The kind of productivity method you need depends largely on the kind of person you are. Some methods are adaptable, open to interpretation, and fluid, which is nice if you just need a little guidance. Others, though, are detailed and rule-driven, which is great if you need to be told exactly what to do and when to do it. Agile Results, a system devised by J. D. Meier, is in the second category.
With Agile Results, you schedule and plan around all your goals, from the short- to long-term, so everything gets done—even the biggest big-picture tasks. Here’s how it works.
What is Agile Results?
Meier describes Agile Results as “a results-driven system that helps you get meaning, momentum, and mastery in all areas of your life.” That’s an optimistic tagline—in essence, it boils down to getting more serious with your goal-setting and planning.
You’ll focus on “three wins” at every level, from daily up to yearly. (“Wins” are really another words for your goals.) First, set three “wins” as goals for your entire year. This can be on the first of a new year or any time as long as you’re looking ahead a full 365 days and your goals are designed to be met within that time period. These are obviously your biggest, most overarching goals.
Next, set quarterly goals. These are the big goals that are going to lead into the annual ones and can be set on the first day of the quarter, if you’re starting on January 1, or every three months if you’re starting at another time.
From there, set monthly goals. In general, it’s best to start this method on the first of a month, just to give it a structure that will be easy to follow, but again, you can do this whenever you want—as long as the goals you list here are the kind that are doable within about four weeks.
After that, set weekly goals every Monday and daily goals every morning, minimizing the size of the goals with each until you’ve created a system of daily building blocks that lead up to weekly wins, weekly tasks that lead up to monthly wins, monthly goals that lead up to quarterly wins, etc.
Schedule 10 minutes every morning to set your daily goals, allowing 15 to 20 minutes on days that will see you structuring weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual goals. Keep in mind that these are supposed to be structured and organized, so you should rely on a planner or easily accessible document to get it done. I recommend using Google Sheets and setting aside a designated sheet for each set of goals within a single workbook. Using a cloud-based software instead of Excel or similar will make it easy to pull up the goals wherever you are.
Reviewing is key to Agile Results
Setting aside time every morning to write down your goals is essential, but so, too, is setting aside time every afternoon to review your progress. Every day, reflect on how you did with your daily goals. Every Friday, expand your reflection time to include your weekly goals; at the end of each month, make sure you’re reviewing your monthly goals, too. Keep this going all the way to the end of the year, when you should be able to look back and see how far you came in reaching your annual “wins.”
Meier suggests that on Fridays, you take time to write down three things that are going well and three things that need improvement. This reflection is key in helping you craft the next set of daily and weekly “wins.” Giving yourself time to focus on the successes instead of just identifying problem areas will also keep you motivated, so be sure to write down your reflections somewhere in your planner or document.