The Gig Economy and the modern business ecosystem have brought productivity to the center of everyone’s attention. People are figuring out new ways and approaches towards increasing their daily work-related output.
Lean and Agile have been around for decades. The former has been invented in the ’50s, while the latter started being implemented back in the ’70s. They are both considered some of the most productive methodologies that help companies organize their workflows.
In this article, we wanted to look at how Lean, Agile, and Scrum can considerably impact your personal productivity and allow you to organize your work better. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
Asking yourself the right questions
Methodologies often work as a reliable binding agent for teams and companies — it provides them with a higher purpose and an approach to organization. Besides giving things direction in a worker’s life, methodologies also inform their adherents on how to behave in cases of emergency and high pressure.
When it comes to Agile, asking the right questions is an essential component to a successful outcome. It’s safe to say that doing the same in your personal life is an excellent way of achieving impressive results. These questions are also known as “powerful questions.” Here’s how Lyssa Adkins, a famous Agile coach, defines them:
- They are truly open
- When asking them with no “right” answer in mind
- Stimulates the respondent to introspect
- Will engage the respondent to look for additional solutions
- Will drive the respondent towards creativity and insight
- Will drive the respondent to discover new and original solutions
- Here are a few examples of powerful questions that you can use to assess the quality of your decisions and your work:
- Is there a better solution to this problem?
- How can I do this better?
- What will this get me?
- What am I missing here?
- Is this really my responsibility?
Have a solo stand-up early in the day
Agile has a very famous offshoot called Scrum. It is commonly used in software development and product design processes. Scrum is focused around very short, and bite-sized work phases called sprints, after which the teams and the clients are to assess the quality of the work executed within a sprint or a series of them.
During these sprints, teams will typically have short meetings where they would explore a series of issues like the current tasks they’re working on, the tasks they’ve managed to execute the previous day, and some obstacles that they’re facing at this particular point in the sprint.
Source: Visual Paradigm
Having a team is not essential. You can have an early morning stand-up, where you would address a set of topics and issues that will allow you to “debug” some aspect of your life. It’s very similar to journaling in a way. Here are a few things you should consider “discussing” with yourself:
- What did you achieve in the previous day, what are you proud of, and what did you learn from it?
- Is there something you could have done better?
- What are the tasks you’re going to work on today?
- What stands between you and your goals?
This is most certainly a great way to start your day. You first revisit the things that you’re proud of achieving in the previous day. You then address the things that could be improved. Further, you clearly delineate the task set for that particular day and also figure out anything that could be an issue for you in regards to executing those tasks. This looks like a great 360 view on your workday, doesn’t it?
Furthermore, you don’t necessarily have to do it alone. During his TED talk, Bruce Feiler has touched on how chaotic and erratic modern families can be, which can have an emotional and organizational toll on all of their members, especially children. Feiler had explained how he implemented some essential characteristics of the Agile methodology, improving the quality of his family’s life.
He had implemented the stand-up in their family’s daily life, which provided him with lots of insight in regards to their children’s needs, fears, and opinions on essential topics — something many families miss on. As a result, this has considerably decreased the stress levels in the Feiler Household.
“Stand-ups, in general, are an incredibly useful tool that enables you to throw all your cards on the table and understand the exact issues you may need to address. While we know them deep inside, we aren’t always mindful of them. This is why just sharing this information with someone or yourself will allow you to improve your work.” — Emma Crellin — Tech Writer at Top Writers Review.
Set Goals and Stop Wasting Time
Lean and Agile revolve around tightly knit teams and their undivided focus on their daily tasks. These methodologies are not supportive of considerable or regular deviation from a worker’s tasks, which could serve as an excellent template for most of us in our daily lives. Any issue that arises during the process will be pushed into a different sprint.
This is an instrumental principle that many of us ought to consider implementing in our lives to boost personal productivity. Here’s a straightforward way of establishing which tasks are to be delegated to a different sprint (a.k.a. day, week, etc…):
- It’s a task that doesn’t contribute to learning new things
- It’s a task that doesn’t contribute to an individual’s emotional or intellectual growth
- It’s a task that doesn’t contribute to your health and wellbeing
- If you’re feeling that there are many things that you need to eliminate from your routine that may damage your productivity or emotional wellbeing, consider ditching the following:
- Social media — Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and so forth
- Games that divert your attention
- Binging on video and audio content as a form of escapism
- Avoiding work by engaging in conversations that can be postponed
Though Agile and Lean are often implemented in software development workflow design, should this stop us from implementing their core principles in our daily lives to improve our mental and intellectual wellbeing? Certainly not.
Taking the Lean/Agile approach to your personal life will allow you to considerably decrease your stress levels, along with increasing your self-esteem due to your skyrocketing productivity.
At the very core of Lean is Kaizen. A Japanese concept that teaches people that self-improvement should be at the very center of a person’s life, and they should always search to do so. These two methodologies are incredibly helpful at identifying potential improvements to our workflow and our work in general.