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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

emotions. You should keep your action items separate from reference. Organize outcomes by your work. mind. First set time boundaries. Combined with the ten values and ten principles. Outcomes guide your action. . This helps you fight perfectionism and produce incremental results. This helps you see the forest from the trees. 2. The habit becomes a ritual that produces a feeling of accomplishment. Set Boundaries. It’s all too easy to bite off more than you can chew. financial. each month. Consider boundaries for the following hot spots: mind. Scannable Outcomes. This is the heart of your Daily Outcomes. Next. body. persona. At the end of the week. you should be able to see what you want to accomplish and what you’re spending your time and energy on. Version Your Results. Instead. Monday Vision. The key is to have a minimum in some categories and a maximum in others. 10. reflect on your results. Identify three key outcomes each day. relationships). and life hot spots. career. Factor Action from Reference. Building a rhythm builds a habit that you don't have to think about. are bigger than the three outcomes for your day. career. It’s the practices that make or break a system. and fun. Think of it as a buffet of results and you can keep going back -. Treat time like as a first-class citizen. Rhythm of Results. and yearly results. weekly. each week. Friday Reflection. and then bite off more. 7. 9. Daily Outcomes. Keep your outcomes scannable at a glance. Focus on daily. 12 Core Practices of Agile Results At the heart of any system is a set of practices. The three outcomes for the year are bigger than the three outcomes for the month are bigger than the three outcomes for the week. The Rule of 3 will help you stay focused on the vital few things that matter. 3. For example. Identify your three key outcomes. This helps reduce the signal to noise ratio. Flex Scope. Make progress each day. create a list of outcomes for your life frame (body. emotions. Fix Time. This also helps you manage scope. Think of this as what’s on your radar. bite off what you can chew within those boundaries. Decide what you want to accomplish for the week. financial. You can improve your results on each pass. monthly. At a glance. and each year. Set boundaries in terms of time or energy. fun. 8.just don’t overflow your plate on each trip. relationships. the twelve core practices complete the foundation of Agile Results: 1. first nail the three items you wanted to accomplish. Version 3 will be better than version 2 will be better than version 1. The Rule of 3.6.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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:

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

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

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

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

Epic adventure — because I'll test myself and create great experiences to look back on. Don’t work at it. but instead of using magic. you give yourself clarity about the end in mind. By making meaning and assigning significance to each wish or result. Book — because it's the greatest gift I can give others — the gift of results. For now. you haven’t found your three wishes. the more you have working for you. 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. what would you wish for? Dream big before you whittle away at what you think is realistic or possible. then try this exercise — see it on the big screen. When I decided that the ability to run longer distances was an important result for . This is the same kid with the big dreams back before anybody told you what you couldn’t do. Grant Yourself 3 Wishes You can almost think of this as granting yourself three wishes. while staying flexible in how you get there. let your inner child say three things you want. Go ahead and grant yourself these three wishes. What’s important is that your three wishes are so compelling for you. You can always change them. or worse. you’re unleashing your most resourceful self. Listen to your gut instinct. If you had three wishes to grant yourself. When you imagine your wishes come true. Play at it. we’re going to use the power of intention and the power of project management to make things happen. 3. it doesn’t feel compelling or inspiring. Imagine Your Wishes Briefly imagine what it would be like if you accomplished each of your three wishes or results you want for the year. By using some simple project management skills such as planning the results you want and when you want them. You can always refine them. that you can honestly say that if you achieved these three things within a year from now. 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. You have all year to hone and refine. 2.1. Imagine you’re in a theater and you’re watching the movie about one of your wishes. the more you can invoke your other senses. before you told yourself what you couldn’t do. The better you can see it. What’s important is that you first trust yourself to put out on the table what your three wishes would be. If you have a tough time imagining how it looks. If when you imagine the result. Fighting weight — because I want the feeling of freedom and flexibility.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

