Agile & Lean Personal Productivity Framework

Welcome to the productivity track!

The Agile & Lean Personal Productivity Framework described on this page will help you reach an entirely new level of personal performance in your business and personal life.

Along the way, you’ll also get a lot of other practical advice on how to live a more quality, fulfilling and happy life – full of abundance, health, wealth, career achievements and loving relationships.

If you want to get the most out of the Agile & Lean Personal Productivity Framework (how to use lessons from the lean startup & agile development to skyrocket productivity), read the articles below in the order given. They’re structured like a book, so everything will make more sense.

The framework is constantly getting more and more detailed with more and more articles. So you’re are always very welcome to come back and check for new content. You can also subscribe to the ALLert newsletter to never miss fresh content.

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The important mission of Agile & Lean Personal Productivity track and framework it’s building a practical guide with an adequate toolbox , which will serve as the ultimate guideline for living a productive life in today’s complex, information saturated and unpredictable world.

This blog track and productivity framework are a guide on how to6 have it ALL in contemporary life by achieving an entirely new level of personal performance. The framework, described in all the articles below, is the system that will improve your odds for success in the personal and professional life.

If you have any additional ideas, comments or recommendations, or if you have any questions, your e-mail is always welcome. And if you find any of the content very interesting, please share it. Enjoy reading.

AgileLeanLife - Lean Personal Productivity

Lean Personal Productivity Framework

The basics

1. Your life strategy – The key to a more successful life is having a superior strategy for living it.  Your life strategy is especially shaped by your beliefs, values, personal management system (like Agile & Lean Personal Productivity), and thus by your decisions about spending your time, energy, money, skills and other resources.

In this article, you can find a list of every aspect of life (from health, career and money to partnership, religion and 20 other elements of life) that you have to make strategic decisions about and is part of your life strategy.

2. The Key principles of Agile and Lean Life (ALL Manifesto) – The Agile and Lean Life Manifesto is based on twelve principles that successfully replace old life management techniques, like setting goals (S.M.A.R.T. techniques etc), looking for job security and giving personal power to other people, with more modern life management techniques based on the lean startup and agile development philosophy.

It’s the foundation you have to understand in order to build deeper knowledge on how to successfully manage your life in today’s complex times. All other articles are based on the twelve principles in the Manifesto, so read it carefully.

3. Valley of Death – where your dreams go to die – Every single startup has to go through the Valley of Death very early after being born. The same goes for personal goals and dreams. Unfortunately, around 80 % or even more businesses die in the Valley of Death; and the same goes for people’s goals and dreams. Getting trapped or lost in the Valley of Death means that startups and people die (inside) or at least turn into zombies.

The Valley of Death is a place where it gets tested who has the character to succeed and who doesn’t, it gets tested who really deserves it and who doesn’t. The Valley of Death is a place where you must show that you want it badly enough, that you will never give up, that you will learn, improve, adjust, play smarter and smarter, and somehow find a way through the Valley reaching the safe side.

4. Don’t be a zombie – The opposite of a successful startup is a zombie company. The opposite of the Agile and Lean Life is a Zombie Life. Zombie life means being stuck in the land of the living dead. You don’t actually live, you just exist. You have average health, average paycheck, average relationships, average productivity etc.

In reality, average sucks and the point of the Agile and Lean Life is to live a remarkable, not an average or zombie life. Therefore the first step is to really understand what zombie life means, how you can become a zombie and why you should avoid it at all costs. Unfortunately, most people become zombies without even being aware of it. Don’t let that happen to you.

5. Markets always win – Markets always win, so listen to markets. In capitalism, there’s only one really important rule. Markets always win. You stand zero chances if you go against the market. Markets determine a big part of your life. If you choose the right markets, things will go well for you; if not, you’ll experience only struggle, pain and failure.

You may fight against the market for years and at the end, you’ll probably be brutally knocked out to the floor, no matter how competent you are. You may lose everything and markets will laugh right in your face. The brutal thing is that even if you don’t want to play the game, you’re playing the game.

