MEANINGFUL PRODUCTIVITY: THE AGILE RESULTS SYSTEM

I’ve been a fan of GTD - David Allen’s Getting Things Done - methodology of productivity for many years. I’ve started and stopped it numerous times because I never could adhere to it 100%. And being a perfectionist, that just isn’t acceptable.

Over the past several months I've kept hearing about the Agile Results system. The book is free for reading online or you can purchase on Amazon. So recently I’ve been digging deeper into these resources and I’m giving the Agile system a try. 

So what is Agile Results System?

JD Meier, a program manager at Microsoft, developed this organizational and productivity system that focuses your time and productivity on meaningful goals instead of a list of prioritized tasks.

Productivity is never an accident. It's always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning and focused effort. - Paul J. Meyer

Here, I’d like to cover brief overview of the Agile Results system. There are a lot of moving parts and this is not a complete explanation of this robust productivity system. I highly recommend you read the entire book. GTD dominates the productivity culture these days and but Agile looks at productivity from a different perspective. There is certainly room for both and the best system may be a combination of the two.

 

THE AGILE RESULTS SYSTEM

THE RULE OF 3

The basis of the system is THE RULE OF 3 and very simply focuses on the three most important objectives in each of the following time frames: Year, Month, Week, Day.

Rather than getting overwhelmed with the endless list of tasks you have, the Rule of 3 helps you focus on just three things to accomplish. You are in control and get to pick and prioritize the three most important tasks to move your forward.

How to apply:

  • 3 outcomes for year
  • 3 outcomes for the month
  • 3 outcomes for the week
  • 3 outcomes for the day

The Monday Morning Vision 

This is a simple pattern for weekly and daily results that builds momentum each week.

On Mondays, you identify 3 outcomes, wins or stories you want to achieve for the WEEK and each day you will choose 3 outcomes for just that day that will support your weekly outcomes. Repeat daily. It's a fresh start every day.

To get your ideas and to make sure nothing falls through the cracks, you scan the following:

  • Review last week’s Friday Reflections.
  • Look at calendar for events
  • Check inbox for new information
  • Scan your Hot Spots (work projects, personal projects, life frame)

Ask guiding questions:

  1. What do I WANT to accomplish?
  2. What MUST be done?
  3. What SHOULD be done?
  4. What COULD be done?
  5. What KEY things need to be done or I’m SCREWED?
  6. If it were Friday, what 3 things would I be HAPPY about being completed this week?

Friday Reflection Time

Spend just a few minutes late in the week to review and reflect:

  • What 3 things are going well?
  • What 3 things need improvement?

KEY PRINCIPLES THAT MAKE IT WORK

  • It’s a repeatable system - This is a proven and sustainable system for daily, weekly, monthly and yearly results that helps you improve along the way. You have a routine for how to produce results, learn and improve.
  • Meaningful goals vs prioritized list of tasks - Choose your actions to match your current goals, desires and dreams. Use your time and energy to move forward with a clear vision of how it all works together. Be productive in a meaningful way.
  • Your drive the system, it doesn’t drive you - You are not slave to the system. Your tools and lists are the input - you decide the actions.
  • Fresh start each day - Get a fresh start each day, week, month and year. Do more of what’s important. Gone are the endless lists of “to do” items that will never get done. 
  • Focus on the wins - By starting with the outcomes, you define what “good” will look like and give yourself a path to work towards.
  • Focus on quality vs quantity - You can only do what you can do. First, clear your plate, then go back for more. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
  • Focus on your strengths - Don’t waste time in your weak areas, spend the time playing to your strengths. You’ll have more fun and produce greater results. Outsource or partner with others to supplement your weak areas. 

CORNERSTONE CONCEPTS

  • Story driven results - Use stories, not tasks to motivate and guide you. Outcomes are stories that you want to achieve for the day, week, month and year. For example, tell yourself three stories for the day about what you’ll accomplish
    1. Kill’em with kindness
    2. Draft my raving review
    3. Have the time of my life with my wife
  • Get back on the horse - If you fail, just start over. No pressure. What 3 results do I want for today?
  • Use your best energy for the best things - Use your power hours for mission critical results and your best creative hours for creative impact.
  • Test your results - Rather than do a bunch of analysis to come up with a big plan before starting…start taking small actions and test the results. This is a way to find the risks and surprises now versus later. Test in the real world. Use feedback to improve. Do it, review it, improve it.
  • Continuous learning - Keep learning about things important to you. 

 

TEST IT FOR YOURSELF

To start, just take a piece of paper and write down 3 things you want to get done in the day. Remember, it takes for form of stories you want to live out this day. This one simple thing gives you the chance to design your day.