J.D. Meier's Blog

Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Time Management Tips #14 - Dump Your State

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    When it comes to time management, one of the most common questions I get is, “How do you dump your state?”  Meaning, how do you dump what's on your mind to a place you trust, and how do you pick up where you left off?

    Time management tips #14 is dump your state.  Dumping your state helps you pick back up where you left off, and it frees your mind to focus on the tasks at hand.  It also helps you move up the stack.  After all, if your mind is filled with little unclosed loops, you are not at your most resourceful and creative best.

    When you have baggage of the brain, it's tough to focus. Your mind is busy circling back on the loops it hasn't closed.  It's also buzzing endlessly in the background to remind you of the things you should not forget.  All the mental chatter gets in the way of you having peace of mind, clarity of thought, and focused attention ... right here, right now.

    That's one scenario of why dumping your state matters.

    Another scenario where dumping your state matters is when we want to pick up from where we left off.  We spend all day working on a problem, building up state, but then we can't finish, so we have to park if for the day.  The problem is we want to be able to pick back up the next day, from where we left off.  Worse, sometimes we can't pick up back up the next day, and then all the state we built up starts to rot on the shelf of our minds, or decays in some place that we may never find again.

    So what can you do?

    It's very simple, and I call it brain dumps or "Session Dumps."  To do a “Session Dump”, just dump what's on your mind, down onto paper or onto a page, using your favorite system.  For me, sometimes this is an email that where I will dump my whiteboard fast, or I use Onenote to dump, or I use EverNote to dump plain text.  In most scenarios, I have notepad open on my desktop, and I constantly dump to it ... so instead of little insights or actions floating in my head, they are jotted down to where I can see and organize them.

    It might seem like an endless list in your mind, but you’ll be surprised that the more you dump, the less it is.  It gets faster too.   And thinking on paper is powerful.   When you see the list in front of you, you may very quickly realize what you can let go, and what you really need to hold on to.

    Here's the real trick though.  Since I do this daily, I found that the best approach is to simply "dump state" to a clean sheet each day, and to name it the current date.  For example, for today, I would title my Session Dump as follows:

    2012-08-02

    Naming my Session Dump by date means I never need to figure out a good title, and by keeping all of my dumps in one folder, it's easy for me to always find them.  I use that simple format because I can easily flip through in sequence.

    I have to let a lot of things go, so I can focus on the best opportunities and challenges that lie before me.  Time is always changing what’s important.  Having a rapid way to dump state or pick up where I left off is a big deal.  Now I never have to wonder where I dumped straggling ideas, or things that were percolating on my mind.

    At the end of the day, dump your state before you go home and see how much it frees you up.

    For free, self-paced modules on time management training, check out 30 Days of Getting Results.

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    Time Management Tips #15 - Make Lists for Action

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    Every time you have to remember what’s next to do, you waste your time.  You've heard of "paper shuffling."  This is like "thought shuffling."  You spend a lot of time shuffling your thoughts around, but not actually doing anything.

    Enter stage right … the power of lists.

    Time management tips #15 is make lists for action.  Use lists to organize and take more effective action.  Lists are your friend.  They help you organize your thoughts and ideas into action.  Pilots use checklists.  Sure they know what to do, but they also know that having the checklist helps free up their mind (specifically, their prefontal cortex).  Teams use inspection lists to drive quality, share processes, and share work.  Companies large and small use checklists for quality control and streamlining performance.

    You can use lists to streamline yourself, improve your own quality, and simplify your work.

    When you make your lists, test them against effectiveness.  Keep them as simple as possible, but make sure they help you.  Never become a slave to your list.  If your list gets too big, start a new one and carry the good forward.  Let things slough off.

    Here are some of the most useful lists to have, when it comes to organizing your work and guiding your action:

    1. TODO for Today.  List your goals and tasks for the day.  Tip – Add your Three Wins for Today at the top)
    2. TODO for the Week.  List your goals and tasks for the week.  Tip – Add your Three Wins for the Week at the top)
    3. List of Projects.  List of the actual projects you are working on.  Give them a name.
    4. One List Per Project.  Have one list for each project to dump outcomes, goals, insights, actions.  This gives you one place to look.
    5. Backlog.  All the stuff you think you need to do.  Tip – Organize this by A-Z so you can quickly scan and find duplicates, and it forces you to name things better.  Name your work so you can refer to it, talk about, and think about it more effectively.
    6. Ideas.  Your nifty ideas to change the world, or your world, or whatever.
    7. Irritation List.  List of the things that bug you.  Get it out of your head, and down onto paper.

    Another useful list is a quick list of the steps for a given task.  This can help you stay on track, or remember where you are, or easily find the next step.  The trick is not to over do this, or over-engineer your steps, or worse, forget to be flexible in your approach.  Focus on the goal, but stay flexible in how you achieve it.

    Goals are always your guide.

    Use lists to organize your work, organize your actions, and simplify your work and life.

    For free, self-paced modules on time management training , check out 30 Days of Getting Results, and for more time management tips check out Getting Results.com.

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    Time Management Tips #19 - Just Finish

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    Sometimes you need to Just Start.  Other times, you need to Just Finish.

    One of the best ways never to finish something, is to spread it out over time.  Time changes what's important.  People lose interest.  Changes of heart happen along the way.  Spreading things over time or pushing them out is a great way to kill projects.

    Open items, open loops, and unfinished tasks compound the problem.  The more unfinished work there is, the more task switching, and context switching you do.  Now you're spending more time switching between things, trying to pick up where you left off, and losing momentum.

    This is how backlogs grow and great ideas die.  This is how people that "do" become people that "don't."

    Time management tips #19 is just finish.  If you have a bunch of open work, start closing it down.  Swarm it.  Overwhelm your open items with brute force.  Set deadlines:
    - Today, I clear my desk.
    - Today, I decide on A, B, or C and run with it.
    - Today, I close the loop.
    - Today, I solve it.
    - Today, I clear my backlog.

    If you want to finish something, then “own” it and drive it.  To finish requires ruthless prioritization.  It requires relentless focus.  It requires putting your full force on the 20% of the things that deliver 80% of the value.  It requires deciding on an outcome and plowing through until you are done.

    Stop taking on more, until you finish what's on your plate.  If you want to take on more, then finish more.  The more you finish, the better you get.

    The more you finish, the more you will trust yourself to actually complete things.

    The more you finish, the more others will trust you to actually take things on.

    The more you finish, the more you build your momentum for great results.

    For time management skills , check out 30 Days of Getting Results, and for a time management system check out Agile Results at Getting Results.com.

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    Should 30 Days of Getting Results Be Flashcards or a List of Lessons?

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    I’m testing the user experience again at 30 Days of Getting Results.   It’s worth it and I want to get it right, since I have a lot more people asking me about training now for Agile Results.

