Welcome to Getting Results the Agile Way

Agile Results™ -- a simple system for meaningful results! Change happens. Use stories, scenariodriven results, and timeboxing, to improve your productivity, master your time management, and finally achieve work-life balance. Get a fresh start each day, each week, each month, each year. I use Agile Results to drive myself and lead teams at Microsoft and mentor people around the world -- more than 10 years in the making. -- J.D. Meier

Getting Started - 3 Keys
If you want to get started quickly before diving into the book, start here:

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Step 1. Adopt The Rule of 3 to avoid overwhelm and get mindful about your results. Step 2. Adopt the Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, Friday Reflection pattern for weekly results and a fresh start each day and each week.

Step 3. Set boundaries in your Hot Spots to find work-life balance.

Browse our one-page guide to Getting Started with Agile Results

Read The Book Free -- Right Here, Right Now
Test drive the guide for free in HTML. These are drafts of the chapters in progress:

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Contents at a Glance Acknowledgements A Word from the Author Introduction Chapter 1 - Why Agile Results Chapter 2 - Agile Results Overview Chapter 3 - Values, Principles, and Practices

Appendix:

Fast Track - A Guide for Getting Started

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Solutions at a Glance Guidelines for Agile Results

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Chapter 4 - Hot Spots Chapter 5 - Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, and Friday Reflection

Browse the full Table of Contents (TOC)

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Chapter 6 - Design Your Day Chapter 7 - Design Your Week Chapter 8 - Design Your Month Chapter 9 - Design Your Year Chapter 10 - Results Explained Chapter 11 - 25 Keys to Results Chapter 12 - 25 Strategies for Results Chapter 13 - Motivation Chapter 14 - Mindsets and Metaphors

Getting Started with Agile Results
There are 3 keys to getting started with Agile Results. To adopt the Agile Results system:

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Step 1. Adopt The Rule of 3 to avoid overwhelm and get mindful about your results. Step 2. Adopt the Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, Friday Reflection pattern for weekly results. Step 3. Set boundaries in your Hot Spots to find work life balance.

Step 1. The Rule of 3
Apply the Rule of 3 to life. Rather than get overwhelmed by your tasks, bite off three things you can accomplish. This puts you in control. If nothing else, it gives you a very simple frame for the day. This will help you get on track and practice the art of ruthless prioritization.

Here’s how you can apply the Rule of 3 to time:   3 outcomes for the day 3 outcomes for the week

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3 outcomes for month 3 outcomes for the year

An outcome is simply a result that you want to accomplish. Simply identify 3 outcomes. The outcomes at each level support each other and help guide your results. To give your outcomes life, turn them into simple stories. For example, turn "call customer" into "win a raving fan." Think in terms of 3 stories each day, each week, each month, each year.

Step 2. Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, and Friday Reflection
The Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, and Friday Reflection pattern is a simple habit for daily and weekly results.

Monday Vision
On Mondays, identify 3 outcomes you want for the week. To support you, consider the following:   Remind yourself what you learned from last Friday’s reflections. Scan your Hot Spots (Note – your Hot Spots include any work projects, personal projects, and your life frame: mind, body, emotions, career, financial, relationships, and fun.)   Scan your calendar for any key events for the week. Scan my inbox for new information and action items.

As you scan, ask 5 guiding questions:

1. “What do I want to accomplish?”

2. “What MUST be done? … What SHOULD be done? … What COULD be done?” (all based
against what I want to accomplish)

3. “What value am I delivering? (Note - in value delivered vs. activity performed and value is in the
eye of the beholder ... whether it's value to yourself, your manager, your company, the world ... etc.) 4. “How am I improving myself in key areas: mind, body, emotions, career, financial, relationships, and fun?”

5. “What are the key things that if I don’t get done … I’m screwed?” (By using the principle of
contrast, you paint a picture of where you don’t want to be.) Ask yourself the most important question … “If this were Friday, what 3 things would I want under my belt?” When you’re done, you’ll have a good mental picture of the week’s 3 most important outcomes (notice outcomes vs. activity), you know your big risks for the week, and you know my MUSTs vs. SHOULDs vs. COULDs.

Daily Outcomes
Each day is a fresh start. Think of 3 outcomes for your day. It helps to think in terms of simple stories. If you get stuck, a good question to ask is … “What will be my 3 best results for today?”

Friday Reflection
This is the day where you do your reflection. To do this, ask yourself 2 questions:

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“What are 3 things going well?” “What are 3 things to improve?”

As input to this exercise, first scan your Daily Outcomes for the past week. (This is fast if you keep a simple tickler list for each day.) Also, do a quick mental scan of your key accomplishments.

Step 3. Hot Spots
Where do you need to spend your time? What do you need to focus on? Hot Spots are a simple metaphor for thinking about what’s important.

There are certain areas in life that if you invest in. It includes learning patterns and practices for health. and working out. it’s where your attention. It’s how you chunk up your overall time and energy. you get rewarded. The most important basics are eating. More importantly. It includes learning emotional intelligence and keeping your emotions in check.” A heat map is simply a bird’s-eye view of what’s important. Keys to Effective Hot Spots The keys to effective Hot Spots are:    See the forest from the trees A portfolio of where you invest your time and energy (your life force) Balance your life Life Frame This is the big picture. sleeping. Body includes investing time in keeping your body in shape. On the other hand. Here’s a starter set of categories you can use to think about the areas in your life that need your focus and energy: Hot Spots Description Mind Mind includes investing time to learn thinking techniques and keeping your mind sharp. It’s about . you can imagine a “heat map. By thinking in terms of Hot Spots. energy. Body Emotions Emotions includes investing time to keep your emotions healthy. if you ignore these categories. and focus should be.It’s where the action is or should be. you get penalized.

Max of 50 hrs. as well as the trade-offs you make. you might set a max on career and a min on relationships. Setting Boundaries You should set minimums and maximums for your Hot Spots in terms of time and energy. work. This keeps you from getting over-invested. . You can also focus on finding key patterns and practices that help you improve in these areas. For example. you can be more deliberate about how you spend your time and energy. Financial includes investing time to learn patterns and practices for building and sustaining wealth. Financial Relations Relationships includes your relationships at home. and fun.learning skills for feeling good. Career Career includes activities and projects for your job and your professional services. and life. Hot Spots Mind Body Emotions Career Financial Boundarie s Min of 3 hrs. Relations Min of 8 hips hrs. Use your Hot Spots to set boundaries. body. By having a set of Hot Spots identified. hips Fun Fun includes investing time to for play and doing whatever you enjoy. Fun Min of 3 hrs.

Set your limits and test results. The key is to use boundaries and limits to keep yourself balanced and improve your results. . This is how you start improving plate management and pushing back effectively. step one is deciding to spend no more than 50 hours each week on your career hot spot.In this case. The categories help support each other. They can also work against each other. You can only spread your life force over so much. Now it forces you to bite off only what you can chew. Note that you might need to set the opposite limits.

When I first joined Microsoft more than 10 years ago. It was a sink or swim environment. For example. I hadn’t moved across the country. but saved me countless wasted time and effort. I learned to be accountable for my time.I treated time as my silver bullet. makes you stronger. but never actually used.” There were no boundaries to my days. to fail right off the bat. I found people in the company that got results and I learned from them. we affectionately called this scenario. One of the first things I did to survive was study the best of the best. Every day I had to play catch up from the day before. not only put me in control. I was amazed how factoring out action from reference helped me cut my information overload. more action items than I could possibly do. “trial by fire. I learned that by setting limits on things like how much time I spent on administration and email. I learned the power of time management. I didn’t notice this because I simply threw more time at problems. When I didn’t have time limits. . I simply threw more hours at any problem . some things were fire and forget. Without a technique. Without time limits. “whatever doesn’t kill you. I couldn’t consistently produce effective results. I found that keeping a simple list of actions outside of my email vs. and I didn’t have the playbook. For example. focus and prioritization. Simply getting organized helped me get unnecessary information out of my way. but I really was robbing Peter to pay Paul.” However. where I was consistently “burning the midnight oil. By paying attention to how I used information. letting my inbox drive me. I learned the power of information management. I learned the power of technique. leaving everything and everyone I knew behind. each day bled into night.” It reminded me of the saying. I had to find the most effective technique possible. and challenges that were beyond my skills. I could better prioritize and focus. I was overwhelmed. while others were follow up.A Word from the Author Results were the name of the game. and helped me find the important information faster. I was amazed at how much information I had optimized for look up. I got more email than I could possibly read. I learned everything I could about productivity from anybody who was willing to share their system with me. I could optimize for my main scenarios. Once I set limits. Inside the team.

limits your results in other areas. project management. I learned the power of flexibility. I stepped back and focused on the principles. and practices to integrate what I learned from productivity. and fun. relationships. but it has been quite another to package it up for other people. just as over-investing in an area can take its toll. software development. Because I was continuously building new project teams. resources. I needed a system for getting new people on each team up to speed quickly. or they were tools-oriented. and lean it down to the most effective parts. so I learned that I need to be flexible. patterns. but if I spent my time and energy in the right things. Lastly. There's no one size fits all. I could only spend my time and energy on so many things. When I moved to the patterns & practices team in Microsoft. the sum became more than the parts. I wanted to get out from under my backlogs and I wanted agility and the ability to focus on opportunity. I learned the power of balance. The result is a tested system that’s scaled up to large teams. I learned the impact of constraints in terms of time. The key to balance is to know these buckets and then invest wisely. I learned to play to my strengths and how to maximize the impact of the overall team. Learning project management helped me learn the discipline of getting results on big problems spread over time. “necessity is the Mother of invention. By investing too much in work. and energy. I learned to invest my life force in the following areas: mind. I tested a lot of productivity systems. As the saying goes. budget. my job went from working on smaller customer issues. I had to learn how to break big problems down and make progress over time. trial and error. or they were too complicated. down to individuals. . It was one thing for me to get results. and feedback. As I mentored people and teams around Microsoft to help them get results. positive psychology. I learned how that impact other areas of my life. it’s easy to get back on. so if I fall off the horse. body. to driving projects and leading teams around the world. emotions.I learned the power of project management. and leadership skills. and is a system I can bet on time and again. The problems I found with the systems I looked at was they were all or nothing. The most important thing is simple. The buckets support each other. while setting boundaries and limits. I’ve learned to find balance. Balance and synergy are your friend. career. I learned that I needed to treat life like a portfolio of investments.” These challenges forced me to simplify my system. Through a lot of pain. financial. while maximizing my results. Under investing in one of the areas. or they made me a slave to tasks and action items. I honed my system. By investing in those buckets. and so does my system.

powerful system for getting results. and they just aren't working anymore. In a changing world. from work to fun.This guide is my attempt to give you the playbook that I wish somebody had given me so many years ago for getting results . your ability to learn and re-spond is one of your most crucial skills to go from surviving to thriving. outlines its structure. and it works for all aspects of your life. It’s a systematic way to achieve both shortand long-term results. This produces results over productivity by focusing on outcomes over activities. The key to achieving results in today’s world is agility.2 Part II.4 Reference 4 How To Read This Guide Introduction Agile means the ability to respond to change. Agile Results provides just enough planning to get you going. Agile Results is designed with the big picture in mind.3 Part III.1 Part I. Agile Results is a new. monthly. while helping you live your values and play to your strengths. and shows you how to apply the guid-ance to your specific needs.D. . "Results Explained. Introduction Contents [hide] • • • 1 Introduction 2 About This Guide 3 How This Guide is Organized ○ ○ 3. "Daily." 3. but makes it easy to change course as needed. "Approach. Weekly. This chapter introduces the guide. The guide provides end-to-end guidance for improving results on a daily. " ○ • 3. and yearly basis. Monthly Results. blending work and life. About This Guide This guide details a principle-based approach for getting results.J. week-ly ." ○ 3. Traditional methods are static.

A reference. "Approach. Reference The reference section of the guide provides a Fast Track for getting started. templates. Use the guide as your mentor for learning how to achieve your objectives. or use it as a reference for specific needs. Adopt the approach and practices that work for you and incorporate them into your daily routines. some common questions and answers. Part III. cheat sheets. and practices. Take a test drive … Read the How To – Adopt Agile Results and How To – Adopt the 12 Core Prac-tices of Agile Results in the reference section of the guide. principles. It also explains the keys to motivation. Part II. Weekly. A mentor. Use the guide as a reference and to learn principles. The guide is structured in three parts: Part I. It includes a set of guiding principles and key strategies for achieving results.The following are some of the many ways to use this comprehensive guide: 1. along with key values. 3. patterns and practices for great results. As a reference … Flip to the back of the guide for the reference section." Part II explains designing your day. month. "Results Explained. For a quick start … Read the Fast Track in the reference section of the guide. 2. How To Read This Guide The following table shows a number of ways to get started: Scenario Approach As a guide … Simple read the guide end to end. week. A system for results. The guide encapsulates the lessons learned and experience from many subject matter experts. and step-by-step How Tos. and year using Agile Results. Hot Spots are introduced. Monthly Results. Scenario Approach . "Daily." Part I provides an overview of the Agile Results approach. where you’ll find cheat sheets and templates. " Part III provides a solid foundation for results. How This Guide is Organized Read the guide from beginning or end.

As a Flip to the back of the guide for the reference section. read “How To – Adopt the 12 Prac-tices of Agile Results. you can immediately start getting the benefits of work life balance and focused results.Bruce Lee . Here you’ll learn the mental model. This guide is really two books in one. Chapter 1 . To get a quick overview of the entire guide. It’s an executive summary of the key concepts in the guide. and fo-cuses on highlights. is intended to be read end to end.” -.” Adopt the practices incrementally. By adopting 1) The Rule of 3.” you’ll have a good understanding of the main parts of Agile Results. When you read “Chapter 3 – Values. Chapter 1 motives Agile Results. providing specific. read the “Fast Track” section in the appendix. as well as the core principles and practices of Agile Results. Reading the book from beginning to end is. describing the problem it addresses and what makes it different and effective. If you want to simply start test driving Agile Results. 2) Monday Vision. Daily Outcomes. while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.As a guide … Simple read the guide end to end.Why Agile Results “Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked. and III. Each chapter presents the big ideas. Read the How To – Adopt Agile Results and How To – Adopt the 12 Core Practices of Agile Results in the reference section of the guide. the best way is to start with “How To – Adopt Agile Results” in the appendix. It provides a quick. where you’ll find cheat reference … sheets and templates. The first part of this guide. building on earlier concepts. Part I. of course. This is the simplest way to get started and provides an incremen-tal approach to adopting Agile Results. actionable guidance. The second part of the guide is an in-depth reference. When you read “Chapter 2 – Agile Results Overview. and Friday Reflection. you’ll have a thorough understanding of the system. If you want to adopt the 12 core practices of Agile Results. or better. II. the best way to get the most value from the guide. and 3) Life Hot Spots. and Practices of Agile Results”. this How To describes a path that puts it all together. For a quick start … Take a test drive … Read the Fast Track in the reference section of the guide. step-by-step for adopting 3 key parts of Agile Results. The rest of the guide provides support and detailed advice to ensure best results as you implement the system and integrate it into your life. Principles.

Highly effective project management techniques are available today for managing scope. Learn the three keys to results. just doesn’t work in today’s world. Scrum and Agile practices are helping individuals and teams prioritize more effectively. learn how to adjust your sails to the tides and the winds to sail wherever it is you want to go with your life. sports psychologists have great techniques for improving the energy. test your results along the way and carve out the path that works for you. and scheduling. Learn how to improve your life with effective results. This big up front design and long-term planning. your ability to learn and respond is one of the most crucial skills to go from surviving to thriving. They even help athletes use stress to be their best. That doesn’t mean give up planning. For example. Agile Results is a flexible system for getting meaningful results. learn a job. Rather than a static set of dreams and ideals. 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. Before going into the nuts and bolts of a solution. and what distinguishes it as effective for everything you apply it to. you thought you could go to school. Agile is the ability to respond to change. Maybe when you grew up. maybe switch careers once or twice. The State of the Art vs. In software. estimating work. Don’t let the simplicity fool you. This chapter explains how Agile Results differs from other systems you may have seen or tried. It’s been tested in some of the most complex working environments. You can even apply Agile Results to your existing productivity system by applying the principles and practices. and respond to change. as well as in private life.In This Chapter    Learn how Agile Results is different from other systems. Instead. focus and results of world class athletes. Mini-goals and actions go a long way towards your biggest and most impactful results. body. and emotions. Agile Results is elegance in action. get to working results faster. One of the most important concepts in Agile Results is the idea of agility. . It combines the art and the science of results. it’s important to know the problem it solves and what sets it apart. Re-think your goals. and then retire happily ever after. It’s a cross-discipline approach for results that combines some of the most effective techniques in human performance for your mind. In a changing world.

There’s a gap between the state of the art and the state of the practice. while you may learn a lot of things in school or on the job. The state of the practice looks more like this:      You can’t keep up with change. It’s about thinking in terms of delivering value over simply working through your backlog or crossing off To-Dos. What was important last month or last week might not be what’s important now. Windows of opportunity are important. checking off items from a task list. Testing your results is a way to find the risks and surprises earlier versus later. What Makes Agile Results Different? What makes Agile Results different is that it integrates the world’s best techniques for results. Identify up front at what point do diminishing returns become unacceptable. each month. Have a bias for action. Outcomes provide a lens for focus. What does get finished isn’t what you actually wanted. You don’t finish what you start.  Test Your Results. By starting with outcomes. Rather than do a bunch of analysis and commit to a big plan up front. you learn the least about the most important thing that can change your life. What’s needed is an understanding of the art of results. It’s about doing “good enough” for now. What you take on is just as important as what you let go or “slough off. You feel like there’s never enough time.Yet. In Agile Results. and things are changing faster than ever. and versioning your results. You get a fresh start each day. the full potential of all this learning is rarely achieved in practice. and throwing more time and energy at problems won’t necessarily produce the results you want. Time changes what’s important. rather than try to figure out how long something might take. If you fall off the horse. A simple way to . Just doing more activities.  Fresh Start. you define what good will look like and you give yourself a compelling path to work towards. time is a first-class citizen. It’s about asking and answering what’s your next best thing to do. each week. That’s the agile part – be responsive to what’s important now. each year. Use the feedback to improve your plans. The problem is.” You don’t want to be a beast of burden where one more straw breaks your back. you can get back on. start by figuring out how much time you want to invest in it. This will help you cut your losses and figure out how to optimize your time. Outcomes are the results you want to accomplish. You regularly feel overwhelmed and drained. For example. start taking action and testing you results.  Outcomes Over Activities.  Time as a First-Class Citizen. This also includes using timeboxes effectively. Working on the right things to produce the right results for your current situation is a recipe for success.

They throw all their time in one area at the expense of other areas. sleeping. You can spread your time and energy across the important hot spots. What you won’t do is flex time.  The Rhythm of Results. For example.” You’ll find that action creates inspiration. Version your results over time.” Most people trip up by not setting boundaries. A lot of people wait for their moment of inspiration before they start.  Approach Over Results. you might allow yourself an hour for administration. you can catch the next one. If you miss a train. For example. Within this. Setting boundaries is how you can add balance to your life. Think of it as a set of trains that leave the station. Your tests for success answer the question. You might allow yourself two hours for think time and a minimum of an hour on communication and relationships.” You can set boundaries in terms of energy. You have an idea of what you want to accomplish and what good will look like. It’s like going to see a movie and then enjoying it more than you expected. By fixing time. Boundaries are simply minimums and maximums. Iterate on your results.  Fix Time. and working out. You’ll gradually learn to bite off what you can accomplish and manage your plate more effectively. The rhythm of results is your daily. and improve it. and the year. . Setting boundaries is a key to success. You’ll produce more effective results by spending the right time and energy on the right things. “I’ll spend no more than an hour on that. Flex Scope. You should also be able to improve your approach over time. At the same time.remember this is “do it. you will bite off the work you can do. weekly.  Boundaries. Within that time frame. you want to catch certain trains because of your time frames and windows of opportunity. It’s what you fall back on when you don’t know the way forward. tell yourself. you identify your tests for success. Your approach should be consistent with your values. You might allow yourself four hours for execution. but what they don’t realize is that simply by starting. review it. monthly. How you accomplish your results is more important than the results themselves in the long run. tell yourself. They’ll work on something until they crash. the inspiration can follow. At a high level. Your approach should be sustainable. You can set boundaries with time. you might fix time to be a 40 hour or 50 hour work week. You won’t throw more hours at the problem each day. For example. For example. This is about flowing value incrementally. you can decide that work is an eight hour day. you can set timeboxes to produce results. The main things to set a fixed time for are eating. and yearly results. you set yourself up for success. Knowing your tests for success helps you prioritize. You can also fix time within work. the month. the week.  Tests for Success. Your approach should play to your strengths and limit your weaknesses. “What will good look like?” Simply by figuring out the three outcomes you want for the day. Your approach is your foundation. “I’ll stop when I start to feel tired.

In the next chapters. You’re not static. you’ll see the “what” and “how” behind Agile Results. and technique. It’s about letting go what’s not working. Rather than spend all your time improving your weaknesses. This is how you use your time and energy more effectively. Your results are a combination of time. getting the feedback. energy. Improving the way you produce results. While it’s important to reduce your liabilities. have more passion. You learn the best ways of doing things over time and avoid painful pitfalls. By using more effective techniques. changes your game. Whether it’s getting your body in shape. Sometimes having fun is more important than results.  Continuous Learning. and Agile Results helps you with that too. you’ll improve the way you produce results. In areas that you are weak. It’s about personalizing your approach and continuously refining it to meet your needs. Knowing how to produce results effectively and efficiently. It’s about taking action. Your weekly reflection will help you learn more about yourself in terms of your strengths. you can tune and prune what works for you. you can find more effective mentors or pair up with other people who help you amplify your results. Life’s Better with Results When you lead a life of results. results is the name of the game. . Learning is a firstclass citizen. you make things happen. and Technique. excellence at work. You’ll see how to achieve your best results by combining the power of multiple patterns and practices.  Strengths Over Weaknesses. When you have routines for how you produce results. and changing your approach. while it’s another to have a system you can count on. Skills aren’t static. just throwing your energy into things. you can amplify your results. While improving your results. or just getting things done around the house. and testing new ways to achieve your results. The world’s not static. your weaknesses. Here are some examples of how Agile Results can work for you:   You find your flow and are focused and engaged in whatever you do. Energy. spend your time playing to your strengths. will improve your enjoyment and fulfillment no matter what you work on. you’ll go further. Time. If you can’t outsource your weaknesses. your passions.  System Over Ad-Hoc. you can learn and improve. your bottlenecks. You don’t want to just throw more time at problems. and produce more effective results by spending more time in your strengths. When you have a system. It’s one thing to produce results randomly. You also don’t want to burn yourself out. one of your best moves is to partner or team up with others that supplement you. and ultimately your results.

It’s meaningful results. It’s valuing your time. It’s having an enjoyable journey towards a compelling end in mind. You can master task management and miss windows of opportunity. You regularly enjoy power hours and creative hours to unleash your best results. What are the real keys to results? There are three keys that can change your game pretty quickly: . 3 Keys to Results You can master your time management only to spend your time on the wrong things. You have a rhythm of results that helps you get up to bat time and again. You get more out of life when you have a sustainable approach. You spend less time working but produce more effective results. The key is a flexible approach that supports you. It’s balancing your demands. You play to your strengths and live your values. The Way of Results The way of results is moving forward. You find your best work life balance. It’s learning over failing.     You’re responsive to change and have unlimited energy to take on whatever life throws your way. You get more out of life when you know what you want to get. It’s taking action. It’s growth over decline. It’s outcomes over activities.

Key 1. You don’t get more hours in a day. When you think about energy. then you’ve missed out on the benefits of managing energy. Your energy depends on fulfilling your passions. but never actually get the results you want. simply by swapping out for more effective techniques. and get ripped at the gym. The Key to Time Management is Energy Management Managing your energy is how you produce more results in the same amount of time. Key 2. sleep like a baby. but you didn’t focus on exploring your techniques. The key is to spend your time working on the right things with your best energy and the best techniques. You can’t just throw time at problems. there’s a good chance that you can get back a lot of time and energy each week. and emotions play off each other. Key 3. You will see how to apply these keys throughout this guide. The three keys of results are shifts in thinking. and you throw time at the problem. but you can change your level of energy. but you don’t have the right technique. body. think of your mind. For example. Your mind. if you have a lot of energy. body. you can spend way more time than you need to. You can eat right. or emotionally drained. If you’ve tackled productivity as an exercise in task management. On the other hand. and emotions. . you improve your results. You can get physically drained. In Summary  Agile Results is a personal productivity system that combines the best patterns and practices from a variety of disciplines. if you’ve approached productivity as simply managing time. or mentally drained. Energy and Technique The key to results is using your time and energy more effectively and efficiently. you can churn and burn. If you’ve thrown time and energy at problems. but you don’t have enough energy. If you throw time at a problem. If you can spend more time in your power hours or add more power hours to your week.  There is a gap between the state of the art and the state of the practice when it comes to results. The Key to Energy Management is Passion Living with passion is a key to your best results. then you’ve potentially missed out on producing meaningful results or playing to your passions. The Key to Results is Time.

the week. you bite off three things. Here are the key parts of the system: 1. Agile Results is a system for results. and Friday Reflection. This is a simple time-based pattern. and personal development. This chapter provides an overview of the Agile Results system. you can use The Rule of 3 to pick three outcomes for the day. The Rule of 3. and combine time. spend more time in your passion to improve your energy. It’s a collection of principles. It draws from lessons learned and bodies of knowledge in project management. software engineer. lots of people know what to do. patterns. Knowing is not enough! You must take action. you think about three outcomes you would like for the .Tony Robbins In This Chapter   Learn the basics of the Agile Results system. For example. Daily Outcomes. Learn how to map out important areas of your work and life to invest your time and energy more effectively.Agile Results Overview “You see. and your three outcomes for the week are a higher-level than your three outcomes for the day. your three outcomes for the year are a higher level than your three outcomes for the month. This helps you see the forest from the trees. The three keys to results are: improve your results by improving your energy. Rather than bite off more than you can chew. and technique for your most effective results. This is a guideline that helps you prioritize and scope. It’s a simple system optimized around time. You use The Rule of 3 at different levels.  Learn a pattern for weekly results. Chapter 2 . Agile Results has a special emphasis on simplicity. the month. 2. For example. Monday Vision. On Mondays. but few people actually do what they know. energy. in life. and the year.” -. and practices for getting results. Each week is a fresh start.

you ask yourself. Agile Results is compatible with and can enhance the results of any productivity system you already use. You can use Agile Results for work or home or anywhere you need to improve your results in life. personal. and life. 3. simply make a list of the key things that need your time and energy. Scannable outcomes are simply a tickler list to remind you of what you want to accomplish. They’re your lens to help you focus on what’s important in your life. It helps to organize your Hot Spots by work. What three things are going well and what three things need improvement?” This weekly pattern helps you build momentum. On Friday. They can represent areas of opportunity or pain. you should be able to quickly see the balls you’re juggling and what’s on your plate. Each day you identify three outcomes you would like for the day.week. On Friday’s. Hot Spots help you map out your results. At a glance. you reflect on lessons learned. “What do you want to accomplish?” for each of these key areas. Hot Spots are your main dashboard. Hot Spots. you have a map for your results. To find your hot spots. Agile Results at a Glance This is a bird’s-eye view of Agile Results. They are the key levers in the system. The goal is to easily answer the question. . Most importantly you should have scannable outcomes for your hot spots. When you know the results you want in your hot spots in your work and personal life.

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

These could be reflected in projects or simply as work streams or activities. You can overinvest in your career at the expense of your body. If you’re not in the right job. Think of tickler lists where each item is just enough information to remind you. Scannability is important. Ideally. You can use the hot spots as a frame for reflection to keep a gauge on your success. For example. They are a set of categories that tend to be important for continuous success. Think of this as what you want to accomplish. you find a way that it gets easier to amplify your results across the hot spots. In each of these hot spots. and have fun. For example. Investing in your relationships can help with your career. and focus.Hot Spots Hot Spots are areas that deserve your attention. on the right things. Invest in Your Hot Spots Invest your time and energy across your Hot Spots. Life Frame The Life Frame is a set of Hot Spots for life. investing in your mind and body helps with your emotions. What’s important is to know your hot spots at a glance and what you want to accomplish. you’re either growing or dying. Either way. At a high level. keep your emotions in check. You can think of them as a portfolio of results:  Mind . and personal. energy. making the right impact can take care of several of your hot spots. working with the right people. they are areas that need your time. you might find yourself working extra hard to grow your mind. These could be opportunities or they could be pain points. For example. work. you can think in terms of life. The hot spots can also negatively impact one another. you can overinvest in your career at the expense of your relationships. This is a key for agility. in the right job. The hot spots support each other.

and working out. Anything you’re not actively working on. you should see a set of outcomes at a glance. you have a place to put things. Otherwise. The outcomes will help you see the forest from the trees. Active projects are the work projects that you are actively working on. you can skip this part. The basics are eating. You know you have a good set of lists when you can quickly tell at a glance what your current projects are. It’s about learning skills for feeling good.      Body Emotions Career Financial Relationships Fun Mind includes investing time to learn thinking techniques and keeping your mind sharp. Financial includes investing time to learn patterns and practices for building and sustaining wealth. Body includes investing time in keeping your body in shape. If you aren’t used to thinking in terms of projects. you can simply think of all the balls you are currently juggling at work. a simple thing to do is make a simple list for each of your active projects. focus on these areas to get crisp at work:    Activities Active Items Backlog Activities are anything you need to spend your time and energy on. work. is your backlog. For your active projects. The Emotions category includes investing time to keep your emotions healthy. Work Hot Spots If you don’t work for a living. It includes learning patterns and practices for health. Career includes your job and professional activities. rather than have them float around in your head. You can do the same for your backlog. sleeping. It includes learning emotional intelligence and keeping your emotions in check. Fun includes investing time to for play and doing whatever you enjoy. This gives you a place to write down important outcomes. The Relationships category includes relationships at home. Make one list for each backlog project. By having a list. congratulations. In each project list. . but you plan to. and life.

Your three outcomes for the week will help guide you. This could be anything from writing a book to fixing the house. It’s easy to prioritize three things. On Friday. These are the balls you are juggling at home. This is the Rule of 3. Monday Vision. It’s easy to remember three things. you reflect on your accomplishments. Friday Reflection This is a simple pattern for weekly results: On Mondays. A simple way to accomplish this is to ask . Each day. Daily Outcomes.Personal Hot Spots These are your personal projects and things you spend time on outside of work:    Activities Active Items Backlog Activities are anything from a recurring task to things you need to spend your time and energy on. Identify three key results for the day. You can then carve out the results to help you get there. you start from scratch. Active Projects are the personal projects you are actively working on. identify three compelling results you’d like for the week. Backlog is the list of projects you plan to do but aren’t actually working on. It’s your chance to define what a good week will look like. Monday Vision Each Monday is a fresh start at a new week.

identify the most important outcomes for the week. you can use whatever is already working for you. Each day. Value can be for yourself or others. There are several benefits to using Daily Outcomes. Next. Writing things down can also help put things in perspective. email. Take the time to see the forest from the trees. You get a fresh start .   Name your list using today’s date (e. you have your tests for success.Each day is a new opportunity to deliver value. list any of your SHOULD or COULD items. Here are the key things to keep in mind:  Identify three outcomes for the day. what are the three most important results that you want to have under your belt? Here are the keys to Monday Vision:    Each Monday. it’s actually combining simplicity with focus.yourself. Now. is a clean slate. (Your streams include meetings. conversations. Note that even if you already have a To Do system. whenever you look at your To Do list. These are the results you’ve chosen as the most important and will therefore get the laser-like focus they deserve. prioritization.g. Remember that value is in the eye of the beholder. Your three outcomes will help guide you and help you prioritize your actions and tasks against the results you want to achieve. Then. the guiding question is. if this were Friday.)  Adjust your outcomes as appropriate. what three things do you want to accomplish for today? If you do nothing else. 2010-01-11). As you fish your various streams for potential actions. simply write down or remember three of your most important outcomes for the day. think in terms of value up -. While it seems simple. Daily Outcomes Ultimately. Simply add your three outcomes to the top. Rather than think of it as backlog burndown. be mindful of your three outcomes. or bursts of brilliance throughout the day. and a conscious choice around value and results. Start by listing your MUST items. The list gives you a place to dump things so that you don’t fill your head with noise. use The Rule of 3 to bubble up what’s most important. Use The Rule of 3 to help you narrow down to the three most important outcomes for the week.

Identify three things going well. Rather than base your day on things you didn’t get done.each day. Evaluate your energy levels. Lower priority or lower value naturally sloughs off. and change your approach. a whiteboard. as well as set expectations more effectively with others. Friday is a great day to reflect back on your week.) You decide on what to carry forward each day. or store things electronically. and things that you want to start doing. Identify three things that need improvement. . based on your results. you base your day on what you want to accomplish and what has the most impact or value for you at this point in time. or other people. It’s a process of continuous improvement that helps you refine your overall process for results. weekly reinforcement will make a substantial difference. It’s your chance to identify things that you want to stop doing. Action Factoring your actions from your reference information is one of the simplest moves to improve your results. Over time. A good reflection system is not simply listing three things going well and three things to improve. It’s light-weight. or didn't. you focus on the most valuable things (whether for you. Here are the key things:      Evaluate what you got done. Each day. and works whether you use pen and paper. what’s not. Remember that each week is a fresh start. Carry your lessons forward to your Monday Vision. your job. especially if you’re using the time to really hone in on what’s working. the more you will learn to adjust your own expectations. and each day is another chance to get up to bat. It’s taking the time to use it as a true learning session. and why. The more you check your results. This simple process can have amazing impact across your work and life. Friday Reflection One of the most important things you start to learn is your actual capacity.

but that you need to remember. Here’s a summary of each type:    Daily Outcomes Queues Scripts Daily Outcomes are a tickler list of outcomes for each day. you can make it easier to perform the task each time instead of trying to remember what to do. Create a new list each day. Create a simple list for each of your significant projects or key activities. Queues are tickler lists of outcomes and tasks. By having it written down. Think of it as putting one of your routines down into writing. This is input for your Daily Outcomes list. Instead. Scripts are a list of steps in sequence to help you perform a task. You can also use it as a baseline to improve by sharing your script with others and getting feedback. If you have to filter through a bunch of reference to find your actions. it’s better to have a home for action items and a home for reference items. Reference Think of reference as information that you need to refer to. It’s also a place to put things that you won’t get done for the day.This is especially true if tend to have a lot of tickler lists and reminders that are really more notes than action. the friction adds up. . This is your information around action items and taking action. Reference is simply input for you.

Here are some example collection pools:     Ideas Notes Weekly Results Monthly Results Ideas are a tickler list of ideas. where. It’s easy to fall into routines simply by how. Use the Weekly Results and Monthly Results to keep score. Consider having a single place to consolidate your ideas. your calendar drives you.It may help you perform your action items but it’s not actually actionable information. notes. Remember it’s not doing less that makes you feel better or stronger. and results. Calendar Carve out time for what’s important. The beauty is that once you’ve organized your calendar in a way that supports you. Notes are tickler lists of insights or data points or anything you need to refer to as your notes. You can use collection pools to consolidate and organize your reference information. Monthly Results are tickler lists of actual results accomplished each month. list your actual results as Weekly Results. It’s spending more time in your strengths and following . and when you spend your time. If you don’t drive your calendar. list the three outcomes you want for the week on Monday. but supporting information would be your reference. for your Weekly Outcomes. It’s how you organize your time. Your calendar is one of your most important tools. For example your To Do list would be your actions. Also consider making a simple way to scan your weekly and monthly results to make sure that you’re moving in the direction you want to go. For example. Do the same thing for your Monthly Outcomes and Monthly Results. Weekly Results are tickler lists of actual results accomplished for each week. then on Friday. you have more energy for everything you do and you get to recharge.

and fun. Most importantly. financial. weekly. The results add up fast. and each month. . Daily Outcomes. Then whether you’re looking at a day. each week. Daily. It’s an incremental sketch of your results. and not get bogged down in the tasks themselves. it’s a very simple way to frame out results. it’s easy to step back and think in terms of three items. body. Monthly Results Think of the rhythm of results in terms of daily. For example. Make (and keep) appointments with yourself (schedule time for execution or think time as you need it). relationships. Use The Rule of 3 to accomplish three meaningful results each day. and monthly. the three results for the month are much higher level than the three outcomes for the week.  Monday Vision. and monthly results. The Rhythm of Results Having a rhythm for your results helps you build routines and improve your ability to get results. It’s a quick way to traverse a lot of action that’s spread over time. emotions. weekly. The Life Frame is a set of Hot Spots for life and includes: mind. Block time for what’s important. Weekly. rendered daily. The more energy you have the more you can accomplish with less effort and less churn. you can quickly look at the bigger picture. which are much higher than the outcomes for each day. The more time you spend in your strengths. and Friday reflection is a pattern for weekly results. a week or a month. Here are the key things to keep in mind:    Schedule your results. and less time doing things that make you weak. Balance is your friend. Rather than get caught up in the details. career.your passions.   Spend more time in your strengths than in your weaknesses. the more energy you will have. In Summary   Invest your time and energy across your Hot Spots.

