Each week. Visualize: if this were Friday . This is how y ou employ y our Growth Mindset for continuous learning. y ou implement the following practices: Weekly Outcomes. identify the three most important results y ou want for the day. Friday Reflection. Each day. identify the three most important results y ou want for the week. Item Description On Monday . identify and write down y our three results y ou want for the week. what would y ou like to look back on? Monday Vision Each day .

350 . identify three things going well and three things to improve.Daily Outcomes for the day . Reflect on y our actual results against the results y ou wanted. Friday Reflection On Friday . Prioritize every thing y ou do against the three outcomes.

If y ou set those in place and work every thing else around that. and Working Out One of the most effective patterns for improving y our week is having consistent times for eating. sleeping. Set Boundaries and Limits Set boundaries and limits in terms of time for any life Hot Spots that need attention. Fix Time for Eating. so this helps them figure out what time to go to bed the night before. This is how many of the most effective people structure their week. and working out. 351 Minimum of 3 hours Minimum of 3 hours Maximum of 50 hours Minimum of 3 hours . By making time for y our work out and eating. They know how much sleep they need. Here is an example: Hot Spot Minimums and Maximums (per week) Mind Body Emotions Career Financial Relationships Fun Keep the following points in mind: When y ou set a minimum in the right categories. y ou implement the following practices: Strong Week and Growth Mindset. Sleeping.Step 5—Design Your Week In this step. This gives them a continuous block of “me” time from the night before into the start of their day . y ou avoid getting unbalanced and improving other categories. y ou have a great start. One of the most common patterns for successful people is they workout first thing in the morning. y ou’re helping ensure that y ou invest in y ourself.

Add strengths. if y ou only have eight hours to throw at y our day. y ou learn how to become more effective. Consolidate y our weaknesses. The worst mistake it to throw more time at problems. The key is to reduce time spent. Design a Strong Week Map out y our strengths and weaknesses. y ou learn to use them wisely . For example.When y ou set a maximum in the right categories. 352 . while increasing value and improving efficiency and effectiveness.

353 . Add strengths to improve y our energy and results. It’s y our talent. to the early part of y our day . A strength is an activity that cataly zes y ou and y ou’re naturally good at.Keep the following points in mind: A weakness is any thing that drains y ou. Consolidate the weaknesses y ou can’t get rid of. Get rid of as many activities that are weaknesses as y ou can. to get them over with.

Daily Outcomes. In doing so. This is where y ou put actions and outcomes that y ou aren’t working on today but need to remember. factoring reference from action. the key s to effective information management include creating scannable lists (think of these as tickler lists where y ou just need a quick note to remind y ou what to do). It’s where y ou store state without cluttering y our head. consolidating where to look (i. helps y ou 354 . one place to look versus any where and every where). Q ueues. For thing y ou can’t accomplish in a single day.Organizing Your Action and Reference Information Reference information is information that’s useful to know. Weekly Outcomes. Keeping organized lists. Make a list for each activity. project or chunk of work that y ou’re focused on.. This is y our list of Weekly Outcomes that y ou create as outlined in Step 4. it’s not an action. The key is to factor reference from action. as well as easily scan for information y ou need as input. This is y our list of Daily Outcomes that y ou create every day as outlines in Step 3. Weekly Outcomes. and scripts. Action information is any thing that represents something y ou do. y ou can quickly scan for actions y ou need to take. When it comes to results. y ou need a place to store y our actions and ideas. but isn’t an action item. Action information can include y our Daily Outcomes.e. Action Lists Daily Outcomes Weekly Outcomes Queues Scripts Reference Lists Ideas Notes Monthly Results Organize Your Action Lists Organizing y our action information frees up y our mind and creates one place to look for y our actions. whether on paper or electronically. queues. and periodically sweeping y our collections (going back and cleaning things up when they get out of control). If y ou can’t do it.