6. Optimize your life for productivity and flexibility – The contemporary environment is becoming so complex, turbulent and fast-changing that a third elements of success needs to be added to the superior organization and disruptive innovation of superior entities. Startup world, as the part of the business world that’s most exposed to the unstable environment, is already adding this new third element – with agile and lean techniques.

The sooner you add this third element to your life or the organization you’re running, the better off you’ll be. I’m talking about flexibility of course, and in this article you will learn how to develop and keep flexibility in personal life as the ultimate competitive advantage. If you aren’t flexible by nature, this article is a must read.

7. Simplifying (or less is more) and removing waste – Everything you do and have in life (decisions, activities, material things, relationships etc.) either adds value to your life or drags you down.

A very important task for all of us who want to live a more quality life is to eliminate as much waste as possible, with the end goal of making room for things that really matter – those that bring real value.

You need to be focused on real value if you want to stay agile and lean. Less is therefore more. Simple is better. In order to live that kind of a philosophy you have to understand really well what waste is and how things that you think will bring you value, but they actually don’t, also create waste in your life. Learn also about the most typical causes of waste.

8. Process versus final event, and process phases – The process (everyday hard work that accumulates and is based on a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end) is the overnight success that comes after years of hard work. It’s the effort you put in that leads to the results you want.

The process requires discipline, sacrifice, commitment and delayed gratification. The process is your sweat and tears, it’s the life’s test of whether you really want something badly enough.

Because if you really want something badly enough (a final event), you’ll always find a way; if not, you’ll always find an excuse. The first step of the process is finding your best fit by using the search mode and then following it with surgically accurate execution.

There are five phases in the process:

  • Empathy or the search mode (in lean start-up, this is called customer discovery)
  • Stickiness or finding your fit (in lean start-up, this is called retention)
  • Virality or becoming an evangelist (in lean start-up, this is called referral)
  • Revenue or reaping the first rewards and making a plan (in lean start-up, this is called a business model)
  • Scale or the execution mode (in lean start-up, this is called explosive growth)

Your creative environemnt

Life vision, why and personal fit

1. Start with a life vision – All the masterpieces that have been created in the world began with a big vision, and so should your life. A strong life vision helps you clarify what you want out of life and helps you focus.

If you write down your life vision correctly, it should serve as a roadmap, helping you make your dreams and passions a reality. A life vision is your compass that helps you live life to the full.

To define your life vision, you should answer three simple questions:

  • Who do you want to become (your personal evolution),
  • what do you want to experience in life (and how to enjoy it), and
  • what kind of a legacy do you want to leave (what will you create)?

Life is a blank canvas and you can draw whatever you want.

2. Only the life vision isn’t enough, you also need to start with why – Having only a vision isn’t enough. If your vision isn’t powered by a mission, strategy, tactics, motivation, execution and dedication, it’s only an illusion. In order for a vision to really have a lot of power and can help you empower your life, you also need to have a powerful why.

Therefore only the life vision isn’t enough, you also need to start with why. It’s a concept based on the theory of the Golden Circle (why, how, what) that’s very popular in business, and you can definitely use it as a great advantage in your personal life.

3. Find your fits in all ten areas of life – The prerequisite for being successful, no matter the field, is finding your own fit. Values (what you find important) are those that determine whether you fit with something or not. When you find the right fit, passion awakens in you. You find yourself in something. You know that you can be successful in this. You see the potential.

You know that you have to fight for that something and that you were born to do it. A lack of motivation or struggle with procrastination goes away in a second when you find your perfect fit. The rule is simple: you know you’ve found your fit when you stop asking yourself whether you’ve found it.

4. Apathy before finding your fit – The process before you find your fit is the really painful part of it. We can call it the apathy before finding your fit. You try new things, they don’t work. You think you’ve found something good, and in the next step you realize you haven’t. This starting phase really is best described with the quote that success is going from failure to failure without giving up.

Let me say it again, the process before you find your fit really sucks. It sucks even more because at the beginning, you’re a newbie and your character and skills aren’t that good. You’re a beginner and you have to face the toughest challenges.

But it’s the necessary part. It’s the life test of whether you really want something and whether you’re prepared to fight for it. It’s the part of the process where you learn and develop the most.