The core practices are a simple set of methods and techniques for implementing Agile Results. identify three key results you want for the week. Principles.” – Bruce Lee In This Chapter    Learn the key values of Agile Results. The foundation for Agile Results is a set of 10 values. Design your weekly schedule so that you make time for what's important and you balance across your hot spots. Chapter 3 . If you find yourself distracted by another focus. Learn the key practices of Agile Results. and 12 practices. The principles are guidelines. the principles help me choose a path. Discard what is not. On Fridays. Rather than big. Whenever I come to a fork in the road. Use the Rule of 3 to decide three results you want to accomplish today. Agile Results is optimized for responding to change. and Practices “Absorb what is useful. Simply adopt the practices you need and you can adopt them one at a time. The supporting practices (found in the Cheat Sheets) provide additional tools for success. up front design. including the trade-offs I made. A minimal implementation is simple. ask yourself whether that should be the next best . The values provide insight into how I shaped Agile Results into a system. think of three things going well and three things to improve. it’s about paving a path and finding a way forward. Factor action from reference information. Dedicate laser-like focus to achieving these three results. Each day. Learn the key principles of Agile Results. Add what is uniquely your own.     On Mondays. identify three key results you want for the day.Values. The practices transform the principles and values into action. Agile Results is flexible. You don’t have to adopt all the practices at once. It’s a flexible system that you can tune or tailor as needed. One way to think of the Agile Results approach is that it’s an iterative and incremental system for producing results in your life. 10 principles.

In addition to eating right. Friday Reflection pattern. where you just don’t have the energy. adopt the Hot Spots.thing to do. It’s not about doing more. You can’t control your results. improve your rhythm by adopting new practices. adopt the Monday Vision. and working out. Taking action is the best recipe for analysis paralysis. It’s your call. 6. and response. start taking action. As you establish a rhythm of results. and yearly results. Rather than over-engineer or try to figure out everything up front. Daily Outcomes. You can control your attitude. A fixed mindset means that you think something was born that way and won’t change. Focus is your force multiplier. sleeping right. A growth mindset means that you can learn and respond. learning your own strengths and weaknesses. it’s a lifetime pattern for results and success. It’s better to produce something that you can improve or iterate on. You also pay more attention to . you have a means for achieving daily. you help avoid learned helplessness. 3. 2. Using the Monday Vision to define three outcomes for the week. Energy Over Time. Indeed. Approach Over Results. actions. 5. Values are a way to help make trade-offs when there are a lot of options and possibilities. weekly. you don’t need to pay full attention to them to get started. You’ll get more done in one power hour than throwing lots of hours at a problem. and making adjustments which work best for you. Here are the key values in Agile Results: 1. Action Over Analysis Paralysis. consider resetting your focus to one of the three which you’ve defined as the most important outcomes of the day. If not. Your results will inform your thinking and you can change your course as needed. Don’t let perfectionism get in the way. perhaps you should swap it for one of your initial three results. Next. focusing each day on three Daily Outcomes (many of which will drive your three weekly outcomes). 4. An effective system uses values to help guide and identify relevant principles and the practices. Growth Mindset Over Fixed Mindset. These three are either the most important outcomes for your day. Good Enough Over Perfection. Use your results as a gauge and for feedback. It’s about focusing on the right things. Focus Over Quantity. and using Friday Reflection to analyze what worked and what didn’t. monthly. Next. Focus on keeping your energy strong. Though Hot Spots are an integral part of Agile Results. 10 Values Values set the stage. By adopting a growth mindset. If so. than to continuously block yourself while striving for perfection. or they’re not. the key to energy is following your passion and living your values.

Most importantly. other people. Results are the best measure. use your learnings to improve your results. If you do work on your weaknesses. you can move yourself up the stack and automatically invest yourself in higher level matters. By having a system for the basics. It’s how you will improve over time. By thinking in terms of value up.your situation and feedback. This is a valueup strategy. 5. 10. Tune and adjust as you go. 7. you have something to fall back on or to turn to when you need it. Here are the key principles for Agile Results: 1. . System Over Ad Hoc. or your employer. You free your mind by having trusted places to look and a trusted process to fall back on. By getting clarity on what you want to accomplish. it's about shifting to spend 80 percent of your time in action. This flexibility is your key to results. Less is More. then focus on reducing your key liabilities. think in terms of creating value. Continuous Learning. Find a way to flow value. Deliver Incremental Value. By focusing on your results instead of your activities. 9. you can be flexible in your approach. 2. This can be value for yourself. Rather than just work through your backlog. 4. It gives you a firm foundation. Spending more time or doing more things isn’t a good measure of productivity. you get in the habit of asking. Spend more time in your strengths than in your weaknesses. Rather than spend all your energy improving your weaknesses. Strengths Over Weaknesses. 8. It helps you build credibility with yourself and others. 80/20 Action. let it go. 3. Outcomes Over Activities. what’s the next best thing to do? 10 Principles Principles are simply a set of guiding rules. You also become more flexible in your approach. you can flow value. Rather than wait for a big bang at the end. When you get off track. Change Your Approach. If it’s not working. As you change and as things change around you. spend your energy maximizing your strengths. You’ll get more payback. Value Up Over Backlog Burndown. Bite off what you can chew and reduce work that’s in flight. You can experiment more. you can place value on where you spend your time. Rather than spend 80 percent stuck in analysis and only 20 percent doing. Having a system for results is a powerful thing. you free your mind. Chunking up your results helps you build momentum.

are bigger than the three outcomes for your day. You should keep your action items separate from reference. Rhythm of Results. Factor Action from Reference. Treat time like as a first-class citizen. Combined with the ten values and ten principles. You can improve your results on each pass. Decide what you want to accomplish for the week. The Rule of 3 will help you stay focused on the vital few things that matter. persona. 8.just don’t overflow your plate on each trip. relationships). The three outcomes for the year are bigger than the three outcomes for the month are bigger than the three outcomes for the week. 12 Core Practices of Agile Results At the heart of any system is a set of practices. Outcomes guide your action. This also helps you manage scope. weekly. financial. Focus on daily. reflect on your results. This helps you fight perfectionism and produce incremental results. This helps reduce the signal to noise ratio. Identify three key outcomes each day.6. each month. Think of it as a buffet of results and you can keep going back -. emotions. the twelve core practices complete the foundation of Agile Results: 1. and fun. 9. mind. body. Monday Vision. The habit becomes a ritual that produces a feeling of accomplishment. Think of this as what’s on your radar. career. and life hot spots. Identify your three key outcomes. emotions. Flex Scope. At the end of the week. Instead. Next. Fix Time. and each year. Friday Reflection. The key is to have a minimum in some categories and a maximum in others. Version Your Results. It’s the practices that make or break a system. monthly. Make progress each day. Set boundaries in terms of time or energy. For example. 7. Scannable Outcomes. Keep your outcomes scannable at a glance. . create a list of outcomes for your life frame (body. It’s all too easy to bite off more than you can chew. relationships. At a glance. financial. 10. This helps you see the forest from the trees. first nail the three items you wanted to accomplish. you should be able to see what you want to accomplish and what you’re spending your time and energy on. Set Boundaries. Organize outcomes by your work. Daily Outcomes. First set time boundaries. The Rule of 3. 3. 2. and yearly results. This is the heart of your Daily Outcomes. fun. Consider boundaries for the following hot spots: mind. Building a rhythm builds a habit that you don't have to think about. Version 3 will be better than version 2 will be better than version 1. career. each week. and then bite off more. bite off what you can chew within those boundaries.

The idea is that 30 days is enough time to experiment with your results throughout the month. Daily Outcomes. or now is the most opportunistic time. if it’s something that should be done by somebody else. A month is a good chunk of time to check your progress. If it's taking more than 20% of your day. 6. Always start with your three most important outcomes for the week (The Rule of 3). Always start your list with your three most important outcomes for the day. while listing the rest of your To Dos below that. Push the toughest things that drain you to the start of the week to create a glide path. This gives you a chance to cycle through 12 things over the year. ask yourself what are 3 things you want to accomplish? (The Rule of 3). Each day. schedule it. Each week is a new chance for results. Each month. Spend more time with people that make you strong and less time with people that make you weak. This way you have a reminder of what you want to accomplish. it helps you figure out where to optimize your day and prioritize. 5. 9. Delegate It.4. Grow yourself stronger over time. pick something new. Sometimes you just can't get rid of the things that make you weak. Be careful not to confuse things that make you weak. Stuff the things that make you weak into a timebox. Apply this to your week too. You can always repeat a sprint. keep hacking away. if it’s something you need to get done. you create a glide-path for the rest of the day. or if it will cost you more pain. or delegate it. with resistance that makes you stronger. Each day is a new chance for results. Each week focus on spending more time on activities that make you strong and less time on activities that make you weak. queue it. Use daily tickler lists for action items. Set limits. Timebox Your Day. 7. . Triage incoming action items to either do it. think time. Strong Week. Set boundaries for how much time you spend on things. Do It. You might not see progress after the first couple weeks while you’re learning. To start. if it’s the next best thing for you to do. Create a new list each week. Monthly Improvement Sprint. Triage. in that case. If you keep time a constant (by ending your day at a certain time). Create a new list each day. Queue It (add it to your queue). work time. 8. Pick one thing to improve for the month. By doing your worst things first. add more things that energize you and make you strong. Weekly Outcomes. Push activities that make you weak to the first part of your day. you can carve up your day into big buckets: administration. time or effort to do it later. Schedule It. if you need a block of time to get the work done. and people time. The key to an effective Daily Outcome list is that you keep your 3 outcomes for the day at the top. Do the same with people. but now is not the right time.

Next. but if it’s not actionable. Use the values. Yearly Results. Weekly Outcomes. and good to know. Next. . and Scripts. Knowing the values helps you understand the priorities and trade-offs of the Agile Results system. Life’s not static. Learn how to invest in your relationships more effectively. Queues. Neither are your results.  You don't have to adopt Agile Results all at once. Weekly Results.  The simplest way to get started with Agile Results is to adopt the Rule of 3 and identify three results you want to accomplish for today. adopt the Monday Vision. then it’s reference. Reference Collections. Notes.Hot Spots “One reason so few of us achieves what we truly want is that we never direct our focus. It might be helpful information. Consider the following action lists: Daily Outcomes. You can store your reference information as tickler lists or notes. This is simply a decision. This is reference information. Action Lists. you can adopt the Agile Results practices incrementally. Track your actions with tickler lists. principles. pervasive or permanent. Daily Outcomes. You decide that you’ll learn and grow. If you get knocked down.10. Learn how to use Hot Spots to set boundaries to improve your work life balance.”—Tony Robbins In This Chapter    Learn how to use Hot Spots to focus and invest your time and energy in major areas of your life. 12. You decide that no problem is personal. you’ll get up again. Growth Mindset. Chapter 4 . and practices as a starting point. Here are some example reference lists you might keep: Ideas. adopt Hot Spots to help achieve a balanced life. Monthly Results. The principles are guidelines which help you make choices. it's flexible by design. 11. In Summary   Tailor and adapt Agile Results to suit your own needs. Some information is not actionable. Friday Reflection pattern to help you achieve weekly results. we never concentrate our power.

” A heat map is simply a bird’s-eye view of what’s important. and life.g. More importantly. personal. create “scannable outcomes” so at a glance you can see your Hot Spots and desired outcomes. The primary goal of using Hot Spots is to have a quick way to identify. Keeping them simple and scannable. makes it easy to update your goals and aspirations as they change. Knowing the results you want for your Hot Spots forces you to get clarity. Heat maps are often used in the military to . By investing across your Hot Spots. Time has a way of changing what’s important now. and focus should be. you have a way to keep your life in check.This chapter is an elaboration and drill down into the concept of Hot Spots as it applies to Agile Results. organize and scan what’s important. Next explicitly name the outcomes you want are for each of these Hot Spots. It’s where the action is or should be. you can imagine a “heat map. energy. Your Hot Spots are your heat map. e. By thinking in terms of Hot Spots. Finally. That’s the agile part. Hot Spots help shine the spotlight on things that are important. Remember that the sum is more than the parts and that the Hot Spots actually support each other. it’s where your attention. as a tickler list. By having a simple set of Hot Spots. The key is setting boundaries. you keep your life in balance and you invest in yourself for the long run. simply identify minimums and maximums where you need them. Factoring the Hot Spots out is a way to help you focus and get clarity on where a particular dimension of your life is at. Hot Spots Where do you need to spend your time? What do you need to focus on? Hot Spots are a simple metaphor for thinking about what’s important.. Start by identifying your most important Hot Spots for work. What’s important will change as you learn more and gain clarity or adjust to new situations. To set boundaries.

and fun. body. simply visualize the clusters of important things going on in your life. your primary threats are things that negatively impact your mind. For example. relationships. On the personal side. body. financial. On the opportunity side. financial. and fun. This is especially true if you don’t know what to look for. you can imagine new interests. In fact. and roles. personal. You can think of your life Hot Spots in terms of mind. Maybe a bit of focus would help you unblock results in these Hot Spots. you can figure out which levers matter most.show clusters of important activity. Instead. “What’s on your radar?” You don’t need to know all the details and your map doesn’t need to be complete. business ideas. You want to find the right levers to either get unstuck or maximize your results. look for the big threats and opportunities in your work projects and activities and in your personal projects and activities. You can also imagine areas that have a lot of friction. You also want to avoid spending all your time fighting fires while missing out on opportunities. you can imagine areas that you’ve neglected and are now causing you pain. See the Forest from the Trees When you’re in the thick of things. You can start to see patterns. it’s easier to gain insight. For your heat map. For example. you can think of Hot Spots in terms of work. and life. activities. You want to avoid getting blind-sided or over-investing in one area at the expense of another. you need to know your main threats and opportunities. You should be able to know at a glance where the pain or opportunity is. career. it can be tough to see the bigger picture. At a lower-level. if you aren’t sure where to start. You would either spend all your time updating the map to be complete and what’s important would get buried among the details. you can also think of you roles as well as any personal projects. Maybe they are just a little tougher than they should be. You can do the same for work and personal. At a high-level. Within each of those Hot Spots. You get a better lens for what’s working and what’s not. you can at least think of work in terms of your projects. Hot Spots as Your Heat Map As a heat map. emotions. career. The heat map can show either opportunities or pain points. When you know what to look for. . that would actually get in the way. or potential game changers. your Hot Spots help you answer the question. relationships. at the macro level. emotions. Your opportunities are things that will add value or improve your life in these areas. When you know where to look. Hot Spots can help you see the forest from the trees in a few ways. you can then identify the main things for you that are important. On the pain side. Your heat map of Hot Spots let’s you take a step back.

are you investing in your relationships? Are you investing in fun? Your portfolio will have its ups and downs. This works in conjunction with the portfolio metaphor. They help you more thoughtfully spread your life force across your portfolio.Hot Spots as Your Portfolio Your Hot Spots are a portfolio. it helps you manage risk. You might be overinvesting in some areas. “Where should you invest your time for maximum results?” When you think of your results as a portfolio. This will help you focus when it counts. are you investing the same time and energy in your wok as in your personal life? Are you making time for fun? With the Hot Spots you have a frame for balancing your results. the simplest way to organize your Hot Spots is by three areas:    Life Frame Work Home Life includes your key areas in life. Think of this as simply packaging up your pain and opportunities so that you can free up your mind and take action more effectively. For example. When you have a set of Hot Spots. For example. Organizing Your Hot Spots At a high level. while ignoring or overinvesting in others. The portfolio metaphor helps you carve out time for what’s important. you can better balance your life. They can help you find key indicators for your personal performance. the more you have going on in your life. or emotions. Balancing Your Hot Spots Hot Spots give you a bit of scaffolding to help structure and support your life. Work Hot Spots would include . the more you benefit from consolidating and organizing your pain and opportunities. and Hot Spots allow you to identify areas that need the most attention. You already spend your time and energy on a variety of things. Hot Spots help you answer the question. It’s also an easy way to turn pain and opportunity into action. Know Your Top Three Pain Points and Opportunities One way to achieve clarity of mind is to know your top three pain points and opportunities. In fact. such as your body. The opposite is to have an endless list of pain points and an endless list of opportunities that you will never act on. It will also help you avoid getting over-whelmed. mind.

You can also focus on finding key patterns and practices that help you improve in these areas. On the other hand. It’s how you chunk up your overall time and energy. Here’s a starter set of categories you can use to think about the areas in your life that need your focus and energy: By identifying a set of Hot Spots. Here are some example questions for each hot spot area: .any projects or activities or roles at work. as well as the trade-offs you make. Personal Hot Spots would include any projects or activities or roles at home. Asking Questions with the Life Frame You can use the Life Frame to help you ask better questions to drive results. Life Frame This is the big picture. you get rewarded. There are certain areas in life that if you invest in. if you ignore these categories. you can be more deliberate about how you spend your time and energy. you get penalized.

Use your Hot Spots to set boundaries.Setting Boundaries You should set minimums and maximums for your Hot Spots in terms of time and energy. If not properly allocated they can also work against each other. Set your limits and test results. This keeps you from getting over-invested. step one is deciding to spend no more than 50 hours each week on your career hot spot. The key is to use . and fun. This is how you start improving plate management and pushing back effectively. You’re forced to bite off only what you can chew. In this case. you might set a max on career and a min on relationships. You can only spread your life force over so much. body. Note that you might need to set the opposite limits. The categories help support each other. For example.

Schedule time in your calendar to reflect and reinforce these boundaries.  When you set a maximum in the right categories. This way. You may have a lot of outcomes or results that you want to achieve. themes.boundaries and limits to keep yourself balanced and improve your results. but that you aren’t actively working on right now (your backlog. recurring activity. if you only have eight hours to throw at your day. Key Insights  When you set a minimum in the right categories. etc. role or responsibility and see your three main outcomes at a glance. Make a list for each big. To get a handle on your activities. mentoring. or responsibility. you can improve your results and free up your mind to focus on higher-level strategies and outcomes. and then list the rest after that. Work Hot Spots You can group your 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 your job by thinking in terms of your recurring activities. For example. and things that you plan to work on. This will let you see your job at a glance. list the most important three results at the top. identify your key activities. For example. role. you can quickly walk each significant activity. In this case. managing budgets. any active projects that you’re working on. you may have activities such as administration. you learn how to become more effective. or major roles or responsibilities. .) By organizing your mind. The key is to reduce time spent. you avoid getting unbalanced and spending too much time or energy in a category at the expense of others. you’ll use them wisely. You can then identify the main outcomes that you want for each of these activities. holding meetings.   The worst mistake it to continually throw more time at problems. while increasing value and improving your efficiency and effectiveness.

In each project list. The outcomes will help you see the forest from the trees. It’s a way to more thoughtfully invest in yourself. They are easy to update or throw away as needed. These are the balls you are juggling at home. such as spiritual or social. This is your “queue. the first thing to do is make a list for each one of your active projects. you can very quickly remind yourself of what’s important and you can very quickly adjust your plans if you’re not getting where you want to go. Make one list for each project in your backlog that you are not actively working on. rather than their floating around in your head. By periodically reviewing these lists. what all the current projects on your radar are. They are lightweight and scannable. If you aren’t used to thinking in terms of projects.For active projects. The value of these lists is that they are a simple way to stay focused on what you want to accomplish. It’s a high level way to remind you to spread your life force across your meaningful buckets. rather than store it all in your head. . They can help serve as scaffolding for your work life. Life Frame Hot Spots Here are some simple prompts to help you think of Hot Spots in your life. simply think of all the balls you are currently juggling at work.” It’s a place where you can queue up your work. You can do the same for your backlog. You may want to add some other Hot Spots for your life. By having a list. The list is not meant to be complete or exhaustive. when you can quickly tell at a glance. The key is to have a simple heat map of what’s important for you. This gives you a place to write down important outcomes or tasks. you should see a set of outcomes at a glance. You know you have a good set of lists. Home Hot Spots You can group your Hot Spots at work into the following buckets:    Activities Active Projects Backlog These are your personal projects or activities outside of work. you have a place to put things. This could be anything from writing a book to fixing the house.

respiratory. martial arts. Pilates.e. gustatory. etc.) Clarity (vision. excretory. endocrine.)     Senses (auditory. illness. loss. task at hand. sadness.) Emotions (acceptance. weightlifting. reproductive. etc. prevention.Hot Spot Mind         Body     Example Hot Spots Anxiety (i. coping with and reducing anxiety. anger. digestive. anticipation. fear.) Creativity Critical Thinking Learning Mental Models Optimism Vision Dental Eating (nutrition) Exercise (sports. joy. medicine. kinesthetic. skeletal) Emotions    Emotional Intelligence Feeling Good (dealing with depression. disgust. skin. etc. surprise)   Career  Empathy Passion Activities . and visual) Sleeping Stress Systems (cardiovascular.) Health/ Medical (disease. yoga. immune. nervous. hereditary or acquired diseases. olfactory. muscular. etc. purpose.

your boss’s.) Outcomes Projects Relationships Roles Tasks Active Income Budget Business Credit (credit score. credit rating.) Insurance Investments Nest Egg Passive Income Retirement Real Estate Savings Spending Taxes Family Work Circle of Friends Free-time Hobbies / Interests . etc. etc.        Financial              Relations hips    Fun   Deliverables Development Expectations (your expectations.

In Summary . You can then think of your roles in those connections. Be a good role model. your friends.    Indoor recreation Outdoor recreation Travel Vacations Relationships Investing in your relationships will serve you throughout your life. Your relationships are growing or they’re dying. Whether it’s your family. Get the people on your side to make things easier at work or to sell your ideas. you are an island. Make the most of it. Your Hot Spots for relationships are any roles and interactions that are important in your life. you can think of relationships as connections. but the reality is you share the world with people. The idea in relationships is to invest based on what you want to accomplish. Another important concept in relationships is to continuously invest. Interactions and Roles You can think of your relationships as the roles and interactions that are important in your life. or the people in your community. Life’s not static. the people at work. and you need no one. For example. Be a great mentor. More precisely. People will flow in and out of your life. be the father you want to be. You can tell yourself you are a rock. Role is what part you play in that relationship. Be a great friend.

a minimum of 3 hours in body. Daily Outcomes. Friday Reflection pattern. Each day. It’s a simple weekly pattern for results. Identity a simple set of Hot Spots for your life.  Set boundaries for your time in your key Hot Spots (e. a minimum of 8 hours in relationships)  Schedule time in your calendar for your key Hot Spots. This pattern helps you tune and prune your results.Monday Vision.g..   By having a simple set of Hot Spots. On Mondays. Chapter 5 .    Hot Spots are focal points and help you create a heat map of both opportunity and pain in your life. relationships. financial. you figure out three outcomes you want for the week. e. At the heart of Agile Results is the Monday Vision. Know the three most important opportunities in your life.”—Miles Davis In This Chapter     Learn the Monday Vision. mind. Each week is a new chance to get results. Learn how to use Fridays to reflect on your results and make improvements to your routine. and Friday Reflection “My future starts when I wake up every morning . Hot Spots as a portfolio help you manage risk and determine where to invest your time for maximum results. and fun. body. career. your Life Frame. It's too . Learn how to use Mondays to set your vision for a great week. a maximum of 40 – 50 hours in career. Daily Outcomes.g.. One of the most important techniques I share with those I mentor is how to manage their tasks. you reflect on your results. emotions. you determine your three most important outcomes. Learn how to use the Rule of 3 for carving out daily results and weekly results. Daily Outcomes. On Fridays.Every day I find something creative to do with my life. Friday Reflection pattern for weekly results. you have a way to keep your life in check.. Know the three most important pain points in your life.

wondering where your time went. only to find out it’s not the results they needed or wanted. Another common mistakes is to confuse activities with outcomes. It might be that they spend all their time doing activities. That is. but effective pattern for results. Friday Reflection pattern. It’s easy to find yourself at the end of the week. There are always more things to do. each week is a fresh start. Each week you know you’re spending your time on the right things. you might spend a lot of time doing a lot of activities. they produce results. and not have to think too hard to implement. In this system. The reality is that without a system it’s easy to get off track. It’s easy to spend all your time on task management. you can get back on. Friday Reflection Monday Vision. It’s easy to beat yourself up over what you didn’t finish. The solution is a system—a simple system you can count on. Each week. Here's the approach in a nutshell: . If you fall off the horse. How you frame and organize your results for the week has a lot to do with your success. Monday Vision. In fact. Daily Outcomes. you improve your ability to get results. than there is time in a day. It’s time tested. but not actually producing any results. In other cases. Daily Outcomes. I’ve seen many smart people throw a lot of hours at their weeks only to fail in one way or another. It might be they miss an important time window. It might be that they lose any sort of work/life balance. Rather than feel overwhelmed by your backlog. you feel good about your accomplishments. Daily Outcomes is a simple.easy to churn or find yourself in task saturation. but not actually accomplish anything. make a habit. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. That’s the idea behind the Monday Vision.

Friday Reflection pattern: It’s a Starting Point It’s a place to start. then good job. Daily Outcomes. . Here are some of the main benefits from adopting the Monday Vision. If you accomplish your results. maybe your week starts on a Sunday. take a look back on your week and think of three things that went well and three things you’d like to improve. Friday Reflection pattern provides a simple framework for you to organize each week. While the whole is more than the sum of its parts. It’s helped me through the best of times — and the worst of times. then you have to ask yourself whether you picked the right outcomes or if you need to improve your approach. you get more effective. What’s important is those three parts. Daily Outcomes. Simply identify three outcomes for your day. you can improve it simply by adopting the routine of Monday Vision. As you practice each day. It’s the same system I’ve used to help the people I mentor get their life back and get on track. you can fold back into each new week. If this is Friday. It’s the same pattern I’ve used to lead teams at Microsoft to ship on time and on budget and keep a work/life balance. Daily Outcomes. It Helps You Keep Your Eye on the Prize Having three outcomes is a way to set yourself up for success.That’s the basic pattern. What makes it work is that it’s a simple way to organize your results and it’s self-correcting. This is the same weekly pattern I’ve used for years to get results in extreme scenarios. You can tailor it for your scenario. Even if your current approach is already working for you. It works. you can incrementally adopt each piece. Friday Reflection pattern is significant. If this is Monday. Key Benefits The Monday Vision. It really is that simple. each piece of the Monday Vision. It’s Simple It’s simple enough that you can immediately apply it. For example. If you’re not accomplishing your results. then identify three outcomes for your week. Friday Reflection. In fact. Daily Outcomes. What you learn each Friday.

allowing you to course correct and integrate lessons learned. It's not technology bound. With this approach.  Your next actions—your MUSTs—are immediate and obvious relative to SHOULDs and COULDs. You get rid of the noise in your head (the buzz of all the little MUSTs. SHOULDs. Having a weekly system for results helps you keep swinging at—and hitting—whatever life throws at you. When you have a routine. Why This Approach Works Here’s why this approach has worked for me as well as many others:  It's self-correcting and you can course correct throughout the week. It's a system with simple habits and practices. pen and paper work fine. You’re in control. it’s a system. If it’s not working for you. When you’re not at your desk. COULDs that could float around. Another common pitfall is to get bogged down in a system where the tool drives you. One of the worst pitfalls is to have a rigid system where you can’t respond to change. Keeping your working set small helps you prioritize faster or course correct as needed. Life can throw you curve balls.)  Unimportant items slough off (I just don't carry them forward — if they're important. It helps you get back on the saddle again. It's a system to consistently check your path. you adjust it. you can improve it. but you stay flexible. you’ll rehydrate them when needed)     You manage small and simple lists — never a big bloated list. It’s just in time so any of your plans are timely and relevant. It’s just enough planning so that you have a map for your week. you’re the driver.It’s an Easy Way to Stay on Track Rather than ad hoc. It Helps You Make Course Corrections Sooner Rather than Later It allows you to be more responsive to things that come arise. You always get to figure out what you’re next best thing to do is in the context of the results you want to accomplish.  Why some other approaches haven’t worked: .

. At the same time. SHOULDs. The Rule of 3 helps you stay on track. There are a lot of things competing for your attention. If you’re all on-site. They ended up in monolithic lists or complicated slicing and dicing to get simple views for next actions. resources. While I learn every day. the focus and the synergy combine to produce tremendous results. you identify the most important outcomes for the week. do a teambased “lessons learned” exercise.  Stuff that should slough off. In your daily ten-minute meetings. Keeping the list or lists up to date and managing status were often more work than some of the actual items. It Works for Teams Too While it’s a personal results framework. and windows of opportunity or key pain points. I particularly enjoy my Friday Reflections. and a snowball effect would ultimately make the approach unwieldy I've been using Agile Results now for years. If it’s a distributed team. Knowing where you want to be by the end of the week. This is your chance to draw a line in the sand and decide what you will and won’t do. as well as what MUST get done. it works for teams too. As simple as it sounds. On Fridays. It also helps you get in the habit of prioritizing your time and energy. send an email where everybody can “reply all” with their lessons learned. I also found a new enjoyment in Mondays because I'm designing my days and driving my weeks. energy. Do this by checking against what you want to accomplish based on available time. if everybody on the team is hitting their three outcomes each day and you’re nailing your three outcomes for the week.  They were too complex or too weird. and COULDs as needed. They didn't account for the human side. On Mondays ask your teams what they'd like to accomplish. helps you stay focused during the week. reset your MUSTs.    It’s easy to get lost in activity instead of driving by outcome. This helps you work backwards with the results in mind. wouldn’t. Monday Vision Monday Vision is simply a practice where each Monday. simply go around the room. I've simplified it as I've shown others over time. you maintain flexibility so you’re always ready to tackle the next best thing.

your best moves. then given the circumstances you know that you’re making your best plays. 3 Outcomes for Today Identify your three best results for the day. Consider what you can reasonably accomplish and what would be the most valuable. or having your best workout session. Check your three outcomes for the day against your three outcomes for the week to see if you are on track and trending in the right direction. COULD There are lots of ways to rank and prioritize. etc. “If this were Friday. and COULD is just a pipe dream. You may have a sea of tasks. This is about carving out three results for the week that you truly care about. Don’t get caught up in your backlog. and your best response for the situations you’re in. That’s it. . For example. SHOULD. your team. MUST. I’ve found that in terms of a daily list. ask yourself questions such as. SHOULD. Simply identify three results for the week. think of the three most valuable things you can accomplish today and apply laserlike focus toward doing so. There’s something about the language that helps your brain prioritize better when you think in terms of MUST vs. Instead. This can be anything from completing a draft of a chapter of your new book . Use questions to guide you. You decide. Priority 2. When you know that each move you make is working towards your meaningful outcomes. This focus will help you quickly come to terms with prioritizing what’s on your plate. or finishing a meaningful slice of your project at work. and COULD. your project. P2. your manager. Consider what’s valuable for you. You can always bite off more. Daily Outcomes Daily Outcomes are simply the three results you want for your day. Challenge yourself to pick the three most valuable results that you can reasonably accomplish. it helps to simply think in terms of MUST. There’s a good chance you may have lots of activities and tasks. You can’t control everything. To do so. but you can control your choices. SHOULD would be nice. MUST is what you must get done. Priority 3 (or P1.3 Outcomes for the Week Start with three outcomes.) While this might be helpful in task management systems. P3. what are the three most important results I want to show?” and “What would be the most pain if weren’t done by Friday?"Focus on outcomes not activities or tasks. you might use a number systems such as Priority 1. Value is always in the eye of the beholder.

. During the week you perform. if you prefer a numbering system. If you need to get perspective. and then on Friday’s you evaluate. if you know there's a bunch of folks you need to talk to in your building. but ultimately. or bursts of brilliance throughout the day. Your input streams include meetings. Daily Outcome Lists You can use your Daily Outcomes as your To Do list.SHOULD or COULD. P2. SHOULD. Friday Reflection Friday Reflection is a practice where you evaluate three things going well and three things to improve. there’s nothing stopping you from using a MUST. Start by listing your minimum MUST items. before doing so. There may be things you want to do. There may be things that seem easy to do. given your available time and energy. make a new list. answer whether that’s the next best thing for you to do.g. by using MUST. I found the many of the people I mentor had similar experience. Use this list throughout the day as you look through your various input streams for action. It’s all too easy to focus on just the negative and miss out on what’s going well or what’s working. Since you do this at the start of your day. This also helps you deal with potentially randomizing scenarios. At least then you know your trade-offs. COULD mindset to help you organize your P1. On the other hand. you also keep yourself balanced. By focusing on both what’s going well and what need’s improvement. you can walk the halls efficiently rather than have email dialogues with them. Next. This helps you avoid over-analyzing yourself throughout the week. Title it by date (e. first ask yourself. Next. P3s. you have a good sense of priorities. you can better focus on the “pitch” and not the “scoreboard” throughout the week. By having a dedicated time for reflection. While you may choose those for practical reasons. I’ve used numbering systems for my outcomes and To Dos. COULD to organize and prioritize your results. remind yourself of your three outcomes for the day and your three outcomes for the week. email. if there are a lot of folks you need to email. For example. That said. conversations. you can batch that as well. SHOULD. list your SHOULD or COULD items. This also helps batch your work. I found better results. What’s the Next Best Thing to Do? When you find yourself figuring out what to do. 2009-03-12). “What’s the next best thing to do?” This simple question can go a long way. use the Rule of 3 to bubble up to the top of the list the three most compelling outcomes for you. Each day.

Your key learnings feed into Monday's Vision. Additional Considerations Here are some additional considerations to keep in mind and help you when you adopt the Monday Vision. or capitalizing on a new opportunity. This will impact both your mindset and your results. Rather than just focus on reducing your backlog. You get to define three outcomes for the day and the week. and peace of mind. and Friday Reflection pattern. turn to the Rule of 3. but give yourself the time you need. you’ll be making conscious decisions over what your next best thing to do is. One way to make Friday Reflection a regular part of your weekly routine is to make it a recurring appointment on your calendar. Imagine in your mind what success looks like. When you know you’re working on the right things.  The Rule of 3. while letting go of the bad. Trends stand out. This will give you clarity. Framing your results is simply how you picture it in your mind or how you help others picture what your results will look like. think in terms of flowing value. Set simple limits. Daily Outcomes. This is one of the single most significant ways to continuously improve your quality life. particularly with continuous weekly practice. The more you practice framing your results for the week by getting a good vision of what your three results will really look like. week over week. It's actually easy for you to do this for months as well. Whenever you feel overwhelmed. focus. it’s easy to stay fully engaged and produce your best results. It’s also your chance to celebrate your wins and feel good about your ability to learn and respond. but take the time to figure out your three most meaningful results for today.  Value Delivered Over Backlog Burndown. Analyzing is easy.M. it's very easy to review a week's worth and see patterns for improvement. This is truly your chance to get clarity on your personal success patterns and what you need to change.  Tests for Success. If achieving the results won’t . You may not need the full time. Rather than feel like a slave to a backlog. This is agility in action. Clarity is a skill. You may have hundreds of tasks in your backlog. Because you have a flat list of To Do lists chunked up by day. Identify and define your own tests for success. Think of this as carrying forward the good. whether it’s an item from your existing backlog.Friday Reflection is also a chance to evaluate what you got done—or didn't—and why. for example.  Framing Results for the Week. Simply block off 30 minutes on Fridays at 10 A. the easier it gets.

things suddenly come up. Bite off what you can without having a plate that’s so full that you’re paranoid about running into your boss and get another item on top. walk the scenarios that matter to you. and more responsive to any opportunities.  Have a Buffer. Your show and tell could be demonstrating some software you built or it could be as simple as showing off a room in your house that you cleaned. You also don’t want to be in the situation where one more straw breaks the camel’s back. if you’re working on your backyard. Have a buffer for them. This is a great way to practice setting and resetting expectations both for yourself and others. One way to do this is to have a “show and tell” where you show your results to others. On Mondays. clear your plate faster and make multiple trips. Rather than just mow the lawn or clean up the back. This gives your work meaning. figure out three results for the week. adaptable system that you can tailor to suit your needs. For example. Friday Reflection pattern helps you make the most of each week.  Scenario-Driven Results. If you’re plate is too full and you have no buffers. Use time limits for things to help you spend your energy more effectively. If people don't value what you are showing. In Summary  The Monday Vision. See if you can chunk your results down. then something is off. This will keep you lighter.  Timeboxes. ask yourself what three things are going well. and what three things need improvement. and reflect on your results. you'll know earlier rather than later and you can adjust your approach. laying in your hammock and enjoying your rose garden as key scenarios to optimize around. and to invest your time across the things that matter most. simply by focusing and concentrating your effort against your next best things to do. . you won’t see any opportunities — only threats to your already overburdened schedule. Remember that value is in the eye of the beholder. A timebox is simply a limit or constraint in terms of how much time you will spend on something.actually be a success. If you aren’t flowing value. No matter how well you plan and no matter how predictable things are. On Friday. A good way to figure out tests for success is to use scenarios or to craft stories. Think of your work like a buffet: Instead of piling it on. decide on three outcomes for the day. more agile. You might prioritize having a barbeque on your deck. Each day. This helps you avoid overspending your time in one area at the expense of another.  It’s a flexible. and it improves the quality of your life. You can always make incremental progress. either to yourself or to others.  Find a Way to Flow Value. then you need to either redefine success or redefine your outcomes. now you have specific scenarios or experience that you are lighting up and making happen. Daily Outcome.

and fun)? The secret of a successful day is enjoying your startup routine. spending your time on compelling outcomes. enjoying the process. Because it’s a system. You can choose to spend your power hours having fun. Remember as a kid waking up each morning to a new and exciting day? That’s the point we need to start from. Baggage brings you down. When you know what you want to accomplish. Over time. body. What’s limiting you? You are. Your outcomes should sound like results or achievements.  Use the system to support you in whatever you need. and ending your day in a way that supports you. you can work backwards from that.“— Bruce Lee In This Chapter    Learn how to set yourself up for success each day using “tests for success. you can tune and prune it based on what you learn about yourself as well as the situation or context that you find yourself in. making time for what’s important (including free time). relationships. have you made time for free time? Have you made time to invest in the important hot spots in your life (mind. All the limits you bring to each new day. career. You looked forward to growing up so you could do whatever you want. For example. you can carve out time for what’s important. not activities and tasks. You also picked up some good habits and some bad habits. The difference is now you have skills. Trust the system as a way to help you see the forest from the trees while dealing with your everyday results. emotions. Don’t pick up . Another way to improve your day is add more power hours. Chapter 6 . whether it’s personal results at home or personal results on the job. It’s now how much time you have. financial. maybe you learned that life isn’t as full of possibility or as limitless as you once thought. If you think of your day as a fixed budget of time. Hack away at the unessential.  Focus on outcomes.Design Your Day “It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. it’s how you spend it. Each day is a fresh start. blasting through obstacles or achieving important results in your life.” Learn how to structure your day to maximize your results Learn how to chunk your day to avoid being overwhelmed Is your day by design or by default? One of the simplest ways to improve your day is to use The Rule of 3 to identify three results you want for the day.

the quality of how you spend it. The following table summarizes how to map out your day: We’ll walk through the key practices so that you have an idea of what to do for each one. We’re creatures of habit and it’s easy to fall into habits or routines that limit us. Travel light.your bags today. Chances are you’ll surprise yourself time and again. If things don’t work out today. Given that we spend our lives one day at a time. Start Your Day . Test your limits. the real difference in our lives is how we spend each day. you walk away with lessons. You can think about your day in terms of activities. Test yourself. you can choose how you spend it. While you won’t get more time each day. Designing Your Day You can structure your day for success. You can also think about your day in terms of events or highlights. if you give yourself a chance. It really boils down to what you spend your time on. and who you spend your time with. You can also use outcomes or results as a gauge for your day.

take a quick look over the time you'll spend for the day  If you know what you're trying to accomplish. On my drive to work. and take the back way to work. Those are the lines I’ve drawn in the sand for the day.A good startup routine helps set the pace for the rest of your day. If you set the rules you win the game You get to define what good looks like. Startup Routines This is how you bootstrap your day. Start with the Rule of 3 If you remember nothing else. blue skies. it's easier to give your all. and a bluebird on your shoulder. It’s the activities you do when you start your day. These are your “tests for success. I listen to my favorite . Know the minimum you want for the day. You get to chart your course. Here are some of the main reasons to start you day with the Rule of 3:    You define the three tests for success. It’s now about starting your day bright-eyed and bushytailed. You get a clean slate each day.” It’s your chance to define your success. For example. start your day with The Rule of 3. for today I want a draft of my chapter complete. on weekdays. For example. Remember that your three outcomes aren’t tasks. with sunshine. workout for 30 minutes. you know how to pace yourself. my startup routine is: wake up. It’s about starting the day on your terms in a way that empowers you to be your best. You already have a startup routine. shower. You can’t run ahead if you can't see what's in front of you. eat breakfast slowly. Simply identify three results you want for the day. There are a lot of little mini decisions during your day that you can influence by knowing where you want to go. It's easier to find your motivation  When you map your day.  If you know you're working on the right things. Before you get lost in the thick of things. You might have lots of tasks that roll up to these three outcomes. a fun lunch. and a strawman of my project plan. that’s not an effective start. but these are three results you want for the day. If you wake up and want to immediately crawl back to bed. you can prioritize more effectively.