    If you can take the new experience for a test drive, and give me feedback on whether you like the new experience over the original, that helps a ton.  (Unfortunately, I don’t have live A/B testing.  If you don’t know the original experience, imagine a simple white page with a list of lessons on the side, and I have a screenshot below.)

    If you don’t know Agile Results or what 30 Days of Getting Results is all about, here’s the scoop …
    30 Days of Getting Results is a serious (and free) self-paced time management training course.  It full of time management skills and productivity skills..   You’ll learn how to triple your productivity (actually, you can 10X it, but I’m trying to under-promise and over-deliver.)   Teams across Microsoft are using Agile Results to master time management, improve their productivity, and drive more value … better, faster, cheaper … and most importantly, more meaningful.

    What’s the secret?  …
    Oh nothing … just more than ten years of testing, experimenting, and refining across many, many people and teams to create a simple and flexible system that could stand up to some of the most rigorous scenarios and requirements.   Agile Results is holistic and it rides above the top of things.  It’s a synergy of proven practices that help you work on the right things, at the right time, the right way, with the right energy.  It’s about flowing value and focusing on the essential things that matter, using the 80/20 rule.  It’s about playing to your strengths, teaming up to achieve more, and hitting more windows of opportunity.  It’s about lighting a fire so you can blaze a trail through your workload, breakthrough barriers, and jump the hurdles that stand in your way. 

    It’s about thinking in threes:  three wins for the day, three wins for the week, three wins for the month, three wins for the year.  It’s about adding Power Hours to your week so you can whip out more achievements in less time, with greater ease.  It’s about adding more Creative Hours to your week so you can find and flow more creative solutions, invent your next best thing, and unleash the productive artist in you.   It’s about recharging and renewing with skill.  It also puts science on your side, including the best learnings from positive psychology and sports psychology to unleash your best performance.  It’s also a synthesis of proven practices for motivation, directing your focus with skill, prioritizing with decisive action, and making your moments count.  For the softer side, it’s an East meets West productivity system, where you will do less, achieve more, and enjoy more effortless ways of producing outstanding results.

    With that in mind, here are the two experiences I am testing …

    Experience A:  Flashcards
    Experience A is currently live at 30DaysOfGettingResults.com

    image

    With this experience, you see a set of visuals that represent each lesson.  When you click a lesson, that lesson expands and shows you the outcome, the insight, and the action for the day.  The upside with Experience A is that it’s interactive and it reinforces the idea that you don’t have to go through the lessons sequentially.  Each lesson is self-contained.  While the overall training is designed with a flow in mind, you can dive into whatever lesson you want.

    Experience B: Simple List of Lessons

    image

    With this experience, it’s pretty straight-forward – it’s a list of lessons down a side-bar, and each page is a lesson.  In fact, that’s why I liked this experience.  It’s very simple, very minimal, and no confusion.  Just pick a day, click and go.   While the upside is simplicity, the potential downside is boring.   That said, boring and functional is fine by me, but I need to hear from more users, on what they prefer.

    A few people told me last week that they wanted a more visually appealing site and more interactivity.  Ironically, I had spent a lot of money on the pictures for each page, but it just wasn’t obvious with the original landing page (Experience B above.)

    I do think that Experience A does really showcase the images and it does encourage click-through.   I find myself clicking the lessons and exploring a lot more.  I know the novelty wears off, but maybe novelty is all I need if it helps you learn the 30 lessons.

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    3 Calendar Reminders for Agile Results

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    Agile Results is an simple system of proven practices to focus, set goals, find your motivation, improve your productivity, master time management, and achieve work-life balance.   It’s a way to get your game on.

    This is a simple way to add Agile Results to your calendar.  It’s the best way to “easily do”, and “remember to do”, Agile Results:

    1. Add a Monday Vision Reminder (My Three Wins for the Week)
    2. Add a Daily Outcomes Reminder (My Three Wins for the Day)
    3. Add a Friday Reflection Reminder (3 Things Going Well, 3 Things to Improve)

    That’s it.  It takes under a minute.

    Simply create a recurring appointment for Monday Vision on Mondays, create a recurring Daily Outcomes reminder for each day of the week, and create a recurring Friday Reflection reminder on Friday.

    In the Monday Vision reminder, I would add the following question to the body:

    “What are your three wins for the week?”  (Write them down.)

    In the Daily Outcomes reminder, I would add the following question to the body:

    “What are your three wins for TODAY?”

    In the Friday Reflection reminder, I would add the following questions to the body:

    “What are three things going well?”

    “What are three things to improve?”

    The beauty of this approach is that it helps you build the muscle, until it’s a habit.  You can also add notes to each of your appointment that help you remember how to do it well, or you can add your learnings.  For example, let’s say on Friday Reflection you realize that you are biting off more than you can chew each week, then in your Monday Vision, add a simple self-check question – “Are you biting off more than you can chew?”

    The possibilities are endless, and the power is yours.

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    How To Read Blogs More Effectively

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    Too many blogs, not enough ROI?   Is your backlog of posts to be read, wearing you down?

    No more.

    I’ll keep this post short or it defeats the purpose, so let’s cut right to the chase …

    There is a secret to reading blogs more effectively, and it’s not reading faster.  It’s adding a strategic lens on top, so that you get back the most value, from the reading time you put in.   The strategic lens helps you trim your blog list down to size, and focus on the blogs that give you the most bang for your buck.

    I’ll summarize the steps to do so, but I’ve elaborated here at How To Read Blogs More Effectively

    The short answer is:

    1. Identify your strategic objectives.
    2. Build your portfolio.
    3. Review your portfolio.

    If you want the details, and to improve your ROI from blogs for life, check out:

    How To Read Blogs More Effectively

    You’ll even see how I pare down Michael Hyatt’s blog posts and turn insight into action.  (Note – and if you really just want to know how to read faster, I’ve included a link to that too.)

    Minimally, you’ll learn another approach for ruthless prioritization of the blogs you read.  Best case, I help you find more “priceless” blogs on the Web.  Happy hunting.

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    Time Management Tips #20 - Priorities List

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    “Action expresses priorities.” -― Mahatma Gandhi
    “Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.” -― Stephen R. Covey
    “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” -― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    Your priority list is not your To-Do list.  It's not your backlog. (Although, you should prioritize your lists.  But, how do you prioritize them?  Hint – this is where your priorities list comes in.)

    Your priorities list is your little list of what’s most important.  It’s your little list of the most important things to achieve.

    How important is your little priorities list?  Let's put it in proper perspective.  A lack of priorities, or the wrong priorities, are one of the leading causes of failure in management, leadership, and otherwise highly capable employees.

    Time management tips #20 is priorities list.  If you don't have one, make one now.  What else could be more important than having a list of priorities list at your finger tips? (If you had your priorities list you would know the answer to that.)