5. The best preventive cure for your mistakes – There is a saying in the start-up world that the “product-market fit” cures many sins of management. What this means exactly is that when you’re starting a new business (and even later), you do make many mistakes. Setting the wrong prices, hiring the wrong people, mismanagement etc.

But if you have a product that customers crave, if they're prepared to pay a solid price for it (and your profit margin is high enough), then you can survive making more mistakes. It’s no different in your personal life. The better the personal fit and the position you have, the more mistakes you can afford to make. It's no different in personal life.

6. Design the perfect life you want – Design is everywhere and it’s an important part of life. Design is not only about how things look, but also about how we put them together, how we innovate, what’s the overall experience and what kind of a feeling it evokes. Design is about harmony.

In this blog post, I want to talk about a special kind of design. I want to talk about a design where you are the lead designer, even if design is something completely alien to you or you never considered yourself to be a designer.

But you are. You are the designer of your own life. With finding different fits in every area of your life, you can design your perfect life.

You find your fits by employing the search mode.

Play strategic games - Chess

Search before you execute and know how to pivot

1. The search mode and the challenges of the search mode – The best way to do personal validated learning is introducing the so-called search mode into your life. It’s all about testing what your best fits are by using the MVP concept.

The core idea is that when you’re in the search mode, you shouldn’t have any expectations, you shouldn’t have any commitments and you shouldn’t do any hard work. Expectations lead to disappointments and before you understand something, you definitely have expectations that are completely wrong.

Commitments lead to heavy energy investments, and you shouldn’t be investing before you know what you’re truly investing into and whether the investment really fits your character. The difference between what you think is valuable to you and what really is valuable for your life creates waste.

Don’t assume anything, try and test everything. The most valuable output of the search mode is validated learning about yourself and the environment. That is what the search mode is all about. After the search mode ends, the execution phase comes into play. But more about that later.

2. MVP or Minimum Viable Experience – In the search mode, you should be using the MVP concept, with which you just try, experiment, observe, reflect and learn about yourself and the world.

The idea of MVPs is not only talking about things (what you should try, what you think you may like etc.), but going and trying them. You don’t assume, you go out and test (the concept is also called to Go out of the building).

Testing and trying is the best way to gain firsthand knowledge about yourself and the world. The MVP concept helps you try as many things as possible in life (from your vision list), and based on your physical, emotional and intellectual response (life accounting), you decide whether you should keep something in your life or pivot to something else.

3. This is how to do experiments in your personal life – When you hear the word experiment, you probably think of a crazy scientist sitting in his laboratory and mixing some kind of chemical compounds. There also must be an explosion, I guess.

While experiments are most often linked to science, they are very useful in many other disciplines, from arts to business and sports. By following the Agile & Lean Personal Productivity Framework, experiments should also become a very important tool in your personal life.

4. Rapid prototyping for designing a superior life strategy – Experimenting is fun by itself and you can enjoy many benefits doing it, but it’s also demanding and expensive. It takes a toll on your emotions, because you usually have to face a series of small failures in the beginning and you often need to invest at least some money into performing an experiment; besides time, energy and creativity, which are always needed.

With rapid prototyping in personal life, you want to get to the minimum viable experience as quickly as possible using the fewest resources. Experimenting and rapid prototyping thus go hand in hand. In this article you will learn how to build awesome prototypes.

5. Preserve or pivot in personal life – A pivot in personal life is a fundamental change in your life strategy. You change your direction in life, but you still keep the same life vision and you consider the facts you learned about yourself and your environment. The time for a pivot in personal life comes when you hit the local maximum and aren’t satisfied with the result.

You try harder to improve and in different ways, but none of the experiments and new ideas lead to any progress. You feel like you’re emotionally stuck. When that happens in your life, it’s time for a pivot. Learn how to do it the right way.

6. Make sure your ego is not blocking your progress – To be as lean and agile as possible in your life, a big challenge is managing your ego. You must switch from acting out of your ego, meaning your assumptions, beliefs and convictions, to acting out of feedback that you regularly gather from your environment by performing experiments.