Carve out a chunk of your life force to work on improvement and leading the life you want to live. When I get to work. body. whether you write them on paper or store them electronically. It boils down to reducing pain and increasing pleasure. By investing in these areas throughout your life. and fun. While it’s easy to get in the habit of only working on the most painful hot spots. boil them down into a set of results or outcomes you would like to see. You also have hot spots for your personal projects whether that’s fixing up your house or going on an adventure. Some of your hot spots will represent opportunity in your life. Design Your Day Designing your day is a simple exercise in creating enough scaffolding for your day. whether to yourself or to others. Designing your day is as simple as deciding three results you want and then spending the day thinking. After you scan your hot spots. You should have a map of your hot spots in easy view. Keep it simple. relationships. feeling. my queues and my calendar to see if I need to adjust my three outcomes. This is about distilling a few good enough results for now that you can reasonably make . such as your active projects and any important roles or activities or events. you have a stable set of hot spots for life: mind. Compelling Outcomes Turn your heat map into compelling outcomes. If Hot Spots are the areas that need your time and energy. while other hot spots will represent the leaks in your life that you need to get a handle on. At the high-level.music and I think of my three most compelling outcomes for the day. emotions. you set yourself up for success. What’s important is that you first explicitly defined what you wanted to accomplish. financial. It’s counter-productive to make a laundry list of results you want. career. The point is that at a glance. and doing whatever it takes to accomplish that. outcomes are the results you want. It’s easy for your day to get away from you and it’s easy to spend time on things that don’t move you closer to where you want to be. If you accomplish your three outcomes you can always bite off more. You can also adjust your three outcomes if you find they just aren’t the right things for right now. you can quickly see all the balls you are juggling and you can use the hot spots as a way to cherry pick what the most important value is you can deliver. Scan Your Hot Spots Think of your hot spots as a heat map of what’s important. I scan my inbox. Don’t get stuck simply treading water and reducing pain. stop and think whether you’d like to start investing more of your time and energy in hot spots that really change your game and open new doors. You also have hot spots for work.

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

Decide how much time maximum and minimum you’ll spend. sleeping and working out. now you know to prioritize and figure them out. You’ll get . Here are some of the things to think about when you’re carving out your 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? (you’re just treading water and making it through each day. body. career. It’s easy to underestimate the amount of work involved. You might decide that your workout is from 7 – 8 AM and that nothing gets in the way. You can set boundaries at a high-level.accomplishing your results but don’t like what you get. emotions. One of the most important things you can do is fix time for eating. lunch is at 12 PM. what was the most effective approach you had for working out? What are your best routines for eating and sleeping? If you don’t have routines that work. For example. What’s important is that you do this by design and not by default. financial. You can also think of these as your personal success patterns and you can fine tune them. you might decide that breakfast is at 8 AM. You might also decide that you take “weekends off”. fun? Set Boundaries and Limits Chunking up your day is easier if you use time boxes and set boundaries. If you fix time for these three things and then work your day around these. You can step back and ask whether you’re choosing the right outcomes for The Rule of 3. If you just do the default it can be easy to spend all your time in the wrong places or spend too much time in one area and not enough in another. This is your chance to start practicing how you estimate your time. relationships. and dinner is at 5:30 PM. but not actually getting ahead)  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)  Are you investing time in the most important hot spots in your life: mind. For example. looking back through your life. What’s the range of time and energy you’ll spend making it happen? This helps you avoid overinvesting or even under-investing. you help set yourself up for success. You can also use boundaries and limits for accomplishing your three outcomes for the day. but you’ll work intensely during the week.

I’m talking about stuff that needs to happen sooner rather than later. they loom. do it up front when you are your strongest. that’s job one. If you push those things to the end of the day or the end of the week. It’s doing worst things first. takes you 6. It’s easy to spend your day reacting. Power Hours Power hours are among your best asset for the day.” It’s human nature to move away from pain. A power hour is where you feel your strongest and you’re in the zone. this is about recognizing that your mindset will be the biggest influence on how you approach your day and how you react to it. You can use a hat as a metaphor and wear different hats for different scenarios. For example. One of my mentors gave me the tip worst things first and I didn’t realize it’s actually become one of my most effective habits.better with practice. feeling. maybe you need a more exploratory mindset. then you need to pay attention. that I won’t enjoy doing. and doing part. The idea is to “get it over with. Either way. then you can drive your day. you at least have a rough map for your day. If you’re not driving. Switch hats that aren’t working. so you put on your explorer’s cap. Once you have a plan. Worst Things First This is a practice I learned long ago. You still need to be flexible. You accomplish . Wear the Right Hat Adopt the right mindset for the situation. It’s the execution of your results. Have a set of hats you can trust and wear the right hat for the job. Maybe you need to kick some arse and take names. Drive Your Day Drive or be driven. Why loom longer than necessary? That’s draining. If you don’t have a single power hour in the day. Don’t let things loom over you. Rather than save a hurdle to the end. it’s easy to decide on things such as whether you should take a leisurely stroll or whether you need to get it in gear and really kick some arse. If you start your day with three outcomes you want to accomplish. but at least you charted a potential course. Now that you have a map. If each day what you think should take you three hours. That’s another hat. especially if you don’t have a plan. I’m not talking about the stuff I can ignore forever. Sometimes I have a meeting or a conversation or even just a task for the day that I’m not looking forward to. Driving your day is the thinking. you’re reacting.

When you’re working.more in that one power hour than maybe you would all week if you were not in the zone. Rather than think of it as a marathon. think of the day as a series of sprints. The key is to set yourself up to have power hours in the first place. the last thing you want is for your wheels to keep spinning. you can start to find ways to have more power hours in your day. As you pay attention to your power hours. . Rather than decide up front you can do this or you can’t do that or that’s impossible. it’s easier to set your pace. Don’t let that get in the way of your future results. the context or your approach. you want to test your assumptions about the work as early as possible and find any surprises. So does your approach. it’s how can you break your own limits and surprise yourself. your energy reserves get stronger as you flex them. this is about both exploring your limits and testing ideas against reality. You can spend your power hours on whatever you want. Make the most of them and set yourself up for more. Really. Give your best where you have your best to give and maximize your energy bursts. It’s not engaging and you won’t find your flow. End Your Workday When you end your workday. Just like any muscle. Second. Pace Yourself When you have a map of your results. First. If you’ve failed before it may very well be it was the scenario. It’s easy to let your past failures limit your future successes. What you don’t want to do is spend all your time doing everything halfway. then you’re not enjoying the spectrum or the cycles of your day. really take your breaks. Test Your Results Testing your results is one of the most important practices you can adopt. start testing your results and inform your own opinion. The quicker you test your results. If you only have one speed. When you take your breaks. Scenarios make a big difference. be fully engaged. There are a few practices that you can use to help you transition from work. the quicker you get feedback to make better decisions as well as find any fallback plans if you need to.

what’s important is that it’s in a place you trust. what would you like to do tonight for fun? Changing the questions. At the end of the day. What did I enjoy? 4. 4 Questions to Cap Your Day At the end of each day. changes your focus. They simply visualize a tree in front of their house. You can improve your day’s end to set yourself up for success simply by adding a few routines. One practice some people use is they hang their hat up. but there are a lot of variables. Another approach is to start asking yourself different questions that aren’t work related. The key to an effective shutdown routine is testing different patterns until you find one that really helps you sleep well and start fresh the next day. You need to shift your mind from thoughts of work to thoughts of home. I ask myself the following: 1. Hang Your Hat Up Just going home doesn’t cut it. It’s actually better to test a variety of patterns to see what helps you most. What kind act did I do? . You need a transition. Whether this is in a notebook or a text file. For example. an effective shutdown routine helps you wind down. What did I learn? 2. They can then pick their hat up the next day. You might think it’s possible to simply think of a great shutdown routine. End Your Day How you end your day can really set you up for success. They write down whatever they were working on so they can pick up where they left off. What did I improve? 3.Dump Your State A simple practice that some of the most effective people I know is they dump their state at the end of the day. These questions help put the focus on some of the most important aspects of your day. The other routine is your shutdown routine. Just like having an effective startup routine helps bootstrap your day. and they hang their hat up on the tree before they go inside. you’re the most important judge. One routine is to ask yourself four questions.

maybe the happy ending is just the perfect tension and release you need for the perfect slumber. maybe this is too much for you before bed. The most important point here is to test patterns and find what works for you. Shutdown Routine This is how you end your day. It’s less about the activity you do and more about how it impacts you or how you react to it. make sure it works for you. are you reading a book that helps you wind down or are you reading material that makes it hard for you to fall asleep? Simply notice the results you’re getting and test different approaches. chances are that it’s what you do the night before that makes all the difference. Get creative. Different shows will produce different results. If you like to read a book before bed. What's interesting too. For example. It’s not just about how you feel shutting your day down.I use these questions to reflect on daily improvements as well as course correct. if you tend to watch the news before you sleep. If you’re not waking up well. There’s a lot of research and opinions. Test some new patterns. Whether it’s watching TV or reading a book or meditating. but the most important thing is to find what works for you. It’s about noticing how you feel when you wake up. I also use them to appreciate life's little lessons each day. test watching a comedy. Then again. Example Day By Design Here’s an example of a day by design: . is this simple practice can actually raise your happiness level. if you watch a comedy where the main character always gets into a stressful situation. For example. and you have a lot of empathy. Explore your results. It's a simple practice but it helps make sure I don't slip into life's auto-pilot mode. Test your results and change your approach if it’s not working.

once you are taking action. That’s the nature of the beast.Additional Considerations The following are some additional considerations for improving your day: Action Before Motivation This is counter-intuitive. your motivation follows. If your self-talk says. You may have an exercise routine that you aren’t inspired to do. especially if you’re the type that waits for inspiration. but once you’re doing it. I don’t feel like doing it. In many cases. you find you actually enjoy it. . Some days you will get inspiration. and other days you won’t. you’ll find that while you didn’t start off inspired. remind yourself that you might feel like doing it once you’re actually doing it. Imagine if athletes only trained when they were inspired. Just start. The key though is that you set yourself up for more chances of inspiration by getting up to bat.

This can help you avoid task saturation and it can also help you avoid silly mistakes while you're in execution mode. a team task. During your break worry as best you can. or any execution steps you want to improve. To create it. The other benefit of consolidating is that by compressing your problems down into a shorter period of time. For example. You are planning the work to execute. you add focus and you’ll start to find more effective patterns. routine task that you need to get done. . As simple as this sounds.Execution Checklists Execution checklists are a simple. Then. but effective technique for improving results. I simply write the main steps down before I start the task. you're leaving a trail of what worked. This helps me plan the main steps while I’m in think mode. capture the steps down and tune them over time as we gain proficiency. designate a half hour break for worrying. It’s not a to do list. When you start to worry. it's very effective whether it's for a personal task. This works great for tasks that you'll have to perform more than once or you have a routine you want to improve. if there's a routine you have with lots of movable parts. when I’m running through the steps. Rather than randomly worry throughout the day. It’s a list of steps in sequence to perform a specific task. You’ll find the things that cause you concern can be chunked down into smaller problems and tackled as needed. This is great when you feel over-burdened or if you have a mind-numbing. remind yourself that you made a specific time for it. You are paving a path through the execution. the less distracted you’ll get throughout your day. 2. you make it easier to focus during the rest of your day. Do all of your intense worrying. There are two main scenarios: 1. Worry Breaks If you find yourself stressed throughout the day. In this case. I don’t have to think too hard about what to do next or get lost in the steps. you're thinking through what you have to get done. You’ll also find that some things you just need to let go. Let yourself think of all the worst case possibilities. I encourage you to create execution checklists for any friction points or sticking spots you hit. then consolidate it. In this case. The more you stick to using your worry breaks. By having a designated time for this.

then make it right. Always find the simplest path through to get to a working result. Test Drive Your Results Get in the habit of doing dry runs of your tasks. and respond. now you can decide how “right” you want to make it. Batch and Focus Consolidate your similar tasks and do them in a batch. Test your results. Then Make It Right This is a simple rule of thumb that can help you dramatically accomplish more. If you have to keep task switching. learn. your creative hours are focused on free-form thinking and exploration. The simplest way to think of your creative hours is a state of day dreaming. If you’re in the habit of thinking everything through in your head. all your improvements along the way are insignificant because you never got to the point where you or anybody else can enjoy them. then once you complete it or make it work. This builds momentum. try to complete things first. You might find that creative hours are your perfect balance to power hours. A creative hour can be about creating new ideas from scratch. As you don’t complete things. and hopping around. Ultimately. putting new ideas together. When you find you’ve painted yourself into a corner. They’re really a state of mind. .Creative Hours Creative hours are those where your mind feels free to explore ideas. you won’t complete things. if you bite off enough to complete a meaningful chunk. Take action. Rather than try to perfect things as you go along. Whereas your power hours may be focused on results. Make It Work. It’s the mindset that’s important. changing your focus. Make it work. Then go back and improve as needed. focus on learning and responding. you might find that your power hours free up time for your creative hours. Instead. This helps you reduce task switching as well as improve your efficiency. Worse. You’ll find that there are many things you can’t anticipate. Then go back and improve them. By having working results. You might also find that you thrive your best when you add more creative hours in to your week. On the other hand. you’ll break your rhythm and you won’t get the benefit of batching. Your power hours might also be how you leverage your ideas from your creative hours. shift to thinking less and doing more. More people fail by never finishing or perfectionism or analysis paralysis than by getting working results they can improve. you’ll build your confidence and momentum. or that your creative hours change the game and improve your power hours. that’s a lesson for next time. of focusing on anticipating. If you try to improve as you go. you often won’t know when to stop. or simply reflecting.

Reduce Friction Find ways to reduce friction. This can be anything from a sloppy desk to over-complicating a task you need to perform regularly. Create a startup routine. now let’s go for three. Create glide paths so that you can more easily fall into the right habits and practices. Eat an elephant a bite at a time. Chapter 7 . Begin by creating three compelling outcomes. Start with a number you can easily hit and then add more. try chunking it down into smaller quantities. Scan your Hot spots. Friction adds up and can eventually provide enough resistance that you stop doing the activity entirely. Quantify It Sometimes setting a quota is better than using a timebox. you’ll produce more effective results. Think in terms of incremental hurdles.Design Your Week “A goal is not always meant to be reached. You’ll also find your surprises earlier vs. This will help you deal with problems that overwhelm you as well as information overload. later. Create a shutdown routine. For example. often to your own detriment. Can you do one push up? OK. can you figure out three compelling goals for your year? Can you think of three results for today that you would enjoy working on? When you get stuck on something.This will help keep you out of analysis paralysis. In Summary      Structure you day for success. Carve out time for what's important.”— Bruce Lee In This Chapter  Learn how to design a week for sustainable results . it often serves simply as something to aim at. Testing your results helps you very quickly find gaps or surprises or dependencies so you can adapt as needed. Create compelling outcomes. More importantly.

All you really have is time so the key is to make the most of it. By designing your week. it’s about sustainable results. Designing Your Week . Is your week by design or by default? One of the keys to results is owning your schedule. This simple pattern gives you a fresh start each week and each day. you set yourself up for weekly results. It’s more likely that your schedule is by default. creative think time. get enough movement. you can spend more time in your strengths and less time in your weaknesses. or it can drive you. Imagine that each day you spend more time in things that make you strong and give you energy and make you feel powerful. It’s not just about weekly results. This will improve your energy and help you continuously renew. whether it’s because it’s a fresh start. Each week is a fresh start. you can bite off 3 things for the week and 3 things each day. Imagine a week where you spend each day working on the right things with the right people making the right impact. Your week is a great chunk of time to get a handle on. or it’s a chance to experience more of what you want. Imagine a week where you get enough sleep. Imagine looking forward to the start of the week. This is a week by design. Friday Reflection pattern for weekly results. and enough free time that you feel balanced and effective. Investing in these is investing in yourself. not by design. Seize the opportunity now to design a week which actually supports you. You can fold the learnings from one week into the next. You can drive your schedule. Using The Rule of 3. and have enough energy to accomplish whatever you want. Daily Vision. sleeping and working out. These are the core activities that keep you going.  Learn how to add more power hours to your week Learn how to make more free time each week You can use the Monday Vision. By designing a week that supports you. You have recurring activities. Imagine a week filled with power hours. You added these activities over time. The most important thing you can do is fix time for eating.

you can create a simple matrix. If you know what your week looks like at a glance. Baseline Your Schedule Baseline your schedule. Start by mapping out your week.Map Out Your Week Before you can improve your week. It’s also easier to test potential solutions in terms of re-arranging your schedule. such as. Having a simple map of your week makes it easy to play with “what if” scenarios. you first need a simple view of your schedule. The goal is to create a simple map of your week. it’s easier to spot problems. Here’s an example template: . Include the hours and the days of the week. 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. To create a map.

.On the map. These are scheduled items that aren’t flexible. other people’s schedules. This might include meetings. write down your activities and how you spend your time. Here are some key things to include:        Sleeping Eating Workouts Meetings Work time Free time Activities Identify Committed Time Identify your committed time. or activities that you can’t move. Your goal is simply to map out which time is fixed versus which time is flexible.

move activities that make you weak to the morning. Make time for important activities. Be honest. Spend 75% or more of your time on your strengths. Push for spending 75% of your time each day in activities that make you strong.    Set boundaries and limits Setting boundaries is how you achieve your balance. It’s not about making a perfect week. fun.Identify Free Time Identify your free time. Another way to do this is to push the main things that make you weak to the start of your week. Your goal is simply to map out what your current free time is. Think of this as worst things first. you can make some dramatic improvements in your energy and how you feel. It might be scattered all over the board. . You might find you don’t even have any free time. Here are the keys to designing your week:     First baseline your schedule. time with people. Eliminating them early creates a glide path for the rest of the week. What’s important is that you take a good look at what it currently is. For example:  Dinner on the table at 5:30. start by thinking about which activities you look forward to and which activities you dread. Map Out Your Strengths and Weaknesses Identify which activities make you weak and which activities make you strong. You’ll get a chance to fix it. The goal is to be able to see your activities at a glance and know whether they make you weak or strong. If you don’t make time for things they won’t happen. Create timeblocks to consolidate. Design Your Week By shuffling your schedule around. Push the 25% of the time you spend in weaknesses. Start with simple boundaries. If you’re not sure. It’s about making improvements in how you spend your time. Consolidate activities that make you weak where you can. Where you can. batch and focus on key activities. etc. including alone time. Note your committed time and free time. By getting your weaknesses out of the way. you can spend the rest of your day in your strengths. to the start of your day.

you’re helping ensure that you invest in yourself. Sleeping. If you set those in place and work everything else around that. They know how much sleep they need. Key Insights  When you set a min in the right categories. For example. Fix Time for Eating.  The worst mistake it to throw more time at problems.  No work on the weekend. and working out. Here’s an example: Don’t spread your life force too thinly. and fun. Set a max on career and a min on relationships. while increasing value and improving effectiveness/efficiency. you’ll use them wisely. sleeping. if you only have 8 hours to throw at your day. you avoid getting unbalanced and improving other categories. so this helps them figure out what time to go to bed the night before. This is how you start improving plate management and pushing back effectively. By making time for you to work out and eat. body. This is how many of the most effective people structure their week. The key is to reduce time spent. The first step is to decide to spend no more than 50 hours each week on work. Try using Hot Spots and setting boundaries.  When you set a max in the right categories. One of the most common patterns for . and Working Out One of the most effective patterns for improving your week is having consistent times for eating. This forces you to bite off only what you can chew. you have a great start. Tuesday night is date night. you learn how to become more effective. The Hot Spots categories support each other.

If you schedule it. For example. By making time for things. Carve Out Time for What’s Important You don’t have time for things. It’s task-switching and hopping around that can eat up a lot of your time. Your time allocations should match your priorities. . you’ll find ways to glide into your routine. you make time for things. it happens. you’ll improve your focus. sleeping and working out. Some people work out at the end of the day if they can’t find any other time that works. They can support you or work against you. This also helps enforce a boundary for ending their work day. This optimizes your routines and free up more time. This gives them a continuous block of “me” time from the night before into the start of their day. Consolidate Weaknesses Activities that make you weak might be scattered throughout your week. This also ensures that the workout happens. For example. Another pattern that works for some people is they work out after work as a way to cap their work day and transition to home. consider doing all the activities that make you weak in the first hour of your day when you are your strongest. Consolidate them. For example. you’ll have random success. By fixing time for eating. if you work out in the morning every weekday. Consolidate Related Activities It’s common to have activities spread throughout the week that would be better off done in a batch. Compartmentalizing your time like this keeps your energy strong. Consolidate these as well. Add Strengths The secret to improving your energy is to add more activities that make you strong throughout your day. You won’t have to spend as much time thinking about the basics. but you also will find ways to improve efficiencies and reduce friction. Make it a part of your schedule by design. not only do you help make sure you take care of the basics. one technique is to schedule lunches with people you enjoy and that catalyze you. You can also schedule activities you really enjoy to the end of the day so that you have something to look forward to and you end on a high note. If you leave it to chance. These three activities are core for your energy so they are really your core energy patterns.successful people is they workout first thing in the morning. The key is to figure out what’s important to you and put it on your map.

Your Hot Spots really are your balancing point in life. it’s easier to truly enjoy your free time if you’ve already allocated time to get the things done that you know you must do. This might force you to bite off smaller and smaller things until you can get some consistency in your results. simply think of three outcomes or results you want for the week. Also. especially once you get in the thick of things. if you know a break is scheduled. but you can also start with this frame:        Mind Body Emotions Career Financial Relationships Fun Start with the Rule of 3 When you start your week. If you get that done you can always bite off more. but it will liberate you. It might seem strange to schedule your free time.Schedule Free Time If you want to increase your free time. it’s easier to stay fully engaged. The key is to figure out your capacity and to improve your ability to set or reset your own expectations. You’ll also start to get a better sense of how well you can accomplish what you set out to do. Scan Your Hot Spots Remember to scan your Hot Spots. The keys are really to keep balance and to spend more time in your strengths and less time in your weaknesses. You can create your own hot spots. . schedule more of it. You can drive or be driven. Driving your week isn’t complicated once you know the main techniques. Drive Your Week You can either drive your week or you can be randomized and react. For example. but picking three things will help you prioritize and stay focused.

Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, Friday Reflection
The heart of your week is the Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, and Friday Reflection pattern. This is the scaffolding to support your weekly results. It’s how you’ll get a fresh start each week and each day. It’s also how you’ll improve over time. It’s a simple, yet consistent pattern you can count on. On Monday’s you’ll think up a quick vision of what you’d like to accomplish. You can simply imagine if this was Friday, what three results would you like under your belt? Each day, you’ll figure out three results that help you move towards your three results for the week. At the same time, you’ll stay flexible so that you’re always working on the next best thing for you to do. On Fridays, you’ll reflect on your results.

End Your Week
When you end your week, make the most of it. Reflect on your results and carry your learnings forward. Keep the end of your week as simple as possible. Think of it as the downward side of a mountain. Wednesday is hump day for a reason. By the end of the week you should be on your way down from your climb.

Friday Reflection
Carve out a half-hour on Fridays to reflect. Ask yourself what three things are going well and identify three things to improve. Ask yourself what are 3 things going well and 3 things to improve. Also take the time to analyze your results against what you set out to do. Are you surprised? What’s getting in the way? These are opportunities to improve and refine your ability to get results.

Show-and-Tell
End your week with a show-and-tell. This can be for you or for others. It’s great to see your results come to fruition. Step through them. If you’re on a team, this can be especially valuable as a way to share your results. If you worked hard on something all week, show and share your results. If it is just for you, take the time to really embrace the fact you delivered. Rewarding your own results is how you’ll keep yourself inspired. You’ll internalize your ability to deliver results and you won’t depend on other people to acknowledge you. Your reward will be a job well done.

Improve Your Week

Once you have the basics in place for an effective week, there are a few key practices you can explore for improving your results. The key is to stay balanced and spend more time in strengths and less in weaknesses. It’s also about making sure you accomplish what’s important to you. Remember that you’re not going for productivity — simply checking things off a list. You’re going for meaningful results in your life. It’s your life by design.

Increase Your Power Hours
Set a simple goal. Count your power hours. If you currently have a handful of power hours over the course of the week, shoot for ten. Increase it from there. Adding power hours is one of the best ways to improve your results for the week.

Increase Your Creative Hours
Just like adding power hours, you might benefit from adding more creative hours. Count how many creative hours you have during the week. If it’s not enough, schedule more and set yourself up so that they truly are creative hours. If you’re the creative type this will be especially important. If you don’t think of yourself as very creative, then simply think of these are free hours to let your mind wander and explore or reflect.

Schedule Things You Need Time For
Scheduling things is one of the best ways to make sure it happens. This includes actually making the right amount of time available. The more realistic you are about how much time things take, the better you’ll get at accomplishing them. Make sure you don’t spend too much time on things. For example, don’t spend $20 on a $5 problem. Make sure the time investment matches the value. Your time is one of the most important resources you have. Invest it wisely.

Add Buffers
Don’t let all your activities bump up against each other. Have some breathing room. One of the most important buffers is your morning buffer. For example, give yourself more than enough time to get to work. This way you aren’t stressed by the traffic and actually allow for things to go wrong. The more you account for things going wrong, the less stress you’ll experience and the less things will actually go wrong. If you run too tight a ship, you’ll find things will go wrong more often and throw you off. Life has lots of unexpected curve balls so allow for them by design.

Avoid All-Or-Nothing Thinking
Don’t let all-or-nothing thinking ruin things. Keep the baby, throw out the bathwater. Don’t let a bad apple spoil the bunch. Things do go wrong and things will go wrong. Roll with the punches. Having your weekly routines will help you gradually improve and respond to change. It’s this learn-and-respond pattern that will see you through each day, each week and each month. It’s that pattern that will produce results.

Make Time to Recharge
Renewal is an important part of your cycle. You need to make sure you have the energy to keep going. This means knowing what actually recharges you versus what drains you. Some things that drain some people actually recharge other people. Pay attention to how you respond in terms of energy to different activities and find the routines, patterns, and practices that recharge and renew you.

Experiment Between Morning Person and Night Owl
Some people find that they are more creative at night, but are more productive during the day. Other people find they simply can’t be creative in certain situations or that they can’t be productive in others. Experiment between being a night owl and a morning person to see which patterns work best for you. You might even find that these patterns switch based on seasons. For example, you might prefer to be a night owl in the winter and a morning person in the summer.

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

Schedule free time to your week.

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

In This Chapter

  Learn how to create a scannable map of your 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 you how to map out your month for monthly results. Mapping out your month helps you really prioritize and focus on the most important results. It also helps you see another level up beyond your weekly results. This is especially helpful when you have longer term projects. This approach works whether for yourself or for a team. In fact, it’s the same approach I use to lead distributed teams around the world. It helps set realistic expectations, correct course, and keeps everybody on the same page.

Things can take you by surprise. While you can’t predict everything, you can really improve how you anticipate your year. You can do this by mapping it out.

Month at a Glance
Your Month at a Glance should show your queue, each week, and the 3 top priority outcomes for each week. Here is an example template:

weekly. . Step 3. but the most important thing is that your daily. weekly outcomes. Instead. Mapping Out Your Month The key to mapping out your month is to chunk it down and do a piece at a time. and monthly outcomes. Don’t worry about directly connecting the dots between your daily outcomes. think of each as a different perspective and scope. They will often align. The template is lightweight by design so that you can easily make adjustments without having to spend a lot of time in administration.Note how the Queue is organized by MUST. and they complement each other. Now. and COULD. and achieving the results you need. and monthly outcomes serve you and help you stay focused on your next best thing to do. let’s walk through each step in more detail. Prioritize your list of outcomes. SHOULD. Step 2. This is a helpful way to chunk up your backlog. It really is that simple. Make a list of all your outcomes. Here is a summary of the flow of steps I usually do to map out the month:    Step 1. Assign outcomes to each week. You can record your results for each week in the Completed column.

” The goal for this step is to chunk up your list of outcomes so your highest priority items float to the top. SHOULD. Use what works for you. and priority 3 (or p1. Time changes what’s important. Priority and focus are your best friends. You know it’s working when you’re able to identify the most important results based on either impact or windows of opportunity. Make a List of All Your Outcomes Make a list of all the outcomes you want for the month. what are all the things you would regret the most if you didn’t complete? Dump everything you can think of.Step 1. Your worst enemy is scope creep. missing windows of opportunity is the biggest oversight people make. or what you don’t get done. and p3). priority 2. You can always bite off more after you complete your three MUSTs. Imagine if the month was over. I tend to use MUST. This is where windows of opportunity really matter. just write them down. you could use priority 1. include estimates taking into account the best time to work on specific tasks. The more you involve your team. There’s a lot to be said for “a stitch in time saves 9. the more they will feel committed to the results. It can also significantly amplify the impact of what you get done. If you have a team. Step 3.” When prioritizing. Let the ideas flow freely and don’t edit them in this step. Doing so gets you from good results to great. Prioritize Your List of Outcomes In this step. You probably have a good sized “laundry list. Keep it at bay by using the Rule of 3. I recommend chunking it up using the following priorities:    MUST SHOULD COULD Alternatively. In fact. Assign Outcomes to Each Week . Step 2. p2. involve the team so they can get a sense of the priorities as well. Make sure that you can trim your MUST down to no more than three items. you prioritize your list of outcomes. and COULD because I find those terms resonate better and generally people find agreement faster.

That's the idea behind focusing on three great results for the year. for the year.Design Your Year “The best way to predict the future is to create it. When I finally got clarity.In this step. "If this were next year. and enjoy the journey along the way. Chapter 9 .   This chapter helps you achieve three great results for the year. what are three great results I would want?" Without hesitation. In Summary    Think in terms of monthly results. I answered: 1) get to my fighting weight. Notice how you can zoom out to the big picture by looking at three results for the month. It's about having the three most important things to you. to taking an incredible journey. or you can zoom in to more details by looking at three results for the week. and say with confidence that you achieved the three most important changes in your life? This could be anything from getting to your ideal weight.”— Peter Drucker In This Chapter  Figure out your three best results for the year. I pushed all my thinking aside and asked a very simple question. What if you could look back a year from now. It also helps you see your year at a glance. and tactics. to support your year. Know the 3 most important outcomes for the month. Learn how to create a scannable map of your year at a glance. 2) finish my . It’s this ability to zoom in and out that helps you see the forest from the trees and keeps you focused on your best results. Know the 3 most important outcomes for each week. Learn how to design more effective months. you assign three highest priority outcomes to each week. under your belt. These should work towards your three outcomes for the month. I tried to get precision and accuracy around goals. to finding your dream job. I first learned to focus on three great results for the year. to help you design a more effective year. by studying goals and objectives. strategies. objectives.