    When you have your little list of priorities, you can say "No" to things.  When you have your little list of priorities, you can check with your manager, or team, or your customers, or your spouse -- are these really the priorities?  Most importantly, you can check with yourself.

    Have you identified the little list of the things that are most important to YOU?  If you know you are working on the most important things, it's easier to focus.  It's easier to give your best.  It's easier to stop the distractions.  It's easier to say, "No" to all the little things that tug at your attention, or compete for your time.

    It's also where peace of mind comes from.  It's instant.  When you know you are working on the right things at the right time, you are on path.

    Conflict of priorities is one of the leading causes of churn, procrastination, and every other productivity killer you can think of.  The only thing worse is having nothing that's important.  And you know what they say, if everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority.

    Resolving conflicts in priorities has been known to part the clouds and make the sun shine brighter.

    In general, you can think of your priorities as your "Why" or "What", while other lists tend to be the "How."  That's a generalization since obviously things will bleed, but what's important is that you have a short, explicit list of your priorities.  When they swirl around in your head they get distorted, so get them out in the open.  When you are in the thick of things, be able to give them a glance, and know whether to about-face or march on.

    As Scott Berkun says, "Priorities are the backbone of progress."  It's true.  After all, if you are making progress against anything else, does it matter?

    Here is an example of a set of my priorities for a month:

    Three Key Wins

    1. High quality Service Description pages for Library
    2. “Run State” IP well defined
    3. “the platform” IA for IP – minimum critical set complete

    Pri Short-List

    1. Service Delivery of Services in Library
    2. IP Collection (Learning Lab Refresh)
    3. Project Plan with Milestones
    4. Sweep Timeline (convert existing to be right and useful)
    5. Knowledge Base Refresh
    6. User Stories – New / Existing (“3-Frame Set”)
    7. Cloud Vantage Framework Update

    We can ignore the details, and focus on the structure.   I had three wins I identified with my manager for the month, and a list of seven outcomes that were top priority.  Did I have a backlog a mile long, and a laundry list of hundreds (if not thousands) of things to do?  Yes.  Did I also have short lists of rated and ranked items for the month?  Yes, that's the list above.  Did I also have rated and ranked items for each week?  You bet.   And did I have short-lists of rated and ranked items each day?  Absolutely.

    While priorities aren't the silver bullet, they are your way to "push back."  They are your "push" when you need it most.  They also are your "pull", that you can ignore at your own peril.  They are also your "peace of mind."

    If you haven't prioritized your priority list, you're missing out.

    For work-life balance skills , check out 30 Days of Getting Results, and for a work-life balance system check out Agile Results at Getting Results.com.

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    How To Rate Your Job

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    This is a very simple frame I use to help people rate their jobs:

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    It’s nothing fancy.  It’s just a quick way to get a good sense of job they’ve got.  Here are three quick checks:

    • Career – Does your job have career trajectory?  Will it expand your capabilities?  Will you get the experiences you need to grow in levels?  Does it grow you in the discipline that you want to grow in?  Does it have portable equity?
    • Charter – Does your job have the right scope?   Is it a compelling mission?  Do you have enough whitespace to make meaningful impact?
    • Coalition – Do you have the network?  Do you have the support of your manager?  Do you have the support of your peers?  Do you have friends in high places?  Can you build a coalition of the willing to help you make things happen?

    If I were to expand the set, I might include a Competencies check, and a Culture check.  Most importantly, I would include a Values check.  The best job you can have, is the one where you can find a way to spend more time in your values.   Notice how I said “find a way” – it’s rare that your dream job falls into your lap … it’s more of an exercise of shaping and transformation, both of the job, and of yourself.

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    Time Management Tips #21 - Create an Achievements List

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    You need to take stock.

    Stopping to smell the roses, includes reviewing your achievements.   You can review your achievements very simply:

    • Achievements for the day
    • Achievements for the week
    • Achievements for the month

    Simply write down a list of your achievements for the day.   Write down your achievements for the week.  Write down your achievements for the month.  If they aren’t worth writing down, then they probably weren’t worth doing.  If you are doing things that aren’t worth doing, that might be a problem – unless you have infinite time, and your boss or your customers reward you for doing things that don’t matter.   Usually, the real problem is you did a bunch of valuable stuff, but you haven’t stepped back to identify it, label it, and put it down on paper in a useful way.

    It’s a simple thing to do, but the key is to write them down, and say them out loud.  Say them out loud?  Yes.  When you speak them, you learn to simplify them.   When you simplify them, they start to stick.  When they stick, now you are learning how to tell and sell your value both to you and others.

    On paper, I might write the following:

    • Created a set of end-to-end scenarios that show how to use the Office 365 capabilities in ways to improve productivity, and how to make more business impact, in measurable ways.

    Yuck.  It’s descriptive, but it’s not sticky, and my manager won’t remember that, and I won’t remember that in the hall, if I wanted to give a quick summary of my impact.

    Let’s try again, and let’s say it out loud:

    • End-to-end scenarios for Office 365 that showcase business value in the Enterprise.

    It’s simpler.  It’s easy to say.  It’s sticky.  It’s more benefit focused, than on the “how.”  I’ve just given my manager an easy way to talk about the work without getting tongue-tied.  I’ll drill into the details where he wants to, but now he has a mental “hook” and a label for the work, and can easily express it as a win.   When you find a sticky way to say your achievement, write it down the simpler way.  You can always elaborate, but don’t let elaboration get in the way of your short and sweet wins.

    If you don’t review your achievements, then a few things happen:

    1. You lose touch of your impact.  The potential impact of your achievements gets lost, while you chase the next thing.   You do more, but feel appreciated less.  
    2. You start to lose the ability to articulate the value you delivered, both to yourself and others.
    3. You fail to appreciate your effort.  Effort is a big deal, and it doesn’t always appear to pay off.  The problem is it always pays off, but only when you reward yourself internally.   You have to reward yourself for making the effort.   You will win some and you will lose some, but for the long haul, your game winning strategy is to reward yourself for the effort.   That’s the part you control.  When you stop acknowledging and appreciating your effort, you start depending on the luck of the Gods and you start hoping the wind will blow your way.   Gradually, you erode your ability to produce outstanding results, because you erode your ability to put in the effort.

    Simply having your lists of your achievements and wins is good for you and good for others.  It helps you tell and sell your work, and it helps others tell and sell your work.

    Most importantly, having your simple list of achievements helps you acknowledge and appreciate your effort, and that’s your edge.

    For work-life balance skills , check out 30 Days of Getting Results, and for a work-life balance system check out Agile Results at Getting Results.com.

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    The Mission of Microsoft Enterprise Services

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    I've heard it before, but it's good to put down on paper.

