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Category: upskilling

Living an Agile Life : how to apply the agile method in daily life

Updated on 01.14.21

I spent the last two weeks on LinkedIn learning. Mainly focused on getting the hang of the Agile method via the learning path of “Become an Agile Project Manager!.

The reason for this course is to adapt to the current ways of working environments across different specializations. Regardless of the kind of company I will join, I believe this is used in all aspects of daily work. I come from a hospitality background, and even there, I saw the implementation of Agile tools and techniques. Making me realize how it is slowly becoming part of society’s DNA. This made me wonder, how to apply agile to my personal life?

What is the Agile method?

If you are not familiar with the Agile methods, I suggest you watch this video, which covers the basics. However, the explanations of LinkedIn learning are my favorite. 

Why do you need to live with an Agile mindset? Isn’t it just for work? Shouldn’t we do whatever we want outside our lives? Ok… let’s be real, you work a third of your life, there is NO life/work balance. That is a dream. What we should aim at is life/work integration. It all matters! Even the dreams you dream at night matter. 

Why live with an Agile mindset?

An Agile mindset allows you to tackle things with more efficiency, by keeping the ball rolling and adapting to any bumps on the way. It forces you to reflect at the start of the day on what you wish to accomplish, and at the end of the day, on what you accomplished. An Agile mindset will keep you going no matter what!

  1. adapt to life’s surprises
  2. cut big tasks in chunks
  3. focus on the small tasks
  4. reflect every day

Let’s break down this technique, which by now I consider one of the philosophies of life.

  1. adaptability: in an Agile team, we need to keep adapting the end product towards the needs of the customer. The project is always ongoing, new features added, bugs repaired, bugs found, features deprecated, and so on. A piece of software becomes an evolving living thing, just like you.
  2. atomic habits: like on the book (one of my favorites!). You aim to complete smaller tasks that will keep you moving forward. Allowing you also to prepare in advance for the next day so you do not lose any time.
  3. maximum focus: because you are dealing with smaller tasks at a time, you can focus, and with focus, comes faster productivity.
  4. reflective: because of the regular feedback and reflection moments, you do not stop in the middle of a task to reflect. You set moments aside for this. When you focus on the reflections and not trying to multitask doing both, you can come up with great ideas and solutions to whatever is bothering you. (I advise you to try the Morning Pages ritual for this purpose).

So how am I applying this to my personal life?

Every day, I start with my notion dashboard, where I have an overview of all I want to do. ‘Want’ is the keyword here. Just because I want to do something, it does not mean I can do it all. But this overview allows me to organize both my current day and my next day.

  • I classify the tasks of the day using the ABC Method of Setting Priorities
  • After I select the most important tasks, I sit down to do a non-urgent task, just to get me going.
  • After that, once the coffee kicks in, I go on to the urgent tasks.
  • After completing an urgent task, I move on to a less urgent one.

Like this, I make sure I do not get bored doing only long urgent ones and make sure it is all done at the end of the day.

Applying the Agile method to personal projects

Because I am learning how to code, and coding means making things, I decided to learn more about the Agile method. This way, I can organize my projects and tackle them without feeling overwhelmed.

I applied user stories when creating my first responsive website theme. It took a long time. But I kept jumping from element to element until I decided to apply the user stories to it. I created a table where I added all I wanted it to have and those things I needed to learn to make and tackled them one by one according to the difficulty level. For every challenging element, I would work on two easy or one medium. Allowing the same flow of focus. When I realized a challenging tasks was actually an Epic, I would cut it in pieces to tackle each section I needed to learn for. The main challenges were the navigation and the way to display the blog posts.

Navigation:

  • I want a responsive navigation that does not take space in both big and small screens. ✅
  • I want icons which reflect the content. ✅
  • I want them to hold only the main content. ✅
  • I want to be able to modify them via the WP admin panel. ⏩

Blog post:

  • I want to highlight the category ✅
  • I want to use a highlighting color that is easy on the eyes, but yet playful and colorful ✅
  • I want the margins to be wide enough to cover the screen but tight enough to be easy to read ✅
  • I need a font that shows my personality, is modern and yet easy to read ✅
  • I want to create auto excerpts on the main page ✅
  • … and so on. ⏩

Having this kind of organization allowed me to make maximum use of ‘dead time’. I could open the laptop and spend 15 minutes on an easy task before closing it again, like selecting the icons I wanted, or choosing the best yellow for highlighting out of 5 options I had.

I still have a lot of things I wish to do with this website, but those are on the table, and I am handling them one by one, thanks to this technique.

How are you applying the agile method in your life? Has it made a difference?

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