3 Great Results for the Year Your three great results for the year are the three most important changes you want in your life at this time. What are the three most important things you want to achieve? The simplest way to get to some insightful answers is to ask yourself the tough question. I had to question whether this was how I was going to set my goals for the year. These could be work-related or in your personal life. They could see and plan for holidays. One of his secrets was his calendar on the wall. if this works so great for dealing with complicated projects and dependencies. relationships. and I could achieve these three things for the year. It was a simple view of the year at a glance. activities and deliverables. These could be about making your dreams happen.. Knowing your three great results for the year is one thing. Everybody could easily see the map of the end in mind. Seeing your year at a glance is another.book. why not use it for life? . “If this were next year. I thought to myself. such as starting your own business. completing this chapter means finishing the writing for my book. Since it sounded almost too simple to be useful. The inspiration for seeing my year at a glance came from one of my colleagues. financial. Something inside me told me I finally found the secret sauce for significant change. what are three things you would want to be different?” For my example. Interestingly. across multiple projects. or at least come close. He included people on the teams for their input as he mapped out the project milestones. They could see when there might be bottlenecks or resource constraints. I picked three things: . cool and collected. and 3) take an epic adventure.. body. career. He was always calm. and fun. If I could turn the page of another year of my life. or they can be about getting yourself out of pain. He put all the key project events on it. Think about your life Hot Spots: mind. And so I did. emotions. such as getting out of debt. and how to get there. I would feel a sense of fulfillment.

you’ll have spent your time on the things that matter most to you in your life at this stage right now. while staying flexible in how you get there. what would you wish for? Dream big before you whittle away at what you think is realistic or possible. You can always refine them. let your inner child say three things you want. the more you have working for you. 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. but instead of using magic. If when you imagine the result.1. If you had three wishes to grant yourself. Don’t work at it. don’t merely see it in your mind’s eye—invoke all of your senses. When I decided that the ability to run longer distances was an important result for . Go ahead and grant yourself these three wishes. Epic adventure — because I'll test myself and create great experiences to look back on. This is the same kid with the big dreams back before anybody told you what you couldn’t do. You can always change them. or worse. that you can honestly say that if you achieved these three things within a year from now. For now. Listen to your gut instinct. Play at it. 3. What’s important is that your three wishes are so compelling for you. Imagine Your Wishes Briefly imagine what it would be like if you accomplished each of your three wishes or results you want for the year. By making meaning and assigning significance to each wish or result. What’s important is that you first trust yourself to put out on the table what your three wishes would be. Grant Yourself 3 Wishes You can almost think of this as granting yourself three wishes. 2. Here’s a quick example. the more you can invoke your other senses. When you imagine your wishes come true. By using some simple project management skills such as planning the results you want and when you want them. then try this exercise — see it on the big screen. Imagine you’re in a theater and you’re watching the movie about one of your wishes. If you have a tough time imagining how it looks. you give yourself clarity about the end in mind. you’re unleashing your most resourceful self. The better you can see it. we’re going to use the power of intention and the power of project management to make things happen. you haven’t found your three wishes. it doesn’t feel compelling or inspiring. Book — because it's the greatest gift I can give others — the gift of results. You have all year to hone and refine. Fighting weight — because I want the feeling of freedom and flexibility. before you told yourself what you couldn’t do.

and you will because you can easily remember your three wishes. You’ll find yourself noticing all sorts of things that you didn’t before. Test Your 3 Wishes Don’t confuse the means with the ends. There are plenty of faster. or you can explore why the ones you chose just aren’t. By setting your sights and living with focus. you can either find three compelling results that are. “Where do I want to go?” The Why Behind Your Wishes If the three results you identified aren’t compelling. I imagined what it felt like to run free. I imagined a long winding road through the mountains. you might think you want a Ferrari. you give yourself flexibility in how you get there. and write a hearty paragraph about why it really matters to you. Have you ever bought a new car. When you’re designing your year. as I ran through a blaze of trees with sun burnt leaves of orange. By separating the ends from the means. your world suddenly conspires with you. only to suddenly see the same car on the road and you never noticed how many there were before? You mind becomes an amazing filter. If you think you really need the Ferrari. Know the result you want to achieve.” Making Your Wishes Happen When you have your big goals in front of you. less expensive. then consider whether you picked your three best results for the year. I imagined the cool. My body felt so lean and so strong that I didn’t have to ask. Take each result you want to achieve.me. crisp automn air. red and yellow. What you might actually want is to feel free or to feel strong. you really want to invest your life force where it matters most. and plot them down. you’ll want to come back to these reasons you’re writing down and remind yourself. If you can’t write at least a paragraph of why each one is so important and why you need to make it happen. and more effective ways. Experiment with your dreams and test them to figure out what you really want. Once you have these three wishes. then try before you buy — rent one for the day. instead just pluck your reasons as they flow. why do you need to make this happen? Don’t critique your thoughts. “Can I make it?” Instead. Remember the adage. the best thing you can do is find out why they matter so much. than buying the Ferrari. and don’t get stuck on how you get there or confuse a means with the ends. When you forget why you do what you do. because you just might get it. you expand your awareness. I simply asked. Ask yourself. or you get knocked off your horse. “Be careful what you wish for. The simplest way to do this is just start writing down why they matter. I could smell the outdoors so much I could almost taste the flowers. For example. You start to realize how many people and resources .

but consider this exercise as the icing on top. while keeping your eyes on the prize. and no tool or technique should overshadow your power to dream up great results for your life. how did I let that go. if this were next year. or as the firm foundation you can use to drive the rest of your goals and objectives from. you can add another. each week. Don’t throw out goal setting methods that work for you. you’ll get better with practice and even just thinking in . By clarifying your yearly results. but do make sure that you give yourself a chance to dream up and design your best year possible. You’re perfectly free to use all of your tried and true goal setting methods. Like anything. It’s this rhythm of results that helps you respond to change while getting results along the way. each month. weekly. and monthly results. he had some questions. you guide your daily. Goals and objectives are powerful tools. resources. or anywhere in between. since many of you may have the very same questions:   Question: “How do I evaluate goals that are applicable as yearly goals versus monthly?” Answer: It’s OK to be off and you can always adjust. Goal Setting and Your 3 Wishes While focusing on three results or three wishes for the year doesn’t necessarily replace your normal goal setting exercise (although it might). I figured the best thing I can do is share those questions with you. you can use it to guide any of the rest of your goals or planning. The simplest way to test yourself here is to ask yourself. and each year to make progress against whatever the most important results are in your life. In fact. That starts inside you. Lead a life of action and results. It’s your life — dream big dreams and grant your wishes. It’s really about helping you make mindful choices so that another year of your life doesn’t slip by where you ask yourself at the end of the year. it’s probably something for the year. a useful exercise is to simply make a list of all the people. you should be able to see the forest from the trees. or why didn’t I just focus on that. and the key here is just letting it out. By keeping these loosely connected you allow for change. You get a fresh start each day. However. Questions and Answers About Your 3 Results for the Year While explaining this approach to a friend. but if you can’t do it in the next month. Keep in mind that if you finish one of your goals. along with my answers.as well as your own abilities can help you make your dreams happen. It’s the full power of the Agile Results system working for you. and skills that will help you. what are the top three things you would regret the most if you didn’t accomplish them? Don’t live a life of regret.

a new body. you might fail multiple times. you can structure yourself for success. do you have a specific block of time when you’ll achieve your results. However. weekly and monthly results and checking your progress at the end of each month. Or it could simply be a change that you want in your life and you’d like to practice throughout the year. you might want to eat less candy or you might want to quit smoking. and moving toward your outcome each month. then you lose the power.terms of three things that you want to accomplish for the year is a start in the right direction. to take my “epic adventure” I blocked off October as the month to make it happen. Between daily. and using monthly improvement sprints when you need to add focus. Don’t break yourself against your own goals by biting off too much or beating yourself over the head with them. and focus of keeping the three most important results right in front of you. a new or improved relationship. If you start trying to remember your four or five most important things. more smarts or skills at their craft. but you can keep getting back on the horse. are you a quarter there? Six months in are you halfway there? Or. It’s an open buffet so grab your next 3 results. a new hobby. For example. perspective. you give yourself a lot of leverage. You can then evaluate your immediate results against the bigger picture. Simply list your key accomplishments and progress each month. For example. and not the whole goal?”  Answer: The simplest way is to evaluate your monthly results. You’ll naturally find the boundaries during the progression of the year.  Question: “How do I track progress against my yearly goals when my monthly goals are derivatives of the yearly. Either you’ll be driven by some great pain or by some great pleasure and .   Question: “What are examples of a good yearly goal?” Answer: When I see people a year later. By focusing on a habit. a new house. some of the most profound and meaningful changes are — a new position or a new job. instead use them to lift you and guide your choices. good for you and you’re ahead of the game. a new outlook on life. don’t bite off more than three at a time. Three months in. an epic adventure. learning from each setback and carrying the good forward. a new life style. If you accomplish them in less than a year. giving yourself a year.   Question: “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 your three great results you want for the year to yourself or to others. You also allow for the fact that change is hard. or just about any significant change that takes more than a day or week or month to accomplish.

it quickly changes your perspective on how important something is. each week. driving from the inside out. emotions. chances are one of your three great results will be about work. and correct course. and embracing the fact that life happens. When you check yourself against these different time frames.)   Question: “Is it appropriate to change a yearly goal mid-year?” Answer: Yes.you’ll need to respond. and fun. check yourself against different time periods. 2) pick one great results for home and personal life. and you may very well find that you need to change your goals. you can make change work for you instead of against you. You may find that what you thought was a goal was really a means to an end. as you get more clarity. If you embrace this. career. things change. chances are you’ll have at least one of your three great results about your personal life. prioritize your actions. Agility is about responding to change. What’s the next best thing to accomplish in your life for the next month. but what do you want for yourself for the month or for the year and does that help you? You can use time frames to bound your goals. the next year or the next ten years. eating that cake might feel good right now. and that’s actually a key to Agile Results. each month. “What’s the next best thing to accomplish in your life?” To stay out of the short-term trap. your yearly results are flexible and should support you. The most important thing is that you are taking action towards your most important results. Mapping Out Your Year . It’s also a changing landscape. you have to respond. As things change in your life. and look forward to the fresh starts each day. Year at a Glance This section shows you how to map out your year to create scannable months. and monthly results are supporting you. If you are having trouble finding the right three things. consider a more structure approach: 1) pick one great result for work. each year. isn’t important now. For example. relationships. The key is making sure you change your goals for the right reasons. You might also find that what was important before. Your test is always. Having a rough idea for your months will help you feel more empowered and take steps necessary to improve your monthly results by design. If work is your biggest pain point. you can anticipate better and create better plans — or at least get surprised less. If your personal life is a struggle. not reacting. including fresh goals for your best results. body. and so can you. When you can see your months at a glance. This is about responding. weekly. While your daily. financial. and 3) pick one great results from one of your life Hot Spots (mind. Time changes what’s important.

If you already do project work. it will be natural for you to know your big milestones. They help you chart progress along the way during a larger project. unless you expect them. Meaningful Milestones A milestone is a significant point in development. checkpoints along the way. I can be proactive about preparing content for them or know when people won’t be available to work on my projects. Key Events List any key events. If you don’t normally do project work. . or so that I know when people won’t be available to work on my projects. The main idea is to capture a month-bymonth picture of your year. You can find templates in the reference section of this guide. While you can’t predict everything.Things can take you by surprise. For example. such as project start. It’s less about being complete. Next. you might list seasonal sports you participate in. Once I started making maps each year. and more about identifying the big things you spend your time on during the year.. making it easy to design my project schedules to accommodate big events. my ability to anticipate was improved. so that I can either supply material for them. You do this by mapping it out. For example. Before I mapped out these events in advance. list the big events that impact you. Year at a Glance Templates The following templates can help you quickly map out your year. I was continually surprised and doing last minute work or losing key people from my projects. you can improve how you anticipate your year. and when you are done. start with birthdays and holidays. Next. Next. To keep it simple. list any events that you participate in. You can use a pen and paper or a whiteboard or a spreadsheet or whatever works best for you. and there are a number of big events that I need to be aware of throughout the year. and meaningful milestones. since I’m in the IT industry. include any of your vacations or big projects. you can assign milestones to any big task or body of work that you have. key events. including recurring activities. Recurring Activities List your recurring monthly activities.

You may be significantly surprised the first time you do this exercise. On the work side. recurring events. You can quickly plot out birthdays.Template 1 This template is helpful when you need to first map out the big picture of your year. and include any other meaningful milestones that help you see your year at a glance. such as your mid-year and annual reviews. Example Here is an example of using the personal and work events at a glance template: . include your big projects. and key events. unless you had a good picture of your year already. holidays. vacation. personal projects.

Mapping this out also helps me spot bottlenecks and potential problems well before I run into them. Example Here is an example of using the outcomes and activities template: . and then identify the activities that will support that outcome. I find it easier to first identify the results or outcomes that I want for a given month. If it looks like I have too many months without flowing the right results. This tells me where I’ll be spending my time. then I can adjust my focus and where I spend my time. It also puts a stake in the ground.Template 2 This template is a list of your activities and outcomes on a month-by-month basis.

Results Explained “Efficiency is doing things right.”—Peter Drucker . Create a scannable map of your year at a glance.In Summary  Identify your three key results for the year. effectiveness is doing the right things.   Chapter 10 . Design more effective months to support your year.

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

The . Productivity Personas Personas are a simple way to share examples of the different types of behaviors. but the problem is that some maps are better than others. You can use this frame as a backdrop for finding. No persona is good or bad.) Each Hot Spot represents an actionable bucket. You can analyze yourself. and common interactions. Note that the Guidelines in the appendix of this guide uses the Results Frame to organize a large set of prescriptive guidance. Some are more effective than others depending on the situation. You can use this frame to help you make sense of the results space: The productivity space is a well-travelled path.. the Hot Spots for results. other people. We all have the capacity for the various behaviors.Results Frame (Hot Spots for Results) If you don’t know what you’re looking for. you’re not going to see it. Anybody can be a mix of some or all of the various personas. organizing and sharing your knowledge about getting results. Chunking up a problem makes it easier to tackle. By using an organizing frame.e. You can think of the Results Frame as a map of categories or topics that are important (i. The key is to use the personas as a lens on behavior. you can more effectively manage and prioritize large collections of information.

trick is to know your preferences and the preferences of others. Here’s a set of personas relevant to the results space: 3 Ways to Use Productivity Personas .

The personas give you a quick way to identify and label patterns of behavior. “Who can you team up with to get results? …How can you build more effective teams? …Who should be paired up on the team for best results?” 3. Productivity Pitfalls There are lots of ways to fall off the path. You can use this lens to help you understand the behavior and preferences of yourself and other people. don’t worry. Use the Productivity Personas to pair up with other people and improve your own effectiveness. Know Yourself. Ask yourself. Use the Productivity Personas to know yourself. Analysis paralysis . not for limiting or boxing in personalities. Here are three ways you can use the Productivity Personas to your advantage: 1. The key is to be aware of the preferences. “What are the best behaviors for the situation?” Remember to use the Productivity Personas as a lens. they provide a lens. For example. If you’re aware of the personas. Top 5 Productivity Pitfalls Here are the top 5 productivity pitfalls that I’ve seen time and again the limit people’s results:  Pitfall # 1. For example. for yourself and others. don’t let your Inner Critic or Perfectionist get in the way of your Doer. That’s what this guide is for. If you suffer from some of these issues and don’t know the solution. Swap out for more effective personas based on the scenario. if you really need a Starter for the situation. you’ll get up again. Ask yourself. You can get back up quicker when you recognize the problem. If you get knocked down. You can also use the Productivity Personas to create more effective teams or to optimize teamwork. and nobody’s going to keep you down—not even you. The labels are for behaviors. it’s whether you get back up. Team Up. It’s not whether you fall. More importantly. Improve the Situation. Ask yourself. and to choose more effective behaviors as well as to optimize yourself and others in any situation. Anybody can demonstrate any of the behaviors at any time. You can imagine how some behaviors work better with others and how some can create conflict. then see if you can find somebody who can play the role. “When are you at your best? …Are you more of a Starter or a Finisher? …Are you more of a Maximizer or a Simplifier? …Are you more of a Thinker or a Doer? “ 2. but you can’t break out of Finisher mode. you can use them to your advantage.

Having a time for things works just like having a place for things. Do it when you feel like it Pitfall # 3. and then. When you don’t know the work to be done. Think of it as getting more chances to get better at what you do. You can use routines to improve your performance and results. You don’t always feel like doing things. You might find that all your analysis doesn’t actually help when you try to apply it.g. that’s true and it’s a trap. 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. Pitfall # 3. While they’re waiting for inspiration. There’s a world of difference between dreaming up solutions and actually implementing them. You can also miss out on a lot of opportunities along the way. You never think you have enough information to act on the problem and it always seems like there is more you can know. Imagine if competitive athletes only practiced when they felt like it. This pitfall holds back aspiring artists too. you don’t get the right people doing the right things. and make progress on the problem. even when they’re in your best interest. even small steps. especially if you’re a heavy thinker or you really enjoy analyzing problems. you’re missing opportunities to practice and improve your skills. The way out is to start action on the problem. take three actions on the problem today) helps me stay out of analysis paralysis. it’s very easy to get yourself in over your head. One way to help balance your analysis with action is to set limits on how much time or energy you’ll spend analyzing and giving yourself small time boxes for taking action. Don’t Know The Work to Be Done “Don’t know the work to be done” is another arch-enemy of results. The problem is. while you’re waiting for your inspiration. they don’t have the skills to make the most of it. Analysis paralysis “Analysis paralysis” can be your worst enemy. Perfectionism Pitfall # 1. so that you gain momentum as well as feedback on your thinking. when inspiration does come along. Most importantly. Do It When You Feel Like It “Do it when you feel like it” works against you in a few ways. they miss opportunities along the way. Pitfall # 2.    Pitfall # 2. When you don’t know the work to be done. You can then compound the problem by throwing more time and energy . Don’t know the work to be done Pitfall # 4. Lack of boundaries Pitfall # 5. One of the most effective ways to combat the problem is to simply make time for things and schedule your routines. you can’t estimate the time or energy it will take. When you don’t know the work to be done.

Make time for working out by actually scheduling it. and without a buffer. The key is to iterate on it. The best countermeasure for a lack of boundaries is to put some simple boundaries in place. I always have to spend a lot more time and energy. seeking the perfect plan takes a lot of analysis. Another countermeasure is to expect the unexpected—keep a buffer of time and energy so that you can respond instead of react. then you know exactly what a lack of boundaries feels like. and you bleed your work into all area of your life. you never finish something on time or when it’s due because you’re busy perfecting it.at the problem. you can add some boundaries such as. during a project ramp up. lunch. so you need to stay flexible. It can also mean that you push yourself past your own limits. If you don’t know the work. not a destination. Setting boundaries doesn’t mean there won’t be exceptions. It can mean spilling your work over into the weekend. Instead of writing perfect prose or bulletproof code the first time through. Find your best time for going to sleep and guard it. but at least you now have a simple framework that supports you. you may find yourself overwhelmed and downtrodden. then iterate. Second. and dinner. When you don’t know the work to be done. It’s scaffolding for sustainable results. Getting something done "good enough" for now. From there. you can get surprised along the way by things you didn’t expect or anticipate. The expectations allows me to cross-check that I’m staying balanced and taking care of the basics.” First.” A friend of mine set a simple rule of “dinner on the table at 5:30” and it’s helped him stick to his boundaries for years. make the first draft “good enough”. . working to the point of diminishing returns. There are three main problems with “perfectionism. One of the best ways to counter this problem is to map out the work. start by making time for breakfast. It can mean that your day never ends. If you find yourself working well past your best energy. Third. Simply by thinking in terms of "versioning" your results can help you balance getting it right with getting it done. or creating your own hurdles or walls that you can't jump over. Perfectionism “Perfectionism” often goes in hand with “analysis paralysis. the most crippling form of perfectionism is when you don’t start something or won’t even try because you know you won’t be perfect. Pitfall # 5. The other thing to keep in mind is that things happen in cycles or stages. is better than missing the window of opportunity or over-engineering it. For example. For example. It can be as simple as missing things like breakfast or lunch.” After all. Pitfall # 4. Lack of Boundaries “Lack of boundaries” gets in the way of work/life balance. you beat yourself up over your results instead of appreciate your learning and growth. “no work on the weekend” or “no work during the week nights. over getting stuck up front. ask the people that do or who have done it before. Beat “perfectionism” by thinking of it as a path.

recognizing them. Burnout. It happens when you keep solving the same problem and you don’t feel like you’re making progress. and eliminating them from your habits and practices will go a long way toward unleashing your potential. Only to find out that you’ve missed the mark. Maybe it’s just your aim to please people where you just can’t say no. Simply by knowing what they. You’ll eventually let them down. 2. 3. Biting off more than you can chew. Blamer / Victim. You lost interest along the way. Rather than delivering value along the way. Maybe you think you really can boil the ocean. Worse. It’s their fault. . just not up front. Analysis Paralysis. You think you can …you think you can …or can you? …or what about this way or that way? …or what about…? Well. you will be better prepared to defeat them or avoid them entirely. 4. The beauty is that many of these Productivity Pitfalls are directly within your control. your supporters lost interest and trust.30 Common Productivity Pitfalls If you can at least recognize the common Productivity Pitfalls.. 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. back to the drawing board.. 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. Burnout is when you shut down. Big bang. you wait until the very end. Why does it always happen to you? 5.

8. Gradually. About a 1000 times a day. You barely notice it. Churn. 7. but it just doesn’t feel good. and that worked for a while. Doing a good job used to be its own reward. something else is more important. Sure you used to enjoy it. Instead of creating a glide path. You either failed to reset expectations or the expectations weren’t accurate. Crossed-Expectations. You hit a ceiling. Doing the same thing. 11. but now you’d rather do nothing than something that just doesn’t feel good. You’ll spend every last bit of your precious life force trying to pull it off. you’ll just wait and then strike when the iron is hot.. expecting different results. but you keep doing the same thing. just applause or money.scroll …click . 12. Do it when you feel like it. 16. but now it’s all about the rewards. You haven’t really thought about it. All you need is some more caffeine. When things go wrong and if you don’t know any better. You thought you could talk yourself into it. Any free time is more time to burn the candle. It’s just a little too much resistance. You’ll step on whomever or whatever you have to. It doesn’t feel good. A little now might be better than nothing later.scroll—ah. Burning the candle at both ends. there’s that file that you use everyday! It’s not a lot of overhead. 9. you might end up thinking the world is out to get you. 10. Do it later. This also means you don’t even know who whom to ask for help. Don’t know the work to be done. 14. Congratulations—you found your ceiling! 18. Click …scroll …click …scroll …click . Friction. You’ll do it when you feel the inspiration. Downtime is for wimps. 17.. but don’t make progress. 13. 15. You rob Peter to pay Paul. This is when you let yourself down or you let somebody else down. Later never comes.6. Death by 1000 paper cuts. You know you really should do it. but you just gradually stop doing it. It’s just a little. It’s more important what other people say than how you feel about the work you do. or when it does.. This means you don’t know how much effort or time it might take. No satisfaction. Externalize instead of internalize. . Getting stuck. You don’t know the work to be done. Churn is when you spin your wheels against a problem. the friction snowballs. You don’t need to make time for it. Do whatever it takes.. you ignore the friction. but it adds up.

Time for your body or for your mind gets monopolized by time on your work. You get mad when nobody appreciates all the hard work you did. and nothing changes for the foreseeable future. Limiting beliefs or assumptions. you continually meet deadlines. You’re pretty sure you can’t do it. Wrong approach.” 27. If you can’t be the best. you never start. The keys to getting out are taking action. The problem is. Bigger is better! …and more complex …and a little tougher to finish …and tougher to fix …and no way are you doing it over--it’s too big and too complex! 26. Lack of buffer. You’ve got the right idea. 25. Limiting situation. though you never tried.. Throwing time at the problem. Watching the scoreboard. Perfectionism. lots of time. You perpetually miss deadlines. Go ahead just let somebody try and ask you to do just one more thing. that nobody asked you to do to begin with. One more straw will break your back. You throw more motivation at it. Lack of demand. 24.. When you’re playing you’re thinking about working and when you’re working you’re thinking about playing 20. but your hammer just won’t turn the screw. Knowing is More Than Half the Battle . The workday spills into the night. Learned helplessness. but you think there should be.19. it won’t work. There’s no demand. but you hold on. Lots of energy. You let your supply side get in the way of the demand side. It’s not working. and learning from what works. You basically shut down and stop trying. Your container limits your results. This is when you tell yourself that no matter what you do. no results. Work spills into the weekends. You keep your eye on the scoreboard. changing your approach. 30. 23. It’s never good enough. What’s the use in trying? All you get is pain. 22. You limit yourself. Or you beat yourself up instead of learning.. 29. 28. The more you hold on.. Not letting go. It’s not serving you. It will be done when it’s done. but more importantly you need to know how to get out. 21. or worse. Lack of boundaries. but it’s a habit you carry forward. the worse the situation stays broken. the tougher it is to let go. The saying is. There are lots of ways to end up here. just not the right approach. This is the worst place to be. Monolith. You’ll be fine . that’s not where you focus should be.As long as everything goes just right. at the expense of other areas of your life. Worse you limit other people. Or you’re never done on time—or never done. “Keep your eye on the ball.

sharing. you identify with some of them. For example. The power of patterns is that by naming them. “flow” is a pattern where you are fully engaged in an activity. It’s also a way to organize your principles. it’s easier to change it if it’s not working for you. a behavior pattern. you can share solutions more effectively. For the situation. It’s your habits and practices that you currently use to get the results you’re currently getting in your life. which can limit or amplify your impact and results. adjust the situation to better suit you. and Practices for Results One of the most effective ways I’ve found for finding. On the system side. You can think of practices as simply methods or techniques.g. On the knowledge side.) You can also think of a pattern as a problem and solution pair. It’s a way to make sure you have time for things you need to do. For example. a principle might be “fix time. and mapping out large bodies of knowledge is to use principles. Collectively. You can change different things about you. feeling or doing. patterns. you enjoy the process of getting the results you want. It’s a “how” or a “way” to do something. flex scope” which means set up time for things and bite off less to fit within the chunk of time that you have. You can think of a principle simply as a guideline or as a fundamental law or how something works. patterns. where the pattern itself is the name of the solution. by thinking about results in terms of principles. or you can try and avoid those situations all together. this is your approach or process. this simple guideline might serve as the foundation for many other guidelines. you can change your thinking. versus just hoping they get done. you can choose to adapt yourself to the situation. Ideally. such as Agile Results. scheduling results is an effective practice. As an underlying principle. A pattern might simply be a tendency or set of acts that you observe (e. the Results Frame is a simple way to map out and organizing how you think about getting results.Chances are that as you read the Productivity Personas and the Productivity Pitfalls. . you can create and grow your personal knowledge base for getting results Putting It All Together When it comes to getting results. Patterns. Once you recognize something. and practices for getting results. you want to consider both your system and your knowledge. Principles. You can think of patterns in a couple ways. For example. patterns. and practices. For example. and practices. The Productivity Pitfalls give you a lens for looking at common sticking points or bottlenecks to your best results. The Productivity Personas help you understand behaviors. in addition to the results themselves.

but there’s a difference. if any.” This chapter helps you get some quick fundamentals of results under your belt. It’s less about figuring the right things to do up front and more about taking action and correcting based on feedback. Learn the difference between “above the line” and “below the line. But they turn their failures into lessons. Learn a conceptual model for competency. Understanding this difference helps you shift from thinking about efficiency and focusing more on effectiveness. Results and productivity go hand in hand.By improving your knowledge of principles. You also end up paying attention to the results you’re getting. tuning and pruning their abilities as they go. Chapter 11 . They make a lot of mistakes. In Summary  The Results Frame is a set of Hot Spots to help you analyze and learn information in the productivity space.   Use the Results Frame to find actionable principles. and practices for improving results. They learn how to make the most of what they’ve got and they keep taking action. By focusing on effectiveness.25 Keys to Results “Words may show a man’s wit but actions his meaning. you end up improving your efficiency. you unleash your best results. patterns. They quit the stuff that’s not working and they stick . This is the secret behind the most successful people.  Know the most common Productivity Pitfalls and which ones. apply to you. patterns. and practices for getting results and by continuously improving your system for getting results.” – Benjamin Franklin In This Chapter    Learn the sweet spot for results. Know the Productivity Personas to help you understand and improve your own effectiveness whether alone or on a team or in any situation.

By knowing the concepts. They stay committed to the outcomes. This chapter is an overview of some of the key concepts for producing effective results. you’ll have an internal gauge of your performance. If you focus on the scoreboard.with the right things. Key 3: Value is in the Eye of the Beholder . I’ve found that productivity tends to be associated with “doing more. there’s a negative connotation for some people that productivity is just about doing more things for the sake of doing.” I’ve found that results tends to be associated with “what did you accomplish. This is the ultimate key to success. For instance. you’ll be able to handle resistance more effectively. What you can control is your attitude. You also might realize that maybe you don’t have effective boundaries. instead of efficiency being the ultimate yardstick. you might realize that you’re simply in an early stage of competency. By shifting a focus to results. and “is it working?” Whether or not that’s the real distinction. your approach. Simply familiarize yourself with the ideas. You’ll win some. even when it’s tough to do so. This is an important distinction. You’ll lose some. The 25 Keys to Results Here’s a set of 25 powerful lessons about producing effective results. now it’s more about effectiveness. Key 1: Results Over Productivity In my experience. and impact. Some will be counter-intuitive. value. but flexible in their approach. Key 2: Approach Over Results Just like you can’t control all the events in your life. You don’t have to memorize the concepts. you can also figure out more effective strategies. you might be working on stuff that’s not valued. you can’t control your outcomes. For instance. and your response. Most importantly. You’ll learn a lot. If you know some of the underlying concepts. if you know you’re throwing a lot of time and energy. you’re not focusing on your actions. but not producing the results you expect. Some will be more obvious than others. “ “what matters”. What you can do is make your best play in each scenario. Focus on your actions and let the score take care of itself. This will give you a firm foundation for your personal productivity practices and results routines.

a pattern is that the more you work on low-priority items. The key is to be both effective and efficient. only to find that when you’re done. Passion is the ultimate driver. high-stress scenario. and now you’re no fun to be around. the busier you get. Key 4: The Sweet Spot – Talent. and the more overloaded you will feel. Passion. The sweet spot for results is the intersection of talent. If something’s not working. The more you become a dumping ground. If your results are for somebody else. Now the worst happens. the more you become a dumping ground. or loving what you do. underappreciated. If you’re working on a lot of low-priority items. Effectiveness is about doing the right things. You get there by first working on effectiveness. In fact. you’ll find some of your passions. If you keep feeling a lack of appreciation. nobody cares. you’re overworked. The busier you get. don’t expect to get the rewards. the first thing to ask is. By failing to work on what’s valuable and by failing to understand and reset expectations. ask them what you’re working on is really the most important thing to them. Chances are if you look to your best strengths. ask if it was what you cared about the most or if there was something you could have invested the same time in and feel like you made a more important impact. passion and value. you . who were you doing it for? If it was for yourself. Key 5: Efficiency and Effectiveness Efficiency is doing things better. you’ve worked yourself into an unrewarding.One common pitfall is throwing a lot of time and effort at things. and Value One of the secrets of happiness is doing what you love.

You’re the ultimate filter for everything that happens in your life. that’s fine. To figure out meaningful outcomes. Key 6: Meaningful Work Meaningful outcomes are the foundation of meaningful work. how much you’ll enjoy the work. For instance. You should be aware of whether it’s valued by you. A compelling why will also help pick you back up when you get knocked down. You assign the meaning to your work. It’s important to also have a tight feedback loop. Make the work meaningful. but nobody else. how you’ll gauge your progress. You can improve your efficiency through repetition and modeling from successful people. Work on stuff that’s valued. One way to make your work more meaningful is to master your craft. your employer. and how much energy you’ll bring to the table. The key to effective results is having a compelling why. Motivation includes the drivers and the why behind your actions. your customer. Working on stuff that’s valued will help make work more meaningful. You can master your craft by focusing on continuous learning and improvement. how you’ll work through resistance. you work on improving your efficiency. If it’s valuable to you. Key 8: Motivation and Technique . One of the challenges is when it feels like your work has no meaning. Teaching your craft and being a mentor for others is another way to both amplify your learning and your impact. Once you’re doing the right things. It’s your motivation that will give you the extra energy to produce amazing results. You may be in the wrong line of work or working on the wrong thing. but be aware of it. Meaningful outcomes help guide your work. Key 7: Mindset and Motivation Mindset plus behaviors shapes your action and your results.change your approach. is this a sprint or a marathon? Are you chipping away at the stone. Your mindset has a lot to do with how you’ll pace yourself. It’s they why behind your actions that will either lift you or suppress you. or blasting dynamite? Do you focus on one pitch at a time or getting as much done as possible? Your mindset will be shaped by the metaphors you use to guide you. If you have a vision for the end in mind. you ask yourself what you want to accomplish. then you have something to work towards.

Key 11: Above the Line or Below the Line . If you have great technique. You can set a maximum of time you’ll spend working each week. Key 10: Time. you can set a minimum of time you’ll spend improving your body each week. you’re just a motivated idiot.One of my mentors once told me that motivation is not enough. but no technique. For instance. Your best results will be the intersection of your time. The important point here is that just throwing time at a problem isn’t the most effective solution. you can produce great results. The right techniques can dramatically reduce your time and effort. but no motivation. and Technique Where you spend your time is one part of results. If you have motivation and technique. You can set a minimum of time you’ll spend on working your relationships each week. If you have motivation. The techniques that you use and the energy you bring are the other parts. you won’t accomplish anything. You need technique. energy and techniques. Energy. Some of the most effective boundaries you can set are time boundaries. Just throwing energy at a problem isn’t the best solution either. Key 9: Boundaries Are Your Friend Boundaries are the limits you set. while amplifying your results.

Work that’s “below the line” is just expected. Others will just be expected. The funny thing about below the line work is that doing more of it won’t get you ahead. If you want to maximize your impact.” Valued and Expected Here’s a figure to help you visualize above the line and below the line: You can see how there’s this dotted line between doing what’s expected versus doing what’s valued. is considered value add. Value is in the eye of the beholder. Above the Line (Valued) Here’s a figure to help you visualize “above the line”: . You need to consider whether the work you do is above the line or below the line.Some things you do will be value add. It’s like treading water. you need to first take care of what’s expected. Work that’s “above the line”. but not doing it will likely cause you pain. Some people call this “the cost of doing business” or “the tax you pay. but then focus on value above the line.

Note that even in above the line work. it’s especially important to prioritize. If you miss the important things. you should still prioritize to maximize value to yourself or others. Some points to ponder:     Is the work you do considered above the line or below the line? For you? For others? 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? . they can dramatically take away from your perceived value or your ability to thrive. Below the Line (Expected) Here’s a figure to help you visualize “below the line”: Note that in below the line work.

when you first learned. if you drive a stick shift. and emotionally.Now you know what you don’t know. or worse. It’s automatic. this means you have to learn your own capacity. Conscious Incompetence . Unconscious Competence . . Key 12: Manage Your Plate Don’t overflow your plate. figuring out what the real values and expectations are. The last place you want to be is grinding away on something that you or anybody else won’t value in the end. this might be below the line to somebody else. Unconscious Incompetence . You don’t have to think your way through it. 3. If you have a buffer. That’s unconscious competence. You should also be in the habit of having a buffer for the unexpected. Each day can bring new opportunities or new priorities. the important thing is for you to have a frame of reference for the value of what you’re doing.You don’t know what you don’t know. and resetting expectations with yourself and others. unconscious competence when you’re learning a new skill. It’s burned into your body and it just knows what to do. You also might find that you’re stuck taking care of everything that’s below the line and you can’t get your head above water. Here are the stages: 1. To manage your plate effectively. Have you ever noticed how some things you just don’t have to think about? For instance. It slows you down. 2. you don’t have to think about shifting gears.Whether you think of the Kano model or Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.You can think your way through an exercise and perform it with some conscious effort. Conscious Competence . conscious competence. You can think in terms of unconscious incompetence. You’ll build momentum. Instead. physically. conscious incompetence. 4.You can perform the task without thinking about it. However. If you don’t feel appreciated for what you’re doing. clear your plate faster and go up for seconds. mentally. Key 13: From Unconscious Incompetence to Unconscious Competence There is a popular concept in psychology that explains stages of competence. you had to think through every move and it required a lot of effort. The fix is usually reprioritizing what’s on your plate. you can welcome and act on the opportunities if you choose to. missing some basic expectations that take away from your overall effectiveness.

and then act. You’ll course correct. If you have a habit of spending all your time thinking. you’re second-guessing yourself every step of the way. You’ll improve your habits. You can regurgitate the information. You’ll act on more your ideas. This is analysis paralysis. You can also use quantity limits. You’re stuck in thought mode. You can’t coursecorrect a static ship. Level 2. but don’t slow yourself down in the process. As you build experiences.You can imagine that the more you do where you have to think your way through it. You’ll get more feedback. This could include muscle memory and basal ganglia. then try giving yourself time limits. For example. With enough practice and repetition. Key 14: 3 Levels of Learning You can think of learning something in terms of 3 levels of learning:    Level 1. You can analyze your results and change your approach. you’ll form emotional connections to the information. Or worse. Physical. Intellectual. Instead. spend 80 percent doing and 20 percent thinking. the more effort it takes. you’ll learn it at the intellectual level. but no time on doing. You’ll feel a certain way about it. Decide and go. This is where you understand it intellectually. This is how you combat analysis paralysis. Rather than spending 80 percent of your time thinking and 20 percent doing. Emotional. You slow yourself down when you think through everything you do. Key 15: Spend 80 Percent on Action. you’ll burn things in at the physical level. think. Your body just knows what to do. This is where it’s burned into your body. This is where you have an emotional connection to it. You can logic your way through it. Key 16: Factor Thinking from Doing Think … think … think … think … think … think … think. what are three actions you can do with this idea? . Level 3. 20 Percent on Thinking The idea is to shift from more thinking to more doing. When you first learn something.

Instead. The gate keepers are people who control resources. opportunities. Your results. If they’re against you. Add the catalysts to your life. takes away your power. and limit the time you spend with the drains. you might be trying to go it alone. that doesn’t mean they will always be heard. If they’re for you. let’s look at what happens when you don’t get results. you start to doubt yourself. while actions may speak louder than words. Key 18: It’s What You Know and Who You Know One of the most effective ways to improve your results through who you know is know the gate keepers or the influencers or opinion leaders. etc. You’re the sum of your network. You also build momentum. You start to feel good. build your confidence. or by at least raising awareness of it in some form or another. Key 19: Actions Speak Louder Than Words All talk. and in today’s landscape. Life’s not static and neither is your network. You can do so by sharing the knowledge to the benefit of others. other people start to doubt you and it’s a spiral down. Now. People can be for you or against you. your network will open or close doors for you. let’s look at what happens when you produce results. or block you. If you keep bumping into ceilings. money. even just small wins. but it needs to stand out from the crowd to be recognized. The other effect is that getting results in one area tends to lead to results in another. Tune it and prune it like a Bonsai tree. sharing it for free without asking for reward. Sometimes you need to shout about your work without becoming big headed. When you don’t get results. However. Too many people hope their work will be seen. much like a snowball that grows larger as it rolls. Next. Being good enough isn’t good enough. Key 20: You Can’t Argue with Results . leverage people. One success builds on another. Power is the ability to act. Worse. People are your greatest resource. The people in your life can create or limit opportunities. you start to feel drained because it feels like your efforts aren’t working. they’ll drag their feet or make you have to work too hard. The influencers and opinion leaders are the ones that people ultimately look to for decisions.Key 17: Results Build Momentum First. You won’t have time to master everything. Life’s a team sport and it’s better together. they make things easier. no action.

