Adapting Agile for Personal Time Management

I’ve never been one for To Do lists.  I look at a long list of things that I need to do and get overwhelmed, and as a result – things don’t get done at all.  Or, they get done late and haphazardly.  I have also found that To Do lists, especially Daily To Do lists actually cause me to procrastinate even more.

However, as a part of some professional development I just finished reading the most recent issue of Intercom, the magazine of the Society for Technical Communication, and the article (see link below, may require log-on to view full contents) struck a cord with me.

http://intercom.stc.org/2014/12/adapting-to-change-why-make-plans-in-an-agile-world/

As much as I hate To Do lists, I am also someone who likes planning.  For example, to go off someplace, without any plans whatsoever – no particular places you want to see, no particular event you want to attend, is often my idea of the worst vacation ever.  Mind you, planning every second of an over-seas vacation is also a mistake – you need the flexibility to adapt if something comes up.  But to say, lets just hop in the car and drive, no planned hotel, no planned places to stay or things to do? That’s not me!

So the methodology in this article for planning, personal development, etc., actually appealed to me. The point is to break things down into small chunks, and further, to structure that into a three-part structure.  This “Monday Vision”, “Daily Outcomes”, “Friday Reflection” structure makes sense to me, so I’m going to try it out on some of my personal projects.  The structure also fits a typical work-week schedule very well.  Monday often is a fresh start, and Friday a day for wrap-ups.

Sample_Agile_Planning

 

The above illustration is from “Why Make Plans in an Agile World?”, by Lee Turner, pp. 16 – 18, Intercom, November/December 2014, published by the Society for Technical Communication

So here I go.  I’ve created a Monday Vision – even though, yes, it’s Tuesday, but I’m not going to see that as a negative.  I’ve also created an Agile Planning notebook in Evernote, which is a marvelous tool for tracking your progress and organizing information on almost any topic.

My Monday Vision Includes:

  • Review two – three films
  • Write two – three blog posts (for a total of five posts)
  • Work on one professional development task and document it.  Such as:  reading an article, working through an on-line tutorial etc.

That’s only three items, so it’s manageable. So far, I’ve written up today’s accomplishments so far. Friday, we will see how far I’ve gotten.  I have notes for one more blog post.  We’ll see how this goes, wish me luck!

Since other professional development books I’ve read also suggest it’s important to have goals and write them down – here are some of my goals.

  • Goal:  On-line professional publication, such as STC Intercom magazine or a blog post on their website.
  • Goal:  Publication of an article in Bright Wall/Dark Room.
  • Goal:  Look into paid freelance writing/consider a real volunteer opportunity.

 

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