It’s the best way to stay flexible. The second challenge for your ego is facing the results when data disprove your ego assumptions.

Experiments in personal life

Metrics and validated learning

1. You know nothing, so always put data before rhetoric – Humans get creative ideas. Humans have inspirations. Data and metrics do the validation. Instincts are experiments and data is proof. Zero always invites imagination and when you are at zero, there is a huge space for egos, opinions and arguments to fight based on assumptions. But wrong assumptions are the mother of all fuckups.

That’s why every assumption and prediction needs to be tested. When you decide to put everything to the test, there is no need for an argument. You can have a heated discussion to brainstorm the best ideas and inspirations, but then you just have to do experiments to find the thing that enables you the fastest progress towards your vision and goals.

2. Wrong assumptions are the mother of all fuckups – You make assumptions all the time, you can’t avoid this phenomenon. It’s the way we humans operate, it’s how our brains function. Therefore, it’s impossible not to make any assumptions. The problem arises when you believe that your assumptions are the truth.

But they are not, they’re only assumptions. That’s why you constantly need to keep testing your assumptions. You have to see life as a playground, where you have to test what works and what doesn’t. Based on your findings, you have to constantly adjust your life strategy and actions.

3. Learning is useless, validated learning is everything – Knowledge is not power. Applying knowledge is power. Learning is useless. Validated learning is everything. If there is a single skill you have to learn to be massively successful in the 21st century, it’s validated learning.

It’s the only way to build a superior life strategy. The concept of validated learning comes from the lean startup. The validated learning loop helps quickly validate or reject core business hypotheses.

4. The one change that matters and the one metric that matters – The one metric that matters in the startup world shows if a company is building something that people want to use and pay for or not. It answers if there is any value in the product or points in the right direction of how to build it.

Together with other metrics, it helps company management build a sustainable business model around the product. The one metric that matters is always simple, actionable, you can easily compare it with the past results, and it answers the most important questions related to the progress of the company. We can, of course, use the concept of OMTM pretty well in personal life.

5. Split testing – when you’re not sure how to decide between two options – The idea of split testing in personal life is that you go a step further from only weighing advantages and disadvantages of each option that you have on a piece of paper – you know, drawing the standard table with pluses and minuses and then still going for the option with more minuses, just because you feel differently from what the table is showing you.

Sometimes a simple pro-con table can’t give you good enough insights to match your instincts. But your instincts can still be wrong. That’s why it often makes sense to do real experiments in life that give you deep insights and understanding of the situation.

6. Don’t worry about failure, because you only have to be right once – Like there’s the rule that you are always wrong before you are right, in the same way there is a rule that you only have to be right once. You need to develop ONE competence based on your talents that is in high demand and low supply.

You need to find ONE spouse who fits you perfectly and you can build a dream life together. You need to find ONE sport that you don’t dislike and have no troubles doing daily. You have to find ONE diet that enables you to maintain weight and feel energized. You need ONE business idea that works. You only have to be right once.

7. Life metrics and how to define success in life – Many people will tell you that it's hard to define success, that you're operating with a very subjective category. That's not true. They probably just don't like maths.

the execution mode run

The execution mode

1. When to brutally focus in life? – Should you focus in life or not? Here is the right recipe: When you are searching for your personal fit, you shouldn’t focus, but instead be driven by curiosity and creativity. Your goal should be to find the right thing to be passionate about.

When you find your personal fit, you should definitely brutally focus. Without focus, you don’t have the sharpness needed to really achieve the mastery level. When achieving a certain level of mastery, you should take a step back and look at the forest again. Maybe it’s time to broaden your horizons and focus on a new thing.

2. The execution mode and full commitmentWhen you find your fit, you should go straight from the search mode to the execution mode. As mentioned before, in the search mode you should only be interested in learning, experimenting and trying new things; but in the execution mode, full commitment should be present.

At the end of the day, there’s a big difference between being interested and being committed in life. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient; but when you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.