    The mission of Microsoft Enterprise Services:

    “Our mission is to lead and serve our customers and partners as they realize their full potential through software and services.”

    It sounds like servant leadership in action.

    I found this blurb that describes Microsoft Enterprise Services:

    “Microsoft Enterprise Services is the consulting, support and customer service arm of the world’s leading software company. Microsoft Services focus on top enterprise customers in each of the 82 countries where we operate. The organization includes 17.300 employees in Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) and Microsoft Premier Services (Premier).”

    What's your company's mission? 

    Does it inspire you to give your best where you have your best to give?

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    Time Management Tips #5 - Reduce the Friction in Your Day

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    Little things that get in our way, wear us down.  By creating a few glide paths in our day, we can jumpstart and maintain our momentum.  Daily momentum is a key ingredient to making things happen.

    Time management tips #5 is -- reduce the friction in your day.  Friction is the resistance we feel, when we go to do something.  It might be extra steps in our process.  It might be clutter that gets in our way.  It might be the inconvenience of where we put things.  All these little friction points add up.

    The goal is to reduce the bottlenecks in your day, and give yourself a handful of friction-free experiences.  For example, paths in your house should not be an obstacle course over laundry or toys.  Your computer desktop should have fast access to your most common apps.  You shouldn't have to do awkward moves whether it's reaching for shampoo, or getting a glass, or throwing out the garbage (and finding the garbage should not be a game of hide and go seek.)

    Your key measure is how you feel, and whether you have to work too hard, to do something simple.  The more you have to do something each day, the simpler you should make it.

    Here are a few examples that have worked for me.

    1. I stuck my sneakers next to my bed, so I could waked up, throw my sneakers on, and hit my elliptical machine.
    2. I keep the path to my desk clear, so I can throw my bag down, slap my laptop into position, and hop on, in seconds.
    3. I keep a zero inbox, so when I check my mail, it's only new stuff.
    4. I keep my desktop empty, so I always have a clutter-free experience.
    5. I made space on my shelves, so I can easily add books, without having to squish them in.
    6. I keep my vitamins lined up in a simple way, so I can grab and go.
    7. I keep notepad open, so I always have a fast dumping ground for ideas, tasks, or notes.
    8. I use sticky notes in my books, so that I can put them back on the shelf and quickly find my placeholders.
    9. I keep the space in front of my whiteboards clear, so it's easy to huddle the team around the board on the fly.
    10. I double up on things if it helps to have them handy, such as a water bottle at work and home, a sticky pad at my desk, and in the car, etc.

    If you get creative, you can find a lot of ways to simplify your daily moves and experiences. Some of the main ideas are:

    1. Allow for fast and simple moves.
    2. Have a place for things, so you can put things in their place.
    3. If something bugs you, see if you can deal with it.  Don't just let it bug you every day.
    4. Keep space available on your desk, on your shelves, on your bookcases, in your laptop bag, etc.
    5. Make your worst chores, the easiest things to do.

    The mantra is … the more friction free you can be, the more momentum you can build.   Don’t let things break your stride, and don’t let things slow you down.

    In 30 Days of Getting Results, you can use the exercise and Reduce Friction and Create Glide-Paths for Your Day to get exponential results on a daily and weekly basis.

    You can also find more time management tips in my book, Getting Results the Agile Way, and on Getting Results.com

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    Time Management Tips #6 - Schedule the Big Rocks

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    Have you heard of the big rocks story?  If not, the idea is that if you don't first make room for your big rocks, all the fillers of life will fill up your day for you.

    Time management tips #6 is -- schedule the big rocks.  If you don't have an appointment on your calendar for XYZ, it's not going to happen.  If you don't have a recurring appointment called, "Write Your Book," it won't happen.  If you don't have a recurring appointment called, "Workout," it won't happen.

    Maybe you want to build an app to change the world.  Do you have a recurring appointment on your calendar called, "Build an App to Change the World"?  I know some people that do.  And even if they don't change the world, they are making the time for it, and that's exactly the point.

    You don't have time for this.  You don't have time for that.  You only have time for the things you make time for.  Carve out time for what's important.  Schedule it, and make it happen.

    What are you making time for?

    In 30 Days of Getting Results, you can use the time management exercises to Carve Out Time for What's Important and get exponential results on a daily and weekly basis.  You can also find more time management tips in my book, Getting Results the Agile Way, and on Getting Results.com

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    Rebranding

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    How do you rehydrate, revitalize, or renew a brand?

    I thought that a post on rebranding would help people get a new lease on life.  I see people hold on to dead brands, launch fizzle brands, and kill brands by being all things to all people.  I see this happen to individuals and their personal brand too.

    I decided to ask the best in the business ... Al Ries.  Aside from a best-selling author, Al is one of the best business consultants in the world on branding and positioning.  After all, he's written THE book on "positioning."

    Al wrote a fantastic guest post for me:

    How To Rebrand a Brand

    It's a masterpiece.

    If you are looking at how to rehydrate your product or yourself, it's a MUST read.

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Time Management Tips #7 – Friday Reflection

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    What if you could improve your time management week over week?  Well, you can.  Imagine the pay off over time. 

    Time management tips #7 is Friday reflection.  Friday reflection is a way to check what's going wrong, and carry forward what's going right.

    To do Friday reflection, simply give yourself 10 or 20 minutes on Friday mornings to ask yourself two things:

    1. What are three things going well?
    2. What are three things to improve?

    The goal is to carry the good forward and build better habits.

    Before you answer the questions above, really reflect on your week.  Did you do what you set out to do?  If not, did you trade up for the right things?  Did you get randomized? Did you bite off more than you can chew? 

    See what starts to happen?  You start to notice your own patterns.  This awareness becomes your advantage, when you use it to change what's not working, and do more of what is working  It's a way to improve your personal habits and streamline your results.

    One of the most common patterns is to simply lose sight of what we set out to achieve for his week.  That's why thinking of three wins for the week is so powerful.  It gives us a target.  We check ourselves during the week, and adjust our course, but Friday is where we really peer into our personal process improvement.

    The key to exponential results is to work on the right things, at the right time, the right way, with the right energy.  With Friday Reflection, the overall goal is to improve your little loop of results:  identify the value, carve out things you can do, make the time for it, use your best energy to amplify it, and streamline your habits to support you.

    Use your Friday as a way to invest in yourself.

    In 30 Days of Getting Results, you can use the time management exercises to reflect on Fridays and get exponential results on a daily and weekly basis.  You can also find more time management tips in my book, Getting Results the Agile Way, and on Getting Results.com

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  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Time Management Tips #8 - Power Up with Purpose

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    Nothing helps you stay the course, or pick up the pace, or deal with setbacks like purpose.  One of the best ways to focus, get your groove on, and make things happen is the power of purpose.

