Interesting Approach to Time Management: the Agile Way

My friend Ruud Hein has introduced me to an interesting time management system known as the Agile Way. It looks like an easy system to adopt, and can even be implemented using Evernote. I also like that the author of the system freely mixes the use of paper and Evernote, without fanaticism as to one versus the other. Note the first of the links in this paragraph point to a wiki on how to implement the system, and there is also a link there to a Kindle book on the Agile Way.

One of the key features of the system is a weekly focus, along with the suggestion that you set a goal of three outcomes you want to accomplish during the following week. This reminds me of how I used to manage my time before retiring, and perhaps even in retirement I should get back to that system.

Here is reprint of an article I wrote in March 2008 on the subject of a weekly focus (initially appeared in my old KeenerLiving blog):

What Do You Want to Accomplish by Friday?

Note that this is not asking the question “what do you want to do this week?”

Of course, asking what you want to accomplish will lead you determining what you want to do, but has the advantage of focusing you on the results you want to obtain.

Over the years, I’ve found this to be a very helpful question to ask myself. I am not sure when I first began using it, but it must have been when reading Covey’s classic 7 Habits book.

Then, when I got into implementing Getting Things Done (GTD), I got away from doing this for a while [that also coincided with the when my wife passed away]. GTD was so good at letting me “crank widgets,” as David Allen says, that I got into the mode of being more geared toward processing my inbox than focused on ensuring I was doing what was really important.

When I recognized this deficiency, I created the !Focus “context” in my GTD implementation, to help ensure I did not lose focus on items that I considered to be the important ones for the week.

Now that I have been retired for almost 6 years, I have found that I have drifted away from deciding what I really want to accomplish in the coming week. Part of the reason is that I have become lax in implementing my weekly review, and more into the mode of just doing what I want to do. And, there is something to be said for doing what you want to do. After all, I’ve earned it.

But, we all need some mechanism for ensuring that we also do what we need to do, and that we do something that adds purpose and meaning to our lives. I think this weekly question is one good way of doing that.

Note that you can (and should) be even more forward-looking than the coming week. For example, one of the things I want to accomplish this week is to be ready for a major project that starts next week. This will require reviewing a bit of material, as well as getting my attitude in line with implementing a major project.

Hopefully you are already doing this sort of questioning of yourself, and hopefully you are more consistent at it than I have been during my retirement. If not, this week is a good week to start developing this into a habit.

Your thoughts? Any related tips and tricks you use to help ensure you stay effective?