3. Immediate implementation with adjustments – You have your vision list and you have a plan for how to go through the search mode to learn more about your goals. On the tactical level, your strategy should be immediate implementation. It’s all about promptly testing new ideas, and implementing and keeping the ones that work in your life.

And an even more important thing when you’re taking the first steps in the execution mode is to be constantly observing and getting feedback from your environment and adjusting your strategy, tactics and operations accordingly.

As I mentioned, in the execution mode you focus on different things and activities, but in reality you never go out of the search mode, you just shift your focus. But you still need to pay attention to yourself and your environment. Everything is constantly changing and thus you should never lose your agility and flexibility.

4. Interesting is the biggest enemy of lean life after the search mode. At the end of the day, in the Agile & Lean Life philosophy you don’t look for relationships, activities or people you’re only interested in and that bring you average satisfaction in life.

You look for pure love and enjoyment in all areas of life (health, wealth, relationships etc.) with no exceptions. When you find your fit, your mindset should be: “nothing will get in the way of me and a few daily hours dedicated to [enter your commitment].“

Goal Journey Map Template

Lean Goal Setting

1. The only goal setting strategy that really works in the 21st century – I have been testing and experimenting with different goal setting strategies for more than 15 years. I tried more than 10 different systems and they all let me down.

Most techniques do help you clarify what you want out of life, but many times they’re nothing but wishful thinking and a useless exercise. Even more, with every day that passes by, these standard goal setting techniques are less effective. The reason is quite simple.

The times have become too complex, volatile and fast-changing. The pace of technological, social and political changes is accelerating. That’s why a new framework for setting goals is needed. A modern goal setting framework that works.

There are seven steps in the Lean Personal Productivity & Agile Personal Productivity goal setting framework:

  • Define your vision list
  • Prioritize your vision list
  • Develop life stories for 5 – 7 items on the top of your list – specify what exactly and why
  • Build a Goal Journey Map to build a superior strategy and define the process
  • Use branching and forking to stay flexible with alternative paths
  • Organize the superior execution with a 100-day plan and bi-weekly sprints

2. Vision list prioritization or which goals to pursue first – I’m have no doubt you’re a very curious person and that you want to try and experience many things in life. There is nothing more fulfilling than following a diverse and rich life experience.

One great exercise to do is to make yourself a vision list (or a bucket list) with all the things you want to achieve in life. It can be a simple document, a notebook with pictures or even a Pinterest board.

With all the items on the vision list, there is a big question of how to prioritize things you want to achieve and experience. How to decide what to follow first. Which goals should be your number one priority? Like with everything in life, I suggest that you are smart and strategic about it. You have to be one step ahead of life, instincts and randomness.

3. Short life stories – clear goals with a powerful why – User stories in agile development are short, simple descriptions of a software feature, told from the perspective of the person who wants the new capability, usually a user of the software.

The purpose of the tool is having the best possible representation of the kind of capability that the user desires. To get that, you tell it in a simple story. As a <type of user>, I want <some goal> so that <some reason>. You can use the same principle as a tool to help you sharpen your vision.

4. Branching and forkingthe ultimate way to stay agile in life – Achieving your goals and visions is never a straight line, but always a path full of detours, setbacks, step backs and adjustments. If you want to achieve your goals, you need many creative ideas for how to overcome different obstacles. You often have to innovate your way out of unexpected troubles.

Doing the same things over and over again and hoping for a different result is the definition of insanity and absolutely a recipe for big failures and a lot of emotional pain. The best way to stay lean and agile while following your goals is to use the “branching and forking” principle.

5. Goal journey mapping – One of very popular lean techniques, especially for online businesses, is the so-called customer journey mapping (CJM). It’s a framework with the purpose of helping companies and organizations improve their customer experience.

The same approach can help you improve your life experiences from your life vision list and shape a better life strategy. With the desired event journey, you can optimize your desired experience through the process which leads to achieving your goal/final event. Again, it’s a story-based tool using metrics and milestones throughout the process.