    Time management tips #8 is power up with purpose.  Purpose is they "why" behind what you do.  It gives you a meaningful mission to apply your strengths, experience, and talent.  In the absence of purpose, you lose your drive.  After all, it's hard to bring out your best when there's no motivating mission.

    Purpose comes in all shapes and sizes.  Some say, "Go big or go home."  For many, that's a way to step up to the plate.  A way to swing with all their might.  A way to dream big dreams.  Here's what this might look like:

    - I’m the researcher who finds the truth.
    - I’m the developer who writes the code to change the world.
    - I’m the coach who helps make others great.
    - I’m the musician who makes people feel alive.
    - I’m the poet who makes people think.

    Purpose doesn't have to be grandiose to be effective. For others, a simple meaningful purpose is all they need. Heres' what this might look like:

    - I’m the technical specialist who helps customers succeed on the platform.
    - I’m the Program Manager who helps customers share cool experiences.
    - I’m the glue who connects the UI to the developers.

    Roles and goals are a simple way to find purpose.  Take your role, line it up with the goal, and make that your mission or your purpose.  Here are some that I have used:

    - I am the PM who shapes the cloud story for end-to-end engagements in the Enterprise.
    - I am the PM who shapes the Microsoft application story for customer success.
    - I am the Pm who shapes the security and performance story for LOB apps.

    You can make the purpose for the day, the week, the month, the year, etc.  You know you nailed it when it inspires you to action, and it helps you get out of bed in the morning.

    Create a one-liner reminder of your purpose that you can use today, to make your mission more meaningful.

    In 30 Days of Getting Results, you can use the time management exercises to find your purpose and get exponential results on a daily and weekly basis.  You can also find more time management tips in my book, Getting Results the Agile Way, and on Getting Results.com

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  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    En Fuego, Not Hair on Fire

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    WHAM! ...POW! ...WONK! ... SLAM! ...

    No, it's not Batman. 
    Those are the sounds of a friendly neighborhood Microsoft foosball player ... "En Fuego."

    "En Fuego" is the expression we would say at our humble foosball table, when somebody was "on fire."  On fire is like when you are in your element and all of a sudden you are firing on all cylinders and playing at another level.

    That is "En Fuego."

    I remember the first time I was "En Fuego” on the foosball table.  It was unreal.
    It was as if my shots were not done *by* me ... they were done *through* me.
    The ball sizzled. 
    My wrists snapped at just the right time.
    The ball whizzed by the defense and slammed against the metal back ... TWHACK!

    Ah, if you've never experienced "En Fuego" ... you haven't lived. 
    Anyway, I think you get the idea of what it's like to "be on fire."

    Now let's switch gears and talk about another scenario.

    It's "Hair on fire." 

    That's not a good thing. 

    There are all sorts of expressions for this, some better than others, but the main idea is that somebody is running around, as if their hair is on fire.  It's no better than running around like a chicken with your head cut off.

    It has many causes.  Some of the top ones include:

    1. Bad planning, or no planning (and the irony is many times, it's for the same things that happen every year)
    2. A certain someone likes to fight fires
    3. A certain someone knew about it weeks ago, but now it's a fire drill (because they forget to give you the memo)

    Maybe you know a certain someone? …

    Anyway, there is a solution.  It's "Peaceful Calm."  Peaceful Calm is the term we used on our team, when we were relaxed, resourceful, and ready for anything.   It’s like James Bond, poised for success.  Anticipate more, get surprised less, be ready for anything.

    Help a friend go from "hair on fire" to "En Fuego." 

    The first step is Peaceful Calm.

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Time Management Tips #4 - Three Wins for the Day

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    Getting Results the Agile Way on Kindle

    "What are your three wins for today?"

    That's the one very simple test I ask myself and my team, on a daily basis.  It instantly helps focus and prioritize our massive backlog, our incoming requests, and competing demands.  It's how to cut "Crazy Busy" down to size with one simple question ...

    “What are your three wins for today?”

    It’s a way to carve out and shine the spot light on the value we will create today.  It sets a target to aim for.  It flips the haystack.  Instead of finding the needles of value lost among the hay stack of stuff, we start with the needles.  Clarity of value, trims the To-Do tree down to size.

    After all, no matter what's coming your way, and what's on your plate, you can only do so much.  The trick is to figure out what's the next best thing to spend your time and energy on.  When you answer that question, you give yourself peace of mind, knowing that you are working on the smarter things you can for the day.  You also give yourself creative freedom to achieve your goals, rather than get stuck in “the how trap.”  (To-Do lists have a nasty habit of making you slaves to administration and getting stuck in tasks instead of focused on goals and value.)

    Just by identifying your three wins for the day, you give yourself a way to succeed.  You've just identified your personal tests for success.  At the end of the day, it's easy to check your progress against your goals.  It's also easy to use your wins throughout the day, as a way to stay focused or to re-prioritize.

    My three wins for today are:

    1. Map of IT scenarios validated.
    2. A simple heat map of the pains and needs of the program.
    3. Rob up to speed.

    I keep the wins, simple and punchy.  The key is saying them out loud.  Actually verbalize your wins.  This simplifies them.  Then write them down.  Say them out loud first, as if saying your wins for the day to your manager, and then write them down.  The simpler you can say your wins, the easier they are to remember.  The simpler you can say your wins, the easier it is for your manager to follow, and to actually appreciate your contribution.  The simpler you can say your wins, the easier it is for other people to follow or help you achieve your goals.  The simpler you can say your win, the easier it is to get others on the same page, whether that's your team, your allies, or winning over the forces of evil, by setting a shared goal.

    This is an extremely key habit for unstoppable you.  Whether you want a better review, or to be a better leader, or to simply be more effective at time management, focus, and setting priorities ... this is a daily habit for success.

    In Time Management Tips #3 -- Three Wins for the Week, I shared how you can use your three wins to shape your focus and priorities for the week, as well as give yourself a way to acknowledge your impact.  Otherwise, it's easy to have another week fly by, do a bunch of stuff, and yet not even be able to articulate the value you delivered or the way you change your world. even in some small way.  The wins accentuate the positive, focus on what counts, and rise above the noise.

    By using Three Wins for the Day and Three Wins for the Week, you have a way to zoom in on your day, or zoom out to the week, so you can see the forest for the trees, and take the balcony view.  It also gives you an easy way to readjust your priorities if the focus is off.  This two-pronged approach also helps you connect your daily work toward weekly impact.  It also helps you see what's right in front of you, and lean in, knowing that you are spending the right time, on the right things, with the right energy.

    Say your three wins for today and write them down, and see if you can nail them.

    In 30 Days of Getting Results, you can use the exercise and three stories to drive your day to get exponential results on a daily and weekly basis.