One way to enjoy what you already do is to come up with a new mental model or metaphor. Change your mindset to embrace change. Either follow your passion. Another way is to spend more time in other areas that you do enjoy. Your situation is not static. and your ability to respond to the unexpected that will dramatically change your feeling of empowerment as well as your personal effectiveness in more scenarios. or find a way to enjoy what you do. What might appear to be out of thin air. There are two things you can do here: 1. Key 21: Change Happens The only constant is change. it’s tough to argue with results. your mindset of embracing change. and find some potential paths. While results don’t justify the means. It’s effectively a model. to help you refuel. You won’t anticipate everything. and expecting it. that means you’re not in a good enough vantage point to see what’s going on in the systems you’re in. Key 23: You Get What You Focus On . you can treat change as an opportunity. then you can work backwards from what works. By anticipating change. You’ll notice that the most significant changes are during key events. If you find yourself constantly reacting to change. You’re not static. Build your anticipation skills. If you can find a working example or point to tangible results. Write them down so you can see the year at a glance. Life’s not static. Results make a good argument. For instance. If you’re continuously run down. was actually a progression in a system that you just weren’t aware of.When you wonder whether something is possible or what might work. You can evaluate that outcome against what you want to accomplish. it’s more than likely that you’re spending too much time on things you don’t enjoy. they show a possible outcome. 2. Key 22: Passion is Your Fuel Energy flows where your passion goes. but it’s this gradual improvement of anticipation. One of the ways to break out of a perpetual reaction loop is to start to identify recurring events that happen throughout the year. you might think of it as mastering your craft. If it’s a match. you save yourself a lot of time and wasted energy.

. when you know how to influence effectively. Invest more time taking action. Once you tell your brain something is important. Know that value is in the eye of the beholder. this creates resistance. and this includes one on one as well as influencing a room or a team or a crowd. Combine motivation and technique to produce more effective results. People help you instead of block you or make things difficult. Pay attention to the results you're getting. change your approach. and value. Your brain can only focus on so much at a time. and technique. Resistance wears you down. blend time. If you improve your influence. while effectiveness is doing the right things. Your RAS is a filter system for your consciousness that brings relevant information to your attention. Think of it as a lens.When you know what you’re looking for. Manage your plate by biting off what you can chew. but now they’re in focus. passion. On the other hand. Key 25: Metaphors Shape Your Experience You’re the most important meaning maker. it gets resourceful. In Summary           The 25 keys represent cornerstone concepts for getting results. you amplify your impact. you start to see more of it. Embrace change and build your anticipation skills. They can lift you up or bring you down. including the words you use and the pictures you paint. How you make meaning largely has to do with your self-talk. You can think of metaphors as emotional picture words. If it's not working. energy. Find the sweet spot for results by blending talent. Key 24: Leadership is Influence John Maxwell teaches us that leadership is influence. Part of the reason why this works is because of your Reticular Activating System (RAS). You’ll suddenly notice more opportunities showing up all around you. The opportunities were there. Influence includes your ability to get other people to follow. you set yourself up for success. and having a buffer. Efficiency is doing things better. For more effective results. While you can always make things happen without other people on board.

As you read the strategies. This chapter helps you fill your playbook with some time-tested strategies for getting results. but many of them work better together. Knowing the right strategies is like knowing the playbook. Create effective metaphors to motivate yourself or others. Ultimately. The 25 Strategies for Results The strategies are a culmination and integration of many lessons learned over many people. Some strategies are easier to adopt than others and it will depend on your experience with the approach. pay particular attention to the ones that you aren’t familiar with. Each strategy is independent. since they can be new ways for you to tackle your challenges. find a way to test it and judge based on results. The common theme across them is that they can make a significant difference in your ability to accomplish the results you want. These strategies compliment the 25 Keys to Results. You don’t have to memorize these or implement them all for you to be successful. but testing and real-world feedback are your friends. Sometimes strategies support each other. you may end up where you are heading.25 Strategies for Results “If you do not change direction. You can think of the strategies as guiding approaches. since you have the most context.“ – Lao Tzu In This Chapter    Learn how to treat time as a valuable and limited resource Learn how to improve your results by changing your mindsets Learn how to create a more enjoyable path on your way to your results Changing your strategies can be one of the best ways to unleash your potential. while other times they are competing. you have to map relevant strategies to your situation. What you do with them is . Rather than try to decide or buy into a strategy. What you don’t know can hurt you. Simply familiarize yourself with the set and draw from them when you need to. Chapter 12 . These lessons show up time and again in various contexts. One way to get started is to identify three strategies that are most helpful for you now. Feel free to mix and match strategies. They guide your tactics while you pursuit your goals.

but trying to accomplish another. but stay flexible in your approach. They are a means to an end. While reaching for a goal. Knowing is often half the battle and there’s a good chance that some of the strategies may surprise you. An activity is a pursuit in which you’re active. “What do you want to accomplish?” The trap you can fall into is asking yourself. The key take away is that if you know where you want to go. More often than not. If you focus on activities. so what? That’s a bunch of activity. This lesson shows up time and again. but accomplish little. Strategy 2: Goals are Vehicles Always remember that goals are vehicles. might do a lot. Time and again.up to you. What did you actually accomplish or achieve or make progress on or improve? Those are your outcomes. SMART Goals SMART is an acronym to help you improve your goals:      S = Specific M = Measurable A = Actionable R = Realistic T = Timely . Work backwards from the end in mind by figuring out the outcomes you want to accomplish. Be committed to your outcome. Strategy 1: Outcomes Over Activities An outcome is result or consequence. let’s say you’re reflecting on your results for this last month. For example. you become something more. That’s why you want goals that stretch you. If you start listing all your activities. One simple way to train your mind to switch to focus on outcomes is asking yourself. “What are you trying to do?” I originally learned this distinction when I worked in Microsoft Developer Support. there’s lots of ways to get there. I made the mistake of asking a customer. they were doing one thing. but it’s a big difference in results. The right question to ask was “what are you trying to accomplish?” It might sound subtle. what are you trying to do? So we’d fix the wrong problems.

If you don’t know the system. measurable. For example. There are a lot of relevant analogies and metaphors here: ebb and flow. When you figure out the system. A lot of failures aren’t failed ideas. Strategy 3: Know the System When you need to produce results. I can better time my plans. Have you ever tried to swim against the tide? If you know the rhythms and know the cycles you can make them work to your advantage or at least set better expectations. I’ve generally been more on in the Spring and Fall. while other times. In this case. find a way to make the system work for you. By recognizing the cycle I’m in. Leverage the System One of the most important strategies is to leverage the system rather than work against it. Cycles and rhythms can dramatically impact the success of what you do. If you know how things work.You support yourself better by creating specific. one of the best things to do is figure out the system. it’s been way more effective to work with my tendencies. realistic. I do mind working extra hours in the Summer. Strategy 4: Know the Cycle Sometimes time is not on your side. high-tide. off season and on season. and more off in the Summer and Winter. I’m more in a plateau and I have to work too hard at it. This includes the people involved. You might have experienced the upside of this when everything just seemed to go your way and you were riding a wave. you know where you fit in. Instead. bear and bull. You also know who needs to be involved when you need to get things done. but the timing was off. Sometimes. I know that I also go through bursts of learning and growth. Other times. wax and wane. it is. Know Your Own Rhythms Most people have an off season and an on season. actionable. you can end up fighting unnecessary battles or doing things at the wrong time or just plain working too hard to produce results. for me. You might have experienced the downside of this when you either had an idea the market wasn’t ready for or you did too little too late. low tide. As such. part of your job is to figure out the key levers you can pull. it’s a simple as knowing when to try and pull things off. I don’t mind working extra hours in the Winter. the activities involved. I could fight myself or I can work with my natural tendency. and the key triggers or events. timely goals. I move some heavy rocks in .

You can spend it more wisely. you’ll thrive. As my one marathon friend put it. If you spend time in things that make you strong. They feel more in control of their life and don’t feel like they are in constant reaction to the world around them. but if it happens. Make Time for Yourself People that make time for themselves tend to operate better. Your circumstances will influence what makes the most sense. others will too. then. great. I’ve found it’s better to first figure out what they are and leverage them. such as when you’re spending too much time on the job. maybe you invest a minimum of 2 hours a week on your body. One of the most important factors in your consistent success is how you treat time. While I could change my patterns. Maybe you invest a minimum of 5 hours on your relationships. figure out what to change. You can also use time limits as a shut off valve. emotions. You might just need to use well-timed strategies to leverage yourself. body. They have a better idea of what they want and what they don’t want. Chances are. Time is the main ingredient in life. and keep you growing. if it’s not working. They get clarity in their thinking. What are your big rocks? In the big picture. make you happy. You can be thoughtful how you invest your time. Make Time for Priorities Stephen Covey teaches us to make time for the big rocks. she gets results by putting in her hours. financial. For example. others will too. if you never have fun. it’s tough to be great on the job.the Winter to set myself up for great results throughout the Spring. They are more deliberate about gradually making their world. For example. If you value your time. Ultimately. you get what you spend your time in. you can miss out on fun. start with your basics: mind. If you don’t invest in your relationships. but the key is to not overinvest in one area at the expense of another. I don’t plan on being brilliant in the Summer. if you don’t get enough sleep. and fun. They support each other. the way they want it to be. relationships. career. If you waste your time. . They figure out ways to fix things that aren’t working and they come with new things to try. Strategy 5: Treat Time as a Valuable Resource You can’t buy more time. Think of yourself as the main manager of your time. It’s tough to give your best. you probably aren’t broken. You need to make time for these though. and you can make life difficult for yourself on the job.

For example. instead of spending 3 hours on email. Fixing time leads to improved time management. If you fix time. but flex scope. Your world changes. You start to set limits within your day. Effective 40 hour weeks beat inefficient 50. it’s an exercise that can change your life. you’re forced to produce results in a fixed set of time. 80 hour work weeks. Now. . free time. We bit off what we could chew and prioritized value. you might set a boundary of a 40 hour work week. You’re more deliberate about how you spend your discretionary time. you’ll improve your success in many areas of your life. I had to optimize the team around a 40 hour work week. You’re over-extended. You can sprint when you can see the finish line. or whatever. There’s always an end in sight. Flex Scope Here’s an approach I fell into several years ago due to my scenario. You have no buffers. you decide to spend 1 or less. Interestingly.Make Free Time Whether you think of it as down time. Before you threw time at the problem and you never really noticed how ineffective and inefficient your approach was. What that meant was that if the rest of the team went above and beyond it didn’t help because the core team was out of synch. you can test different approaches to see what works best. To optimize the results. the most important thing happens. this turned out to be an Extreme Programming practice in the software world. You might realize that you don’t make any free time in your schedule. with time as a constant. improved techniques. 70. Energy Up When you fix time. We fixed time. 60. instead of throwing more time at the problem. You start to question the efficiency and effectiveness of your techniques. your energy goes up. this is your discretionary budget of time to spend on whatever you want. and ultimately better results. Strategy 6: Fix Time. but flexed scope. I had multiple vendors on my projects and their time was fixed at 40 hours. better energy management. It is that simple. Now. Better Techniques Now. You prioritize your meetings. Prioritizing Gets Easier Here’s the deal. For example. While scheduling your free time might sound like over-engineering.

This builds momentum. and fun?  Work Projects – How can you carve up your time for administration. Strategy 7: Diversify Your Results This works hand in hand with fixing time and flexing scope. body. It’s all about trade-offs. If time is fixed. relationships. you chunk it down. consider the following opportunities:  Life Frame – How can you carve up your overall time across your mind. You can think of your results as a portfolio. You can take a lot at where you’re overinvesting and under investing. If you flex time. things fall off your plate. then the tendency is to overflow your plate. Next. Don’t trade your health for your wealth. That’s how it starts. You routinely cut into your nights and weekends and wonder about that myth called work life balance. career. Why say no if you’ll get to it in the future? You’re not sure when and you’re not sure how.The End of Scope Creep When you fix time. you spread your risk. because you stop biting off what you can’t chew. Prioritize the vital few things that matter most. to make progress on the ones that are most important to you? When you diversify your results. You get in touch with your capacity. You become more reliable to yourself and other people. You’ll find that you get more of what you focus on and more of what you spend time and energy on. or you’ll later trade your wealth for your health. if your relationships are slipping. For example.How can you carve up your time for your personal projects. and don’t neglect areas that really need your attention. For example. or worse. you also hit more windows of opportunity. You can set minimums and maximums. you might establish a maximum number of hours in your career. Finish what’s on your plate before going up for more. emotions. and a minimum number of hours on your health each week. For example. but you’ll get to it. Where you spend your time and energy matters a lot. Simply having a mental model to look at your . Now. you throw more time at them to get them done. You spread your life force across certain investments. Work Projects. you have a rough idea of how much to bite off. Personal Projects You can diversify your results at multiple levels. financial. think time. it might be a good opportunity to carve out more time for them. When you’re not sure. consider the opposite. execution time on a daily basis?  Personal Projects . Life Frame.

The problem is that life has more than one basket. Strategy 9: Value Delivered Over Backlog Burndown Just like a camel with too many straws on its back. Just use your portfolio to keep things in check and not lose sight of the bigger picture. and focus meet. It’s a Numbers Game Another important reason to diversify your results. not to go for it. That’s completely different than asking yourself such a pointed question at the start of your week. it’s a quick check to help you course correct. If you spend all your time in your career. priorities. you might decline your body or your mind. It’s a great question to tackle because time is your most precious resource. You can only spend it more wisely. That’s not to say that when you have a good bet. Time changes . Sometimes. trade-offs. It forces you to be more deliberate in how you spread your life force across your portfolio. get in the habit to start asking the question. Follow your passion. Before you worry about whether you have the right answer. and be selective about your high risk bets. the key difference in a lot of productivity systems boils down to answering that question. Sometimes. The opposite is to put all your eggs in one basket. the time just wasn’t right. it was the approach. If you synch all your time into fun. When you diversify your results. because there is no one answer. You might already ask yourself in fuzzy or indirect ways. Sometimes. It’s hard to predict when things won’t work out. it was the concept. Strategy 8: Next Best Thing To Do What’s the next best thing to do? Believe it or not. You can’t make more of it. The problem with backlogs is that they tend to be a laundry list of items that were important at some point. you can also prioritize your vital few to focus on.portfolio of results is the first step to dramatically improving your effectiveness. then your relationships or body can go downhill. It will serve you in the long run. your backlog can wear you down. Your mind is a powerful resource when you ask the right questions. The question can be more powerful than the answer. This is where all your outcomes. The different buckets support each other and help keep you effective overall. Your vital few results will cushion you when you fall or they can also be another place to turn your energy when something else just isn’t working out. Instead. is because it’s a numbers game. or in the moment. at the start of your day.

you need to know whether what you’re doing is considered above the line or below the line. Part of your success is how you manage expectations. with yourself and others. Your backlog should serve you. Stick with tickler lists with just enough notes to remind you of what’s important and to feed into your decisions. The key here is value delivered over backlog burndown. Don’t get bogged in details. Worse. and what’s valued. how you want to maximize your impact. The number one problem I’ve seen with backlogs is they rot over time. each week … etc. Above the line is valued. It’s better to elaborate and add detail the closer it gets to when you’re actually going to do something. this is where the saying a plan is a list of things that will never happen comes to mind. In these cases.the value of things. Instead. you get to weigh in on what’s the most valuable things to do. the better chance that it’s time has come and gone. right now. Don’t be surprised if you don’t get a raving review when all you did was below the line work. That would be a problem if all things were the same importance. don’t screw up great results by failing to meet basic expectations. If it’s for not for you. of being backlog driven. At the same time. but you should never be a slave to it. it will wear you down. If you’re a slave to your backlog. or that something else is more important now. It might be an item in your backlog. is they are overly detailed plans. Value is in the Eye of the Beholder Always remember that value is in the eye of the beholder. Don’t become a beast of burden to your backlog. each moment. It might not. each day. You probably have more things to do than there’s time in the day. The longer an item sits in a backlog. If you’re working on something know who the customer is. Below the line is simply expected. The second common problem I’ve seen with backlogs. A Catalog of Potential Action Instead. How do you know? It’s based on what you want to accomplish (your outcomes). You backlog is a catalog of potential action. think in terms of value delivered. Is it you for your personal learning? Is it for your boss? Get clarity on that first. Backlogs Rot with Time I think it’s worth pointing out a few things on backlogs. right here. you’ll miss windows of opportunity. This is where the question of what’s the next best thing to do really comes into play. Strategy 10: Make It a Project . Your backlog is an input for you.

some you don’t. let’s say you want to improve how you handle your email. You can figure out the work involved. you might do a short project to test your results. not in a good way. You never look forward to them. You have a named thing that you can measure your results on. but not so long that it wears you down and you can’t see the end in mind. a month long project a 3 month project. When you make something a project. if it’s the next best thing for you to do. For example. you’re better off in the long run of doing many short projects over one long marathon. You now have a named thing that you can experiment with the best way how to accomplish it. Projects can vary dramatically in size. Things that make you strong give you more energy when you perform them. You have a named thing that you can associate actions to. At the end of your project. Pay attention to what makes you strong. or it might not. You give it a start and a finish. Knowing . make it a project. You want it long enough to get useful results and meaningful feedback. you could have a day project. For example. Pay attention to what makes you weak. Giving it a name puts you in control. figure out the activities that make you weak and that make you strong. you turn it into something more manageable. you can evaluate your results. there’s a good chance you’re spending a lot of your time on things that make you weak. You can weigh the benefits of it against other things you might invest your life force in. It may be things you enjoy. You get a fresh start. You can drive it from cradle to grave. Remember that the power is in treating something as a project. You now have a thing to associate your focus or energy on. You build momentum. Maybe you haven’t even thought about what makes you strong and what makes you weak? Figure Out Your Weekly Strengths and Weaknesses First. Jump incremental hurdles over trying to scale a major wall. You now have a named thing that you can prioritize. Make it a project and give it a name. a 6month project … etc. during your week. These activities that drain you might be spread out all over the week. Chunk It Up Based on my experience on many projects over many years and the experience of others. For example. a weeklong project. You now have a named thing that you can put on the backburner. Strategy 11: Have a Strong Week Unless you’ve been deliberate about your schedule. You can version your results. Not happy with your results? Maybe it’s time for version two.If you want to get real results. leave you feeling drained. Things that make you weak. Some you may have control over. One effective way to right-size them is to do it by time.

you give yourself momentum by design. but if you don’t know your own patterns. See if that improves your results. Again. A fixed-mindset assumes that things are the way they are and you can’t improve them. Strategy 12: Know Yourself You can know all the strategies in the world. Don’t let your weaknesses spring leaks in an otherwise potentially strong schedule. Don’t luck into success. if it’s not working for you. Know the keys and continuously work towards and refine them. Instead. You already have a weekly schedule. then you can choose adopt more effective strategies. Rather than find what’s wrong. Otherwise. If you know your own patterns. you don’t have to decide whether this is right for you. Here’s an example of some ways to know yourself as it related to personal productivity:  Mindsets and motivation. think of things in terms of skills waiting to be developed. if you realize you’re negative. write these down. Maybe you think of yourself as the lone cowboy. find what’s right. a good way to start is by pushing as much of the things that make you weak. to get over your major humps. Maybe your work is like herding cats. Based on Peter Drucker’s recommendations and what I’ve tested in practice. Another powerful examples if if you have a fixed-mindset. Why does this work? You use the strongest part of your day. Ideally. strengths. test it for a month. You’re in the best position to know what makes you strong and what makes you weak. The beauty of designing a week that supports you is you get practice every week. Instead. you stop the energy leaks throughout your week. there’s a good chance they won’t help. Maybe you’re Atlas with the world on your shoulders. For example.yourself is a huge advantage over ignorance. and weaknesses. One of the most powerful things you can do is change your mindset. Are they helping you or working against you? One metaphor that helps me is thinking in terms of mastering my craft. you either luck into weakness or luck into strength. you line up things that make you strong right after to give you a boost. Consolidate and Compartmentalize Your Weaknesses Next. This list is your insider’s guide to improving your energy levels. Rather than just think of things as natural talent. whether you designed it on purpose or not. This is your chance to create a strong week by design. Another is taking . Compartmentalize them. test adopting a positive mindset for a month. adopt a growth-mindset where you test your ability to learn and grow. By consolidating them and shoving them into timeboxes.  Metaphors. to Mondays and to the morning in your day. By structuring your days and week like this. However you are thinking of it. fix your week. You probably already represent your work to yourself in some way. This opens a lot of doors to you.

If you know your passions.  Linking to good feelings. you might find new ways to enjoy old things. Additionally. Think the thoughts that make you feel good. if you whistle while you work. a maximize or a simplifier. Know your pattern and set yourself up to keep your energy high. If you’re a finisher. Pay attention to what makes you feel good … certain memories. consider the opportunity to pair up with other personas. Know how to push your own buttons.  Fighting procrastination. . One quick solution is to simply start taking more action. Whenever there’s work to do.  Strengths and weaknesses. To put it another way. Find ways to overcome your perfectionism.the bull by the horns. and work on way to reduce friction. then again. one of the common problems is you’re thinking too much and you talk yourself out of it. the trick is to take action and let motivation follow. You probably know whether you are a starter or a finisher. Think of metaphors that empower you and swap them out for the ones that make you weak.  Personas. certain songs. a thinker or a doer. it’s just a matter of degree. The problem is that action comes before motivation. such as versioning your results and improving each time. If you’re an introvert. … etc. think about which persona helps you best and put on that hat. this means getting your alone time. You know your patterns better than anybody.  Fighting perfectionism. You should know and respect your weaknesses. You should reduce your liabilities but invest more energy in growing your strengths over your weaknesses.  Passions. or play the songs that get you fired up when you need to link things to good feelings. There’s always a way. If you’re an extravert. Introverts are more focused on internal ideas and you may prefer to work alone or in small groups. you can make time to refuel. Some people have it way more than others. Create more glide-paths for yourself. then see if you can find a good starter to light your fire. and adopting beliefs such as perfection is a journey not a destination. If you know this. recall the memories that make you feel great. You should know your strengths such as detail oriented or quick on your feet or great presentation skills. Find ways to look forward to what you do. Another issue is that most people think they have to talk themselves into doing something. You can also find ways to work your passions into your current job. this means spending time with others. Most people have some trace of perfectionism. certain thoughts. Extraverts on the other hand may want to work as part of larger teams or where there’s more real-time communication.  Introvert or extravert. If you keep finding yourself procrastinating.

I’ve seen a lot of people get stuck. but with other people. see if you can arrange your projects to support your most effective workstyle. buddy up. The trick is often finding and asking the right person. Then there’s somewhere in the middle. If you’re a thinker. If you tend to be scope and quality driven. and regularly miss deadlines. Find somebody to compliment your skills. This is your simple most important carrot that you can use to help motivate yourself when the going gets tough. like to share what they know. pair with a finisher. Some people like to work with others. they hit an invisible wall. Some people like to work alone. Consider teaming up with somebody on something you want to learn. They often send belated birthday cards. monthly goals and bite off a little at a time. Other people care a lot more about quality and actually taking their time. Focus on getting drafts or strawman or prototypes done over fit and finish. Some people like to work on their own thing. For example. pair with a doer. If you’re a starter. Most people that are good at something. It’s also your reminder and checkpoint to stay on track. recognize the issues and ask friends and mentors for strategies that help you improve your effectiveness when it’s not your idea scenario. Strategy 14: Factor Thinking from Doing . weekly. That just doesn’t work in today’s world. Set daily. They are quick to set dates and meet them.  Time. they’re always on time and they never miss deadlines. Some people care a lot more about time than others. It’s one of the toughest things to learn. Consider teaming up with somebody at work. Compelling why. pair with a simplifier. but it’s about finding a balance with sharing “good enough” sooner versus too little too late. For whatever reason. If you know this about yourself.  Workspace pattern. This keeps momentum and you get the benefit of synergy. are late to parties. If you’re a maximizer. Make sure you know why you do what you do. test focusing more on time for a month. Strategy 13: Team Up Pair up. There’s a lot of mentors in the world. You should know which end of the spectrum you fall. One of the worst failure patterns I see time and again is the “it will be done when it’s done” and the recurring missed deadlines. team up. whatever. The key is to see what it feels like to do things on time and to trade perfection for timely results. Otherwise. you just need to know what you want and go for it. Pairing with the right person got them over it.

For example. do it. measure against effectiveness. They decide and go. Strategy 15: Factor Practice from Performance This is related to factoring thinking from doing. This is one of the secrets of how the Air Force turns ordinary people into extraordinary pilots. Instead. That’s the thoughtful part of your brain. then execute. you burn up your prefrontal cortex. . it first needs to be effective. If it’s not working. if you edit while you write. When you’re practicing. then you critique. Throw out what works in favor for what works. That’s the key to success. it makes sense for you to go slower and be more thoughtful to get the routine down or learn a new technique.What do the most successful people that get results have in common? They don’t second guess themselves every step of the way. They don’t analyze everything while they do it. It needs to work. Of course. You can want it to work all you want. review it. You can’t argue with results. you now have a script that you can improve. The same holds true for brainstorming. You don’t critique while you brainstorm. You might even be doing a dry run. First you brainstorm. you can’t be second guessing yourself along the way. there’s a good chance you aren’t taking enough breaks or you are interspersing too much thinking with your doing. If this is a routine that you’ll perform regularly. It’s about factoring your thought processes. If you think through your actions up front. the challenge is finding the right technique. There’s many ways to accomplish something. When you’re performing. so change your approach. If you think your whole way through every step. and then improve it. but you have to be honest with what you’re getting. Think. cut the deadwood. the recommendation is to write it out and then edit. If you find yourself constantly drained. Simply perform. Basically. you slow yourself down and you wear yourself down. I call these improvement scripts. This isn’t about being mindless. In fact. It’s also how you avoid analysis paralysis. This is the same thing for executing tasks. Why is this such a big deal? This is how you avoid task saturation and shutting down. More importantly. There’s another benefit to this approach. For something to be useful. You can literally script your success. Strategy 16: Measure Against Effectiveness How do you judge a technique? Measure by what works. but in this case. it’s being clear about whether you’re practicing or you’re performing. you can write the key actions to execute.

What’s important is that you meet your objectives the most effective and efficient way you can. and it simply means extrapolating expectations about behavior by watching somebody in small periods of time. The pitfall is to kid yourself when it counts. If your mind says things are on track. The quicker you have a good sense of how things are actually working out. Leverage Your Heroes You can also think of this as an exercise in impersonation. Trust your intuition. you produce results. You’d be surprised how little it takes though to figure this out. dig deeper. You might be picking up on something intuitively that you just haven’t figured out how to rationalize yet. For example. You don’t want to be reacting to what you don’t understand. find people that are getting the results you want. Thin Slicing is a concept introduced by Malcolm Gladwell in the book Blink: Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. This assumes that you know enough of the other person’s thought patterns and behaviors to draw from. but your gut says something is off. Stand on the shoulders of giants. One of the worst mistakes people often make is they start from scratch. chances are you’re not the first. you can ask yourself what would Einstein or Leonardo do in this scenario? This is a great way to switch your thinking and gain new perspectives. Producing results is a constant exercise in course correction. I know it sounds obvious. “Best” is subjective and context dependent. As you ask better questions.Strategy 17: Know What You’re Getting When you take actions. Find the Mentors When you look for mentors. and you’ll eventually figure out what you were intuitively picking up on. This includes both qualitative and quantitative feedback. A simple way to use your intuition more when you’re analyzing what you’re getting is to ask. but I see a lot of people just ask smart people or just ask their friends. the faster you can change your approach to something that might work better. No matter what you’re doing. That’s both the art and the science of results. There are always clues. You want to find at few people that . “what’s your gut say?” Strategy 18: Model the Best One of the ways to find the best technique is to model from others or to find reference examples. Pay attention to what you’re getting. You can gain a lot of insight into behaviors through thin slicing. Always balance your intuition with your mind.

” You don’t always know what you’re capable of. Don’t rely on your ability to predict what you can do. Lastly. if you did know. you can easily avoid deadlocks and keep forward momentum. Instead. not disable you. One of the big surprises for people is when they believe they can’t do something and they actually test their can’ts. you can start asking better questions. There’s a good chance you’ll be surprised. If you get stuck in a loop when you ask yourself “how can I solve this” and you keep responding “I don’t know”. or using the wrong approach. but at least you aren’t starting from scratch. “how can I solve this?” or “how can I make the most of this?”. or “how can I improve this?” … etc. They can improve your efficiency and effectiveness. take action and get real feedback. You’ll still have to tailor their guidance for your situation. Strategy 19: Test Your Results One useful metaphor for this is “do a dry run. . especially by telling you which paths to avoid. how might you solve it?” I’ve used this many times to get myself and other people out of deadlocks. Your questions should support you. On the other hand. If you know how to ask more effective questions. Ask Yourself Better Questions Avoid asking yourself “why” questions. They can also waste your time and put you in a deadlock. such as “why can’t I do this?” You’ll put yourself in a nonresourceful state and your mind will come up with reasons why you can’t. They can improve your state of mind. The right questions can save you from working on the wrong things. They’ll know what works and what doesn’t work. They can get you out of a bind. The fastest way to get some useful feedback is to test your results. and you can start figuring out where the most valuable places are to spend your time. They can save you a lot of time. If you really think you can’t do something. switch the question to. you can start to make better estimates. simply because they got stuck on needing a perfect answer instead of a potential path. You’d be surprised how many people get stuck here.are succeeding where you want to succeed. as well as potential risks. remember that what the mind can conceive the body will achieve. Call it an experiment and see what you can do. ask more resourceful questions such as. Don’t be afraid to be wrong sometimes! Strategy 20: Ask Better Questions Questions can dramatically improve your results. You don’t want to be your bottleneck to your own success. Sometimes it works better to try to prove your right. testing your results early on is important so that you get a relative gauge of what you know. As soon as you get some tangible feedback. “well. don’t know and need to know next. prove it.

Ask the Right People
One of the fastest ways to waste your time is to ask the wrong people. Who knows more about which small businesses are working – an accountant who handles the taxes of many small businesses each year, or your get rich quick friend who saw the latest infomercial? You want to ask people with results. You want to ask people that are relevant to your scenario or problem. You want to ask people who are also capable of helping. You can save yourself a lot of wasted time simply by asking yourself if you’re asking the right person. If you aren’t sure, go ahead and start asking, but keep moving forward. One way to move forward is if you find somebody who doesn’t really know, ask them if they know somebody who knows. Chances are they will have a lead for you.

Solution-Focused Questions
I call empowering questions, “solution-focused questions.” I think the name says a lot. It’s about focusing on the solution, instead of dwelling on the problem. It’s biased by design to help keep you from getting stuck in analysis paralysis and for taking action as quickly as possible. You’ll learn more by doing and get better feedback. Asking solution-focused questions that are forward looking and optimistic will help you keep moving ahead as you face adversity and friction. They will be your greatest ally in terms of producing results.

Time, Cause, Effect, Meaning, and Action
Some of the best questions you can ask are pretty basic. You can ask questions about time, cause, effect, meaning, and action. For example, 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, what will be the impact?” A question about meaning would be, “what does this mean?” You might ask a question about action such as “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. One of the most important question is, are the right people here? If not, there’s no point in having the meeting. A few of the right questions can go a long way in improving your results.

Strategy 21: Enjoy the Process
Don’t let the focus on results, trump your approach. You have to enjoy the process, or you won’t achieve sustainable results. This doesn’t mean that every aspect along the way tickles you pink. What it means is

that you feel the journey’s worth it, not just because of the destination. You become more along the way. More importantly, you don’t sacrifice your basics along the way. This includes things like your health, your mind, your emotions, your relationships, and you make time for fun.

Have a Metaphor
Sometimes enjoying the process is as simple as changing your mindset. If you’re working on your master piece, that’s an entirely different experience than just trying to get something done. Metaphors work wonders for helping you enjoy the process. Whether you see yourself as a craftsman, a mentor, an expert or a novice, can profoundly impact how much enjoyment you get along the way. This is also true for the metaphor you use for the work. 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 the more likely you are to watch the scoreboard. Pressure can help you to improve your performance, but you need to focus on the right things. Instead of the scoreboard, focus on one pitch at a time. Whatever you are doing at the moment, trust that you decided it was your next best thing to do, and focus on it. You’ll improve your performance. More importantly, you’ll enjoy the process.

The beauty of this approach is it works instantly. Right now are you worrying about something you haven’t finished? Or did you decide this was the next best thing to do and you’re lost in the moment, asking yourself, how can you use this? All it takes is a simple shift in mindset to go from hating a task to savoring the moment. For example, if you decide to master your craft, then each session is a new opportunity to improve your efficiency and effectiveness. This sets you up for learning and growing. The opposite is doing your time and then wondering where your time went …One pitch at a time.

Find Your Passion
Where attention goes, energy flows. Energy is your fuel for results. One approach is to follow your passion. The other is to find your passion. Chance are that before you go looking somewhere else, you can find ways to enjoy what you do.

Pace Yourself
Your pace can have a lot to do with your energy and enjoyment. Is it a marathon or a sprint? Is it a series of sprints? This is where knowing the system and knowing the cycle come into play. This is also where knowing yourself really pays off. You need to find the paste that best supports you. Sometimes, the turtle really does win the race. Other times, what you might just need is a race with yourself or a race against time, to really get it in gear and enjoy what you’re doing. Fast can be fun and it can be furious. Slow can be a great way to savor the moments as you go. What’s the key? Be deliberate about the pace you choose. One thing that helps is working backwards from when you want the results. This can include important timing windows. You can then setup mini milestones.

Find the Lessons
There’s always a lesson. When you don’t get the results you expect, look to the lesson. Some lessons will be more expensive or more painful than others, but that’s what experience is made of.

Strategy 22: Link it to Good Feelings
One of the important keys to enjoy the process is to link your routines and activities to good feelings. If you try to motivate yourself by promising rewards down the line, that’s not very effective in the long run. It’s actually important to link what you do to good feelings where possible. If you simply try to talk yourself into something, the problem is you only end up with a logical argument. You get more leverage on yourself if you create an emotional connection. For example, let’s say you don’t like the pain of working out. One technique you can use is to play your favorite songs. You’ll end up linking the workout to feeling good. Now you have your mind, body, and emotions working with you instead of against you.

Resistance Makes You Stronger
While the ideal scenario is you can make everything feel good, the reality is you can’t. One thing that helps is to remember that resistance makes you stronger. When you lift weights, it may not feel good at the time, but you’ll get stronger from the exercise. This holds true for when you’re facing intellectual challenges as well. Ultimately, if you’re on your path, resistance makes you stronger. What you have to watch out for, is “pushing the weight sideways.” Pushing the weight sideways is a phrase coined by my colleague Jason Taylor. What it means is that the resistance you’re facing isn’t actually helping. It’s like somebody pushing the weight sideways while you’re trying to workout.

Strategy 23: Make the Most of What You’ve Got
You’ll end up in a lot of situations that aren’t ideal. That’s called life. Your ability to stand strong when tested will serve you in the long run.

Get in a Resourceful State
One of the best ways to make the most of any situation is to ask yourself, “How can I make the most of this situation?” That will put your mind in a more resourceful state.

Play to Your Strengths
Another way to make the most of what you’ve got is to play to your strengths. The simplest way to play to your strengths is to spend more time in your strengths, and less time in your weaknesses. While you can improve your weaknesses, you get more results by maximizing your strengths.

Strategy 24: Teach What You Need to Learn
One of the best ways to learn something is to teach it. It forces you to learn the information at a deeper level. For one, rather than just recognition, you work on your recall. You also get exposed to more questions and perspectives. To teach the information, you also have to burn it in a deeper level. This requires sustained thinking and focus. One of the best forcing functions that really drives information home is simply the thought process of asking and answering questions. Of course, as you put the information into practice, you’ll want to know it beyond the intellectual. You’ll want to burn it at an emotional and physical level through repetition and practice.

Strategy 25: Pave the Way Forward
If you think of yourself as a path finder either for yourself or for others, you can improve your results. It’s one thing to stumble on results. It’s another to pave a path. When you find a path that works, you can improve the path, by doing some simple things. For example, you can focus on reducing friction. It’s likely that there are a lot of hot spots when you walk your path end to end. You can tune and prune the path to improve the results.

