10 steps to a meaningful and productive life according to the Agile Result system

The English phrase Agile Result can be translated as “flexible result” or “flexible performance”. The personal effectiveness system with this name was invented by JD Meyer, a Microsoft manager, blogger and author of books.

According to him, Agile Result helps to be open to change, improve, realize one’s potential and achieve goals. The core of the system consists of several techniques and principles that need to be gradually introduced into your life and constantly practiced.

1. The rule of three

This is the core practice upon which the entire Agile Result system is built. The Rule of Three helps you determine what is most important, weed out everything superfluous and secondary, wisely invest your time, and easily track results.

The gist is simple:

  • Define three main tasks or goals – for the day, week, month, year.
  • Write them down in your diary and keep them in your mind as reference points.
  • Dedicate time to these things first, and only then to everything else.

Meyer advises applying the rule of three in all areas of life. Are you taking a programming course? Identify three goals that you want to achieve as a result of the training, or three skills that you need to develop. Are you going to a workout? Make a list of at least three exercises that you plan to do. Have you read a good book? Write down three key ideas.

2. Setting for the week and Friday reflection

On Monday, the author of Agile Result proposes to set three main goals that need to be achieved by Friday evening. And in general, think about how you would like to spend the coming week, what to do, what to focus on.

And on Friday night, you should look back and honestly note what worked and what didn’t. The rule of three can be applied here as well: note three things that you did well, and three that you still need to work on.

A similar approach can be applied to any time period: day, month, year, five years, and so on.

3. Control over different areas of life

Meyer emphasizes that it is important to strive to ensure that no area that is important to you does not “sag”, and to invest time and effort evenly in each of them. He recommends making a list of the main areas of life: work and professional development, family, home, self-care, hobbies and creativity, communication with friends and loved ones, and so on.

Then, in each category, you should list the tasks that need to be done. Meyer calls them hotspots – hot zones.

After that, it remains to regularly look into these lists and check if you have missed something important, “extinguish” hotspots and mark progress on each item.

4. Timeboxing

This technique helps you get things done faster, fight procrastination , and keep track of where your time is going. Here’s how to master it.

  • Divide the work day into equal time segments. For example, 30, 45 or 60 minutes, depending on how long you can focus on a task and work effectively without stopping.
  • Set aside time for breaks. Each time block should have 5 to 15 minutes of rest. Between blocks, leave several breaks of 20-60 minutes – for lunch, walking , relaxation, and likely force majeure.
  • Make a to-do list for the day. Calculate how many time blocks it will take to complete each of them.
  • Turn on the timer. Try to keep within the time that you have determined for yourself.
  • Reduce the duration of time blocks. If you see that you can cope faster, reduce the segments, for example, to 20-25 minutes.

5. Strong week

All things are conditionally divided into unpleasant, which upset and take away strength, and pleasant, which inspire, help to feel better and give energy for new achievements. JD Meyer calls them weak and strong respectively. And he calls for no more than 20% of weak cases in your diary, and no less than 80% of strong ones.

In addition, unpleasant tasks are best done at the beginning of the day or week. That way you can get through the hardest part and be able to do the rest in peace. The same technique in classic time management is called “eat the frog”.

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6. Prioritization

You need to set priorities in order to thin out the diary and find in it such tasks that are not worth attention – temporarily or in general in principle. This can be done in three steps:

  • View to-do lists with tasks for the day, week and month or hotspots in different areas of life.
  • Divide all tasks into three categories: “Must do”, “Worth done”, “Could be done” (Must, Should and Could).
  • Decide what to do with each task depending on its status: do it right now, schedule for a specific day, postpone indefinitely, delegate or cross it off the list.

Most likely, thanks to this technique, the to-do list will at least “lose weight” a little and it will appear more meaningful and specific.

7. 30 day sprint

Meyer recommends dedicating each month to a specific habit, skill, or entire area of your life, giving those things as much time as possible and making them a priority. In essence, this resembles something like a personal marathon, although the author calls this practice 30-day sprints (30 Day Sprints) or monthly development sprints (Monthly Improvement Sprints).

In any case, thanks to this method, it will be possible to pump some skills, learn new things, and become more organized. You can arrange a sprint as follows.

  • At the beginning of the month, choose what you want to do. For example, start training, freshen up the interior of the house, improve the level of knowledge of a foreign language, strengthen relationships with a spouse or children, organize family photo archives, collect information on how to make and promote your website, and so on. It should be something important to you or just pleasant.
  • Make sure that in a month you will be able to achieve at least small results. Learning to better understand English films and TV shows during this period is quite realistic, but starting your own business, writing a book or dissertation, completely renovating your house is not quite so. You run the risk of not coping with the task and ruining your mood. Therefore, a sprint dedicated to a large-scale project is better divided into parts.
  • Spend some time each day on your chosen task. Even if it is only 10 minutes, the main thing is constancy.
  • Summing up at the end of the month. Evaluate the result you have reached and think about what else needs to be improved. And then choose a new topic for the next sprint.

8. Step by step instructions

It is better to start implementing interesting ideas and desires as soon as possible, without delay. To do this, Meyer suggests creating scripts – step-by-step instructions that will make the task clearer and push you to the first action.

For example, you want to make a personal website dedicated to you as a specialist and the services you provide. If you write “make a website” in your diary, it is likely that you will not do this for several more months. The task looks big and difficult, it is not clear what to do and from which side to approach.

But you can, for example, break the task into components:

  • Gather information about different platforms and website builders.
  • Search for suitable landing page examples.
  • Determine what you need for the site – text, photos, illustrations.
  • Find, if necessary, specialists who will help – a photographer to conduct a photo shoot, a copywriter to write a text.
  • Draw up an approximate structure of the landing page, and so on.

It is much easier to approach such small tasks. You can at least roughly estimate how long each of them will take, and include them in your schedule.

This principle should be followed with any projects.

9. Collections

Not all ideas, thoughts and plans can immediately be turned into scenarios in order to start acting. But this does not mean that they should not be tracked and recorded. Create lists for such things. They will help you find inspiration, analyze your actions and not lose sight of something worthwhile.

It can be a variety of lists:

  • books, movies, TV series and podcasts that you want to read, watch and listen to;
  • inspirational quotes;
  • ideas for projects;
  • useful sites and services;
  • experts and specialists who can be contacted on a particular occasion;
  • interesting thoughts and so on.

10. Set to develop

Describing the principles of his Agile Result system, Meyer cites the opinion of psychology professor Carol Dweck. She believes that our attitudes can be roughly divided into two types: immutability (fixed mindset) and growth (growth mindset).

Fixed mindsets believe in destiny and believe that success is determined by factors beyond their control: genetics, IQ, parental income, and so on. Those who are characterized by a growth mindset hold the opposite opinion: they themselves determine how they will live, and understand that if not everything, then a lot can be changed.

Dweck came to the conclusion that people with the second type of thinking achieve higher results and, in general, enjoy life more. Therefore, you need to try to form a growth mentality in yourself.

Remember that you yourself are responsible for your life, you make decisions yourself and you can fully compensate for what you may not have received: get an education, upgrade the necessary skills and abilities, work on your appearance, develop charisma and communication skills, become more organized.

Try to develop and become better every day. Such an approach will definitely make life more interesting, meaningful and – it is possible – even more successful.

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