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.

The most important basics are eating. On the other hand. It includes learning emotional intelligence and keeping your emotions in check. It includes learning patterns and practices for health. and focus should be. energy. and working out. sleeping. if you ignore these categories. Body Emotions Emotions includes investing time to keep your emotions healthy. It’s how you chunk up your overall time and energy. More importantly. you get rewarded. you can imagine a “heat map.” A heat map is simply a bird’s-eye view of what’s important. Body includes investing time in keeping your body in shape. It’s about . 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. you get penalized. There are certain areas in life that if you invest in. By thinking in terms of Hot Spots. 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. it’s where your attention.It’s where the action is or should be.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

)  Adjust your outcomes as appropriate. Your three outcomes will help guide you and help you prioritize your actions and tasks against the results you want to achieve. think in terms of value up -. As you fish your various streams for potential actions. While it seems simple. simply write down or remember three of your most important outcomes for the day. conversations.yourself. 2010-01-11). list any of your SHOULD or COULD items. what three things do you want to accomplish for today? If you do nothing else.   Name your list using today’s date (e. Daily Outcomes Ultimately. There are several benefits to using Daily Outcomes. be mindful of your three outcomes. Note that even if you already have a To Do system. Next. whenever you look at your To Do list. if this were Friday. identify the most important outcomes for the week. Then. Value can be for yourself or others. or bursts of brilliance throughout the day. Here are the key things to keep in mind:  Identify three outcomes for the day. the guiding question is. is a clean slate. prioritization. Remember that value is in the eye of the beholder. Take the time to see the forest from the trees.g. Start by listing your MUST items. You get a fresh start . Rather than think of it as backlog burndown. (Your streams include meetings. Now. email.Each day is a new opportunity to deliver value. you have your tests for success. what are the three most important results that you want to have under your belt? Here are the keys to Monday Vision:    Each Monday. use The Rule of 3 to bubble up what’s most important. Writing things down can also help put things in perspective. it’s actually combining simplicity with focus. Each day. Simply add your three outcomes to the top. you can use whatever is already working for you. These are the results you’ve chosen as the most important and will therefore get the laser-like focus they deserve. and a conscious choice around value and results. 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 help you narrow down to the three most important outcomes for the week.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and to invest your time across the things that matter most. One way to do this is to have a “show and tell” where you show your results to others. Think of your work like a buffet: Instead of piling it on. things suddenly come up. ask yourself what three things are going well. clear your plate faster and make multiple trips.  It’s a flexible. You might prioritize having a barbeque on your deck. now you have specific scenarios or experience that you are lighting up and making happen. This is a great way to practice setting and resetting expectations both for yourself and others. You can always make incremental progress. Each day. This will keep you lighter. A good way to figure out tests for success is to use scenarios or to craft stories. Daily Outcome. Friday Reflection pattern helps you make the most of each week. you'll know earlier rather than later and you can adjust your approach. Remember that value is in the eye of the beholder. If people don't value what you are showing. and reflect on your results. 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. and what three things need improvement. This helps you avoid overspending your time in one area at the expense of another.actually be a success. if you’re working on your backyard.  Timeboxes.  Have a Buffer. simply by focusing and concentrating your effort against your next best things to do. laying in your hammock and enjoying your rose garden as key scenarios to optimize around. Rather than just mow the lawn or clean up the back. walk the scenarios that matter to you. more agile. See if you can chunk your results down. then something is off. This gives your work meaning. Have a buffer for them. and it improves the quality of your life. figure out three results for the week. A timebox is simply a limit or constraint in terms of how much time you will spend on something. In Summary  The Monday Vision.  Find a Way to Flow Value. No matter how well you plan and no matter how predictable things are. you won’t see any opportunities — only threats to your already overburdened schedule. On Friday. adaptable system that you can tailor to suit your needs.  Scenario-Driven Results. 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. You also don’t want to be in the situation where one more straw breaks the camel’s back. then you need to either redefine success or redefine your outcomes. For example. decide on three outcomes for the day. and more responsive to any opportunities. If you aren’t flowing value. On Mondays. Use time limits for things to help you spend your energy more effectively. If you’re plate is too full and you have no buffers. . either to yourself or to others.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 outcomes. Mapping Out Your Month The key to mapping out your month is to chunk it down and do a piece at a time. Instead. think of each as a different perspective and scope. Assign outcomes to each week. Don’t worry about directly connecting the dots between your daily outcomes. Step 3. but the most important thing is that your daily. and achieving the results you need. . and monthly outcomes serve you and help you stay focused on your next best thing to do. SHOULD. This is a helpful way to chunk up your backlog. You can record your results for each week in the Completed column. It really is that simple. let’s walk through each step in more detail. Make a list of all your outcomes. and monthly outcomes. 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. Prioritize your list of outcomes. Now. Here is a summary of the flow of steps I usually do to map out the month:    Step 1. Step 2.Note how the Queue is organized by MUST. and they complement each other. and COULD. weekly.

