This is a blog post on how I apply agile development principles in daily life to achieve certain goals.
If you are not familiar with Agile development principles, you can read this. However, the knowledge of Agile methodologies is not necessary to understand this blog post. The area we are particularly looking at is Scrum. (Not necessary to read it either)
The key principles that you can apply in life are
- OKRs — Objectives and Key Results (Not an agile concept, but from the startup world)
- Sprints (Two weeks of work focused on specific or multiple outcomes. You deliver a piece of software at the end of week two.)
- Sprint retros (Reflect on the sprint and make improvements for the next sprint)
OKRs in life
OKRs stands for Objectives and Key Results. While OKRs in a startup world is detailed, OKRs in life can be a rough version.
The goal of setting OKRs is to select a few themes you want to focus on for a quarter (or a period of time you choose).
For example, the rough OKRs could be
- Create a portrait painting in Procreate
- Travel to four new cities
- Shoot a travel movie
- Become better at Product Management
The next step is to break down your OKRs/themes into repeatable chunks that you can do every day.
For example, “Become better at Product Management” can be broken down into
- Identify skill gaps
- Identify resources (books, blogs, and videos) to fill the gaps
- Spend 1-hour learning from these resources
The final repeatable chunk here is “Spend 1-hour learning from these resources”
Create a portrait painting can be broken down into “Watch drawing tutorials” and “Practice drawing”
Break down the rest of the themes. Now you have a list of action items. The goal is to choose these action items and create two-week sprints.
You could either mix up more than one theme or focus on a single theme for two (or the number of your choice)weeks, based on the nature of the work.
For example, the action items for a day could look like this.
I’m a big believer in long-term thinking and great things happen when you repeat small things over a period of time. The core belief of this framework is the same.
You find small repeatable tasks that you can do every day, with a bigger longer-term goal in mind.
Reflect and improve every two weeks
Once every sprint is over, it is important to pause and reflect on what you have done so far.
- What went great
- What could be improved
It is normal for goals to change in two weeks’ time. You might find something not interesting or feasible. Sometimes you might want to shift the direction of a particular goal or be more specific.
For example: Create a portrait panting could become, create a cartoon portrait.
Reassess your goals and repeat the plan.
Leave room for serendipity and take breaks
Don’t pack your days with the daily tasks. Leave some time for spontaneity in your calendar.
Serendipity helps you to be creative. Routine helps you become productive. We need both.
It is important to define success in your own terms before doing what is described here.
For some, it might be spending quality time with family, for someone else it might be building a startup. Do not feel that there is only one way to live life.
Also, keep in mind that advice is easier to give than to follow it.
My stakeholder is my partner, and we plan our OKRs together. We have our personal OKRs and group OKRs.
For example, traveling is a group OKR. Drawing is my personal OKR.
That’s that! Hope it helps.
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