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Prompt Yourself to New Levels of Amazing Personal Productivity

Prompt Yourself to New Levels of Amazing Personal Productivity

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The most powerful pattern in Agile Results is:
Monday Vision, Daily Wins, Friday Reflection

I introduce Agile Results in my best-selling book on time management Getting Results the Agile Way.  (For a quick overview, benefits, testimonials, and videos, check out the landing page for Getting Results the Agile Way.)

The Monday Vision, Daily Wins, Friday Reflection pattern a big deal.

Why?

Because it creates a simple approach for personal results in work and life.

You learn how to quickly flow value each day and each week.  Through Friday Reflection, you add a learning loop.   By setting simple targets, chunking things down, and delivering little chunks of value, you get better and better at driving results.

You’ll astound yourself, and you’ll awaken new levels of resourcefulness and productivity you didn’t even know you had.

How do you get started?

It’s real simple.

Add 3 Reminders to Your Calendar

One of the simplest ways to build your Agile Results habit is to add 3 reminders to your calendar:

  1. Add a reminder on Monday Morning.  Call it Monday Vision: "What are your 3 Wins for this week?"
  2. Add a reminder to each day.  Call it Daily Wins: "What are your 3 Wins for today?
  3. Add a reminder to Friday:  Call it Friday Reflection:  "What are 3 things going well? What are 3 things to improve?"

You can literally prompt yourself to better performance.

It’s so simple in fact that you have to wonder how could something so simple create such profound results.

In fact, if you’re not sure how significant this can be to your life, watch Alik on Getting Results the Agile Way (Video), and how it changed his life.

Keep in mind, there is a lot to Agile Results.

But you don’t need it all at once.

Start small and go from there.

  • What's the rationale behind keeping the Friday Reflection separate from the Monday Vision? I've been doing both as part of a single GTD-type Weekly Review process.

  • @ Eurobubba --

    Excellent question.

    It's a separation of concerns.

    Planning results and reviewing results are very different activities.

    The outputs are completely different:

    - Monday Vision = What's your target for the week? (3 wins to target)

    - Friday Reflection = How did you do? (a reflection on your performance)

    It helps you "do one thing well."  The key to improving anything we do is to narrow the focus (think deliberate practice.)

    By using discreet, small, focused habits, you also keep things lighter weight (so easier to do, easier to keep doing, easier to improve.)

    Walt Disney separated brainstorm mode from critic mode.

    Edward de Bono changes perspectives using his "six hats."

    On Monday Vision, your primary goal should be to identify 3 Wins for the week.  That alone takes mental muscle.  It takes clarity and conviction.  It's forward looking, and future focused.

    Friday is a great chance to look back on the bulk of your week, while things are fresh and clear.  It's also a great way to recap your week, and head into the weekend with peace of mind, and a sense of victory (your private victories.)

    Additionally, in my experience, when you combine a 10 minute exercise with another 10 minute exercise, you get a 1 hour exercise, instead of a 5 minute exercise, and quality goes downhill fast (because it's no longer deliberate practice, there's more moving parts, and it's harder to build a habit.)

  • Cool/groovy, but why 3? Why not 17, or 42?

  • @ B. Clay Shannon --

    Mostly because it works :)

    It's for focus and to keep the right things front and center and top of mind.

    And it helps you tell and sell your story (not just to yourself, but to others.)

    There's a lot of science behind it (you can do the research), but here are some key things to know:

    1.  The military, masterful marketers, and effective leaders often uses The Rule of 3.  In fact, Steve Jobs often presented in The Rule of 3.  And you've heard of the 3 little pigs.

    2.  It's a simple constraint that creates focus, channels energy, forces distillation/synthesis, and forces prioritization (Bubble your top outcomes to the top, don't dump a laundry list of tasks.  Scan your tasks as input, but boil it down into a simple story of 3 victories.)

    3.  You should be able to keep 3 victories at the top of your mind throughout the day.  You shouldn't have to look them up.  By keeping your 3 victories top of mind, you can easily prioritize and trade-off against incoming demands.  It's your firm foundation for the day.

    Also, here are some additional distinctions:

    - The better you get at focusing on 3 wins, the more you'll actually start to achieve them.

    - Using The Rule of 3 will help you communicate up, down, and sideways.  Nobody wants to hear your laundry list of activities or tasks or even victories.  But they'll listen to 3 (and if time is tight, chop it to one.)

    - Our "working memory" naturally chunks things down, and often into 3s (even when you learn a phone number, the first 3 digits are easy, then you parse the rest.)

    - 3 avoids the "tyranny of OR" (rather than this OR that, you have a simple set of wins for the day.)  It actually helps you balance your results.

    - 3 helps when you're trying to think big picture, and often people start by focusing on personal, family, and then work.

    The most important concept is that you're bubbling up valuable victories "above the line."

    We all have a bunch of below the line stuff everyday.  We all do a bazillion little things (from tying our shoes, to brushing our teeth, to responding to emails, etc.)  The high value part each day is "the change."  The value is in the change.

    The key is to focus and hone in on 3 meaningful changes even if that means very simply figuring out how to something better, faster, cheaper, or coming up with a new solution, or simply making progress on something you're working on.

    I'll write a hard-core post on it at some point, but the most revealing thing is to test drive The Rule of 3 for a week.  It's amazing how it forces clarity, simplicity, and even elegance in action.

    Our bodies and brains get more focused and resourceful, and I think it's a by-product of creating a "fluency heuristic" via The Rule of 3.

  • I'm confused what you mean as "Wins". Would these be goals? And what is the difference between a weekly Win and a daily Win? I assume a weekly win is a larger goal, made up of smaller daily Wins?

  • @ queenbee --

    If you're just getting started, then "goal" is a good word to use.

    It's easy to think in terms of what goals do you want to achieve.

    I add "win" because it helps add the fun factor.

    It helps me think in terms of private victories.

    It helps make it a game.

    For precision, really it's about "outcomes" which is more precise than goals, but not everybody is familiar with thinking deeply about outcomes.

    An outcome, simply put, is the end result.

    And when you think about an outcome deeply, you bring it to live by thinking in terms of what would you see? What would you hear? What would it feel like?

    When somebody is just starting, I ask them to simply think in terms of 3 results, or 3 outcomes, or 3 things they want to achieve?  

    The most important concept to get is the idea of focusing on outcomes vs. activities (or tasks).   So "goals," "outcomes," "wins," "results," all work.  You just to have to figure out what works best for you, and suits your style.

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