Your queues are inputs into y our Daily Outcomes and Weekly Outcomes. whether y ou use pen and paper. The next most important thing is that y ou have one place to look for y our information. Scripts. It’s easier to follow a script than to have to spend a lot of energy thinking y our way through a task each time. they are simply a reference list of interesting thoughts or ideas. Organize Your Reference Lists Organizing y our reference information frees up y our mind and creates one place to look for y our reference information: a repository for any notes y ou might need and a dumping ground for y our ideas. These could turn into actions. a simple file sy stem of text files. This is y our personal depot of ideas. Scripts can help with complex activities or when y ou are try ing to build a new habit. Notes. It’s all the little tidbits of information and notes y ou collect. or some personal information management software. The most important thing is that y ou consolidate and factor out y our action items from y our reference information. Ideas.organize y our thinking while letting y our mind work on more important things other than task lists. make a simple list of y our most important results y ou accomplished. Keep the following points in mind: This is a baseline sy stem to help y ou get started. 355 . Consolidate these and don’t mix them in with y our action information. At the end of each month. but while they are ideas. This helps remind y ou of what y ou got done and helps y ou build momentum. This is y our personal knowledge base. Monthly Results. A script is simply a written set of steps to perform a particular task. Adjust it as y ou see fit.

but a month is a good chunk of time to check y our progress. y our first Monthly Improvement Sprint can be adopting Agile Results. carry the good forward. You might not see progress after the first couple of weeks while y ou’re learning. and use it to refine y our approach. 356 . pick something new. You can alway s repeat a sprint. Each month. The idea is that a month is enough time to experiment with y our results. learn. Pick one thing to improve. test-drive it for a month. In fact.Adopting Monthly Improvement Sprints Think of these as monthly improvement sprints. This gives y ou a chance to cy cle through 12 things over the y ear. or try out for the month. Take y our lessons learned from the month.

Flex Scope Energy Park It Power Hours Learning Improvement Scripts Lessons Learned Pair Up Planning Diversify Your Results Reduce Open Work Tests for Success Batch and Focus Chunk It Down Do It. Review It. Monthly Results Mindsets and Motivation Compelling “Why ” Switch Hats Time Allocated Time Boundaries Buffers Fix Time.Adopting Additional Practices You can adopt additional practices as y ou see fit by drawing from the practices below: Category Practices Rhy thm of Results Daily . Weekly . Improve It 357 .

Doing Fail Fast Good Enough for Now Just Start Scripts Sweeping Test Your Results Organizing One Place to Look Prioritizing MUST.” 358 . see “Cheat Sheet – Supporting Practices Defined. SHOULD. COULD Next Best Thing Worst Things First For a description of the practices.

How To – Have a Strong Week 359 .

Spending more time in y our strengths renews y ou. rebuilds y our energy . A strong week is one where y ou spend more time in y our strengths and less time in y our weaknesses. This boosts both y our energy and results. and unleashes y our best results. Not spending enough time in y our strengths will gradually drain y ou.Summary This article shows y ou how to have a strong week. 360 .

Contents Objectives Summary of Steps Step 1—Map Out Your Weaknesses Step 2—Map Out Your Strengths Step 3—Design a Strong Week 361 .

362 . Learn how to add strengths to y our week to improve y our energy and results. Learn how to eliminate or consolidate activities that make y ou weak.Objectives Learn a simple technique for spending more time in y our strengths each week.

y ou might structure y our week in a way that reinforces spending considerable time in y our weaknesses. don’t be too concerned whether y ou can accurately tell weaknesses from strengths. Spending time in y our strengths is just the opposite. y ou’ll produce more effective results in shorter periods of time. When y ou do this exercise. It's an ongoing exercise where y ou incrementally spend more time in strengths and less time in weaknesses. rather than have them spread across y our week and dominate y our time. This is the essence of a strong week. the more y ou renew and recharge y our energy. y ou can be deliberate about how y ou spend y our time. Worse. By checking how y ou spend y our time each week. 363 . You’ll have more energy and y ou’ll enjoy what y ou do. use it to improve y our daily and weekly results. spending time in y our strengths improves y our performance and gets better results. You can push back where it makes sense. The key is to take the first step towards being aware. With this knowledge. batch them together and limit the time spent on them. Whether it’s people or tasks. first thing. In addition. As y ou shift. Think about it—y ou’re spending more time doing what y ou’re great at. the effect is the same. You don't need to suddenly get rid of all y our weaknesses or suddenly spend all y our time in y our strengths. The key is to be aware of y our weaknesses and identify y our strengths. Furthermore. Once y ou start pay ing attention to what makes y ou weak or what makes y ou strong. y ou can add more strengths to y our week. Consolidate y our weaknesses. The more time y ou spend in y our strengths. y ou’ll gradually shift.Overview Spending time in y our weaknesses drains y ou. Unplanned and reactive. You’ll find it’s a sliding scale. Imagine getting y our weaknesses out of the way. y our weekly schedule can become a mess. and then spending the rest of the day in y our strengths? Restructuring y our week and moving things around will dramatically improve y our results.