Learn the key factors that influence your motivation. You might get surprised by some creative options.Make It Easy for You Create a glide path for yourself. This is where your checklists. Tailor and adapt the strategies to suit your scenarios and context. Motivation is a life- . Test strategies to find what works for you for your situation. when the rest of you says you can’t. Feel free to mix and match strategies as appropriate. It’s your little engine that says you can. You can gauge the level of maturity of your system by how well you can either ramp other people up to do what you do or how easily you can hand over the reins. If you treat what you do like a system. Use the strategies to help guide your tactics. Thinking on paper is powerful. Your system should support you. routines." – Plato.Motivation "The first and best victory is to conquer self. vision. Once you write a script down. You can share your script with others and ask for feedback on how to improve it. you can evaluate its efficiency. Chapter 13 . Make It Easy for Others Create a glide-path for others. Motivation is the “why” behind the goal. and outcomes. Learn the key pitfalls that work against your motivation. Greek Philosopher In This Chapter    Learn how to improve your motivation through a compelling “why”. Create routines or checklists that support you. In Summary      The 25 strategies for results help you turn the underlying principles into action. You’ll probably find lots of ways to reduce the friction or find ways to enjoy the process more. It’s also the same force that can help you move mountains on a good day. and techniques come into play. you can improve it systematically. not the other way around.

appetites. It helps you do the right thing in the moment for your long-term benefit when you may want to do something else. You simply decide. The better you know your own drivers and levers. .” Self-discipline is a muscle that gets stronger the more you flex it. the more effective you’ll be at getting the results you want in your life. Motivation and self-discipline work hand in hand. On the other hand.) It helps you get back on course when you fall off your path. Then there’s self-discipline: the ability to correct your behavior (Self-discipline is simply correct-ing or regulating your behavior for the sake of improvement. You might feel motivated. self-discipline is only ever driven from your thinking. perhaps inspired by your thoughts. or your body. it’s a decision. Success reinforces your selfdiscipline. And how do you decide? … Your motivation. Or your body might motivate you. The undisciplined are slaves to moods. feelings. “Only the disciplined are truly free. Will is based on thinking and rea-son to create action – motivation is more from emotion. and passions. According to Stephen Covey. To commit to self-discipline. You might think yourself into something. it’s your initial motivation that says it’s worth it. Lose your initial inspiration and self-discipline keeps you going.The most important point about self-discipline is that you don’t talk yourself into it. Motivation can be your initial inspiration. One of the most important things I’ve learned is that motivation comes from your thoughts.long skill that you can improve through self-awareness and proven strategies. as a seasoned runner feels the urge to go running.

that’s only at the intellectual level.” – Brian Tracy Pain and Pleasure Pain and pleasure are the keys to motivation. When your basic needs are unmet.Motivational Quotes Quotes are a great way to share the wisdom of the ages. you’ll find a way. you might know that working out is good for you and you would think that should be enough to enjoy it.” – Zig Ziglar “Happiness comes when you believe in whatyou are doing.Col. you’ll find a way. Listening to your favorite songs or power songs helps you link pleasure. That pain drives you to survive. This includes reducing pain. you seek to thrive. It’s a survival mechanism. Custer    “The price of discipline is always less than the pain of regret. Many great wordsmiths have given us powerful perspectives on motivation and self-discipline. you feel pain. you might feel a lot of pain. and love what you are doing.” . Pleasure You can’t always talk yourself into liking something. while seeking pleasure. . it's how many times you get back up.know whatyou are doing. when you really want to avoid something. Likewise. The right quote can lift you up and get you back on track when you need it.Nido Qubein “Motivation is the fuel necessary to keep the human engine running. One common technique is to listen to your favorite songs. Some people have an amazing way with words. George A. You have to pay attention to your emo-tional response. Once your basic needs are met. You’ll go further out of your way to avoid pain than gain pleasure. Here’s a handful of my favorite quotes I like to draw from:  “You don’t overcome challenges by making them smaller but by making yourself bigger. When you really want something. Physically. For example.” – John C.” . Maxwell  “It's not how many times you get knocked down. The problem is.

usually it's past or future (i. Your “why” will help guide you through. is a tool to help you stay the course. There can be in-the-now pain to make you stop but. vision. but if you don’t find a way to enjoy it. Additionally. you’re either getting pleasure from it or avoiding pain. If you really like the end in mind. your compelling why may lead to a compelling vision. It’s like having a finish line. than not doing it. Have a compelling “why” to help you get back up if you get knocked down. Compelling Vision It’s easier to stay motivated if you see the end in mind. or mental. it’s pain. it’s easy to slide out of it. The outcomes are the results you will experience. A . If you want to make something happen. A compelling vision is a scene you can easily conjure of the end in mind. It might have looked good on paper. Gradually. It could be a tim-ing issue. Your perceived pain now might outweigh your perceived pleasure down the line. you might have a fuzzy picture of the end in mind. and outcomes support you on your path to results. but it wasn’t compelling. but logically it doesn’t make sense. Vision. A good test is whether you can draw your vision. One common reason people give up on their goals is that the why wasn’t important enough. especially a compelling one. They didn’t emotionally connect with it. Compelling “Why”. it’s the pain. you slide towards things that feel good and away from things that don’t. or a compelling “why” may take some work. This is why you might talk yourself into working out. Compelling “Why” Why are you doing this? If you don’t have a reason you feel strongly about. You may have to get creative to find a com-pelling “why”. and Outcomes Your compelling why. It’s your single best tool to keep you going. A vision of the end in mind. Whether it’s physical. Sometimes it’s easy. Difficulty discovering a compelling “why” may be an indicator that there’s something else you’d rather spend your time on. but won’t. It’s how the world will be different.Pain If there’s something you want to do. It’s your cause. chances are you’ll give up in the face of resistance. You can think of your vision as the future picture. ) Whether it’s real pain or imagined. and your out-comes as the details or highlights of the scene.e. If there’s something you keep doing. Whenever you start out on a path. Whether it’s the fear of rejection or the fear of failure. emotional. in your head. Sometimes your compelling vision creates a compelling “why”. then you’ve associated more pain with doing it. the why becomes obvious and let's you latch onto it. The past memory of pain and anticipation of future pain are another key aspect. have a compelling “why”.

You might think the work is not good enough. Value is in the eye of the beholder -. spending too much time on the problem instead of the solution. team or group (i. The more you practice. then flip it. improving each time. Analysis Paralysis .) Think of outcomes as sets of results you want to achieve. Don't settle for a fuzzy notion of results. Some outcomes are more valuable than others. He attributes visualizing his success as a movie to his actual success in the race. Another key is to know your own patterns and anti-patterns. The rigor of their routines gives them their inspiration. hear . He added a lot of details to make it vivid (the film is shot above from a helicopter. know what the group values. Some days are better than others.Don’t wait. For example. and touch . feel . to emotional. Understanding all these pitfalls helps avoid them. then clean it up in the next version. 10 Pitfalls of Motivation There are many common myths and some bad practices that take away your motivation. He visualized watching himself on the screen of his favorite theater. but when inspiration happens they’re ready to act on it. In his mental movie he would see himself running his upcoming race. 2. Imagine if athletes only practiced on days they felt inspired. until they are finally integrated into your body. Few problems withstand sustained action because that builds momentum and confidence. Compelling Outcomes An outcome is the end result. Imagine results that you can see . Waiting for Inspiration . do a first version of the work as a rough cut. You might think that you’re not good enough or smart enough. Timeboxing is another way to . Usually motivation follows action. Anti-patterns are simply bad pat-terns.e. 3. or examples of how not to do things. Tasks and activities are the means to get there. 1. his favorite announcers calling out his name as he crosses the finish line). make it as precise as possible. and so on. One way to fight perfectionism is to call the work an experiment. the more your skills evolve from intellectual.Don’t let perfection get in the way of good enough. Perfection comes in many forms. Another way is to work one version at a time.so at work. If you’re spending 80 percent of your time on the problem and 20 percent on the solution. that’s why you line up value against business objectives and the culture of your tribe. It's a common way to get yourself stuck.friend of mine used a movie technique to finish an Iron Man competi-tion.Don’t fall into the trap of analysis paralysis. Perfectionism . You must set yourself up for flow opportunities or being “in the zone” to happen. Develop routines that are easy to stick with and that give you chances to grow your skill and be your best.

to waiting too long to eat.Friction in your daily routines builds up over time. Focus on your current level of play. and take the scoreboard as feedback. When you are stuck try a new approach. Your focus should be on one pitch at a time.Don’t burden yourself with past defeats. By noticing even minor friction early on you can nip it in the bud while you have momentum. Remember that goals are a vehicle. Also. solving the same or similar problems repeatedly can lead to burn out. Incremental success becomes a habit.Don’t bite off more than you can chew. A simple way to break this pattern is to start simple and achieve success. All this friction adds up. But inspired action only takes you so far. it’s just that it’s a problem that takes time. until finally you breakthrough. a means to an end. another easy trap to fall into. Be wary of “should” thinking. Churning . Excitement and energy comes from learning and growing. Be careful what you wish for. 10. Give your best and you focus on the learning. Don’t create your own walls that you can’t scale by overloading yourself. Overwhelming Yourself . and resources only to find out your ladder was up against the wrong wall.help fight perfectionism. focus on the vital things toward achieving your best results. Set limits and use them to keep yourself fresh. not spinning your wheels. yet usually go unseen. 9. Use it to improve. but your constant action gradually wears it down. but don’t let it become a distraction. 6. 5. take smaller bites and finish faster. Some problems require chipping away at the stone. you set yourself up for improved performance. to over-sustained thinking.Going round and round on a problem without making progress it’s easy to burn yourself out. Pick yourself up when you fail: it's OK. giving it your best. 8. When you focus on the task at hand. 7. . Don't invest your time. It may not seem like much. and wasting precious mental energy. see if you can redefine the problem or tackle one piece of it. This builds momentum. Watching the Scoreboard . 4. Choosing the Wrong Motivation . Death by a 1000 Paper Cuts .It’s good to know the score. Beating Yourself Up .Don’t let the wrong motivation take you off track. Sometimes you aren't churning. By giving yourself time limits. or find a mentor. you do your best with the time you have. eating away your energy. Periodically check your direction against where you want to be. but that’s not your focus. Instead. At first you might not notice any friction in your initial burst of enthusiasm and inspiration. These little things stop people far more often than larger forces. Instead.Have you noticed when you push yourself past your limits you lose energy fast? This could be anything from staying up too late. because you just might get it. Lack of Boundaries . Focusing on the scoreboard is a way to create anxiety without improving. The power of goals is that you grow while you stretch to reach them. energy.

Use the right metaphor. 6. Set a quota. Use Pain and Pleasure to Get Leverage'. Focus on the learning. This adds up to great improvement over time. 3. Make It a Routine. Change how you feel about the stuff you do. Master Self-Discipline. Focus on the hot spots in your routines to reduce a little friction each day.' Rely on passion and in finding ways to enjoy doing what's good for you. Flex your self-discipline muscles. Frame it in a compelling way. is key to driving results. You can help it along by finding a more compelling reason or associating fun things. 10 Key Strategies for Motivation When the problem is motivation. Use timeboxing and timeboxes. See the End in Mind. Don't just vaguely imagine it . let’s say you have . For example. You need to know when you’re done as well as what good results look like. not on discipline. You don’t have to make yourself work too hard every time. 5. Master your craft. but at least know your destination. Self-discipline is often about trading away pleasure now (or even accepting some pain) for pleasing results later. Make it pleasurable to do it. You might not have the “perfect” map from point A to point B. 2. Sometimes it’s as simple as redefining your purpose when your original purpose isn’t working. Redefine it. you need some time-tested tools to help you get going. ensure it will happen. Don’t just assume you’ll automatically like something over time. 4. And it’s also easier to keep going when know that you will like where you’re going. Have a purpose.Set yourself up for success by creating glide-paths for your most important routines. You can limit the amount you do.' Find a way to enjoy it. Course corrections are easier and more accurate when you know your progress toward your destination. Make it painful to not do it. use routine. Make it Meaningful. Is it a mountain or a mole-hill? Are you on a mission? Sometimes all it takes is the right emotional picture word to give new meaning to your activity.' Link tasks to pleasure. Set Boundaries. Use checklists to improve. Make resistance your friend: it makes you stronger. Bootstrap your routines by creating glide paths or simple ways to start. Here are ten key strategies for motivation: 1. A good test is if you can draw your vision or concisely tell others what you’re trying to accomplish. Instead of discipline. a compelling one. Some things are a trade-off … pay me now or pay me later. such as by playing your favorite songs. It’s easier to stay the course when you can see the finish line.see it in your mind’s eye. You can use time boundaries to limit or compartmentalize pain.

and paying atten-tion to your patterns The more you know yourself. helps you learn your energy patterns.a bunch of activities that drain you. These three activities support each other. but not results. while learning something new along the way. Sometimes it’s simply because you don’t eat at regular intervals and you lose energy. and working out. Reward Effort Over Performance. the better you can drive your own results. not the other way around. Working out often helps people sleep better and eat better. So focus on rewarding the effort and performance will follow in time. is really a lack of sleep. Observe which techniques work for you and which don't. Build Momentum. Success builds momentum. and get success. asking the right questions. Take full advantage of those inspirations when they occur. Set Incremental hurdles. sleeping. Motivation usually follows action. Incremental success becomes a habit. This is an extremely common success pattern. You gain this self-knowledge through reflection. Fix time for eating. 7. you teach yourself to consistently give your best. If you’re a starter.) If you can. independent of the outcome. You need to make it mutually beneficial to sustain it. Find somebody who complements your strengths. Have a fixed time for eating. Team up. 10. 8. Self-Awareness is Your Best Strategy Self-awareness is your best strategy for motivation. If you’re a maximizer (somebody who goes for completeness). find somebody who’s been there or done that before. The sum of establishing these three routines is more than the parts. You need to know what makes you tick. They can benefit honing their skill and leveraging experience. This raises your level of skill and sets you up for more positive outcomes. By focusing on what you control. For example:   Do you like to work alone or with others. 9. One of the most effective ways to find motivation is to team up with somebody. Take Action. Start simple. Your body learns what to expect. One of the simplest ways to break the pattern is to start with something simple. Consolidate and batch them for an hour in the morning to get them out of the way. find a finisher. Having a routine for them. sleeping and working out. Their experience can save you a lot of wasted time or energy. You can also use timeboxes to sprint for short bursts. or do the least pleasant things first to get them out of the way. Sometimes. You’ll also find that if you put in the hours. you’ll have more chances for inspiration. find a simplifier (somebody who simplifies. You can control your effort.? Does your encouragement comes from internal or external factors? . what you think is a motivation issues.

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

you’ll do it more. On the flip side. 8. but without passion. For example. and be in great shape. Do the people you spend your time with usually catalyze or drain you? Pay attention to the people and interactions that give you energy and take it away. Workspace. If you don’t like how it feels. enables you to enjoy the pain or at least tolerate it better. Mindsets and Metaphors.and skills. . you can eat right. and behaviors. or if you can’t imagine the benefit in the future. Consider change the tasks or changing your attitude about the task. Here’s the surprise. Your body can help you or work against you in terms of motivation. If you’re not at your best. knowing that the resistance is making you stronger. or if you don’t value the long-term benefit. your mind is freed up for better things. Action usually comes before motivation. 15. helps to find your passion. People. Some will make you strong. It’s tough to keep doing something if it doesn’t make you feel good either in the moment. Body. You often have to look for the passion. You’re more likely to take action. 9. 14. If you have a place for things and things in their place. Feelings. When you workout. The mindsets and metaphors you choose are your filters that shape your thoughts. One of the non-obvious threats to motivation is a lack of sleep. by sleeping different durations and noticing the impact. but also know when it just isn't there and move on. Your thoughts create your feelings. feelings. Do the tasks you work on catalyze or drain you? Do you look forward to them or drag your feet? Pay attention to the tasks you work on. Resistance. 12. 11. when you’re body has the power it needs. Consider changing the people or changing how you interact. do you feel more motivated when you’re on a “quest” or just doing the “daily grind”? Are you “mastering your craft” or just “putting in your time”? Are you “standing strong when tested” or just getting “beat down”? 10. Give yourself a glide path for results by reducing little frictions that get in your way. If you enjoy how something feels. But too much can also demotivate you if it creates too much pain or stops you in your tracks. Resistance makes you stronger. Thoughts. test your sleep patterns. you’ll do it less. and exercise. but that’s not sustainable. your passion can overrule your body. 13. If you want something badly enough. You might be aware of how you feel or you might not even notice it. sleep right. This is why your self-talk or how you visualize something can either motivate or demotivate you. Tasks. The three key activities that support each other are eating. Link things to good feelings for sustainable results. sleeping. while others will make you weak. you might not feel very motivated.

Know the key pitfalls of motivation so you can avoid them. Extroverted. but it’s still an issue for you. it’s less of a problem. Consider the meaningfulness of your work. If you’re introverted. Find your best fit and try to work within that style. Task identity is the notion of a task as a whole. Work style.16. Task significance is about how much the task means to others. If you tend to extraversion. There are three basic patterns: 1) you only like to work on your own thing. you prefer to think first and then act. Don't accept work you will have to do in a style you aren't well suited for. Culture. you might value results over process. Some people have an easier time trading long-term gain for short-term pain than others who demand immediate gratification. If your motivation is internally driven. learn to master both. but the culture at work might value process over results. your feelings or your body. not by words. but within a group. unless you think about it or experiment. the more effective you'll be. but might not be aware of it. work within a culture that matches your values. 2) you like to work on shared tasks as part of a group. or. . Find ways to work for the long-term where slow and steady wins the race. Ideally. Have a compelling "Why" to help remind you of your mission and deal with resistance. Your motivation mostly comes from other people. In Summary        The better you know your own drivers and levers. Have a compelling vision of the end in mind. Work at finding ways to make things more enjoyable in the present and so you don’t depend purely on a long-term. You likely prefer work you can do alone that requires concentration. Most people have a preference. Work that isn’t valued will be difficult to get motivated for if you are externally driven. Skill Variety. Motivation comes from your thoughts. For example. Short-term View and Long-term View. Ideally. you probably prefer to act first and think later. Know the key strategies for motivation so that you can motivate yourself more effectively. 17. Task Identity and Task Significance. 3) you like to work on your own thing. 20. 18. Introverted vs. Self-discipline is a muscle that gets stronger the more you flex it. Skill variety is the range of skills you need to perform your task. These three factors often influence your motivation and ultimate satisfaction in a task. You draw energy largely from other people or from things. 19. Culture is the shared values of a group . You derive most of your energy inwardly from ideas and concepts. identifiable unit of work. It’s what they value by actions.

or changing the questions you ask yourself. . and that he’s actually had a wonderful life. This chapter shows you how to make the most of your mindsets and metaphors. Where you put your focus. and do. For example. It shapes your actions and your thoughts. While there are lots of ways to change your mindset. “what’s right?” In It’s a Wonderful Life. focuses on what’s wrong with his life. feeling. I’ve found the most effective ways to be changing your questions.Mindsets and Metaphors “Many people die at twenty five and aren’t buried until they are seventy five. as well as how you perceive and respond to events. Learn how to make the most of luck. and so can you. changing your metaphors. played by Jimmy Stewart. while extraverts get their energy when they’re with others. the main character. A common example is whether you see the glass “half empty” or “half full. focus. visualization and winning mindsets to produce powerful results. A mindset is a mental attitude. World-class athletes use metaphors. or others. Your personality type influences your motivation. The trick is knowing how to switch mindsets. and doing.” This chapter also helps you know the impact of personality type. such as on you. as well as use the right tool for the job. feel. the present. Asking. The irony of a mindset is that sometimes you don’t know that you’re stuck in one until you step out or adopt a different mindset. The key to inspired action is using powerful imagery to invoke your emotions.” Your mindset can quickly change what you think. “what’s wrong with this picture?” is completely different than asking. or in the past. and attribution. the situation.“ – Benjamin Franklin In This Chapter    Learn how to use mindsets and metaphors to improve your motivation. shapes your thinking. Know the key factors for motivation so that you can troubleshoot motivation issues more ef-fectively. or the future. George Bailey. You can easily change your mindset by asking different questions or “switching hats. introverts tend to get energy when they’re alone. Learn how to effectively change your mindsets to improve your effectiveness in any situation. until an angel who needs his wings shows him what’s right with it. Chapter 14 .

In The Last Lecture. I think of boy. so metaphors have an impact on how you see yourself and how others see you. With the wrong metaphors you can quickly create a dark cloud. one mindset that works against us is the scarcity mindset. Another mindset that works against us is a fixed mindset. you decide. we need to be able to switch out of it. we’re good at it. I push myself to my limits. With a negative mindset. while others work against us. give my best where I have my best to give. and when I’m not the quarterback. For example. Another mindset that works against us is the negative mindset.” This inspires me and the team to bold action. or they don’t. Another metaphor that helps me on projects is knowing whether I’m the quarterback or the coach. and not get limited by our own negativity or the negativity of others. I need a quarterback I trust. empowering metaphor we can all use is you’re the director of your life. Whether life is a bowl of cherries. One of my most effective mentors taught me to think of metaphors as emotional picture words. or mope through each day like Eeyore. A colleague said he thinks of me as the director of blockbusters. instead of opportunities and collaboration. I think of it as an “epic adventure. A scarcity mindset puts us in survival mode and we focus on threats and competition. When I think of stages in life. Three mindsets that support you are: . We need to be able to see opportunities and upside. Bruce Lee considered himself first and foremost a fighter and this metaphor shaped his life. and you look for the pearls. you can inspire yourself to action. we see things as unchangeable. Randy Pausch taught us to choose whether we spring through life like Tigger. We see them as either they have it. we see a static. One simple. or life is your oyster. During my warrior years. unchanging. too. Covey teaches us about the dangers of a scarcity mindset. Instead of thinking about how we can shape things or grow our abilities over time. We also need to be able to find what’s right. and you get the pits. warrior. and I mentor others. and ultimately your life. 3 Mindsets that Support You Some mindsets work for us. that consumes you. With the right metaphor. and how it limits our ability to think in terms of possibilities. While the negative mindset can be helpful in some situations. king.Metaphors can be enabling or disabling. Choosing your mindset and metaphors is one of the most powerful things you can do to shape your every day experience. and sage. In fact. or we aren’t. we quickly focus on what’s wrong with the situation. fixed world. We find the flaws. I like the mentor metaphor over guru. When I work on big projects that need to make big impact. With a fixed mindset.

If you have a fixed mindset. you attribute results to innate ability and you discount learning. and avoid a scarcity mentality. Rather than fight turf wars. And yes. While you can spend your energy competing.   Abundance Mindset Positive Mindset Growth Mindset Adopt an Abundance Mindset Over a Scarcity Mindset Covey and others teach us to think in terms of abundance. Here’s some ways to adopt a growth mindset over a fixed mindset: . you can also spend it creating more alternatives and expanding opportunities and finding abundance. you find more. You can expand solutions to be inclusive of your ideas as well as others. and either they have it or they don’t. the problem is you get defensive or offensive and find yourself competing unnecessarily. Adopt a Positive Mindset Over a Negative Mindset This doesn’t mean don’t find the flaws or use your critical thinking about ideas. new tricks. A growth mindset is a learning mindset. Find a way forward and don’t fall into a pattern of getting stuck. This means starting with the assumption that there’s more space and more resources than what you might see by default. It does mean. You think people are naturally good at what they do. It’s the belief that you can improve at whatever you do through the right training. When you operate from a scarcity mentality. Rather than fight for resources. you create a larger space. you can teach an old dog. Adopt a Growth Mindset Over a Fixed Mindset Swap out a fixed mindset with a growth mindset. find a way and spend more time finding solutions than finding problems. You find a way to create more opportunities. where you let your own pessimism keep you down.

How To Change Mindsets There’s a few ways to change your mindsets: .

Have a set of imaginary hats where each one represents a different mindset. Similar to a metaphor. Simply put on your hat when you need it. you could see life as a dramedy. you don’t want to be wearing the analysis hat or the fear hat. . assume there’s more than enough and you just need to find it. It’s my kick arse and take some names hat. 4. Ask yourself a different set of questions. When you’re in a highly political setting. the kick arse or action hat can get you in trouble if not using the political hat first.1. Wearing a hat can put you in a certain mindset and reduce conflict that you might normally feel trying to manage several different opposing viewpoints. Adopt a different set of metaphors. but adopting a different set of assumptions can help you reach different conclusions you might not otherwise explore. This gets in the way of energy moving and forward progress. Keep in mind that you should always test your assumptions. For example. complete with drama and comedy. Switching Hats Have you ever put on your thinking cap? That’s the idea here. You want the action hat. rather than life as a tragedy. Example Hats Here are some example hats you might put on: When I have to get serious results. I have a hat I wear. Asking yourself how you can make the most of the situation or how can you thrive instead of survive is a very different set of questions than asking yourself “why me?” or “what’s the use in trying?” 2. 3. rather than assume there’s not enough. Wear a different hat. The key is using the right hats for the right situations. Adopt a different set of assumptions. For example. you can change your mindset by changing your hat. When you’re in execution mode.

Feeling types are interested in people and their feelings.) Another of my favorite songs is “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne. Have a set of hats that serve you. It’s whatever you can use to help you switch gears effectively. It truly is a power hat. When your hats is not working. structures. It was my wrestling team’s theme song and it always got me pumped. approaches. Extroverts are directed towards the external. I actually have a hat that I use for this occasion. one of my favorite songs is “I Get Knocked Down” by Chumbawamba (I love the line I get knocked down. Extraverted Introverts are directed towards the subjective world or their internal representation of ideas and values. One quick way to put your hat on is simply remember the feeling. you can always use your favorite song or mood music. If you know your preferences. . swap it out with one that does. Sometimes you need to do more thinking. Remember the feeling. Feeling Thinking types are interested in systems. Here are some key distinctions among the personality types: Thinking vs. Remembering how you felt when you were in a certain mode. but I get up again … you’re never going to keep me down. Awareness is your friend. 3. Personality Types and Motivation There’s a link between personality types and motivation. can bring it back in an instant. and types of work that suit you better. If you’re not into hats. and patterns. objective world. Introverted vs. It’s a power song for me. For example. 2. you can choose situations. other times more action.Although I can just imagine wearing this hat. How To Switch Gears Using Your Hats There are a few things to keep in mind that will help you switch gears effective using hats: 1.

If you’re not aware of it. Try shifting to future possibilities. Here are some examples of where you can put your focus:        The task. remember a time in your life when you gave your best and you felt your strongest. you can bring yourself down. The value of the task. or Future Shifting tense is an incredibly effective way to improve your motivation. Simply by remembering one of your past. if you dwell on a past mistake. you can invigorate yourself. change the questions you ask yourself. Instead of asking yourself why you mess up. Direct your focus to get in a more resourceful state. Sometimes the future might seem daunting or demanding. Your performance. If you find yourself stuck. You can use the future to image exciting possibilities. ask yourself how you can make the best of the situation. you already use the past. and future to lift yourself up or bring yourself down. best experiences. you can lift yourself up or put yourself down. To change your focus. The result. The lesson. Present. At the same time. In that . or from your competence to the value of the task … etc. try changing your focus from the result to the task. present. Your competence. Past. For example.Summary of Key Preferences by Personality Type Here’s a summary of key preferences for the different personality types as it relates to motivation: Where to Put Your Focus Focus is whatever you’re thinking about. How you perform the task. Depending on what you focus on.

The beauty of these lenses is simply by knowing what they are and the issues they create can help you get more mindful and be more thoughtful about how you see the world. permanent. Here’s a summary of each dimension: When you’re in the thick of things. personal. For example. Personal. personal. Simply by knowing that looking at problems through these lenses (permanent. can be enough to help you challenge your perspective. and pervasive. permanent. That’s why it’s so important how you frame problems in your life. you can switch your focus to the present. then dwell on your successes.case. Learned helplessness Learned helplessness is when you automatically think that there’s nothing you can do that can make a difference. and pervasive) can lead to learned helplessness. Permanent. . You’ll be most successful when you can choose the right tense to focus on to improve your effectiveness for your current scenario. and pervasive. if you ask “why does this always happen to me?” you’re making the problem personal. even though you can. and pervasive. Keep a few of your best memories on hand to remind yourself that you can always surprise yourself or that you can make things happen. One of the lessons from Seligman is his frame for how we explain misfortunes: permanent. Focus on the task at hand or one day at a time. not your past mistakes. It happens when you make a problem personal. and Pervasive Martin Seligman teaches optimism as a skill. If you must dwell. It happens over a serious of experiences. it’s easy to see problems as personal. The trick is to step out of your problems and logic your way through them.

spend 80% on the solution and 20% on the problem. but you might be an unfair critic. Spend 20 percent on the problem and 80 percent on the solution. permanent. Get perspective on the problems and don’t fall into automatic thinking. you might see problems as personal. How do you know which lens to use? Feedback and results are your guide. You might have some skills to build or some flaws to fix.Temporary. and Specific How do you combat learned helplessness? You might be too close to the problems. It means that rather than spending 20% of your energy on the solution and 80% on the problem. A problem-focused question would be “why does this always happen to me?” A solution-focused question would be. Situational. you can learn to test additional lenses. and specific (don’t generalize or blow it out of proportion). They put your mind in a resourceful state. situational (it’s not about you). Focus attention on the solution. when you look at problems. you can think of them as temporary (nothing is permanent). “what’s the solution?” Solution-focused questions help find a way forward. For example. The key is to move from critic to coach and step out of the situation and get a more objective perspective. and pervasive. By design. Another key is to measure against effectiveness. Solution-Focused Questions Instead of problem-focused question. ask yourself solution-focused questions. By default. Example Solution Focused Questions Here’s an example of some solution-focused questions:      What’s the best I can do for this situation? If nothing were to ever to change. what might it be? Keys to Solution Focused Questions Here are the keys for solution-focused questions:   Ask solution-focused questions over problem-focused questions. This doesn’t mean ignore understanding the problem. 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. . It’s about paying attention to what you’re getting and testing your results.

you switch your mind into a more resourceful state. You can think of learning in three levels: Intellectual. Don’t let this learning stage become a barrier for your results. you have to ask if you’re pushing yourself enough or if you might have found some natural talent. You might get stuck because you don’t feel like you’re progressing or you don’t get feedback that you’re learning. emotional. Ability and Motivation Your ability can dramatically impact your motivation. Your brain suddenly starts drawing on all your resources internally and around you to solve the problem. Stay out of analysis paralysis. there are awkward stages. learning and adapting rather than sitting in analysis paralysis. It’s taking a step back to take two steps forward through and success builds momentum. The challenge is that you have to stay with it to work through your sticking point or to remind yourself that the time you spend now will pay off down the line. Intellectual. Here’s a summary: . In the performance world. Growth Feels Awkward When you’re learning and growing. This can seriously hold you back. Remember that feeling. By asking solution-focused questions. That’s what growth feels like. and physical. Remember the first time you tried to iceskate or ride a bike or drive a car or just about anything. it’s easy to get stuck or discouraged. this might be thought of as fluency. Even if you enjoy learning. Keep moving forward. When growth doesn’t feel awkward. Emotional. For example. and Physical One of my mentors gave me a frame for thinking about learning. It’s easy to lose perspective or even forget that there’s a learning stage. learning how to type can feel like taking a step back.  Use questions to get resourceful.

It’s also why you might stop short of your potential. when I first was learning how to play the Saxophone. Why practice if I already proved I could do it? Well. My body never learned how to just play it. I didn’t want to practice. As driving the stick shift becomes a habit. that was good enough. I intellectually got how to do it.This is why you can study a lot of information. For example. eventually you can drive without thinking. but not actually master it. thinking my way through it. I didn’t build competency. I had to think my way through it each time. As you practice you can start to think your way through it (the conscious competence stage). You haven’t put it into practice. You don’t have any experience or emotional connections that help you build expert judgment or develop your intuition. I figured once I could hit a note. I never enjoyed the ability to just play the instrument without working too hard. When you first learn how to drive a stick shift. shifting gears effortlessly while you think about other things. Without building fluency. . From Unconscious Incompetence to Unconscious Competence There’s a theory in psychology that explains the 4 stages of competence: One of my favorite examples is learning how to drive. you very quickly learn that you don’t know how to do it (conscious incompetence).

Chance Were you lucky or was it skill? What you assign your results to can have a big impact on your motivation: Luck is When Skill and Opportunity Come Together My favorite definition of luck is what my friend’s Dad always used to say … “luck is when skill and opportunity come together.Flow The “flow” state is what many of us crave. Flow happens when you’re challenged enough to be fully engaged. find what works for you. If you are beating yourself up over things that you don’t control. one where you can get to a flow state before you quit. Competence vs. Regardless of the theory. The level of challenge you take on combined with your level of integration gives you flow. If you’re dismissing things as luck or situation. then stop. The key to finding your flow state is learning something to the point it’s baked in. So the trick is to choose a goal that’s appropriate for your level of competence. but not so challenged that you get overwhelmed. what you can own and control is your attitude. start stepping up to the plate. but remembered it throughout my life. It’s when you’re in the zone. . it does not mean you’ll hit it out of the park. if you don’t get up to bat. Most importantly. when you really can influence the outcome. You won’t hit the ball out of the park.” I heard it long ago. and just because you get up to bat. A skill is baked in when you can do it without thinking about it.

Why Metaphors It’s about language and the pictures we hold in our minds. at least on a feeling level. Example Metaphors Here’s an example of some common metaphors: . whether in how you talk to yourself or how you talk to others. and response. 2. Creating a vision and holding it in our head will tend to steer us towards the emotions and feelings that we associate with such a picture. Metaphors for Motivation A metaphor is an emotional. It therefore has a tendency to become reality. control your actions and make your best plays. Choose your metaphors thoughtfully. metaphor shapes your overall experience. Focus on your approach over results. You are probably already using metaphors all the time. They shape your experience. your results are feedback. We tend to create that picture and the emotions that go along with it whether the picture is an accurate representation of what we are relating it too or not. You can change how you think or how you feel(and your thinking and feeling impact your doing) 3. filter what you perceive and influence how you make meaning. but don’t get overly focused on results. For example. People use it when they mean that it’s a dangerous place to be. The bottom line is. a slippery slope invokes the image of a hill that is easy to slide down fast. picture word. Here’s why: 1. At the same time. They help you make meaning. In other words. Use your results as feedback to refine your approach.your actions. You can use metaphors to represent powerful states. You’re the most important meaning maker (and not always the best … especially if it’s by default and not by design).

Pay attention to feedback. and change direction as needed.   Choose metaphors that inspire you or hold deep meaning. In fact. if you have a productivity challenge. These can be comic book heroes or real-world ordinary people. throw them out. For example. Whether your battle is good versus evil or simply trying to change your game.   Pick your metaphors carefully. If you can’t figure out your own. For example. Find the heroes that have the relevant super powers where you need them most. a lot of what makes somebody a hero in somebody’s eyes is that they do something great despite the odds or against the odds. ask your friends for some of theirs. . find a productivity hero. most people would probably think of an uphill battle as negative. It’s a buffer of expertise and inspiration. it’s your context and how you think about a particular metaphor whether it’s positive or negative. Many people go from ordinary to extraordinary by doing great things. If you’re not getting closer to the feeling states you want. Heroes Have some heroes. Have a Collection of Heroes Use the most relevant hero for the job at hand. Find the best of the best.Whether a metaphor is positive or negative is up to you. Ultimately. Find the people who inspire you and that you can learn from. find the people that inspire you to new levels. Get rid of metaphors or find new ones. If you have a relationships challenge. Some of our favorite heroes are the ones that triumph over something. Then again. They shape your experience and your reactions. How To Use Metaphors Effectively Here are the keys to using metaphors more effectively:  Have a working set of metaphors you can draw from. some people might like the challenge. find a relationships hero. Use models to help you unleash your best. Choose positive metaphors appropriate to the situation. If you’re metaphors aren’t working. then change the metaphors you’re using. your results.

and whether you chalk things up to luck. remember that growth feels awkward. look for people that do “great things. Instead. and temporary. or future. In Summary     Your mindset s and metaphors are your most important filters that shape your experience. and you move through stages of competence. shifting focus to the past.A Guide for Getting Started Contents [hide] • • • • 1 Summary 2 Goal and Scope 3 Agile Results 4 The Key to Effective Results . You can defeat learned helplessness by adopting a growth mindset. Be YOUR Best It’s not about being as good or even better than your hero at something. don’t let flaws get in the way of learning what you can. You don’t have to find “great people. it’s about unleashing your personal best.” In other words. It’s about being YOUR personal best.  Be careful whether you internalize or externalize your success.” Instead. A healthy view on good luck is to look at it as skill and opportunity coming together. You can change your mindsets by changing the question or changing your hat. present. By choosing more effective mindsets and metaphors. from anyone you can. you improve your results in any situation.  When you focus on your growth.Everybody Has Flaws One of the key lessons from one of my mentors is that everybody has flaws. Control your focus by asking more solution-focused questions. situational. and find your flow.  Your worst enemy is learned helplessness. and your motivation can increase as you increase your competence. and by treating problems as specific. Heroes rise and heroes fall. Fast Track .

You then use a weekly results pattern (Monday .2 Daily Outcomes 6. approach to Agile Results and key patterns for achieving them. Daily Outcome. to help you develop your strategy for Agile Results. It can be categorized by life.3 Friday Reflection 7 Hot Spots 8 10 Principles 9 10 Values 10 12 Practices Summary This section shows you the guide at a glance. Understand the key hotspots.• • 5 The Rule of 3 6 Monday Vision. Friday Reflection ○ ○ ○ • • • • 6. and personal. It’s a quick view of what’s on your radar for each of the categories. Use this chapter to get a better handle on basic concepts. work. Goal and Scope This guide helps you design an effective personal results system by focusing on:        Actions Efficiency Energy Management Time Management Planning and Prioritization Task Management Communication Management Agile Results The following figure shows the Agile Results system: Hot Spots are like a heat map for results. principles and strategies for achieving Agile Results.1 Monday Vision 6.

make a short list of outcomes (toward the weekly outcomes). or didn't. and why. list your SHOULD or COULD. 3 results for the year. 3 results for the week.g. Daily Outcome.Vision. Take time to see the forest from the trees. with the right energy and using relevant techniques. Reference. “What do I want to accomplish?” Monday Vision. Think in terms of outcomes rather than activities. So to achieve the effective results you need to be investing the right time. Friday Reflection These are the core patterns for great weekly results. the most effective results are obtained from the cross-section of time. prioritize and produce results each week for each of the categories. you might achieve results but it surely won’t be as effective. If either of these is missing. Daily Outcomes    Each day. . Friday Reflection Evaluate what you got done.) First list your MUST items. Monday Vision   Each Monday. energy and technique. The Rule of 3 Think in 3’s to get results:     3 results for the day. The Key to Effective Results The key to effective results is time + energy + technique: As seen in the figure above. Simple choose your outcomes by asking yourself. identify the 3 most important outcomes for the week. and Schedule). Next. working at the right time (opportunity window). 2009-08-15. Name your list using today’s date (e. 3 results for the month. Daily Outcomes. and Friday Reflection) to help you identify. support you in achieving the results you have determined for those categories. Your information systems (Action.

