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9 rules inspired by agile practices to better manage your time

9 fundamental principles inspired by pillars of the Agile movement.


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Tristan Libersat

a year ago | 5 min read

These rules have been designed in such a way that anyone, no matter what their field of activity, their degree of agility, or even their role in an organization, can have the opportunity to better manage their time, optimize your daily work, collaborate with others more effectively, achieve personal and professional goals, and thus be happier at work.

They are based on practices and outi the s Agile methods used in the most widespread in the world, who have time and again proven effective. They are based on 9 fundamental principles inspired by pillars of the Agile movement, as well as various time management methods: Scrum , Kanban , Lean , eXtreme Programming , Management 3.0 , Getting Things Done , Miracle Morning , etc. Each of them will allow you to improve your productivity and your collaboration with others.

1. Focus on what matters

Your time is precious, don't waste it on unnecessary tasks. For each task you need to accomplish, ask yourself what value does it bring to the customer, to the business, to your team. Discuss it with them and quantify this value. 

Then order your tasks according to their importance, as well as their complexity (easiest first) and you'll end up with a nice list of things that really matter. Each of these tasks should start with a verb and be short enough that you can complete them all at once. If it has several parts, it's a project, cut it out so as to obtain several small, directly actionable tasks.

Consider, too, if your presence is required at each of the scheduled meetings, or if they could not be conducted more effectively. You can, for example, suggest that everyone stay standing during the meeting: you will see that it will not last forever!

2. One thing at a time

Human beings are not multitasking… Sorry. So save time and only do one thing at a time. First you need to ask yourself what steps your task needs to go through to actually be completed. Someone needs to check your work? Very well ! Don't start anything else until it's done. 

Going from one task to another without stopping and without finishing anything will waste precious time. Make sure, therefore, that you only keep a minimum of things going. Keep up to date with the status of your current tasks and collaborate with the people who will help you get them going.

3. Avoid interruptions

Your ringing phone, a notification, an email, someone coming to see you, all of these events that can occur beyond your control should be avoided as much as possible. Define periods of the day during which you accept these interruptions. It can be whenever you want, as long as you have control over it. 

During the rest of the time, switch off your phone and set a “do not disturb” code. If you are in an office, close the door; if you work in an open space, put on headphones, lock yourself in your bubble, or work in pairs. And if someone comes to disturb you anyway, make an appointment.

Emails can be more problematic, but you will see that it is only a question of "educating" your employees, making them accept your habits: by answering all your emails at once during the day, you make sure you tranquility for the next few hours.

4. Plan your week as early as possible

The first thing you need to do when arriving on Monday morning is plan your week. Start by determining what time of the day and week you are most productive. 

Go over the events of the past week, set your goals and tasks, determine which meetings you will attend, then, group it all into thematic days: "meeting day", for example (that is, of elsewhere, a good way to manage interruptions).

Make sure you don't just schedule your meetings. Also allow long periods of 2–3 hours at a time to work on your tasks. Then, each morning (upon arrival), you can review your schedule and adjust it according to the day before.

5. Learn something new every day

Learning from mistakes is THE fundamental principle of agility. Yes, you have the right to be wrong! It does not matter. The important thing is to understand why, and to act accordingly. 

At the end of each week, take a look back, alone or in a team, and ask yourself what went well or did not go well in the past week, and how you can improve it. Deduce from it a (short) list of actions to put in place the following week, this will allow you not to make the same mistakes and to reproduce what works, allowing you to enter a virtuous circle.

Likewise, knowledge sharing is essential, whether within the team itself or throughout the organization. Chat with others, share your experiences, it will always be beneficial.

6. Accept the change

While it can be difficult in some businesses, don't plan too far ahead ... Leave room for the unexpected and embrace change. Because your plan will never go smoothly. Never. 

And it will be your responsibility to be responsive and adapt to make sure everything goes for the best. It can be difficult to realize that you have already invested time in a task that will eventually have to be thrown in the trash ... But if the change is necessary, tell yourself, at least, that you could have wasted a lot more time still.

7. Write everything down

A day is already busy enough for you not to keep all of your ideas and information in your head. Write them down. All. An idea can come to you at any time, write it down before you forget it. 

If you need to accomplish a task in the near future, plan it right away at the right time, don't let it slip day by day into your current to-do list . Take notes during your meetings, it would be a shame to forget some key information that determines the success of your current tasks.

Also keep track of your habits, activities or moods, this will allow you to adapt their duration, optimize your time, or even remember some of your decisions. Repeat the things that help you, that work, over and over again until they become habits. This is the only way you can improve yourself.

8. Develop your team spirit

When we are part of a team, we work together, we make mistakes together, we progress together. Create a name, a symbol, a coat of arms, and wear it proudly. 

Get outside of work, do activities to strengthen the bond that unites you. Be transparent with your teammates. When something's wrong, say it. When you have an idea that might help someone else, say so. When someone has done something right, praise them. 

When someone has helped you, thank them. It may seem trivial, but too few people actually do it, it strengthens the cohesion of the group. Work with several people as much as possible, it is much more motivating and it gives you a different vision of things.

9. Relax

Take breaks! When you're in the heat of the moment, you sometimes forget to take a little time to breathe. If you can, take a nap during your lunch break, or play sports. Take the time to chat about anything and everything at the coffee machine. Go outside for some fresh air. Even your day is busy, trust me, you will be much more productive after a (real) break, however short.

 It is also recommended to do something pleasant as soon as you wake up. In addition to getting you out of bed faster, you will have started your day with something that motivates you (be it sports, reading, your life plan, it's up to you), and this will go a long way in helping you to manage the vagaries of everyday life!

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Tristan Libersat

Lean-Agile Coach & Trainer

My Agile journey began in 2013 when, trained by Jeff Sutherland (co-creator of Scrum), I started as a freshly new Scrum Master at Dailymotion. There I learnt the hard way the challenges of business agility at a time when DevOps and Agile at scale where not buzz words yet. Then I took a new challenge and joined the French Ministry of Justice as one of its first Scrum Masters, proving the efficiency and compatibility of Lean-Agile approaches with Public Sector. I am now a Lean-Agile Coach & Trainer at Capgemini Toulouse, France. I have trained, coached and mentored hundreds of people on the field of actions to guide them towards a successful transformation and high performance. I am certified in all of the key roles of a Lean-Agile transformation: Scrum Master, Product Owner, Release Train Engineer, change agent (SAFe Program Consultant) and management. In addition to my coaching activities, I spend my free time reading, writing and translating agile-related content.


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