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

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

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

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

I imagined what it felt like to run free. or you get knocked off your horse. and more effective ways. than buying the Ferrari. You’ll find yourself noticing all sorts of things that you didn’t before. Once you have these three wishes. I imagined the cool. My body felt so lean and so strong that I didn’t have to ask. then consider whether you picked your three best results for the year. Take each result you want to achieve. Know the result you want to achieve. When you’re designing your year. crisp automn air.me. If you can’t write at least a paragraph of why each one is so important and why you need to make it happen. instead just pluck your reasons as they flow. and you will because you can easily remember your three wishes. you expand your awareness. and don’t get stuck on how you get there or confuse a means with the ends. you give yourself flexibility in how you get there. You start to realize how many people and resources . When you forget why you do what you do. less expensive. or you can explore why the ones you chose just aren’t. I could smell the outdoors so much I could almost taste the flowers. There are plenty of faster. “Can I make it?” Instead. you might think you want a Ferrari.” Making Your Wishes Happen When you have your big goals in front of you. you’ll want to come back to these reasons you’re writing down and remind yourself. red and yellow. Test Your 3 Wishes Don’t confuse the means with the ends. For example. By separating the ends from the means. you really want to invest your life force where it matters most. I imagined a long winding road through the mountains. you can either find three compelling results that are. What you might actually want is to feel free or to feel strong. your world suddenly conspires with you. The simplest way to do this is just start writing down why they matter. and plot them down. Remember the adage. the best thing you can do is find out why they matter so much. I simply asked. Experiment with your dreams and test them to figure out what you really want. why do you need to make this happen? Don’t critique your thoughts. 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. By setting your sights and living with focus. and write a hearty paragraph about why it really matters to you. “Be careful what you wish for. If you think you really need the Ferrari. “Where do I want to go?” The Why Behind Your Wishes If the three results you identified aren’t compelling. then try before you buy — rent one for the day. Ask yourself. as I ran through a blaze of trees with sun burnt leaves of orange. Have you ever bought a new car. because you just might get it.

and the key here is just letting it out. resources. The simplest way to test yourself here is to ask yourself. Questions and Answers About Your 3 Results for the Year While explaining this approach to a friend. you can add another. In fact. but do make sure that you give yourself a chance to dream up and design your best year possible. By keeping these loosely connected you allow for change. you should be able to see the forest from the trees. you can use it to guide any of the rest of your goals or planning. each month. each week. Like anything. Goals and objectives are powerful tools. how did I let that go.as well as your own abilities can help you make your dreams happen. weekly. You’re perfectly free to use all of your tried and true goal setting methods. but consider this exercise as the icing on top. you’ll get better with practice and even just thinking in . It’s the full power of the Agile Results system working for you. It’s this rhythm of results that helps you respond to change while getting results along the way. However. Don’t throw out goal setting methods that work for you. or as the firm foundation you can use to drive the rest of your goals and objectives from. I figured the best thing I can do is share those questions with you. That starts inside you. and monthly results. Lead a life of action and results. or why didn’t I just focus on that. 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. You get a fresh start each day. but if you can’t do it in the next month. By clarifying your yearly results. and each year to make progress against whatever the most important results are in your life. Keep in mind that if you finish one of your goals. while keeping your eyes on the prize. along with my answers. It’s your life — dream big dreams and grant your wishes. or anywhere in between. it’s probably something for the year. and no tool or technique should overshadow your power to dream up great results for your life. 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). 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 useful exercise is to simply make a list of all the people. he had some questions. 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. you guide your daily. and skills that will help you. if this were next year.