Hot Spots get your time. your work streams and activities. and personal but don't be limited by these categories. At a high level. Carry these lessons forward to your Monday Vision. The Life Frame is a set of Hot Spots for life. Hot Spots Hot Spots are like a heat map of what’s important in your life. Identify 3 things that are not working well. Both opportunities and pain points can be found around Hot Spots. Use Hot Spots to frame what you want to accomplish. work. You can think of them as a portfolio of results. think in terms of life. Category Items # Mind 1. Career 4. Body 2. Active Items 2. They are a set of categories that tend to be important for continuous success.   Identify 3 things that are working well. Backlog # Activities Personal Hot Spots 1. energy. Active Items 2. Emotions Life Frame 3. Backlog The 3 sets of hot spots are summarized as follows:  Life Frame. Knowing your hot spots at a glance empowers you to accomplish better results. and reassess progress next Friday. and focus reflected in projects. . Hot Spots are areas of your life that deserve your best attention. Financial 5. Relationships 6. Fun # Activities Work Hot Spots 1.

You can’t control your results. Otherwise. Focus on daily. Less is More. Fix Time. The key is to have a minimum in some categories and a maximum in others. Change Your Approach. financial. 2. This helps you fight perfectionism and produce incremental results. First set time boundaries. and things you spend time on outside of work. Set Boundaries. It helps you build credibility with yourself and others. Work Hot Spots. Set boundaries in terms of time or energy. Deliver Incremental Value. Treat time like as a first class citizen. start taking action. Your results will inform your thinking and you can change your course as needed. Bite off what you can chew and reduce work that’s in flight. Action Over Analysis Paralysis. weekly. Approach Over Results. These are your personal projects. and fun. Tune and adjust as you go. actions. Next. you can skip this part. Version 3 will be better than version 2 will be better than version 1. 10 Principles 1. body. you can flow value. If it’s not working. use your learnings to improve your results. 5. Chunking up your results helps you build momentum. 10. 7. You should keep your action items separate from reference. You can improve your results on each pass. Rhythm of Results. Factor Action from Reference. activities. Taking action is the best recipe for analysis paralysis. As you change and as things change around you. Flex Scope. emotions. Consider boundaries for the following hot spots: mind. . Rather than spend 80 percent stuck in analysis and only 20 percent doing. Continuous Learning. bite off what you can chew within those boundaries. and response. let it go. 9. This helps reduce the signal to noise ration. Use your results as a gauge and for feedback. 4. If you don’t work for a living.  Personal Hot Spots. it's about shifting to spend 80 percent of your time in action. You can control your attitude. career. 6. relationships. congratulations. Find a way to flow value. and yearly results. Rather than over-engineer or try to figure out everything up front. monthly. think of this as getting crisp about your work. Rather than wait for a big bang at the end. 2. 3. 80/20 Action. 10 Values 1. 8. Version Your Results.

It’s not about doing more. you can move yourself up the stack and worry about higher level things. A growth mindset means that you can learn and respond. the key to energy is following your passion and living your values. Value Up Over Backlog Burndown. other people. You also become more flexible in your approach. In addition to eating right. you free your mind. where you just don’t have the energy. This flexibility is your key to results. sleeping right. You’ll get more done in one power hour than throwing lots of hours at a problem. or your employer. It’s better to produce something that you can improve or iterate on. Focus on keeping your energy strong. It gives you a firm foundation. By getting clarity on what you want to accomplish. you get in the habit of asking. 7. When you get off track. Focus is your force multiplier. Having a system for results is a powerful thing. Spend more time in your strengths than in your weaknesses. what’s the next best thing to do? 12 Practices . It’s about focusing on the right things. You free your mind by having trusted places to look and a trusted process to fall back on. Strengths Over Weaknesses. you have something to fallback on or to turn to when you need it. Spending more time or doing more things isn’t a good measure of productivity. 9. By thinking in terms of value up. System Over Ad Hoc. then focus on reducing your key liabilities. you can place value on where you spend your time. By adopting a growth mindset. If you do work on your weaknesses. Energy Over Time. think in terms of creating value. 8.3. 10. than to continuously block yourself while striving for perfection. You also pay more attention to your situation and feedback. Most importantly. Focus Over Quantity. Growth Mindset Over Fixed Mindset. Don’t let perfectionism get in the way. You can experiment more. A fixed mindset means that you think something was born that way and won’t change. By having a system for the basics. Outcomes Over Activities. This can be value for yourself. spend your energy maximizing your strengths. and working out. By focusing on your results instead of your activities. 4. Rather than just work through your backlog. 6. 5. Results are the best measure. You’ll get more payback. you help avoid learned helplessness. Rather than spend all your energy improving your weaknesses. It’s how you will improve over time. Good Enough Over Perfection. you can be flexible in your approach. This is a valueup strategy.

and good to know. Monthly Results. Consider the following action lists: Daily Outcomes. 2. The key to an effective Daily Outcome list is that you keep your 3 outcomes for the day at the top. then it’s reference. Keep your outcomes scannable at a glance. At the end of the week. You can always repeat a sprint. Friday Reflection. This is reference information. persona. You decide that no problem is personal. If you get knocked down. Notes. Action Lists. The idea is that 30 days is enough time to experiment with your results throughout the month. Scannable Outcomes. Each day is a new chance for results. Decide what you want to accomplish for the week. relationships). It might be helpful information. pervasive or permanent. Each day. Weekly Outcomes. while listing the rest of your To Dos below that. This way you have a reminder of what you want to accomplish. reflect on your results 5. Think of this as what’s on your radar. Monday Vision. Growth Mindset. 4. You decide that you’ll learn and grow. Monthly Improvement Sprint. Here are some example reference lists you might keep: Ideas. pick something new. Track your actions with tickler lists. Outcomes guide your action. 7. you create a glidepath for the rest of the day. By doing your worst things first. At a glance. Organize outcomes by your work. 3. and life hot spots. ask yourself what are 3 things you want to accomplish? (The Rule of 3). emotions. This gives you a chance to cycle through 12 things over the year. This is simply a decision. Daily Outcomes. Each week focus on spending more time on activities that make you strong and less time on activities that make you weak. Make progress each day. Reference Collections. create a list of outcomes for your life frame (body. mind. Pick one thing to improve for the month. but if it’s not actionable. Neither are your results. 8. Always start your list with your three most important outcomes for the day. you should be able to see what you want to accomplish and what you’re spending your time and energy on. Some information is not actionable. Do the same with people. you’ll get up again. You might not see progress after the first couple weeks while you’re learning. and Scripts. Push activities that make you weak to the first part of your day. . Queues. You can store your reference information as tickler lists or notes. 6. career. Spend more time with people that make you strong and less time with people that make you weak. Daily Outcomes. Strong Week. Create a new list each day. fun. For example. Use daily tickler lists for action items. A month is a good chunk of time to check your progress. Weekly Results. Each month. financial. Yearly Results.1. Life’s not static.

9. The Rule of 3. This Rule of 3 will help you stay focused on the vital few things that matter.
Identify your 3 key outcomes. This is the heart of your Daily Outcomes. Identify 3 key outcomes each day, each week, each month, and each year. This helps you see the forest from the trees. The 3 outcomes for the year are bigger than the 3 outcomes for the month are bigger than the 3 outcomes for the week, are bigger than the 3 outcomes for your day. This also helps you manage scope. It’s all too easy to bite off more than you can chew. If you nail the 3 items you wanted to accomplish, then go ahead and bite off more. Think of it as a buffet of results and you can keep going back, just don’t overflow your plate on each trip.

10. Timebox Your Day. Set boundaries for how much time you spend on things. If you keep time a
constant (by ending your day at a certain time), it helps you figure out where to optimize your day and prioritize. To start, you can carve up your day into big buckets: administration, work time, think time, and people time.

11. Triage. Triage incoming action items to either do it, queue it, schedule it, or delegate it. Do It, if
it’s the next best thing for you to do, or now is the most opportunistic time, or if it will cost you more pain, time or effort to do it later. Queue It (add it to your queue), if it’s something you need to get done, but now is not the right time. Schedule It, if you need a block of time to get the work done. Delegate It, if it’s something that should be done by somebody else.

12. Weekly Outcomes. Create a new list each week. Each week is a new chance for results. Always
start with your three most important outcomes for the week (The Rule of 3).

Solutions at a Glance
In This Section
   Learn common solutions for improving your energy. Learn common solutions for improving your productivity. Learn common solutions for improving your time management.

Overview

This section provides a summary of common problems and solutions for productivity, time management, and results. Before you walk through the solutions, it’s helpful to understand how to achieve effective results. Results are a combination of your time, energy and technique. You can spend less time, but improve results by improving your energy or using more effective techniques. Having a compelling purpose behind what you do will help you drive results. Focus on outcomes over activities. Stay flexible in your approach. Take action, get results, and change your approach based on what works. Model effective results by finding reference examples to learn from. Create effective feedback loops. Use mentors and people you trust to find the short cuts and tailor advice for your situation.

How the Solutions are Organized
The solutions are organized by the following categories:   Action Efficiency / Effectiveness       Energy Management Expectations Focus Goals / Objectives Learning Mindset and Motivation         Opportunity Planning Prioritizing Reference Information Self-Awareness Strategies Task Management Time Management

Each category provides a brief overview, and then walks through a set of problem and solution pairs.

Action
The keys to action are chunking things down, making time for things, focusing on outcomes over activities, and testing your results. Action is at the heart of results. For many people, a lack of action is what holds them back from great results. They have great ideas that they’ll never test. They have results they want, but they’ll never take action to get them. Action is actually a competitive advantage. Your ability to take action, produce results, and change your approach based on feedback is a powerful loop for achieving whatever you want in your life. Here are some solutions at a glance for action:  How to get started on something

Plan then execute. Make a list of actions, and then execute your actions. Scrimmage your results. By taking action and testing your results as quickly as possible, you’ll find out what you know, don’t know and need to know next. If it seems like risk is holding you back, chunk it down to limit or constrain your risk. Small tests plus feedback go a long way. If you’re in unfamiliar territory, ask somebody who has paved the path.

How to take action more often

Chunk things down. Start with something simple. Focus on hitting windows of opportunity. Focus on good enough for now, versus perfection. If you’re finding that you never get enough time to take action, you might be over-planning, over-engineering, or making things too big.

How to avoid analysis paralysis

Set time limits. Flip from spending 80 percent on the problem and 20 percent of your time on the solution, spend 80 percent of your time on the solution, and 20 percent on the problem. Another simple way is to find 3 small things you can do.

How to improve your ability to take action

One way is to get clarity on your results. If you know what you want to accomplish, it’s easier to find the motivation. Another way is to start thinking in terms of action items. When you’re at a meeting, ask “next steps?” When you’re in training, look for 3 things you can start doing. Another way is to use time boxes. Test how much you can get done within a short time frame. Another thing that helps is simply counting your actions. Focus on rewarding yourself for taking action, in addition to rewarding your results. If you have a bias for action, you can tune your results.

Efficiency / Effectiveness
The keys to improving efficiency and effectiveness are spending the right time, with the right energy, working on the right things, the right way. Efficiency is about the “means,” while effectiveness is about the “end” result. Efficiency is a metric for speed and cost, while effectiveness is metric for quality and goodness. If you ask, “is it effective?”, you’re really asking, are you achieving the goal. If you ask, “is it efficient?” you’re asking, are you doing it the least cost in terms of time, cost, and energy. Here are some solutions at a glance for efficiency and effectiveness:

How to boost your productivity levels

Think in terms of daily, weekly, and monthly results as a rhythm of results. The key factors for influencing your productivity include: focus, energy, time, technique, strengths, motivation, and teamwork. Focus on outcomes over activities. By focusing on results, you can find more efficient ways to produce those results. Another way is to reduce open work. If you have to task switch across a lot of work, you’ll spend more time figuring out where you left off and more time in administration or planning, and less time executing. Another way is to improve your focus. Improve your focus by working on fewer things that are higher priority. Improve your energy to improve your results. You can improve your energy by finding your motivation, as well as spending more time on your strengths, instead of things that make you week. Carve out time for results. Increase your power hours and your creative hours and schedule them to match up with your natural rhythms and cycles. Pair up and team up with people that improve your performance.

How to improve efficiency

There are several ways to improve your efficiency: give yourself less time, do things during your power hours, change your pace, and find the best techniques. One of the best first steps is giving yourself less time. By giving yourself less time for something, it forces you to find a better way. You can then test different techniques with the same amount of time, to see which produces the best results. For example, if you give yourself less time to spend in email, you’ll quickly find ways to improve your efficiency. One of the simplest ways to find other techniques is to ask people you know.

How to improve effectiveness

There are several ways to improve your effectiveness: know what good looks like, know the tests for success, improve your feedback loops, and change your approach. First get clarity on the results you want. Ask yourself, “what do you want to accomplish?” To find the tests for success, ask yourself, “if I got the result I wanted, how would I know?” A big part of improving your effectiveness is taking action, testing your results, and changing your approach if you’re not getting what you want. Your feedback informs you how to change. Sometimes the best thing you can do is shorten your feedback loop so you have a tighter connection between your actions, your results, and your feedback. Another way to improve your effectiveness is to model from what works. Find 3 reference models or examples that you can learn from. This can include using mentors to help improve your effectiveness.

“would you do it for free?” Be brutally honest whether you really enjoy something or if you enjoy it because you think you’re supposed to or because other people enjoy it. Find a way to ride the wave versus swim upstream. Know your limits. and working out. You can set a minimum or maximum quantity and use that as your gauge. mental. Create glide paths for your common activities. Think about resistance as making you stronger. but not so tough that they overwhelm you. Spend less time in things that make you weak.Energy Management The keys to energy management are managing your physical. On the physical side. If you’re finding yourself drained. the 3 big keys are eating. It’s about spending more time with people and things that catalyze you and less time with things that drain you. Spend more time in your strengths.  How to deal with resistance Reduce friction. On the energy side. Add activities that catalyze you to your weekly schedule.  How to improve your energy. For example. You can also set boundaries based on emotional energy. If resistance is counter-productive. Pay attention to whether your current skill or ability limits your passion. Ask yourself.  How to find your passion Pay attention to where you naturally feel drawn or where you want to spend your free time. On the mental side. sleeping. . it’s about avoiding task overload and doing activities that are challenging enough to keep you engaged. this is about finding your motivation. following your passions. and emotional energy. You can also set boundaries by using quantity. such as setting a minimum or a maximum amount of time you will spend on something. Hack away at the little friction that slows you down or get s in the way of your recurring activities. Take breaks before you hit your mental fatigue. Here are some solutions at a glance for energy management:  How to set boundaries Setting boundaries is one of the most effective ways to keep your energy strong. and playing to your strengths. change your limits. For example. then find ways to eliminate it or go around. You can set boundaries using time. you can meet with a friend who tends to inspires you. eat before you get hungry. which you can do by limiting the time you spend on something. Have a compelling why to keep you going when times get tough or you need to find your motivation.

”)  How to find your strengths As you spend your time. Find ways to spend more time in activities that play to your strengths.  How to use your energy effectively As a general pattern. Expectations The keys to managing expectations are setting realistic expectations and re-setting expectations as needed. emotional. Learn your limits for mental. find ways to use your strengths to deliver value. While you should play to your strengths. such as favorite ways to take breaks. “what to expect?” Additionally. How to maintain your energy for the long haul Find your compelling purpose that you can use to inspire action. you want to reset this as you learn more and gain clarity. The following are solutions at a glance for managing expectations:  How to manage expectations Your goal in managing expectations is to answer the question. At work. Spend more time with people that lift you up. find ways to use your strengths to contribute and fill key gaps. Find rituals that renew you. just improving your ability to manage expectations can improve your own satisfaction as well as the satisfaction others have when working with you. be sure to limit liabilities or weaknesses that get in the way of your best results. . The closer things get. Spend more times in strengths and less time in weaknesses. when you’re at your strongest (“worst things first. On your team. than people who bring you down.  How to play to your strengths Rather than focus on improving your weaknesses. In fact. or optimal bed times. or physical fatigue. consolidate things that make you weak and do them first. It’s a game of progressive rendering. pay attention to what makes you feel strong and which activities you feel naturally drawn to. Crossed-expectations is a common pattern for frustration. focus on improving your strengths.

Use your outcomes as guide posts to stay focused. The following are solutions at a glance for focus:  How to improve your focus Work in shorter bursts. and training your focus. Goals / Objectives . and over-deliver. such as how long you can do sustained thinking or how you can reset your focus when it drifts. Avoid activities that are so simple you get bored. The goal is to reduce surprises for all parties. The more you reduce surprises.the more clarity your get. Resetting expectations means explicitly identifying what to expect based on your latest information. or activities that are so difficult you get overwhelmed. Change your pace. Things go wrong. for yourself and others. so it’s good to include a buffer.  How to change your focus The key to changing your focus is changing the question that you ask. Focus The keys to focus are setting your eyes on the prize. focusing on the vital few things that make a difference. Find your personal patterns for focus. Work on things that you find more engaging.  How to set expectations The general rule of thumb is to under-promise.  How to find your flow Find activities that challenge you and you enjoy. This means being honest with yourself and others about what to actually expect.  How to reset expectations The sooner you reset expectations the better. This helps you avoid dropping the ball when there are dependencies on you. Look for activities that stretch your skills and that feel fully engaged. the more you can avoid crossed-expectations and frustrating scenarios.

Optimize your goal around whichever helps you feel more motivated and inspired. and they help you maintain a sense of progress. The worst pitfall for learning is falling into learned helplessness. The following are solutions at a glance for goals and objectives:  How to find your purpose Ask yourself … “What’s my purpose in life?“ Keep asking until something sticks. and the pursuit of your goals helps you become more in the process. If you don’t feel an emotional connection to your purpose. then find a more compelling goal. it’s not time that’s important. In which case. you can improve the clarity of your goals. with variations.The keys to effective goals are clarifying meaningful results. and timely. Sometimes goals are about improving pleasure. but progress. and staying curious. In some cases. “what do you want to accomplish?” Test your goals by asking yourself. It should resonate and feel compelling. In other cases.  How to set SMART goals SMART is an acronym. but one flavor is specific. carrying the good forward. time is important. relevant. As you move up the stack.  How to set goals Get to the heart of your goals by asking. Sometimes goals have deadlines because of windows of opportunity you want to hit. Goals are the results you want and objectives are the checkpoints along the way. You already have goals. you can use your goals like flight plans to help you move towards the direction you want and adjust as necessary. then you haven’t found it yet. they are about reducing pain. measurable. actionable. you already have goals for things like eating and sleeping for the day. Try to get it down to a one-liner that’s easy to say. such as your career or relationships. It’s getting mindful about what you want to accomplish. your goals are outcomes you want for other areas of your life. and other times. Learning The keys to learning are turning feedback into lessons. By addressing these questions. The following are solutions at a glance for improving learning: . where you start to shutdown or think that no matter what you try. Goals help you set the direction. won’t work. how would your world be different if you accomplished your goal? If it’s not compelling for you. At a simple level. but the key is to put them out there where you can see whether they serve you.

 How to stay positive . ask “what did you learn?” Carry the good forward. Stay flexible in your approach.  How to learn and respond Shorten your learning loops so that you can adjust your approach. Making it a game can make it fun. How to fail forward Turn failures into lessons. your why just isn’t strong enough. “why did you fail?”. and using metaphors or mindsets that help keep your going. Pair up or team up with somebody who compliments your skills. you can cycle through and experiment with other domains or interests. by paying more attention to what you’re learning from the experience. You can think in terms of pictures and use visualization to motivate yourself. Change how you do something. Even if you think you can’t accomplish something.  How to avoid learned helplessness Keep testing your results. The following are solutions at a glance for mindsets and motivation:  How to motivate yourself If you’re not that motivated. We do things to increase pleasure. find the way forward. try to prove that you really can’t.  How to use monthly improvement sprints A simple way to keep learning is to pick a theme for the month and focus on it for that month. Using this approach. You can get leverage on yourself by either using pain or using pleasure. When something is not working. Use feedback as your guide to improve your results. Mindset and Motivation The keys to motivation are finding a compelling why or purpose. Find a compelling why. changing how you’re doing something. The simplest way to think about motivation is pain and pleasure. or reduce pain. Rather than asking.

Opportunity . “what’s good enough for now?” Think in terms of versioning your results. Inertia will slow you down and wear you down. Turn your projects into epic adventures if that helps you connect with your sense of adventure. you might put on your explorer hat or your results hat. such as. “what’s great about this situation?” Shift to the future and ask solution-focused questions. you can imagine putting on a different hat. rather than try to get it all right up front. For example. and make progress. simply take action. but want you want to avoid is inertia. your results will build momentum.Ask. Improve it more each time through. Worst case. You can also shift gears by asking yourself different questions. The better you get at doing the things you need to do.  How to find effective metaphors Figure out whether the problem you are working on should be like blasting with dynamite or chipping away at the stone. not a destination. You can always correct course. “how to make the most of this situation?”  How to switch gears To shift gears. Turn your problems into hurdles you can jump.  How to beat procrastination Treat it like a challenge. Imagine how much better the 10th version will be than the first version. set simple time limits to unblock yourself. Rather than over-think or overanalyze your action. such as “how much can I get done in the next 10 minutes?”  How to beat perfectionism Think of perfection as a path. and focus on getting the ball out of your court. if that helps you make forward progress. This will help you pace yourself for results. Ask yourself.

The keys to opportunity are recognizing windows of opportunity, having buffers in terms of time and energy so you can leverage opportunity, and evaluating trade-offs of missed opportunities. The following are solutions at a glance for finding, exploiting and maximizing opportunities:

How to test the potential of an opportunity

Imagination is not enough. Test your results. This means finding the smallest thing you can do to test an opportunity for feasibility. Lots of things look good on paper or sound good in theory, and lots of things sound silly but turn out to work great. Test against reality to best assess an opportunity.

How to experiment more often

Give yourself the freedom to experiment, by simply calling more things experiments. For example, you can change your routine and at worst have that be an experiment if it doesn't work better. Find a simple system for adding experiments into your life. For example, it might mean picking a focus for the month, and testing your results. You can then cycle through a different experiment each month. You can also test whether adding an experiment each week helps you find more breakthroughs.

How to innovate in your approach

Periodically test new techniques against results. Changing how you do what you do can boost your results. Evaluate both the process and the results. You might not change your results, but you might change how much you enjoy the process. Changes like this are worthwhile since they help you achieve more sustainable results.

How to create effective buffers

Even if you don’t feel like the proverbial camel where one more straw will break your back, create buffers of time, space and quantity. Create space by having places that help you get far enough away that you can step back from the problem or situation, and see the bigger picture. Work at a pace where you can get things quickly off your plate, rather than being constantly overloaded, and you will naturally have spare capacity. This will help you deal with unexpected events as well as capitalize on opportunity. I've heard from someone who knew someone at the White House that it's policy that the president can make a chunk of time available on a few hours notice for something if needed -- by design the schedule cannot be packed back to back with too-important-to-reschedule items. In terms of quantity, have less open work, or fewer balls in the air. Instead of 5 commitments, have 3. Focus on the vital few.

Planning
Whether you are planning your next task, or planning a project, the idea is roughly the same. Spend the time to map out the work, so you can execute. The key to effective planning is getting clarity on the outcomes, identifying the work to be done, prioritizing effectively, and dealing with risks and issues. The following are solutions at a glance for effective planning:

How to create a work breakdown structure

Start with the outcomes and identify the work to be done to achieve the outcomes. Make a list of the jobs to be done. Keep listing the work to be done until you can’t break it down any further. An effective work breakdown structure helps you see at a glance, the type and quantity of the work. You can also get input from somebody who has been there and done that, to help you avoid surprises.

How to estimate time

Rather than work on things until they are done, decide how much time it’s worth spending on a given task. You can always adjust, but avoid spending 20 minutes on a 5 minute problem. You can base your estimates on previous experience, and you can consult with other people who might have more experience than you. The more you estimate your time, the better you’ll get. If you consistently underestimate or over-estimate then find out why that is.

How to plan for distractions and disruptions

Stuff happens. Even the best plans have to allow for something to go wrong. If your plan is based on everything going the best possible way, that should raise a flag. Add time buffers, identify potential risks, and have a fallback plan.

How to avoid plan-rigor-mortis

If plans are too stiff, they’ll fail against real-world scenarios. Having flexibility in your plans will help you adjust to changing scenarios. Another issue is letting your plan get stuck in analysis paralysis. Plan, then execute. Get the feedback and adjust accordingly. Avoid overly detailed plans. Plan just enough to provide a map, while allowing flexibility.

Prioritizing
Prioritizing is how you figure out your next best thing to do. It’s about working on the right things in the right sequence. The key to effective prioritizing is working backwards from what you want to accomplish. This includes figuring out what you value most, and making effective trade-offs. Keep in mind that time changes what’s important. This is why you should avoid spending too much time prioritizing lists that will likely change. Prioritize just before you do the work. This will let you respond to emerging needs and windows of opportunity. The following are solutions at a glance for effective prioritizing:

How to prioritize

Start by figuring out your big picture. You need to have something, one thing that you make time for. I would think of this in 3’s: one thing for you, one thing for your family, and one thing for work. Carve everything else around that. Set limits. Use limits to spend a minimum of time in things, and a maximum of time in things. I limit my non-value, non-essential, ineffective things, and I maximize my high-value, essential, and effective things.

How to prioritize what gets done first

Prioritize your incoming actions against your outcomes. The pitfall is to just do what’s easy or just follow routines. Instead, based on what you want to accomplish, ask, “what’s the next best thing to do?” Each time you find yourself asking, “what’s next?,” identify what you want to accomplish, and ask the question, “what’s the next best thing to do?” This will help you stay focused on your results and help you cut through the forest of To Dos.

How to triage your issues

If it’s not important for your results, let it go. Otherwise, triage your incoming actions: Do it, queue it, schedule it, or delegate it. Do it, if it’s quick and you can avoid paper shuffling. Queue it, if it belongs on your plate. Schedule it, to make time for it, or if there’s a more appropriate time to focus on it. Delegate it, if it makes sense. If doing incoming actions is creating too much interruptions, schedule a time in the day or later in the week to batch and focus on the issues. If you’re reacting more than you’re driving, or if you’re spending more time shuffling than doing, than you aren’t triaging effectively.

Reference Information

Reference information is any supporting information that you need when working on your results. For example, you might have a long email that has 3 action items in it. The email is reference. You might have information about your project. The key is to factor the action items from your reference, so you don’t have to work to hard, just to find the action items. The following are solutions at a glance for reference information:

How to factor reference from action

If you can’t do it, it’s reference. Consolidate your actions separate from your reference information. For example, rather than use your email inbox as a collection of action items, simply write the actions down in a separate list, and drive from that. A simple, consolidate list or index of actions is easier to manage than shuffling larger collections of reference with actions interspersed along the way.

How to avoid information overload

The best way to avoid information overload is to use effective filters. You set your own filters. The most important filters are your objectives or outcomes. You can use your objectives or outcomes as a filter to find, organize, or filter any relevant information. If it’s not important for your outcomes or objectives, you can let it go. This is a simple, but effective way to cut through vasts amount of information with precision.

How to improve your information management

Your actions should be easy to find and organize. Simple, scannable lists are the way to go. It should also be easy to archive or get rid of information that’s in your way. You create stable places for your information so that you don’t have to work to hard to find things or to store things. Consolidate your places to look. If it’s not working, change it. If you keep looking for something, but it’s not there, then put it there. For a given type of information, figure out whether to optimize for storing it, or optimizing for finding it, or optimize for viewing it. Just by figuring out how you use information, will help you structure your system better.

Self-Awareness
The key to self-awareness is to know your default thinking, feeling, and doing patterns. Rather than luck into success, you should know your personal success patterns and anti-patterns. The following are solutions at a glance for self-awareness:

This could be a trusted set of friends or colleagues that know you well and can provide effective feedback. You can also ask yourself. Ask them what they think your blind spot is. you enjoy doing. Find ways to spend less time in your weaknesses. try to reduce it. and you do better than other people. eating and working out. and 3 things to improve. if at all. you can ask. and you don’t enjoy the activity.  How to understand and avoid your weaknesses Weaknesses are activities that drain you. you probably know your best routines for sleeping. This will help limit the time you spend in weaknesses. Your friends and colleagues might have some good suggestions for how to improve in your blindspot areas. For example. Improvement comes slowly.  How to find your blind spots Find a sounding board you trust. If you flip back through your life. To find your strengths. Get input and test. you know when you are your best for various things. Chances are.  How to learn your personal anti-patterns . Once you have some suggestions. If a weakness is a liability. you can pay attention during the week to which activities you feel you do your best. Strengths are things that come easy for you. How to improve your self-awareness A simple way to improve self-awareness is to reflect on your results each week. find ways to test some behaviors that help you deal with your blindspot.  How to learn your personal success patterns Look to your past to see what’s worked. Consolidate activities that make you weak if you can’t get of them. what are 3 things going well. Each Friday.  How to understand and use your strengths Strengths are activities that catalyze you. what do people go to you for or consider your strengths to be. you can probably remember key patterns that worked well.

change your approach. it’s easy for you to over-engineer. Focusing on your strengths. You probably have key patterns that work against you. Finding the bar. If you’re not getting the results you want. If they have a lower bar. choosing to spend more time in your strengths is a strategy. If you can identify these. If they have a higher bar. will help you avoid over-investing or underinvesting. producing the right results. If the value is for you. It’s the results you produce.  How to shift from time-based to value-based Spending more time doesn’t necessarily produce more value. Strategies Tactics are the things we do. you aren’t actually making any real progress toward the right goal. For example. It’s easy to be busy and feel productive. you can flip back through your life and find patterns that didn’t work for you. Find and test strategies that help you spend more time on the right things. be sure to check what they really value. The techniques you use to perform your tasks.  How to shift from productivity to results Focus on the results you’re getting instead of just on productivity.Just like success patterns. improves the results from your tasks.  How to flow incremental value . Spend less time by working on the most valuable things and finding the most effective way to achieve results. Strategy guides our tactics. You can only spend your time and energy on so many things. you could miss their expectations. in a way that’s sustainable for you. because you can name and organize them. The key is to test and evaluate your results and adapt to improve iteratively. If the value is for somebody else. are the tactics. It’s not whether you put in 40 hours or 60 hours. it will help you avoid these. check what you’re trading against. when in fact. The right strategy is essential to make your tactics effective. The following are solutions at a glance for strategies:  How to choose strategies for more effective results Ask yourself what do you want to accomplish instead of what you are trying to do. Measure results by what works. Use your results as a yardstick.

 How to shift to timeboxing Time limits can help you make sure you’re spending enough time on one thing. Consolidate activities that make you weak as best you can. It builds confidence for you and others that you can produce effective results. and it should be easy to resort your list if needed. and execute your tasks. than improving weaknesses. pieces of it were. Eliminate activities that make you weak. The key is to find a sustainable pace. and not too much time in another.Chunk your results down. Another key is to have one place to look. Don’t mix action items with reference information.  How to shift to strengths from weaknesses Spend more time improving your strengths. The exception is if you have a weakness that limits you or acts as a liability. preventing you from achieving the results you want. Instead of monolithic or big-bang results. so that you can quickly sift through your potential action items. and you’ll keep your energy strong. and spend your time in the right places. or a series of sprints. but each day. Pace yourself for the longhaul. Rome wasn’t built in a day. It helps you build momentum. The following are solutions at a glance for task management:  How to manage your tasks The key to managing tasks is making them scannable. Timeboxing is a strategy that helps you optimize the time you spend. This will help you bring more things to completion. Task Management Task management includes how you organize. If you throw time at problems. It should be easy to scan your tasks. you throw other areas of your life out of balance. You’ll improve more by spending time in your strengths. prioritize. You want to bite off chunks that you can quickly start and finish. A test is whether you can quickly find the relevant actions for a given objective. Add more activities that make you strong. Factor out reference from action. you don’t find the most effective technique. or a sprint.  How to pace yourself Know whether you are running a marathon. . find ways to make incremental progress. If you throw time at problems. and whether you can quickly figure out the next best thing to do without working too hard.

and focus on catching the next train. the more you will build momentum and achieve your meaningful results. The following are solutions at a glance for time management:  How to improve time management It’s not how much time you spend. Most importantly. you get a good handle on how to think about managing what’s on your plate. Carve out time for what’s important. If it feels like you keep missing the train. When you think in terms of negotiating your results. you get out of defensive mode and into opportunity mode. and push back where it makes sense. to be able to work on this. This way. scheduling time for what’s important. what would you need to drop. than stop focusing on how you missed the train. you can use time as a budget to spend on your tasks.  How to manage your plate Manage your plate by learning your capacity and don’t bite off more than you can chew. When you treat time as a first class citizen. How to prioritize your tasks Prioritize your tasks against outcomes. as well as setting and resetting expectations. Work at reducing the time you spend. focus on the vital few. and results will take care of themselves. For example. it’s the results you produce. and stop watching the scoreboard. you can hit more windows of opportunity.  How to say no Rather than saying no. Time Management Time management boils down to is what you spend your time on and how you spend your time (including who you spend your time with. then that’s your time budget for results at work. Let things slough off if they get in the way of your best results. leveraging your power hours and creative hours. and treating time as a first class citizen. focus on what you would need to say yes. Focus on your next best thing to do. If you’re a morning purpose.) The keys to time management are managing your energy. spend . For example. if you set a limit of 40-50 hours for the week. Start by setting time limits for our week. The more you spend your time doing your next best thing. Sometimes the best thing you can do is get lost in the moment. This gives you a way to prioritize. You open the door for more creative possibilities. what resources or time would you need to take this on? Or. so you can improve your efficiency.

career. This will both help you deal with things that go wrong. breakfast. These are your tests for success each day. Create a startup routine.  How to design your day Identify 3 results you want for your day. and fun. create time in your schedule for the unexpected. Set minimum limits on how much time you spend on your relationships. body. Design your week to spend more time in your strengths and less time in your weaknesses. one of the most effective ways to wake up earlier is to go to bed earlier. financial.  How to wake up earlier As simple as it sounds. the first part of your day. Set maximum limits on how much time you spend on work. This will help you renew your energy each day. and taking the back way to work. including your power hours. trying to get a fresh start and a jump on tomorrow. relationships. such as exercise.your productive hours in the morning. as well as jump on opportunities that come up.  How to make time for what’s important Start with what’s most important and work around that. sleeping.  How to design your week Identify 3 results you want for your week. If you’re a night owl. and instead.  How to create buffers Rather than jam your schedule full.  How to improve work life balance Find balance by investing in your mind. Establish a rhythm for eating. Carve out time for your fun and renewal. Make the most important things. Create a shutdown routine for the . This means shifting from trying to add more to your day. make those your productive hours. and the categories support each other. These categories support you. and exercise. emotions. Set time limits and use timeboxes.

why. patterns. Guidelines are organized as a set of hot topics so that you can quickly find and scan relevant items. and practices for achieving results. such as a 30 timebox where you can think about all your problems or stress. defer them to your timebox. Guidelines for Agile Results This is a collection of guidelines for improving your results and productivity. and how. As you get distracted by your problems throughout the day. Learn a frame that helps you organize principles.end of the day. . Carve out a chunk of time. Each guideline explains what to do. Contents                Action Efficiency and Effectiveness Energy Management Expectations Focus Goals and Objectives Information Management Learning Mindsets and Motivation Planning Prioritizing Self-Awareness Self-Discipline Task Management Time Management Objectives   Learn effective strategies for making impact. such as reading before bed. Guidelines are expressed as tickler list items so that they are easy to learn.

For example. Your production and . financial. Balance your results across your meaningful buckets. Diversify your results. Keep in mind that what works for them. This means both producing results in different categories (such as relationships. Your release rate should match absorption rate and demand. my career bucket includes execution. Factor when you create from when you release. If you want to manage your time better. By using a month chunk of time. Diversify your results to avoid having all your eggs in one basket. I use a life frame: mind. let’s explore 10 higher-level strategies to help you maximize your impact. improvement and relationships. maybe in January focus on getting in shape. at work. 3. Collect working examples to learn and model from. 10 Strategies for Improving Results Before we get to specific techniques. If you want to mange projects better. For example. Think in terms of a portfolio of results. and combat many common productivity challenges. 4. The chapter presents high-level strategies to help you maximize success. By using monthly themes. you might have your flagship project that you can count on. emotion. but there is no need to start from scratch. Explore guidelines for improving your results. establish a rhythm of results. Don't let the tail wag the dog. Balance this with quitting when you aren’t going to get good at something. Use Monthly improvement sprints to cycle through things that you want to focus on. Overview As you pursue results you’ll likely face many challenges. For example. Use February to learn a new skill. model from somebody who is effective. For me. 2. relationships and fun. or you aren’t getting the return on investment. career. body. This frees you up to focus on creation. find somebody with a proven track record and learn from them. 5. Each hot spot can be broken down into more hot spots. Establish a rhythm of results. Monthly Improvement Sprints. you give yourself enough of a timebox to achieve meaningful results. administration. Your environment and the people you surround yourself with can work against you. and fun) as well as having some results you count on and some that are risks. Build a library of reference examples. you give yourself a chance to cycle through a variety of your key interests and goals. Even small things can gradually wear you down. may not work for you. Even your own motivation or energy can work against you. 1. but then add a couple of experimental projects to test the waters. career. without the immediate burden of production or release. Actively looking for the positive examples of successful people around you helps keep your mind focused on success patterns. thinking. Balance your time across your hot spots.