A Goal Journey Map (potentially) consists of the following elements:

  • Life story – The final goal you want to achieve and why (all the rewards)
  • Process phases – Different phases you have to go through, like educating yourself, searching, finding your fit, executing etc.
  • Process with milestones – Repeating actions that lead to micro-goals and then to the final goal
  • Supporting environment – Key relationships, trends, motivational installations and other changes
  • People / Personas – All the people who are involved in you achieving your goals (influencers, blockers, mentors)
  • Insights and Minimum Viable Experience – Experiments for validated learning
  • Metrics – How you will measure your progress in different process phases
  • Feedback mechanism – System for gathering feedback from yourself and your environment
  • Risk-reward factor – Potential barriers, risks, fears and unanswered questions
  • Branches and forks – Potential small and big adjustments to the strategy

 

AgileLeanLife - Agile Personal Productivity

Agile Personal Productivity Framework

Lean startup methodologies go perfectly hand in hand with agile development and management techniques. If lean is about the strategy, agile is about fast and proper execution.

1. Visualize your workflow (Kanban) – On the operational level, there’s a lot about visualizing your workflow. No long plans and detailed analyses, just simple and flexible visualization with mind maps, boards, post-it notes and so on. It’s called the Kanban principle.

The main principle of the Kanban system is better communication by visualization and visual management. The best way to use Kanban in your personal life is to have a personal Kanban board at home and in the office to visualize workflow. In the article, you’ll learn how to use Kanban principles to manage your daily workflow better.

2. The happiness index and the happiness chart – If your body gets hurt, you feel physical pain. One of the roles of physical pain is to tell you what not to do, for example to not hit your head against the wall over and over again or play with fire. Besides having many other functions, emotions can also play a pretty similar role.

They can tell you whether you’re on the right path, if you’re following your life vision and what your whys are (even if your emotions are repressed and you aren’t even aware of them) or if you’re going against yourself, marching in the wrong direction.

Happiness Index

Happiness Index, Source: Agile trail

3. Quarterly focus and your 100 days backlog– Your quarterly (3 months) focus and your backlog are the connection between your vision and your sprints and your daily tasks.

Looking at your life vision lists, you should decide, on the tactical level, which life areas should be your focus for the next 3 months, considering your vision list, current situation, opportunities in the environment, and your desires and feelings.

Based on your quarterly focus, you should prepare a backlog, which is basically the package of all the activities you plan to accomplish in those three months. Out of the backlog, you choose tasks for each sprint (as we will see later on the operational level).

4. Personal Sprint Backlog (bi-weekly sprints) – The sprint is a 14 days (whatever suits you best) period in the execution mode, where you work hard as hell to complete all the selected tasks from your backlog.

All the selected tasks have to be visualized on your Kanban board, there has to be a post-it note for every task, and through the week you move your tasks from to-do, in progress and done status.

At the end of the sprint, all the tasks should be done. In life accounting, we’ll talk more about how to prioritize the tasks and how to realistically asses how much you can do in one sprint.

5. Morning meeting with yourself – A short morning meeting should be a part of your morning kick-off routine. You should hold this meeting at the same time every day. Before you start working, it will help you a lot if you take 5 to 15 minutes, open a notebook or word processor and answer three very simple questions:

  • What did I do yesterday?
  • What do I plan to do today (limited to three to five important things you can do in the flow…)?
  • Is there anything preventing me from achieving my goals?

It’s like a simple morning calibration that will help you stay focused on the most important tasks.

6. Daily three and daily flow – Your daily goal should be to have as much room in your calendar as possible for working in the flow. No unnecessary meetings, no unnecessary e-mails and “urgent” tasks. As we said: less is more. You should have the peace and quiet (emotional peace as well) to work and create in the flow, doing the currently most important and valuable tasks in your life.

You should plan two flows, or ideally three flows, in a day, each of them taking two to three hours. Every flow should be reserved for one of the most important tasks from your weekly sprint. So three daily tasks for three daily sprints. In the remaining time, you can handle all the urgent tasks, meetings and so on.

7. Sprint retrospective – No matter how productive or successful you are in life, there’s always an opportunity to improve. There’s always a way to do things better. The more you become aware of yourself, your actions and your environment, and the more you are open to experimenting and trying new things (frequently out of the box), the better your potential for improvement. In different words: becoming wiser unlocks the opportunity for improvement.