21. When you’re playing you’re thinking about working and when you’re working you’re thinking about playing 20. You’ve got the right idea. no results. but your hammer just won’t turn the screw. The more you hold on. Lack of demand. that nobody asked you to do to begin with. You let your supply side get in the way of the demand side. 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 tougher it is to let go. You throw more motivation at it. 30. You basically shut down and stop trying. just not the right approach. you never start. Your container limits your results. and learning from what works. 22.19. Learned helplessness. “Keep your eye on the ball.As long as everything goes just right. You’ll be fine . 28. Monolith. Or you’re never done on time—or never done. It’s not serving you. changing your approach. If you can’t be the best.. you continually meet deadlines. but you hold on. This is when you tell yourself that no matter what you do. Limiting beliefs or assumptions. 24. You perpetually miss deadlines. Watching the scoreboard. Worse you limit other people. the worse the situation stays broken. at the expense of other areas of your life. Or you beat yourself up instead of learning. Throwing time at the problem. Knowing is More Than Half the Battle . Lack of buffer. Limiting situation. lots of time.. You’re pretty sure you can’t do it. Go ahead just let somebody try and ask you to do just one more thing. The workday spills into the night. or worse. and nothing changes for the foreseeable future. Perfectionism. One more straw will break your back. 29. The saying is. but more importantly you need to know how to get out.. There’s no demand. It’s not working. This is the worst place to be. it won’t work. There are lots of ways to end up here. You get mad when nobody appreciates all the hard work you did. Not letting go. Time for your body or for your mind gets monopolized by time on your work. What’s the use in trying? All you get is pain. You keep your eye on the scoreboard. It’s never good enough. Work spills into the weekends.. It will be done when it’s done.” 27. You limit yourself. but you think there should be. Wrong approach. 23. Lots of energy. 25. though you never tried. The keys to getting out are taking action. that’s not where you focus should be. Lack of boundaries. but it’s a habit you carry forward. The problem is.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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’d be surprised how little it takes though to figure this out. You can gain a lot of insight into behaviors through thin slicing. No matter what you’re doing. find people that are getting the results you want. What’s important is that you meet your objectives the most effective and efficient way you can. This assumes that you know enough of the other person’s thought patterns and behaviors to draw from. The pitfall is to kid yourself when it counts. Producing results is a constant exercise in course correction. One of the worst mistakes people often make is they start from scratch. As you ask better questions. and it simply means extrapolating expectations about behavior by watching somebody in small periods of time. you produce results. Pay attention to what you’re getting. and you’ll eventually figure out what you were intuitively picking up on. “Best” is subjective and context dependent. 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. Stand on the shoulders of giants. For example. There are always clues. chances are you’re not the first. You might be picking up on something intuitively that you just haven’t figured out how to rationalize yet. I know it sounds obvious. Leverage Your Heroes You can also think of this as an exercise in impersonation. The quicker you have a good sense of how things are actually working out. If your mind says things are on track. A simple way to use your intuition more when you’re analyzing what you’re getting is to ask. You want to find at few people that . but I see a lot of people just ask smart people or just ask their friends. “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. Find the Mentors When you look for mentors. That’s both the art and the science of results. the faster you can change your approach to something that might work better. Always balance your intuition with your mind. This includes both qualitative and quantitative feedback. but your gut says something is off. Trust your intuition. dig deeper. You don’t want to be reacting to what you don’t understand.

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 Daily Outcomes 6. to help you develop your strategy for Agile Results. work. It can be categorized by life. principles and strategies for achieving Agile Results. Use this chapter to get a better handle on basic concepts. approach to Agile Results and key patterns for achieving them.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. 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.• • 5 The Rule of 3 6 Monday Vision. and personal. You then use a weekly results pattern (Monday . It’s a quick view of what’s on your radar for each of the categories. Understand the key hotspots. Friday Reflection ○ ○ ○ • • • • 6.1 Monday Vision 6. Daily Outcome.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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