Working in a bunch of digital projects, I’ve been introduced to loads of tools and methods to help deliver the perfect project. Some are questionable. Some are great. So great, in fact, that I’ve applied them beyond delivering a digital product and on to things such as holiday planning or house-hunting. Now I understand this may seem neurotic but it’s not a set of strict rules I force on myself and I stress out if they slip. It’s more just little things that add clarity and help one keep on top of ones’ shit. So here’s a few ways I’ve applied the Agile Scrum methodology to the life & times of me.
If you’re thinking “What is this Agile she speaks of? Is a Scrum Master some sort of rugby reference? I don’t even want to ask what her backlog could be…”, well first off, kudos to you for opening this, and secondly have a read of this. In essence it’s a project management framework with certain rules, methods and principles that help you get stuff done quicker, more… agile.
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1.My daily stand-up for one
The usual start of a day as a digital consultant starts with “What did you do yesterday? What are you doing today? Is anything stopping you?”. I follow a similar thing except I don’t stand up on my own and talk to myself. I live by my to-do list. Love me or hate me, just not the to-do list! Each day I can see what I’ve got done yesterday, what I didn’t do and maybe why, and then what I plan to get done today. It’s my routine check-in with myself: “Am I on track to get done what I want to get done? Here’s what your day is looking like”.
2.Prioritising my backlog
In my overly-ambitious brain, I want to conquer the world. My to-do list could be down to my knees but this isn’t practical. I can’t look for a new home, whilst picking up a different skill and learning three languages. I prioritise my life to-do list similar to how I prioritise features to be developed . What’s the most important? Or most urgent? What matters to me the most? Or has the biggest implications if I don’t do it? Author, Sarah Knight, refers to prioritisation through a “F*ck budget”. You only have so much time, money and energy so can only give so many Fs a day. Don’t have many Fs to give today? That’s fine. Choose how many to spend, where to spend them and then do it. Simple.
3. The Kanban board of all Kanban boards
This is one of my favorite agile-to-life tools and I will continue to use it for err’thing. A Kanban board gives me the holistic view of all tasks and the their status. It helps me see when I’m expecting too much from myself and when I need to bin some ideas off into the ‘Not needed anymore’ pile. I have a few boards; one for work, a general life one, and then one for specific things like party planning. That reminds me, I need to sort out the escape room for my Dad’s birthday.
4. Sprinting through life
Working in sprints puts a time box around activities, bringing focus and making work more manageable. I’ve applied this in my personal life by breaking down big goals into smaller actionable things so that I can still progress but not procrastinate. Recently I’ve been applying for a mortgage (big girl times!), rather than freak out at the huge task ahead, I set myself short-term goals:
- Week 1: Get all my documents together
- Week 2: Have a call with the solicitor and mortgage provider
- And so on…
I’ve also used this with regards to my career. Rather than think “Oh my god, I want to be a Vice President in 10 years”, I’ve broken it down into smaller “features” that are on the horizon such as “Make this project a success” or even just “Lead a good meeting today”. It makes life a little less daunting.
5. Inspecting my past & adapting my future
With a busy mind and a busy sprinting life, I make sure I take the time to stop, breathe and reflect. From my other articles, I’m big into my self-care and awareness of my mental state. Things I do to manage this is to write down all my worries. It’s a check-in on my mind and life, how am I doing? We all good? What’s bugging me? And why?
I also “inspect” by taking some mindless me time to switch off. Anything from a holiday, a quiet weekend or a colouring-in book! It gives my brain some time to relax and space to think. The personal equivalent of an Innovation & Planning sprint some might say.
So that’s how I am the whole scrum team on the project that is my life. On a good day, I own the vision of my life, I plan how I will get there and I get it done. However on a normal day, I take the task lowest in effort and move it one step over to ‘Doing’. I don’t live my life by these rules, instead they’re just symmetries I’ve spotted between my personal and professional life. What about you? Do you spot any tools or tips that help you manage things outside of work? Let me know in the comments below.
If you’d like to read more on digital transformation or lifestyle & mindset, check out my full blog, or get in touch!