During a weekly sprint retrospective, you should ask yourself the following questions: what went well during the last sprint, what were you doing right, what didn’t go that well, why that is so, and what you could have done differently and how. Based on that, you should make three decisions:

  • What will you start doing in your life?
  • What will you stop doing in your life?
  • What will you continue doing in your life?

8. The 5 Whys technique – dig deep to find the root cause of any problem – 5 Whys is an analytical technique that helps to explore cause-and-effect relationships when you encounter a problem. The basic idea is to repeat the question “why?” until you find the root cause. That most often requires asking the question why at least five times. That’s where the name comes from.

Nevertheless, don’t stop at the fifth why if you need to dig deeper. Employing the 5 Whys technique when you encounter a problem especially helps to avoid logical traps, discussions based on wrong assumptions, and avoiding the essence of why the problem is really happening.

AgileLeanLife ToDoLists Infographics

 

Other important concepts from the agile development for productivity:

1. Constant improvement (Kaizen) – You can either have a fixed mindset or a growth one. If you have a fixed mindset, you believe that your character and potential are unchangeable, have been “written in stone” since birth.

On the other hand, the growth mindset means that you believe in personal evolution and that you can improve your character by working on yourself. In business, the growth mindset is called Kaizen and it means constant improvement.

Additional reading:

2. Leveling up your game (Kaikaku) – Sometimes improving yourself bit by bit isn’t enough. The improvement process could be too slow and your impatience could lead to you completely giving up sooner or later. Sometimes you wish for something real bad or maybe you simply lag behind so much that you have to take a different approach.

It’s call levelling up your game. You brutally focus yourself on the one skill you have to master in order to achieve your goals.

3. PDCA cycle and continuous improvement – All the change in the Kaizen and Kaikaku philosophy is done by following the PDCA cycle. PDCA cycle stands for Plan, Do, Check, Act; and that’s the also process to follow in your personal life to become the best version of yourself. Following the PDCA cycle doesn’t only lead to Kaizen Blitz and constant improvement, but also helps you stay flexible about how you will get to your goals.

4. 5S – the best way to organize your workplace and even your home – The 5S methodology is an important part of the Toyota Production System, recommending how to organize and maintain a workplace to achieve maximum efficiency and effectiveness.

5S stands for five Japanese words starting with the letter s – seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke. If we translate them into English, we also get five words starting with the same letter: Sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain.

5. Personas – Know what you want – One thing in life is sure. The more exactly, accurately and the sooner you know what you want from life, the easier your will get it. Usually the most successful people in the world are the ones who know what they want to do in life from a very young age, and have the talent to really do it.

The best programmers, athletes, businessmen and so on, they all know that they were born to excel at exactly one thing. Knowing what you want in life allows you to focus on that thing only. Making a personal is a useful technique that can help you clarify what kind of relationships do you want.

AgileLeanLife - Productivity articles

Other interesting articles on productivity and time management from the blog:

1. The only time management guide you will ever need – The most valuable asset you have in your life is time. If you had infinite time on this planet, you could achieve every single thing you wanted. The time limitation is the biggest burden of our lives. Therefore the first rule of success is to manage time wisely.

A successful person and a homeless person have the same amount of time on a day to day basis. I know that every one of us is facing a different level of life challenges, but in general, both individuals spend their time and set their priorities very differently.

2. A no interruptions day – Best time management tip ever – I was inspired by Jason Fried’s TED talk explaining why work doesn’t happen at work. The main reason are constant interruptions – M&Ms, where M&M stands for meetings and managers.

At the office, people are constantly interrupting you, be it in person, via phone, e-mail etc. With all the interruptions, the working day ends before you know it, with you having zero productive hours. Sadly not a lot people have the luxury of having several hours of uninterrupted time at the office. That’s why people don’t do real work in their office.

3. Kick-off and shut-down routine – Your morning (kick-off routine) and evening habits (shut-down routine) should be more than just habits. They should be your personal rituals, something, you never miss, no matter what; your personal rituals for keeping inner peace, focus, personal development, life planning, health and happiness.