    You can also find more time management tips in my book, Getting Results the Agile Way, and on Getting Results.com

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  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Personal Growth: 30 Days of Free Training for Getting Results in Work and Life

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    Personal growth is one of the best ways to get more from life.   How do you achieve personal growth?   Well, one way is to take on big, hairy challenges.   Personal growth is what happens to you in the process of testing your skills and experience against the real world.

    I like to think of personal growth as expanding your capabilities.  

    You can grow deeper in a particular domain, or you can grow your cross-cutting abilities.  Sometimes, the best way to grow deeper in a domain, is to focus on cross-cutting concerns like focus, setting goals, motivation, productivity, time management, etc.    For example, when I was working in security, I had to do a lot of stakeholder management across teams.  It required a great deal of influence without authority.  I had to deal with extreme conflict, and negotiate for win-wins in a number of highly-competitive scenarios.  I had to practice emotional intelligence under high-stress scenarios.  I had to stay focused, and use goals to help drive the team forward.   I had to achieve our security goals, while making sure the team was highly productive.   I had to improve my own personal productivity.   All of these skills, helped me learn about security in a much broader way, from a much wider set of people, and in a way that was much more profound that if I simply focused on the principles, patterns, and practices of security.  It was through personal growth, that I expanded my abilities to be effective at driving security changes in a much wider range of scenarios and situations.

    Personal growth is powerful.  It’s the backbone of personal empowerment.  For example, sometimes when you wonder what’s holding you back … it’s you.   Whether it’s limiting beliefs, or having a limited toolset, or simply having a limited perspective or experience.   The key is to expand your capabilities, along the journey of work and life.

    My 30 Days of Free Training for Getting Results, is a collection of self-paced modules to help you achieve personal growth.   When I originally ran the self-paced training, I did it as a daily release for 30 days.  It was highly effective for many people because they liked the little daily actions, and the focus for the month.   Since that original series, I’ve made the 30 Days of Free Training for Getting Results available here:

    It’s a highly-focused set of personal growth exercises at your finger tips.  It’s also a very simple system for time management.  I’ve tried to keep the layout as simple and as clean as possible.   If you’ve seen the earlier version, then this should be a marked improvement.   I put each day on the sidebar, so that you can easily hop around.  For convenience, I’ve listed the days below, and provided a link to each lesson.  This way you can get the bird’s-eye view and quickly explore any lessons that might interest you.  (Personally, if this is your first time, I would check out Day #27 – Do Something Great.)

    30 Days of Getting Results

    1. Day 1 – Take a Tour of Getting Results the Agile Way
    2. Day 2 – Monday Vision – Use Three Stories to Drive Your Week
    3. Day 3 – Daily Outcomes – Use Three Stories to Drive Your Day
    4. Day 4 – Let Things Slough Off
    5. Day 5 – Hot Spots – Map Out What’s Important
    6. Day 6 – Friday Reflection – Identify Three Things Going Well and Three Things to Improve
    7. Day 7 – Setup Boundaries and Buffers
    8. Day 8 – Dump Your Brain to Free Your Mind
    9. Day 9 – Prioritize Your Day with MUST, SHOULD, and COULD
    10. Day 10 – Feel Strong All Week Long
    11. Day 11 – Reduce Friction and Create Glide Paths for Your Day
    12. Day 12 – Productivity Personas – Are You are a Starter or a Finisher?
    13. Day 13 – Triage Your Action Items with Skill
    14. Day 14 – Carve Out Time for What’s Important
    15. Day 15 – Achieve a Peaceful Calm State of Mind
    16. Day 16 – Use Metaphors to Find Your Motivation
    17. Day 17 – Add Power Hours to Your Week
    18. Day 18 – Add Creative Hours to Your Week
    19. Day 19 — Who are You Doing it For?
    20. Day 20 — Ask Better Questions, Get Better Results
    21. Day 21 – Carry the Good Forward, Let the Rest Go
    22. Day 22 – Design Your Day with Skill
    23. Day 23 — Design Your Week with Skill
    24. Day 24 – Bounce Back with Skill
    25. Day 25 – Fix Time. Flex Scope
    26. Day 26 – Solve Problems with Skill
    27. Day 27 – Do Something Great
    28. Day 28 – Find Your One Thing
    29. Day 29 – Find Your Arena for Your Best Results
    30. Day 30 – Take Agile Results to the Next Level

    Note that just because it says 30 days, that doesn’t mean you can’t flip through at your own pace.   Find what works for you.   Explore the ideas that you find the most interesting.

    If you experience a breakthrough, be sure to share it with others.   Even though this is free, it’s pretty intense.   Folks have told me about their amazing breakthroughs … somehow dots have connected, and they’ve gotten over hurdles they’ve faced for years.

    Enjoy.

    BTW – If you do start with Day 27 and decide to do something great, I’d love to hear about what it is.

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Time Management Tips #1 - Add Power Hours to Your Week

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    What if you could do 40 hours of work, in just 4 hours?  It sounds crazy, but it's very possible. 

    Time management tips # 1 is -- Add power hours to your week.  Adding power hours to your week enables you to use your best energy to produce exponential results.  A "power hour" is simply where you are in the zone and you got your groove on.  Of all the time management tips I’ve learned, this little time management tip could be one of your biggest breakthroughs.

    Here's what makes it possible to produce 40 hours of work in only 4 hours:

    1. More time doesn't equal more value.  Factoring waste time from productive time helps you find the critical path to value. 
    2. When you work in your strengths, you can do things way faster than working in your weaknesses.
    3. When you use your best energy, you can produce exponential results, in record time.

    Let's focus on point #3: use your best energy.  Simply by shifting the mix, you can do way more, in way less time.  By identifying your power hours throughout the week, you can then use them for your greatest work.

    Have you ever been on a roll?  Have you ever felt unstoppable?  Have you ever felt on top of the world, or on top of your game?  When you are in this mode, you find it easy to solve problems, take on big challenges, and crank through your work pile.  That's you in your power hours. 

    A quick story …
    Several years ago, I was frustrated that the bulk of my week felt like unproductive chaos.  While I was producing strong results, it felt like only a handful of hours were effective.  Out of 40 hours, it felt like only about 4 really mattered.   I checked with my peers, only to find that they felt that only a few hours each week were really productive.

    I started to pay attention to my hours each day, and I found that I was really productive at 8:00 AM, 10:00 PM, 2:00 PM, and 4:00PM.  But, forget about 3:00 PM ... it was like siesta time. (In fact, the book Brain Rules talks about this phenomenon.)  Armed with this insight, I then started to push the bulk of my most important work into these hours.   I shoved my lesser work to the surrounding hours.  I also pushed any meetings I could to the surrounding hours.

    Now, instead of having 4 power hours per week, I was having 4 power hours per day.