The exception is if y our work week starts on a Sunday. You can include weekends too if y ou want. 364 . then I would start there. before worry ing about the weekend. but I suggest first getting a handle on the core week day s. we’ll focus on just Monday through Friday.Summary of Steps Step 1—Map Out Your Weaknesses Step 2—Map Out Your Strengths Step 3—Design a Strong Week Note: In the following steps.

Trust y our gut. then walk through each day and determine which activities make y ou weak. when y ou first do this. Example of Mapping Out Your Weaknesses Here is an example of a map of activities that are weaknesses throughout the week: 365 . think of the activities y ou do during the week and identify the ones that make y ou weak. it will look like a scatter chart.Step 1—Map Out Your Weaknesses In this step. Your weak activities will scattered throughout the day . scan y our week quickly for y our key activities and identify whether they drain y ou. Chances are. If that doesn’t work for y ou. Think of it like a heat map. You can use a whiteboard or a sheet of paper.

Rather than use a “W.” y ou can identify the actual activity that makes y ou weak. What’s important is that y ou can easily see how the weaknesses are spread out. Checkpoint Can you identify the top three activities that make you the weakest? Can you identify the types of work that make you weak? Can you identify who drains you and who catalyzes you? What’s the pattern? 366 .

think of the activities y ou do during the week and identify the ones that make y ou strong.Step 2—Map Out Your Strengths In this step. At first. Awareness is the first step. Example of Mapping Out Your Strengths Here is an example of activities that are strengths throughout the week: 367 . These are the activities that come easy for y ou and y ou enjoy doing. y our strong activities are probably like a scatter chart. just like y our weaknesses.

What’s important is that y ou can easily see how the strengths are spread out.” y ou can identify the actual activity that makes y ou strong.Rather than use an “S. Checkpoint Can you identify the top three activities that make you strong? Can you identify the types of work that make you strong? Can you identify the patterns of people that catalyze you? 368 .

369 .

do so. For many of people. Adopt a “worst things first” practice by getting y our weaknesses out of the way each morning. You also might find some simple way s to adjust the work y ou are already doing to play to y our strengths. or y our family. This creates a glide path for the rest of the day. Eliminate Your Weaknesses If there are activities that make y ou weak that y ou can get rid of. While y ou might get some quick wins under y our belt. or delegating them out. y our manager. scheduling time with y ourself—some quiet. especially as y ou add more strengths. it’s really a winning strategy for the long run. This makes more room for y our strengths. every one benefits from y our renewed vigor for life as y ou get more from y our day to day. You do this by eliminating weaknesses. Get creative. y ou might schedule a weekly lunch with a mentor or friend that lifts y ou up. Start simple and don't rush. alone time—is what recharges y ou.Step 3—Design a Strong Week In this step. but in the long run. or perhaps. This may require negotiation with y our team. The more focus and energy y ou put on play ing to y our strengths. Example of a Strong Week Here is an example of a strong week by design: 370 . y ou design a strong week. Consolidate Your Weaknesses Consolidate weaknesses that y ou can’t get rid of. and consolidating any weaknesses that remain. You might find that it’s tough to add activities that make y ou strong. this means eliminating some meetings. For example. Continue improving y our weekly schedule over time by adding more strengths and eliminating more weaknesses. Add Strengths Add activities that make y ou strong. adding strengths. renegotiating some current tasks. the more y ou’ll amplify y our results.