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

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

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

You may be significantly surprised the first time you do this exercise. such as your mid-year and annual reviews. On the work side. holidays. personal projects. and key events. recurring events. include your big projects. unless you had a good picture of your year already. You can quickly plot out birthdays. Example Here is an example of using the personal and work events at a glance template: .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. vacation.

Template 2 This template is a list of your activities and outcomes on a month-by-month basis. This tells me where I’ll be spending my time. 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. then I can adjust my focus and where I spend my time. Mapping this out also helps me spot bottlenecks and potential problems well before I run into them. It also puts a stake in the ground. If it looks like I have too many months without flowing the right results.

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

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

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

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 .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some things you do will be value add. is considered value add. but then focus on value above the line. Above the Line (Valued) Here’s a figure to help you visualize “above the line”: . It’s like treading water. 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. You need to consider whether the work you do is above the line or below the line. 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. Value is in the eye of the beholder. Work that’s “below the line” is just expected. The funny thing about below the line work is that doing more of it won’t get you ahead. Some people call this “the cost of doing business” or “the tax you pay. Others will just be expected.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 Monday Vision 6. It’s a quick view of what’s on your radar for each of the categories. You then use a weekly results pattern (Monday .• • 5 The Rule of 3 6 Monday Vision. Use this chapter to get a better handle on basic concepts. 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. to help you develop your strategy for Agile Results.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. principles and strategies for achieving Agile Results.2 Daily Outcomes 6. Understand the key hotspots. approach to Agile Results and key patterns for achieving them. and personal. Daily Outcome. It can be categorized by life. work. Friday Reflection ○ ○ ○ • • • • 6.

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

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

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

In addition to eating right. Rather than just work through your backlog. you can place value on where you spend your time. A fixed mindset means that you think something was born that way and won’t change. 9. Focus on keeping your energy strong. You’ll get more done in one power hour than throwing lots of hours at a problem. This is a valueup strategy. This can be value for yourself. A growth mindset means that you can learn and respond. By focusing on your results instead of your activities. you help avoid learned helplessness. It’s not about doing more. 4. 7. By having a system for the basics. Most importantly. Value Up Over Backlog Burndown. where you just don’t have the energy. and working out. you can move yourself up the stack and worry about higher level things. Results are the best measure. spend your energy maximizing your strengths. Growth Mindset Over Fixed Mindset. By getting clarity on what you want to accomplish. You’ll get more payback. you can be flexible in your approach. Don’t let perfectionism get in the way. You also pay more attention to your situation and feedback. System Over Ad Hoc. 5. other people. 6. Spend more time in your strengths than in your weaknesses. When you get off track. you have something to fallback on or to turn to when you need it. Having a system for results is a powerful thing. It’s how you will improve over time. you get in the habit of asking. Strengths Over Weaknesses. then focus on reducing your key liabilities. Outcomes Over Activities. what’s the next best thing to do? 12 Practices . You free your mind by having trusted places to look and a trusted process to fall back on. the key to energy is following your passion and living your values. If you do work on your weaknesses. By adopting a growth mindset. think in terms of creating value. Focus Over Quantity. It’s about focusing on the right things. It’s better to produce something that you can improve or iterate on. Focus is your force multiplier. Energy Over Time. or your employer. you free your mind. Rather than spend all your energy improving your weaknesses. Spending more time or doing more things isn’t a good measure of productivity. It gives you a firm foundation. By thinking in terms of value up. than to continuously block yourself while striving for perfection. You also become more flexible in your approach. sleeping right. 10. Good Enough Over Perfection. This flexibility is your key to results.3. You can experiment more. 8.

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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:

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

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

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

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

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

and how. As you get distracted by your problems throughout the day. 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. Carve out a chunk of time. Guidelines are organized as a set of hot topics so that you can quickly find and scan relevant items. Guidelines for Agile Results This is a collection of guidelines for improving your results and productivity. and practices for achieving results. Learn a frame that helps you organize principles. why. patterns. defer them to your timebox. Each guideline explains what to do.end of the day. such as reading before bed. . Guidelines are expressed as tickler list items so that they are easy to learn. such as a 30 timebox where you can think about all your problems or stress.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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