    When I wasn't aware of my power hours, I was letting other people step all over them, and I was wasting them on things like administration, or things I could do with my eyes closed.   Worse, I was trying to do my heavy lifting during non-power hours, and it was like pushing rocks uphill.

    By shifting my schedule to make my power hours a first-class citizen, I took my productivity to new levels that made my manager’s head spin.  (In a good way, not exorcist style).

    In 30 Days of Getting Results, you can use the exercise and time management tips for Power Hours to get exponential results on a daily and weekly basis.

    You can also find more time management tips in my book, Getting Results the Agile Way, and on Getting Results.com

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Time Management Tips #2 - Add Creative Hours

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    Are you a night owl or an early bird?  When are you at your creative best?

    For me, I found that I tend to be my most productive in the mornings, but most creative at night.  I also found that some of my best ideas happen in the space of early Saturday or Sunday mornings.

    Time Management Tips #2 is -- Find your creative hours.  If you know when you are at your creative best, then you can shape your schedule around that to support your most creative times.

    I've found that structuring my time is my single best way to get exponential results in less time.  Originally, I structured my time to focus on productivity.  What I was missing was the think time, and the creative time ... the space for creative inspiration.  In the world of knowledge work, you can't "be what's next" if you don't make space to figure it out, and if you don't make space to think up, experiment, and play at your ideas.

    It's really an awareness thing, but if you start to pay attention to the state you're in during the week, you'll start to notice patterns.  Maybe you feel inspired and smarter in the morning.  Maybe you ease into it throughout the day.

    There is a big difference between grinding through work to be done, and stepping back, taking a breath, and using your creative abilities.  If you feel you never get a chance to take your creative breath, then bake it into your schedule, and carve out the breathing room.

    In 30 Days of Getting Results, you can use the exercise and time management tips for Creative Hours to get exponential results on a daily and weekly basis.

    You can also find more time management tips in my book, Getting Results the Agile Way, and on Getting Results.com

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    How To Get Your Groove Back On

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    One of the simplest ways to get your groove back on, is to do things differently. 

    "Do the opposite" is a great strategy.

    For example, if you've been staying up late, try getting up early. (Getting up early can help you go to bed earlier.  And the secret of waking up earlier, is to go to bed earlier.  See the loop?)   Getting up earlier changes your world ... the traffic you see or don't, the people you pass or don't, the quiet times, the busy times, your state of mind.  It all changes because you changed your structure.

    And all you had to do was change your “When”.

    You can apply "Do the opposite" to many things.  It's a great way to cut the baggage.  For example, if you normally write long and lengthy posts, try some short ones.  Set a simple limit, like, “the post must not scroll.”  You might find that you suddenly drop a burden from your back, and now you are light and ready for anything.

    Another way to do the opposite is if you always decide that something must be done later, try doing it now.  If you always do things slow, try doing things fast.  If you always try to be right, try being interesting, useful, or insightful.  Shake it up. 

    Rattle your own cage.

    When we shake our cage, we wake up our possibilities.  We surprise ourselves.

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    The Book that Changes Lives

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    Getting Results the Agile Way, is “The Book that Changes Lives.”

    You can also think of it as “Agile for Life.” 

    It’s the book that changes lives because people have used it to build high-performing teams, transform their business, and best of all … transform themselves and unleash what they are capable of.  My Mom even uses it for projects on the house.

    It’s also the playbook I wish Microsoft gave me when I started, but it’s also a playbook for life … in terms of how to make the most of what you got.

    It’s a simple system for meaningful results … and integrates the life-long lessons I’ve learned from folks like Ward Cunningham and others.

    The stories I get from people and how they’ve used it to find the fire inside, or to start a business, or to get back on track, or to build a high-performing team, or how to get a great review, or to get back on their feet, etc. have been amazing.

    I’ve used Getting Results the Agile Way to build high-performing teams wherever I go, but lately, I’ve been giving more talks to other teams.   I’ve been giving talks to teams over the years, but now there seems to be a growing interest in how to build high-performing teams and high-performance individuals.

    I’ll find a way to share the talk in the future.  I have done variations of it for some companies outside of Microsoft.  Consulting companies especially care because it’s a way to amplify the productivity of individuals, teams, and leaders.  After all, who doesn’t want exponential results?

    Until I create the video, your best bet is to read the kindle version of Getting Results the Agile Way, and explore the Getting Results Knowledge Base, which includes checklists, guidelines, and how tos for topics like focus, goals, motivation, prioritization, and time management.

    The beauty of adopting Agile Results, is not only will it help you be YOUR best at work, but it’s focused on meaningful results, so you will automatically start to live the three paths of happiness:  The Pleasant Life, The Good Life, and the Meaningful Life.

    Live your extraordinary life … with skill.

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Are You Using Agile Results?

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    Agile Results is a simple system for time management.   Agile Results is fully explained in the action guide, Getting Results the Agile Way.

    Getting started with Agile Results is easy.  Here's how:

    1. On Mondays, ask yourself, "What are three wins I want for this week?"
    2. Each day, ask yourself, "What are three wins I want for today?"
    3. On Fridays, ask yourself, "What are three things going well?", and, "What are three things to improve?"

    Say your answers out loud first, and then write them down. Writing your answers down helps them stick.  Saying your answers out loud helps simplify your answers.  If you get tongue tied or elaborate or lost when you say your answers, then find another way to say them until they are simple, clear, and concise.

    Clarity is the key to driving results.

    If you do nothing else, but want to get started right here, right now – then simply grab a piece of paper and write down three wins that you want for today.   Congratulations – you’re doing Agile Results.

    One way to remember the heart of Agile Results is to simply remind yourself of the following mantras:

    • Three wins for the day
    • Three wins for the week
    • Three wins for the month
    • Three wins for the quarter
    • Three wins for the year

    It's simple, but highly effective.  If you get in the habit of nailing your three wins, you will spin circles around others that don't.   You will also build an important muscle when it comes to articulating your wins.   You will suddenly be perceived as somebody who demonstrates clarity in purpose and results.  You gain trust as a productive member of the team.

    Most importantly, you build your belief in you as somebody who can make things happen.  This little momentum goes a long way and will help you rise above the crowd and stand out in terms of execution excellence.