and there are strengths throughout the week and throughout each day. Add more activities that make y ou strong.Notice that weaknesses are consolidated. 371 . y ou might use the first hour of each of y our day as a timebox for activities that make y ou weak. one key way to improve y our energy later in the day is to add activities that make y ou strong. Guidelines Consolidate y our weaknesses as best as y ou can. In fact. For example.

adding a few strengths renews y our energy and makes thing happen. Eliminating even a few weaknesses really lifts a weight from y our shoulders.Start with something simple. Simple wins add up. Checkpoint Have you eliminated as many of the activities that make you weak as you can? Have you found a way to add a few activities that make you stronger? Have you consolidated your weaknesses as best as you can? 372 . You don’t need to make it all or nothing. Test y our results. You might find that pairing up on things that make y ou weak helps y ou enjoy them more. Pair up with people. Rather than try to predict results. Pay attention to how y ou feel. Simply making a few shifts in y our weekly schedule can dramatically impact y our energy . test combinations and observe what happens. Likewise. You might also find that y ou get more from y our strengths when y ou pair up or team up with others.

and other supplementary information). tools. templates. how-tos. I hope that y ou’re well on y our way to getting the meaningful results that y ou’re looking for. and resources (such as cheat sheets.Additional Resources for Getting Results the Agile Way Thank y ou for reading this guide.com 373 . please visit this book’s Website: http://GettingResults. videos. To refer to this book online and for additional news.

sustainable. The Rule of 3 has provided clarity. The price of success is now affordable. effective. It's really that simple. CTO. —Janine de Ny sschen. Principal Performance Engineer. to constantly change my perspective and view-scope so that I am not only working efficiently but also working effectively toward maximum results. Why telligence It’s all too easy for me to put my head down and focus on tasks without considering the bigger picture of what I am working toward. Agile Results forces me to see the forest from the trees. and more satisfying. I’ve established the rhythm of results of which J. and Agile Results demonstrates his distinct purpose—he shows how anyone can do anything.D. is the go-to-guy for getting results.’s writing resonated with me. and now obvious imperatives of Agile Results are allowing me to seize my life back. Changemaker and Purpose Strategist. trainer. speaker. Security Innovation Working in disaster response and developing countries usually puts me in complex and even vexing situations. Rick Kirschner. Agile Results fits my work well—it reinforces natural practices that put outcomes and adaptation at the center of the day. InSTEDD J. bestselling author.What people are saying about Getting Results the Agile Way Agile Results delivers know-what. and in our small team. coach. The Art of Change LLC J. It is easy to fall into a rut of doing tasks with no priority or losing track of the big picture. know-why and know-how for anyone who understands the value of momentum in making your moments count. J. flexible. so that they get the results they’d like.D. even the impossible and the unexpected. teaching me to devote laserlike focus to my most important tasks. —Mark Curphey . VP of Engineering. —Jason Tay lor. time is precious. In our rapidly changing world. powerful tools and ideas that are easy enough for everyone to apply in their work and lives. —Dr.D. has distilled the essence of productivity into simple and effective techniques that produce real results. Microsoft Have you ever wondered why sometimes you get amazing results and other times just can't seem to be effective? Have you ever dreamed about an “essence of productivity” that you could apply to life? J. —Eduardo Jezierski. Microsoft 374 . better. speaks. —Jimmy May . Combined with the Monday Vision and Friday Reflection. This book has simple. Meier offers a comprehensive clarity to sort through the often confusing cloud of complexity and find the real opportunity in our lives.D. Product Unit Manager. The simple.D.

While I have tried other organizational tricks and tips. and the month into manageable chunks has kept my sanity.J. provides a comprehensive approach in not only handling the influx of information.D. He has not only helped me to prioritize daily work. Microsoft X-Box team 375 .D. Being able to think of breaking the day. J. but also has helped me to prioritize at a higher level. Meier’s methods have stuck with me and improved my work-life balance … I have recommended him to all my co-workers and peers! —Chenelle Bremont. the week. but the bigger picture of life.