Do you Agile... your personal goals?
Since we use Agile at work, many of us may consider ourselves experts in the methodology. But when we talk about our personal agenda, how good are we at time and task management? Do we use a framework to get through our days efficiently? How effective are we at planning and achieving our personal goals?
Most of us are not used to planning our days. We just react to what’s happening based on the pace of events and what’s urgent or not. Priorities at work and our calendar, both external agents, determine the flow of activities during the day, sometimes making us feel like we aren’t the owners of our time. But time is the most valuable thing we have, and many of us are not taking full advantage of it.
Even when we depend on project commitments to organize our priorities at work, that doesn't mean we act automatically or react only to each event when it becomes urgent.
Work may consume one-third of our life, the same as sleep. But that doesn't mean work goals are the only aims on which we should focus. Nothing says they have to be the top priorities in our lives.
Here are a few questions to help figure out where you are in this sense: Have you ever established goals for your personal growth? How good are you at achieving them? Are they interconnected to help move you toward a particular objective? And finally, does the work you are currently performing help you, even indirectly, reach these goals?
My intention is not to highlight how good or bad a career or personal planner you are. Rather, it’s to share some tips that could help you improve your efficiency while striving for your own goals by drawing on what you’ve learned at work.
Of course, everyone is different. Some people have a natural flair for structure and planning, while others gravitate toward a more spontaneous approach. But we all have goals, however vague, so take whatever works best for you and tailor what doesn’t fit to make the most of this strategy.
It may require some self-assessment to identify/distinguish/confirm what are the goals you truly want and which are coming from external sources – your company, family, friends and so on. This is especially the case if you’re not used to setting personal goals.
It’s more common than you may think for people to realize that the goals they’ve been working toward are not their own and may not be adding any direct value to professional-personal growth. Although it is true that almost anything you do can add value to your life, depending on your point of view and what benefits you’re looking to extract.
Take advantage of your work activities to enrich your profile. It may not always be that easy to identify benefits, but consider that it’s not always about learning techniques, tools or specific knowledge but rather skills, experience, or capabilities. At the same time, it’s not just about formal training or projects. Take a look at what else you do, like hobbies or volunteering. Personally, I’ve found a wonderful playground in volunteer activities where I’ve learned interesting things from scratch that I would have been hard-pressed to find in formal activities.
You may need to get some goals by looking outside work. Go for it. Your growth is on your own, and it can benefit both you and your company.
Agile@Home - Be All-in-One
Become an ambitious Product Owner (PO) of your personal growth project. Establish strong goals with aggressive deadlines and include your current work activities as key components that may add directly or indirectly to your growth result, your “product.” List activities that lead you towards your goals and consider metrics to track your progress. In other words, become your own Scrum Master (SM).
Be conscious of the effort required and realistic about what can be achieved within a short and mid-term timeframe. For this, consider the level of involvement you'll require for each goal and what you are willing to invest. Prioritize and adjust your delivery commitments path. Yes, we are now talking about negotiating with your personal Dev team.
Write down all plans and pledges. Just thinking about objectives is not useful. Honestly, our minds are not reliable SMs. Writing down commitments, along with their tentative deadlines, turns them into real goals.
Track progress and improve constantly. That will make you a real expert in Agile. It may sound strange, but you can find Agile practices everywhere. Have you been to a gym lately? Some kindergarten and elementary schools manage individual progress with Kanban boards. Do it for yourself. The more conscious of your progress, blockers, and delays you are, the more realistic your path and your commitment to it will be.
What accomplishments will you be deploying in your next personal release?