    Agile Results works.  It works because it does the following:

    1. You focus on outcomes, not activities.  The outcome is the end-in-mind or the "win."  When you know this secret, you no longer waste time on tangents and activities that don't contribute to your bottom line results.  This helps you find short-cuts and amplify your value.
    2. You focus on value, not time spent.  Rather than focus on spending time, you focus on flowing value.  This forces you to pay attention to what is valued and who values it. Value is in the eye of the beholder.  You stop spending time on things that don't matter, based on what you want to accomplish.
    3. Time is a first class citizen.  This is a big deal.  Each week is a fresh start.  Each day is a fresh start.  Each day is a new chance to define new wins for that specific day.  Each week is a new chance to do a reset and decide on the big wins that you want for the week.  This focus on daily, weekly, and monthly results.
    4. You get energy on your side.  One of the secrets of getting results is using your own energy patterns to your advantage.   It makes you aware of your most productive hours and you use those hours to tackle your greatest challenges and do your greatest work.  For example, my power hours are 8:00 A.M., 10:00 A.M, 2:00 P.M, and 4:00 P.M.  The quantity and quality of work that I can produce during those hours is unmatched.  It's when I do my heavy lifting and it's how I do ten hours of work within a single hour.   It's crazy effective, because knowledge work is intimately bound to your brain being in its most resourceful, relaxed, and ready state.
    5. You focus on meaningful results.  It's not about doing more.  It's spending your precious life force on the right things.   You link what you do to your values.  Because you are driving for wins, you make it a game.  Making it a game links it to fun, as well as helps you see and *feel* your progress.  It's strategy in action.  You first identify "Why" do something, before "How."  You trim your To-Do Tree of all the ineffective, non-essential things, to make space for the stuff that really matters.
    6. It's a system.  Agile Results combines some of the best methods for thinking, feeling, and taking action into one simple system.  The system works by combining ideas like focusing on outcomes over activities, chunking big work down into acitonable steps, using your best energy for your best results, and setting helpful limits using The Rule of Three to avoid overwhelm and overload.  It helps you stay light-weight and on top of your game.
    7. It's flexible.  The agile part is the flexible part.  It's how you respond to change.  Because of it's simple nature, and the fact that it's a collection of principles, you can adapt them to suit you.  Rather than change yourself to suit the system, you use the system to bring out your best, using your own style as a catalyst, taking advantage of your unique skills, your specific values, and your most productive and creative hours. 

    I could say more.  But I'd rather you just test the system for yourself.  If you don't already have the book, check it out online at http://GettingResults.com , or buy the Kindle version on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Getting-Results-Agile-Way-ebook/dp/B005X0MFD2

    If you want to absolutely change your game and drive your results to the best in your life, then take the Agile Results 30 Day Challenge.

    In a world of ever-increasing competition, you have to get every advantage on your side.  Use Agile Results to get the system on your side and to help you flourish like you've never flourished before.

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  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Project Management, Productivity, and Leadership for Unstoppable You

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    What do you get when you combine the power of project management with proven practices for productivity and leadership?

    You get an extremely productive leadership … the kind that takes your execution capability to new heights and makes your competition jealous (or at least take notice.)

    I’ve put together a set of 10 Proven Practices for More Productive Leadership in a guest post on Michael Hyatt’s blog.  It’s my take on how skills from project management, combine with productivity and leadership to create a deep ability to make things happen.  Project management skills are a force multiplier because they teach you to really understand the work, really understand the risks associated with performing the work, really understand the constraints and impacts of budget, resources, and time, really understand how to manage multiple stakeholders and competing concerns, really understand what progress truly looks like, and really understand how to get the right people working on the right things to drive change and flow value. 

    These are some of the hallmarks that underpin execution excellence and set the stage for high-performing teams.

    Productive leadership is more than just making things happen.  It’s creating compelling vision with clarity and conviction that inspire everyone around you to bring out their best.   It taps your talent in a way that amplifies and produces exponential results.  It provides meaning and motivation for everyone involved to give their best where they have their best to give.

    When you think of productive leaders, who makes your soul sing or makes the blood rush through your veins, excited by their visionary capabilities and their ability to mobilize the team to fire on all cylinders?   Who inspires you to believe that you can and will change the world in meaningful ways?   Who do you look up to, when the chips are down, so you can fight the good fight and keep on keeping on?

    Hopefully, you have several of these productive leaders right around you.   If not, why not step up to the plate and set the example?  People all around you are always looking to be inspired and leadership is a game where everyone can play, and everyone wins.  The price of admission is courage, conviction, and compassion.   If you have those, that’s a great start.   But there’s a little more …

    The boldest, the brightest, and the best leaders have several patterns in common and success leaves clues.   The most productive leaders share a set of practices that sets them apart from every Joe.  Productive leaders have a set of proven practices that gives them the edge to make things happen in any scenario.

    … But what are these proven practices for productive leadership?

    You can find out what these proven practices for productive leadership are in my guest post for Michael Hyatt:

    For those of you on high performing teams, you’ll nod your head in acknowledgement and the practices will resonate with you loud and clear.  For others, you may have to break past some of your mental models and paradigms, and explore the ideas with a curious mind.  

    I want everyone to get the edge and to use these practices to build more high-performing teams that flourish.  I believe that everybody deserves a chance to work in an arena that allows them to  bring out their best, and give their best where they have their best to give.   Work can be your ultimate form of self-expression and your ultimate dojo for personal growth.

    Enjoy and be sure to stop by and say “Hi” at 10 Proven Practices for More Productive Leadership.   Also, be sure to share your insights and actions that you’ve learned about productive leadership.

    I’ll be following closely and I’ll be looking forward to learning any new patterns and practices for productive leadership that you share.

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Quotes to Empower You for Work and Life

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    If you like quotes, I have an extensive quotes collection at Great Quotes.   I continuously expand this collection.  Each page of quotes is a labor of love.  I take time and care to organize each page of quotes into a simple structure that makes it easy to browse many quotes at a glance.

    Here are ten examples of pages of quotes from the Great Quotes collection that you can use for work and life:

    1. Confidence Quotes
    2. Friendship Quotes
    3. Happiness Quotes
    4. Inspirational Quotes
    5. Leadership Quotes
    6. Life Quotes
    7. Love Quotes
    8. Simplicity Quotes
    9. Thinking Quotes
    10. Time Management Quotes

    If you only have time to explore one of the quotes collections, then explore the Life Quotes.  They are powerful quotes that can help you see life in a new way, or remind you of what’s important in work and life.

    As a preview, here are the top 10 life quotes from that page:

    1. “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” — Abraham Lincoln
    2. “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” — Dr. Seuss
    3. “Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.” — James Dean
    4. “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”— Maria Robinson
    5. “It is not length of life, but depth of life.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
    6. “Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald
    7. “Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but moreover by the number of breaths that take your life away.” – Anonymous
    8. “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.” — Randy Pausch
    9. “Why are you trying so hard to fit in, when you’re born to stand out.” — Oliver James
    10. “You live but once; you might as well be amusing.” — Coco Chanel

    As one of my friends puts it, “life’s better with the right words,” and I think quotes help us make that come true.

    Enjoy.

    P.S. – If there is a particular quote collection that you would like me to add, be sure to let me know.  So far, I am working on a “Mental Toughness” quotes collection that a few colleagues have asked me for.

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