It can be more efficient to batch and focus your time. you could write your eight blogs posts on Sunday. If something's not working. but proven practice for achieving results. Consider sweeping as a deliberate strategy to maximize your energy by batching the work at a specific point in time. personal growth. your quality of life. and by getting your head around the work. or simply providing you with the support you need. you dramatically improve your chances for success. If you want to get something significant done. Make it a project. List the work to be done and estimate how long it will take. Sweeping as a practice gives you a chance to go back and improve things as well as integrate new learnings. . Improve your network. Remember that backlogs tend to suffer from rot over time. If you focus on value delivered you won't miss windows of opportunity when they do appear. For instance. Sometimes it’s easier to go back and clean things up than to try and get things right up front. Dedicate time to your project and see it through. Don't settle for being productive. make it a project. The other secret here is that focusing on value can be more energizing than tackling an overwhelming backlog. or grow. Chunk your results down. then trickle them out over the week. your career. Tip . Focus on value-delivered. Periodically sweep up the mess you’ve left behind.release can occur at different times and at varying rates. By giving something a start and an end.. connecting with others you can model and learn from. not backlog burndown. Your purpose is your guide. but ineffective." If you have a compelling "what" and "why.build a mind map of your personal and professional networks and see where you need to tune. whether it’s to keep creative juices flowing by seeing others perspectives. It’s a simple. 6. you can also look at it in terms of investment and ROI (return on investment. Allocate enough time." you'll find the strategies. Stay flexible in your approach. Sanity check by asking yourself "is it effective?” 10. 9. Who you spend time with probably has the largest impact on getting results. 7. Deliver incremental value to yourself or to others. prune. energy. Focus on delivering value keeps you asking the right questions and making the right calls on priorities. Find a way to flow value. etc. Making it a project provides a lens you can both evaluate the opportunity and manage the work more effectively. at a later point. you can make that call. Sweeping. and resources to accomplish the work and establish a time line. even if all you really changed is perspective. 8. This includes anything that takes several stages to complete or something that you know probably won’t get done otherwise.) If you don’t think it will be worth the investment. . Be flexible in the "how.. than to try and keep things in order the whole time through. change your approach. By packaging up the work as a project.

sleeping. feeling. as well as how you manage the quality of your results. How you focus your time. as well as avoid information overload. you can manage and prioritize large collections of information. and working out. Mindsets and Motivation How you get your head in the game. Self-Discipline How you correct your behavior. Finding the lessons. both for learning the guidelines in this chapter. By using an organizing frame. organizing and sharing your own guidelines from other sources. and attention. Information Management How you organize and manage information. Planning How you map out the work to be done. energy. Prioritizing How you choose what’s more important. Hot Spot Action Efficiency and Effectiveness Energy Management Expectations Focus Goals and Objectives Information Management Learning Mindsets and Motivation Planning Description How you take action and manage your activities towards results. feeling. Expectations How you set and reset expectations with yourself and others. Energy Management How you manage your energy in terms of thinking. How you manage your energy in terms of thinking. How you map out the work to be done. How you get your head in the game. How you manage the cost and speed of your results. Goals and Objectives How you set meaningful goals and objectives for your results. as well as how you take care of your eating. Here are the hot spots for results: Hot Spot Description Action How you take action and manage your activities towards results.Hot Spots for Results The following frame helps organize the guidelines. and doing. and attention. Focus How you focus your time. You can use this frame as a backdrop. How you set meaningful goals and objectives for your results. . How you organize and manage information. as well as avoid information overload. How you set and reset expectations with yourself and others. and working out. Each hot spot represents an actionable bucket. Task Management How you manage your tasks and action items. as well as how you take care of your eating. sleeping. as well as for finding. improving and correcting course. energy. as well as how you manage the quality of your results. Learning Finding the lessons. Self-Awareness How to improve your knowledge about yourself in terms of achieving results. improving and correcting course. Time Management How you manage and schedule your time. Efficiency and Effectiveness How you manage the cost and speed of your results. and doing.

Consistent action over time produces real results. Ask yourself. you can correct course. Know the sum is more than the parts. The following sections walk through each of the hot spots above and identify actionable guidelines. Scrimmage against results. Task Management How you manage your tasks and action items. Time Management How you manage and schedule your time. you can test what works and what doesn’t. 10. . Do a dry run. and Improve It. The same is true when you are taking action. Set a time limit.Prioritizing Self-Awareness Self-Discipline How you choose what’s more important. Start with something simple. 5. 3. When a ship is sailing. Chunk it down. 11. Think about how much you've accomplished over the long run. 7. Just start. How you correct your behavior. Action Taking action is essential. Do It. 12. Consider the following guidelines for improving your ability to take action: 1. Decide and go. just by showing up at work every day and doing your job. Set a quantity limit. How to improve your knowledge about yourself in terms of achieving results. Get the ball out of your court. If you’re not getting the results you want. By taking action. 4. patterns. 6. you produce results. When you take action. and practices. 8. “what actions have you taken?” 2. Review It. then you can change your approach. Each of the hot spots contains a set of principles. Put in your hours. 9. It’s how you’ll make things happen.

Pave a path. Know when the ball should be returned. by reminding yourself that you should complete your results and then evaluate how to improve. You can combine a “Fail Quick” method with a “Decide and Go. Review It. This is a technique that’s especially effective for a task or activity that you haven’t done before. and Improve It. It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of thinking instead of doing. You might find that you’ve thought more than you’ve done. and then review your results. Swim to shore. after taking action. preferably with someone who’s done it before. Little items can add up quickly and procrastination adds weight to your day. Decide and Go. Break bigger results down into smaller actions. “What actions have you taken?” Hold yourself accountable to taking action. even though you didn’t get the results you wanted. by reminder yourself to take action. Decide what you’re going to do. Don’t second guess yourself every step of the way. It’s usually more effective to iterate on your results multiple times and improve on each iteration.” Simply do a small trial first to test the decision. Simply walk the steps end-to-end. This do it. Get the Ball Out of Your Court. improve it loop helps reinforce the habit of continuous improvement. Not every ball is worth . Now at least you have feedback. Doing the dry run will help you identify things you didn’t expect. If you’re not getting the results you expect. or to keep plowing ahead. Your dry run will also help you when you want to execute because you will have some previous experience and you’ll be clearer on the path you should follow. It also helps you avoid perfectionism. Breaking things down helps you right-size the action for however much time or energy you have. do it. This is a simple loop to remind yourself to take action. and then improve your results. just keep breaking it down until you have something you can actually make progress against. if possible. This is how you can fully engage in the activity. Do a Dry Run.Ask Yourself. It’s also how you avoid spending all your energy task switching between analyzing and doing. You can review the actions you’ve taken and decide whether it’s time to change your approach. Chunk It Down. review it. then figure out why you were drowning. If something is too big. Make it a habit of getting the ball out of your court as soon as possible. This helps you avoid analysis paralysis. Discovering the hidden gotchas take the anxiety out of the 2nd time. Knowing what not to do the second time around is as important as knowing what to do. review your results. Do It. Or. you might find that you did take a lot of action. than try to do it once perfectly. enumerate the actions you’ve actually taken.

the sooner you learn. you might identify 3 results for the day. just break it down and turn it into a number you can deal with. Don’t let fear paralyze you. If you’re not getting the results you expect. One way to produce results is to set a simple limit in terms of quantity. just start. one small action at a time. The scrimmage becomes a forcing function. Whenever you’re stuck on something. Whiteboards and slides are one thing. You might decide you want to write 1 chapter or maybe 10 pages. It also means you start asking better questions. Producing a real outcome is another. You might decide that you want to perform 20 push ups. means you have to figure out the work to be done. Set a quantity limit. Finding these earlier vs. Test your results. You’ll also find that starting helps build momentum. It also helps you find your strengths and weaknesses quickly. The sooner you start. Rather than find the perfect way to start or waiting for the perfect situation. you set a simple tangible goal that you can shoot for.returning and some balls are more important than others. The anti-pattern is doing a bunch of up front analysis and design. By thinking of your challenge as a scrimmage. Set a time limit. how much time it is worth spending or . The first hour he edited the day before. you make a game of it and you can play at your results. Trying to produce real results early. Test your results to get real feedback. For example. he wrote new. Put in Your Hours I heard that Hemingway wrote for two hours a day. You can use quantities to inspire and guide your results. without testing your assumptions. The baby steps add up. The act of trying to produce real results early. One way to just start is to schedule a meeting with yourself and allocate time to start some action you’ve been avoiding. the sooner you can change direction as needed. you can prioritize them and budget your time and effort accordingly. It’s also a method to control distractions and procrastination tendencies. Just Start. later is a good thing. The key to effective timeboxing or setting time limits is figuring out up front. but people and process too. Putting in your hours is an investment in results. Simply being mindful can go a long way. One way to help stay clear is make sure you are responding. The next hour. If you know what these issue are. means you’ll find not just technical issues. Sometimes setting a time limit (a time box) for something is a helpful way to both motivate yourself and manage your energy. The sooner you learn. My marathon runner friend says the key for her is putting in her hours. By setting a limit. not simply reacting. Scrimmage Against Results. one of the first things you can do is ask whether you’re putting in the right amount of time and in the right areas.

This is also one of the simplest ways to stay balanced. Efficiency and Effectiveness Efficiency is about the cost and speed of things. When you know you will do something each day. 7. B. while effectiveness is about the quality of the result. Once you start with something simple. consider the following guidelines: 1. Ask. Script your success. The key is to focus on improvement while you perform the activity. To be effective. Move from the simpler things to the more complex. Because of the routine of it. Doing it daily helps get the kinks out. One way to become more efficient and effective at something is to do it daily. Think of it in terms of jumping incremental hurdles. 4. Start with Something Simple. “Is it effective?” It’s such a simple question. and energy. Expand your toolset. To improve your efficiency and effectiveness. Reduce friction. high speed). you ignite your confidence and energy. 6. and C. cost. Start with the simplest thing you can so you can get going. Do it daily. 3. You can intentionally structure your time to spend enough time in activity A. it also helps you avoid over-engineering it. you first need to know what you want to accomplish and if it’s value-added. Pair up. then you can tune the efficiency. Reduce your context switching. Do It Daily. You can then measure your results against your effectiveness. “Is it effective?” 2. but it can help you checkpoint your results. Ask. . 5. you end up finding short-cuts and you get enough opportunity to test different approaches or reduce friction. but not very effectively. You might be performing something very efficiently (low cost. Once you’re producing effective results. This is how you build momentum. by paying attention to the time. Asking is it effective reminds you of the results you’re after and helps you evaluate the results your getting against what you want to accomplish. This is a proven practice for improving efficiency with techniques.how much time should you spend before moving to something else.

You can tune and improve the steps in your script. just doing them sequentially. Create streamlined execution paths. Reduce Your Context Switching. Your energy can come from different sources. Error rates also go up significantly. Adding new tools to your tool belt can exponentially improve your results. you can study project management skills to learn how to chunk down projects and manage end to end results. Energy Management You energy is your staying power. When another task is only an arm’s length or click away. noon and night. Develop strategies to reduce context switching. you might check your email at morning. Studies show that it can take significantly longer to complete two tasks if you context switch vs. Context switching is when you switch from one activity to another usually unrelated activity. and working out. Develop discipline and don’t choose based on urgency. feeling. and doing are key to your energy management. For example. Rapid context switching is one of the worst productivity killers. everything's a nail. Another key to effective energy management is setting boundaries either in how much time . When you only have a hammer. For example. Aside from eating. Avoid tools designed to interrupt you unless they are actually essential. sleeping. You can use your “script” to analyze the effectiveness and efficiency of your steps. A key to keeping your body supportive is to make sure you’re eating. Do you really need to get an email notification every time a message comes in? Script Your Success Write the steps you need to take to perform the activity. but then you switch out to check your Facebook or email. Spending time in activities that make you strong also helps improve your energy management. There are probably a few scenarios where you have more friction in your process than you'd like. it’s easy to get side tracked. but rather importance. I use Monthly Improvement Sprints for my perpetual friction points. Some activities renew you. Reduce Friction. rather than throughout the day. Thinking the thoughts that serve you influences how you feel. while others drain you. Be like the fast river that moves the rocks and sand from its path. You can study other productivity systems and take the best of the best. Create a fast path for stuff you need to do frequently. your thinking. Look for tools from disparate sources so you don’t just have an assortment of slightly different hammers. Reduce the number of activities you work on. sleeping and working out in a way that works for you. For example. Designate a time for things. you might be concentrating on writing.Expand Your Toolset.

For example. one power hour at a time. you have certain hours in the day or night when you are able to accomplish more. Reduce the liabilities that continually hold you back. How well do you get things done when you're emotionally or mentally drained? Play to Your Strengths. Manage energy.or much you’ll spend doing something. 5. A compelling "why" is what will give you the energy and get you back on your horse." Know or choose why you are doing what you doing. 3. Improving your strengths can help you achieve more than improving your weaknesses. Manage Energy for Results. Gradually increase the number of power hours you have. You may even feel “in the zone” or in your “flow” state. 4. The exception is liabilities. consider the following guidelines: 1. Setting and correcting expectations with yourself and others is a key to effective results. If you . you may not be getting more done. Manage energy for results. But consider the total amount of work getting done over a longer period of time. 2. If you are in the zone staying up late but then exhausted and can’t produce anything the entire next day. You can build a powerful day. To improve your energy management. Leverage Your Power Hours. If you know you only have 3 power hours in a 40 hour week. and avoiding disappointment. Play to your strengths. Leverage your power hours. poor verbal communication is huge liability for a public speaker but likely only a weakness for a scientific researcher Expectations Crossed-expectation is a common source of problems when it comes results. Chances are. When you're "in the zone. Have a compelling why. Have a Compelling "Why. Increase Your Power Hours. . You might find you only have a few great hours during the week where you feel you produce effective and efficient results. it’s not compelling." you get results. not time for results. Increase your power hours. If it doesn’t add energy when you think of it. or powerful week. Tune your strategy. see if you can set yourself up to have 5 power hours. when you get knocked down.

then you can push back when you’re exceeding your capacity. This holds true whether it’s about setting expectations with others or with yourself. Set and Reset expectations. This is a proven practice over continuously falling short on doing what’s expected. Never be afraid to push back. Instead. Focus Focus is one the most important keys to results. Set and Reset Expectations. 4. It’s where you put your energy and attention. Consider the following guidelines for improving your ability to set and manage expectations effectively: 1. especially if you don’t apply enough focus in a given area to produce a meaningful result. One of the keys to setting expectations is under-promising and over-delivering. Switching focus is one of the worst problems when it comes to results. the more you’ll believe in your execution ability and you can gradually take on more complexity and scope. Knowing your capacity will help you make more accurate estimates of your time. they’ll lose confidence in you or they’ll be disappointed in your results. which in turn will impact your confidence. than fail to deliver and surprise them (or yourself) with failure. If you continuously over-estimate yourself. 2. Set expectations. Over-deliver. 3. Over-Deliver. Working on . This will do wonders for your reputation and for your confidence. Your goal should be to reduce the gap between expectations and results. Choosing the right focus or the right scope can dramatically amplify your impact. If you know how much you can handle.keep failing to meet your own expectations. Under-Promise. Know your capacity. This is about setting honest expectations for what you can or can’t achieve within a given timeframe. Under-promise. then use this as input when you make your estimates and adjust for it. by setting and resetting expectations effectively. Choosing the wrong focus can dramatically reduce your impact. it’s about avoiding going dark and making sure that your correct expectations as you learn more. Make expectations explicit. If you consistently miss expectations you set with other people. It will also help you push back more effectively. you can hurt your confidence. This isn’t about making strict contracts. Know Your Capacity. Make it a habit to set a realistic bar. It’s better to tell your manager (or yourself) up front that you’re over-extended. but clear the bar with stellar results when you can. This is about being honest with yourself. The more you execute successfully.

a goal is the result you want to achieve. Batch and focus. Use focus as your weapon for results. Review the following guidelines to improve your focus: 1. It’s easy to bite off too much. you aren’t going to see them through. which in turn. Apply Concentrated Effort If you spread your effort across too many things you can water down your impact. 6. Focus is your friend. and overwhelm the problem with your focus and energy.your focus as a skill is a great way to get effective results. You can concentrate your effort by consolidating the time you spend on a particular challenge. helps build momentum. 2. Apply concentrated effort. Your goals should be relevant and meaningful for you. Check your ladder. you can expand your focus. Create SMART goals. 3. and churn or spin your wheels. Batch and Focus. You can spend more time on it. Concentrating your effort is a way to improve your results. A batched and focused effort can produce amazing results. Know the “why” behind the goal. 5. Narrow Your Focus. To narrow your focus." 4. As you build momentum. Technically. Have a compelling "what. especially if you need to get unstuck. Keep narrowing the problem down until your focus and energy produce effective results. 2. . The most important thing is to apply enough effort in a concentrated form to get over whatever the hurdle or hump that’s in your way. 3. If they aren’t compelling. Goals and Objectives Goals are your guide for results. You can increase the frequency. simply find a smaller slice of the problem to focus on. Narrowing your focus is a way to improve your results. Few problems withstand sustained thinking or effort. Use vision and feeling. consider the following guidelines: 1. Narrow your focus. while objectives are specific and measurable checkpoints along the way. To improve your goals and objectives. Know the tests for success.

the feeling gives you the energy to continue moving towards your desired outcome. You also know what good looks like. monthly. One way to help check your ladder is simply add periodic reviews. Have a Compelling “What. or quarterly. Check Your Ladder. actionable. relevant. you make progress quicker. The better your rests reflect what you want to accomplish. Use your tests to also help identify what good looks like. and timely. measurable. you know when you’re done. By putting a time frame on it. Knowing that the feeling is different from the outcome lets you shift to a different vision an outcome if needed. Know the Tests for Success. This will really help you when you hit your early hurdles or when you find your focus or energy starts to wane. By making it specific.” A specific goal would be to make $100." Use it to guide your course. When developing software. Use Vision and Feeling. SMART goals are specific. and evaluate your direction. Create SMART Goals. You can revisit your why behind the goal and it will help inspire you back on track. Remember in the end it’s how the you think the outcome will make you feel that’s really important when you step back. By prioritizing your goals and by getting clarity on your results. it’s common to use “exit criteria” to know when you’re done with a certain stage. within the next 6 months.7. When you have a clear vision of the outcome you are shooting for and can even feel that as if it has already happened. “make more money. the more effective they are for helping you measure your results along the way. such as weekly.” Your "what" should be a great manifestation of your "why. The more you can identify the value and make it compelling. Consider adopting personal exit criteria. Is your ladder up against the right wall? Every now and then you have to stop and check your ladder. This is your vision. Identify the tests you can use to know when you’ve achieved your results. Assuming the goal is compelling and you actually desire the outcome. You can’t do everything at once. . Test your metaphorical ladder by imagining your future results based on your current path. you give yourself a clear map to drive your results and direct your energy.000 a year. then spend the time up front to really elaborate on why it’s so important for you. A fuzzy goal would be. Why is this goal so crucial for you to accomplish? Most people fail at their goals because the goals didn’t really matter to them. Nothing's worse than climbing a ladder to find it’s up against the wrong wall. it helps you prioritize over other activities. If your goal is worth spending time on. Work backwards from the end in mind. the more creative forces and energy you’ll bring to bear when you need to make your goals happen. Know the “Why” Behind the Goal.

Identify what you know. Identify what you need to know next. Look to working examples and reverse-engineer. Improve Your Filters. You goal should be to capture and consolidate your action information (whether action items or steps. or overwhelmed. 3. Don’t Know. This is a simple way to get out of analysis paralysis. Action is anything actionable. and Need to Know Next Start with what you know. Use checklists. 4. Information Management Your ability to manage information directly contributes to your productivity and energy management. Consider the following guidelines to improve your information management: 1. you now have a simple way to scan and prioritize your potential action.Work Backward from the End in Mind. Improve your filters. Reference information is any piece of information that you simply refer to. It’s also a good way to remind yourself of your foundation. 5. and more about a lack of filters. as well as find the gaps. As you enumerate what you know. don’t know and need to know next. organize. 2. Identify what you know. It’s simply reference. You can cut through information very quickly by identifying your objectives. You’ll quickly find that a lot of your information day in and day out is simply reference information. Identify What You Know. you can evaluate what your information is based on. Identify what you don’t know. It could be a list of steps or it can be a set of action items. Information overload is less about having too much information. and act on information is an extreme advantage in an age where people constantly face information overload. Factor Reference from Action. Working backwards from where you want to be can help make you more resourceful. Factor reference from action.) Once you’ve factored and consolidated your action items (such as a simple list). you . Organize your actions. can very much have to do with how you manage your information. It could be details or explanations of things. Your ability to find. Once you identify what’s important. you can break it up into two buckets: reference and action. By thinking of all your information in terms of reference and action gives you a simple way to avoid information overload. When you think about information. Whether your feel on top of your game.

4. Using checklists helps you avoid task saturation or feelings of being overwhelmed. 5. You can organize your actions by time. you improve your quality of feedback and you reduce the gap between what you dream up in your mind or what you think on paper. Learning Taking action gets easier when you look at it in terms of results and feedback. by refining and improving your checklists. Use Checklists. Organize Your Actions. and COULD. Fail fast. 3. Pair up. Consider the following for improving your learning: 1. 8. P3 or MUST. SHOULD. Build a system of profound knowledge. You can improve your checklists as an improvement tool. all your actions for today. Consolidate and organize your actions. The quickest way to get over fear of failure is to look at your failure as lessons and feedback. Find a mentor. 7. Checklists are a great way to capture and share best practices. Model the best. Focus on learning and results and this creates an effective learning loop. Build feedback loops. You don’t have to spend as much think time figuring out what to do. 6. for example. It’s when you have no objectives or no filters that an abundance of information can quickly overwhelm you. Identify 3 things going well and 3 things to improve. You can organize your actions by priorities (such as P1. By taking action.can ignore the information that you don’t care about.) The most important thing to do is to make your actions easy to scan so that you can quickly see the map and make more conscious choices of what to act on and what to let go. Turn insights into action. P2. 2. You can also use checklists to capture key steps in complex procedures. instead you can focus on how well you do it. . Many successful people use checklists to remind themselves of good habits or routines each day.

Who can you learn from that will take your game to the next level? Pair Up. focusing on knowledge management. based on what I learned?” You can use this approach even when you take a training seminar. One way is to ask. One simple way is to ask. “what are 3 things I can do. The last thing to do is push your high risks to the end and get surprised or run out of steam. Knowing and doing are two separate things. Find a Mentor. Insight doesn’t help if you don’t act on it. You can also improve your energy and momentum by pairing with the right person. simply by trying to turn it into 3 simple actions. You can also ask your friends or colleagues for their suggestions on who to learn from. draining or limiting instead of supportive . When your mindset is working against you. Build Feedback Loops. knowing the impact of changes in the system. Your mindset and motivation together can dramatically impact your ability to produce results. doesn't mean that you can't set an example. Build a sounding board of people you trust. Turn your insights into results. Model the Best. Use failure as a way to generate feedback early and often. so make it a habit to turn your lessons learned into real results. Fail forward by turning your lessons into course corrections. Mentors are the short-cut. Mindset and Motivation You mindset is your frame of mind or your state. you aren’t going to make things happen. Feedback loops help you improve and keep you going. Tackle your highest risks up front so you can create a glide path. Turn Insight into Action. and taking into consideration the people-side of things. Success leaves clues. When you lack motivation. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can make information more actionable. Use your learnings to quickly change your course. This is about thinking of the system as a whole. Find a mentor or a guide that can help you learn whatever you are trying to achieve.Build a System of Profound Knowledge. Fail Fast. Using reference examples can help you shave off tons of wasted time. “Who else shares this problem?” to help identify potential mentors. Pairing up with someone can be one of the most effective ways to learn. Remember that just because you might not be in a learning organization. You can also use your failures to make a determination whether it’s worth continuing your investment. If you’re going to fail. fail fast. it can be distracting.

Include a buffer in your schedule and expect the unexpected. you’re in control. Compete with yourself. It’s easier to prioritize because you’re comparing things against your agenda instead of just reacting to fires or random opportunities. 6. 3.) Focus on little improvements and distinctions over time. It's consistent action over time that produces the greatest results. can make it fun. Drive or Be Driven. For example. Adopt High-Value Self Talk 4. but I’ll know to watch for it next time”. 7. Adopt a growth mind-set over a fixed mind-set. Focus on learning and improvement (growth mindset) over innate ability (fixed mindset. Use empowering metaphors. “you should have seen that problem coming”? Or do you have confident scripts? “I didn’t see it coming.and enabling. Do you have a self-defeating script? “You should have done better”. Being on top of things is an entirely different experience. whatever it is you do each day. Drive or be Driven. Pace yourself. Part of being able to drive means having a buffer. Consider the following guidelines for improving your mindset and motivation: 1. have you ever gotten a jump on your day? Even if you have a tremendous backlog. Don’t waste your buffer on low value things. You're probably a master of your craft. Adopt a Growth Mindset Over a Fixed Mindset. is a key ingredient to a winning mindset. the “script” you repeat in your head. Make it a game. Your ability to get into the right mindset and find your motivation is essential to effective results. Let your inner kid out to help you find the energy that comes from genuine curiosity and playfulness at whatever you do. you can cherry pick the key things to nail. Adopt High-Value Self Talk The things you tell yourself. Make it a Game. “I didn’t do as well as I thought. Play at what you do. Use SWAT mode. 5. let’s go through the feedback loop and incorporate what I learned”. every day. Use your buffer to jump on highvalue opportunities and avoid getting bogged down or carrying too much at once. Things go wrong. than reacting and playing catch up. 2. When you’re driving your results. . versus instant success. Making it a game.

as well as know when to push hard and when to glide or coast. Consider the following for improving your planning: 1. flexible. Experiment and find the metaphors that work for you. as well as anticipate when you will get the most results from turning up your intensity. For example. action is the best oil for rusty results. Expect change and embrace it. otherwise. SWAT mode is actually a metaphor. You . Thoughtful actions produce results. 2. you can think of your project as an epic adventure or you can think of your task as a race against time. Plan Less. Use Empowering Metaphors. such as a project plan. or moving a mountain. You can think of yourself as going into SWAT mode while you try to perform a given task or activity. You can also use metaphors to help you pace. You can change your state or your mindset or kick start your motivation by using empowering metaphors. you can increase your level of engagement and intensity to crack tough problems or give you an added boost that helps you crank up your ability to deliver results. plan less. By writing your plan down.Pace Yourself. By using SWAT mode in short bursts. Plan. you help free up your mind to focus on the actual action or steps. short-burst mission. Iterate more. by adjusting your outcomes as you learn more about what really matters. Your plans should be agile in that you stay focused on the outcomes. It can be at the macro-level. Pacing yourself effectively helps you set your own expectations and manage your energy. such as planning your immediate activity. You can also practice agility in your outcomes. Effective pacing can help you keep from burning out. If you're already acting on your ideas great. Flexible plans allow you to keep moving forward and deal with whatever comes your way. but change your approach as necessary to achieve your results. Use SWAT Mode. or a series of sprints. The idea is that you are on a high-intensity. Planning Planning is about mapping out the results and the work to get there. Iterate More. such as thinking of chipping away at the stone. Plan. or it can be at the micro-level. Inflexible plans break when you put them into action. Then Execute. A good way to get results is making simple action plans. … etc. This can be as simple as a list of steps you need to take. This is not advocating thoughtless actions. Know whether you’re running a marathon or a sprint. Agility is the ability to respond to change. or blasting through a wall. Then Execute. It’s a counter to actionless thoughts. The key to success is keeping your plans lightweight. and focused on outcomes.

In order to make your windows of opportunity. is they do too little. You’ll find that making windows of opportunity improves your impact time and again. You’ll find this will shift over time. Stay Agile Accept that what’s important changes over time and how you accomplish your goals may need to be flexible. If the results don’t turn out the way you expect. and COULD. “What’s the next best thing to do?” This question cuts right to the chase and forces you to evaluate where to invest your time and energy.also avoid getting lost along the way. You can also share your plan with others that might have a better approach or can improve your execution. Your flexibility in both your goals and approach will improve your chances of success. Consider the following guidelines to help you prioritize: 1. What was important before. This will help you stay focused on the outcomes that matter to you. and the learnings you have as you move towards your goals. too late. They underestimate the value of making a time window. Time changes what’s important. Hit windows of opportunity. Values influence what’s important. 3. SHOULD. . Use MUST. but it’s a good way to remind yourself what you’re driving towards. may not be important now and this question helps you evaluate priorities. “What’s the Next Best Thing to Do?” Ask yourself. you lay out a path that you can focus on the execution. and you’re identifying the next best steps to get there. Ask. As you get used to doing things on time. 4. You’re basically checking yourself against what you want to accomplish. Worst things first. what do you want to accomplish. By writing the steps down. you can modify your plan and execute again. It’s a simple map of your actions. The important part is executing your steps. Hit Windows of Opportunity One of the worst patterns for people that miss out on results. Prioritizing You can’t do it all and you certainly can’t do it all at once. Success is negotiable and the key is your ability to adjust your plans based on what you want to accomplish. and what’s more important now. When you hit your windows of opportunity. you amplify your impact and get more ROI for your effort. One way to stay grounded in your priorities is to continuously ask yourself. you’ll be forced to prioritize. Ask. What’s the Next Best Thing To Do? 2. it becomes a healthy habit for results. Prioritizing is about asking what’s more important.

Know your strengths. the better you can adapt yourself for situation. Are you a starter or a finisher? Are you a thinker or a doer? Are you a maximize or a simplifier? Do you know what kinds of people to pair up with to be more effective? Do you know your own workspace preference? For example. you’ll be able to identify which activities make you strong and which make you weak. adjust the situation to suit you. and COULD. and capabilities. some people only like to work on a team. Know Your Strengths. SHOULD. Some people like to work on a team. You need to limit your time in your weaknesses and maximize your time in your strengths. It’s pretty easy for your brain to figure out what you MUST do. Consider the following for improving your self-awareness: 1. preferences. so give the company its money’s worth by performing in your strengths! Know Yourself. and COULD. 2. Know the activities that make you strong. you create a glide path for the rest of the day. if your boss asks you to have a review goal that is in your area of weakness. By getting mindful and reflective. The more you improve your self-awareness. Do you know your strengths? . and asking questions. but doing their own thing. At work. Some people only like to work by themselves. A simple way to prioritize is to think in terms of MUST. SHOULD.Use MUST. If you pay attention to your regular activities throughout the week. you get paid for your performance. Make sure you don’t let SHOULDs and COULDs get in the in the way of your MUSTs. Spending more time in your strengths will give you more energy. 3. Know Your Weaknesses. don’t hesitate to see if another goal can replace it. By getting the thing you dread out of your way. Know which activities make you weak. A good way to prioritize daily is to do your worst things first. or avoid situations. You do your worst thing first when you have your most energy. Know your weaknesses. weaknesses. you can learn a lot about yourself and then use that knowledge to improve your ability to get results. Know yourself. For example. Spending time in your weaknesses drains you. Worst Things First. Self-Awareness Self-awareness is what you know about your own strengths.

it’s easier to react than respond. You might not feel like working out at the moment or you might not feel like finishing your report. you may have a different perspective and drivers. Once you’re in the thick of things. identify the behaviors that will help you get there. will remind you of what’s important and give you the chance to make a more thoughtful choice. “What’s the right thing to do?” This will help you balance against what you want to do. Decide on your behaviors before hand. It helps you do the right thing in the moment for your long-term benefit. “What’s the right thing to do?” One way to help remind yourself of the right action to take is to ask yourself. discipline is “what to do. Decide Up Front. 3. and pave a path forward? Do you know your best personal success patterns for fighting perfectionism and for fighting procrastination? A little self-knowledge goes a long way. Ask Yourself. 5. learn. you have the power of choice and you are choosing to do it. Link it to good feelings.” Think in terms of “choose to. what’s the right thing to do? 2. Consider the following guidelines to improve your selfdiscipline: 1. Asking yourself what the right thing to do is. and use those behaviors as your guide. Ask yourself. so even though you may not want to do something or feel particularly inspired. this little difference and changing your vocabulary can dramatically improve your self-discipline. 6. Choose to over have to. Don’t think of things in terms of “have to. Self-Discipline If motivation is “why to do”. 4. when you may want to do something else. .” Self-discipline is the ability to correct your behavior (Self-discipline is simply correcting or regulating your behavior for the sake of improvement. As subtle as this sounds. You can respond more effectively if you committed to a decision.) It helps you get back on your course when you fall off your path. This will help ensure that your selfdiscipline stays rewarding rather than restricting and exercises your freedom of choice. Choose To Over Have To. Decide up front.” Remember that you are driving towards the results you want. Reward your behaviors. Will is based on thinking and reason to create action – motivation is more from emotion. Treat motivation as input. Decide what you want to accomplish. Once you are in the moment.Do you know your weaknesses? Have you found your personal best way to fail fast.

Fix Time. You can also use time to help you limit risk. but it’s way too easy to pile on a laundry list of things to do and just keep adding. you might play your favorite song. Bite off what you can chew. you can use time to help you prioritize. Bite Off What You Can Chew. Remind yourself what you want to accomplish. Consider the following for improving your task management: 1. Reward your behaviors along the way. What does your mind want. Piling on too many things at any given time is a recipe for failure. Let things slough off. This might sound obvious. what do your emotions want? What does your body want? These are input. the right way. This is where you exercise your power of judgment and selfdiscipline. Where possible. while focusing on the most important tasks. Allocate a set amount of time for something. Flex Scope. at the right time. For example. Don’t just focus on your results. and which behaviors will actually get you there. Make it a healthy exercise to bite something off. Treat Motivation as Input. than spreading yourself thin across a bunch of things that you’ll never finish. By fixing time. It’s about putting more energy into the vital few things that matter. 5. focus on clearing things off. Reward your Behaviors. it’s also important to let things go. You can also use time to help you set more effective boundaries. It’s tough to sustain any habits that don’t feel good. Linking your actions to good feelings will help reinforce your behavior in a sustainable way. Reduce open work. Fix time. Focus on outcomes over activities. For example. 2. is key to achieving your results. flex scope. and then move on to the next thing. Rewarding your behaviors is a positive way of practicing self-discipline. Your ability to let go. Task Management The key to task management is working on the right things. link an activity or behavior to good feelings. and then flex what you can do within that timebox. Instead of piling things on. 3. They shouldn’t be your deciding factors. finish it. 4. and flexing scope.Link It to Good Feelings. you might decide you . Just as it’s important to work on the most important items.

6. Take weekends off. prioritizing your time. then you can decide what value to deliver within that timebox. Set boundaries. It’s easy to spend your time performing a lot of activities that don’t actually produce the results you care about. 4. If something is important enough. 7. Have a buffer. you can evaluate the activities you spend your time on. You can adjust your scope as you go. 3. Finish something before starting something else. The idea is to make sure you focus on the most important things you can make progress on and let the rest go. You’ll also reduce your task switching. Schedule it. or a week. Keeping a smaller amount of open work will help you focus your energy and get results. or a month … etc. while constraining the risk to a given amount of time. setting boundaries. Focus on Outcomes Over Activities. Rather than have a lot of open items on your plate. and knowing your most effective time. Let things slough off. Know your most effective hours. . Let Things Slough Off. focus on a small set of things you can complete. against the impact. Time Management How you spend your time is vital to your success. not time. Carve out time for what’s important. Consider the following for improving your time management: 1. Don’t confuse activity with results. Manage energy. Once you set the timebox. Time management includes scheduling your time. 5. You might spend a lot of time on something but make very little actual progress. you can always make it a priority again. 2.will only work on the project for a day. Time changes what’s important. Baseline your schedule. 8. responding to whatever seems the most valuable or important. This is a way to maximize your value and flexibility. By focusing your attention on the outcomes or results. Reduce Open Work.

Simply identify your current weekly schedule. Make everything else work around that. If your schedule is packed so tightly. Worse. If you schedule it. Track your most effective hours for a week or two. The key to doing this effectively is to first identify your priorities and make sure you allocate enough time for them. Once you know your most effective hours. You only have so much time in a day and it’s fixed.” Schedule items you need time for. aside from the stress. Make sure you spend enough time on the things that are important. Carve Out Time for What’s Important. Have buffers in your schedule. it happens. The idea here is to take weekends off. This helps you recharge for the rest of your week. Take Weekends Off. you won’t be able to take advantage of opportunities as they come along. Once you have a solid handle on where your time goes. You might find that some hours are better for your creativity. As the saying goes. but it’s about having a day or two where you have nothing planned and no commitments. Schedule It. One way to improve your results is to focus more on your energy management than your time management. Have a Buffer. while some hours are better for your productivity. it helps to baseline your current schedule. It’s another to know which hours or which days are your most effective power hours. Manage Energy. you can start to evaluate potential ways to improve where you spend your time. Schedule results over wait for inspiration. Know Your Most Effective Hours. Before you can improve how you spend your time.Baseline Your Schedule. Not Time. Note where you spend your time. You can focus on your power hours and improving your energy so the time you do spend on things produces exponential results. on the other hand. . Setting boundaries helps you manage your energy as well as prioritize. leverage them by making them your most productive for your most important work. Note your free time. You also might find that some hours just aren’t effective for you at all. Aside from needing the breathing room and allowing for things to go wrong. having a buffer makes it possible for you to take act on opportunities. can fluctuate a great deal. It’s one thing to know whether you’re a morning person or a night owl. "One of these days is none of these days. It doesn’t have to be weekends. every possible opportunity will look more like a burden than an opportunity. Your energy. Set Boundaries.