In the long term, your kick-off and shut-down routine are probably the most important parts of the day for your success, and the best tool for putting important tasks before the urgent ones. It’s an important tactical move that can help you stay true to your own goals.

4. The proactive way to taking breaks throughout the day – You aren’t only more productive during working hours if you plan your brakes in a smart way. Even more importantly, if you learn how to proactively take breaks throughout a day, it makes the off-time and your life in general so much more enjoyable and fun.

It may sound easy to proactively plan breaks, but in reality it’s not. That’s why most people aren’t doing it. We have to even put together a few core concepts to understand what proactive breaks really are.

5. The biggest impact 20 % of all the changes you make and activities you do in your life have 80 % of the positive (or negative) impact on your life. That is to say, what will have the biggest impact on your life is where your focus should be.

If you don’t know where to begin based on your vision list, ask yourself which activity would have the biggest impact on your life right now and what is your current biggest opportunity that can change your life forever. It’s a tool that can help you take a step from the search mode into the execution mode and focus yourself.

6. Setting strong foundations – The higher the skyscraper you want to build, the stronger the foundations you need. Without strong foundations, the skyscraper will collapse sooner or later. It’s the same with achieving your goals in life.

The more ambitious goals you have, no matter in which area of life, the stronger foundations you’ll have to build. Building strong foundations should be your first tactical step you should take. It may delay you meeting your final outcome a little bit, but strong foundations will help you make sure that your dreams don’t collapse mid-way.

7. Low-hanging fruit and early wins – Early wins are very important, because they boost your self-confidence. Early wins motivate you and show you that it can be done. Early wins push you to go forward and achieve more.

Early wins help you to overcome fatigue before achieving your final goal. So when you lose your motivation, analyze which early win you can easily achieve and it will probably motivate you to get back in the game in full capacity.

8. Setting limits in life (minimums and maximums you should do) – Limits are nothing but minimums and maximums in our lives. The especially important ones are daily and weekly limits.

The simple idea is that you have a minimum and a maximum number of units (time, money…) you’re prepared to spend on a certain activity (work, sports, spouse…). Having limits helps you organize investments of your time, energy and other resources on the tactical level.

9. Different speeds in life – A very useful concept in life to understand is that you don’t have to do everything with the same speed. Sometimes going fast means being the least productive at all. Knowing how to slow down enables you to enjoy life more, build a better life strategy and, in the long run, allows you to be even more productive.

The concept of using different speeds in life is important in personal as well as business life. Different speeds in your personal life There are things in life that you should do extremely slowly and there are things you should do extremely fast.

10. Keeping enough margin in life – The idea of margin is that you have physical, mental, emotional, and financial limits that are more or less fixed. When you exceed this limit, it leads to overload and consequently to more stress, intensity and unhappiness.

On the other hand, if you let some space between your maximum capacity and how much you take upon yourself, it leads to you restoring your emotional, physical, time and other reserves.

The space between your maximum capacity and how much you take upon yourself is called margin. For long-term success and an ability to stay flexible in life, it’s very important that you keep enough margin. A stressed-out or burned-out person is definitely not a successful one.

11. Manipulating your discipline with transaction costs – The formula for manipulating transaction costs is very simple. You want to automate wherever possible, and minimize the number of irrelevant decisions to zero, so there are no transaction costs at all.

For desired (new) behavior, you want to decrease transactional costs to the minimum, really going as low as possible. For undesired behavior, you want to increase transactional costs to the maximum, always putting new obstacles in your way.

12. Business Model You – Book Summary – Reinvent your career – Much like I am innovating with applying agile and lean techniques in general to personal life, Tim Clark innovated how to use the Business Model Canvas for planing a complex career decisions and maximizing your personal value creation. He came up with a brilliant idea for a canvas named Business Model You.

The canvas already helped thousands of people to clarify what they want out of their career. The idea of Business Model You is to help you with complex thinking when you want to make changes in your career. It helps you reinvent your career path by finding the best way for you as an individual to support yourself financially based on your talents, goals, needs, desires and environment.