Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Project of Your Life

By settings personal goals we improve ourselves and become better. I use Lean and Scrum principles for creating and tracking my personal goals.

Keep reading and see how it works.

 

When working on some project we set milestones, long term goals, short term goals and KPIs.

We track progress and learn from our work by having retrospective meetings and checkpoints along the way.

Now imagine you have a very large project ahead of you and you don’t plan at all. You just float and react to the different events along the way. Do you think you can make it right? On time? On budget? The answer, like always, is “it depends”. However, it’s more likely that you won’t.

In order to succeed, we need to manage our life and not be managed by it. You need to manage it exactly like you would manage that project.

multitasking

Your life is a project and you are its developer, designer and product manager

How many times did you say to yourself that you need to be better in this and that you should learn that? How many of those goals have you actually accomplished?

The first step is to define what you want. I personally like this article. It makes me think about my strengths, weaknesses and just the things I want to know. I have a dedicated time every six months when I go over these questions and create my long term goals. These goals are the things I want to accomplish in order to be successful and better than I am today. I keep them in my Google Keep notes.

*These are my personal goals:

1

Every personal (and not just personal) goal should be well defined (SMART goal).

Specific – Your goal definition should answer these questions: Who is involved? What do I want to accomplish? When?
Measurable – How can you measure progress and know if you are done?
Attainable – How can this goal come true?
Realistic – Be honest with yourself. Don’t define unreachable goals.
Timely – Provide a time frame. Then, creating 6 month goals, you are ready to do it.

Breaking Down Long-term Goals to Short-term Goals

Defining long term goals is the first step in improving. Setting a goal is better than setting no goals at all. Writing it down is a commitment to yourself.

In order to accomplish a long-term goal, which is usually a big goal (I want to master JavaScript, etc.), we need to break it down to smaller pieces – smaller goals (milestones) that we’ll accomplish along the way. Those goals should also be SMART goals. I have a recurring monthly time when I go over my long-term goals and decide what I want to do this month in order to get closer to accomplishing the whole goal. Like in Lean development, I constantly adopt and change my goals according to the situation (Perhaps there is no reason why I should learn JavaScript anymore?).

The monthly short-term goals don’t always have to correlate to the long-term goals. Perhaps I want to take care of something in my job or maybe learn something that is not part of my long-term goals and is important for the following month. To be honest, it doesn’t really matter. As long as you take time to think about it, take a decision and commit to it by writing it down you will improve and be better. That is the whole point.

2

If you have never tried to “manage” your life and set goals for yourself, then I suggest you start with monthly goals. Think about the month ahead of you and try to define how this month will become a successful one.

If you have set personal goals before, then I suggest you take it further.

A month is a lot of time – four whole weeks! Usually when we have so much time ahead of us, we won’t start any task until the very end-and that is only if someone reminds us about it in the first place. That’s called the student syndrome.

Weekly and Daily goals

Scrum uses sprints in order to prevent the student syndrome. I like to look on my weeks as sprints. Every week has a sprint planning and a retro. I go over the previous week’s calendar and see how it went. I try to find the things I need to be better in and the things  I need to preserve and keep doing. This way I can improve and track my progress weekly. At the beginning of the week I have a dedicated time for planning my weekly goals which are subsets of my monthly goals, and the tasks I need to accomplish this week regardless of any long-/short-term goal.

3

During the week I have a “daily standup meeting” (although I do it on the train on my way to work) using Any.DO. This has a very cool feature that at 08:00 makes me go over my daily tasks and decide when I want to do them (sometime today or later this week).

4

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It is simply a to-do list that reminds me of the tasks I need to accomplish every day.

Every week ends with a retro. I go over my previous week and write down important notes, facts and decisions. I write them in Penzu, which is basically a diary with a very cool feature –every week it sends me the note I wrote a year ago. This way, I’m constantly being reminded of my decisions (you need to use it for a year in order for it to be effective - don’t give up!).

6

Summary

If you want to improve, you need to set personal goals.

The goals should be both long- and short-term.

Track both of them in Google Keep.

Every week, set yourself weekly goals and have e retro for the previous week. Write it down in Penzu and be reminded of it afterwards.

Have a daily meeting using Any.Do.

 

 

This works for me, perhaps it can also work for you.

Or maybe I’m just crazy Smile

 

Acknowledgments:

Netanel Lev and Shani Raba for reviewing the post.

3 comments:

  1. I liked the post and encourage everyone to take over their time. E management. I especially liked the planning which is done on a weekly basis. I believe that daily planning is too short term and monthly planning is too long term. I use, as you, Google Keep, but only for home planning. However, for work, I leverage Outlook for that, as most of my tasks are already there in my emails. When I decide to do a task for the next week, I turn it into a calendar meeting - I call it MeTime meeting.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I liked the post and encourage everyone to take over their time. E management. I especially liked the planning which is done on a weekly basis. I believe that daily planning is too short term and monthly planning is too long term. I use, as you, Google Keep, but only for home planning. However, for work, I leverage Outlook for that, as most of my tasks are already there in my emails. When I decide to do a task for the next week, I turn it into a calendar meeting - I call it MeTime meeting.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Life Goals are the things you’d like to work on and achieve in order to be satisfied with your future and who you become.

    ReplyDelete