This post is another by InRhythm’s own Josh Villahermosa. For the full post, relevant pics, and additional links, check out the original “Personal Planning Using Agile” on his medium.
Maybe there are times where you think you can have the most productive week ever, but in the end, you accomplish so little. Maybe you find yourself overbooked and often asking friends and colleagues to reschedule the next meet up. Working in the software industry, I picked up planning processes and techniques to help estimate when a project will get done. Applying the same processes to my personal life help me understand what I can do realistically and keep track of the things that need to be done. You will be surprised at what you can accomplish with proper planning. What I will show should be taken in the lightest fashion and encourages modification to fit your needs. It is an iterative process that allows you to measure your personal performance throughout the week. Here is how to get started.
Learn The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is productivity hack that allows measuring your time working and encourages high productivity. How it works is you take a task to focus on for 25 minutes. After that, you take a 5-minute break, and at the end of that, you work again on the same task for 25 minutes. After 4 iterations, you take a long break which is typically 10 to 20 minutes. The key is to really focus on that 25 minutes of work and take the 5/10/20/etc minutes to recharge (look at messages, Imgur, etc) or take a higher level view on where you are in the task. This allows you to work on the tasks longer and reduce fatigue. This is also great for estimating how long tasks will take. You can say it will take 3 Pomodoro’s to write this article. Later I will show you how this will relate to scheduling.
Use a Kanban Board
Kanban is a process that has come out of Toyota’s manufacturing process. It is a simple process of having items in columns (typically To Do, Work in Progress or WIP, and Done). They will start out usually in To Do and move in one direction from left to right, making its way to Done. Find a good online Kanban tool to use. You can use Trello which is free and very easy to use. For the purpose of this article, I will use Trello as my main Kanban tool. On Trello, create 4 columns: “To Do Soon”, “To Do”, “WIP“ (Work in Progress), and “Done”.