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#49: Time in Perspective: Saying Yes using Agile

Coaching Hive
Coaching Hive
#49: Time in Perspective: Saying Yes using Agile
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Welcome to a new year with the Coaching Hive podcast.  To say last year was a whirlwind would be an understatement, but with action comes clarity.  And this year, I will be guiding you in gaining clarity as you take action in your coaching business.  We are starting off 2022 with a series of episodes focused on time.

Introduction

In thinking about the upcoming year, a few words come to mind: simplicity, clarity, and vision.  In fact, we wrapped up 2021 with a series on your Mindful Vision for your business in 2022.  What about you?  When you think about the upcoming year and your business, what words strike you as most important?  If you haven’t had a chance to think about that, it can be a powerful experience.  I say this even though I’m not typically one to choose a word for the year.  In fact, I still can’t do that, but I do have those three words in mind that will guide my actions, decisions, and path.  They allow for flexibility and freedom as well as grounding and meaning.

Now, I know you aren’t listening today for me to expound upon three words that have been on my mind as I contemplate the new year, but I promise there is a path here.  Think about building your business.  

What would you like to say yes to in the coming year?

With your Mindful Vision, from episodes 45-48, do you now have more clarity?

You might be shaking your head no and I get it.  It is really easy to say that everything will align with your vision because in some way it will all be linked.  And you are right, many different activities can be directly linked to your business, but not every activity will be as important or helpful to your business.

This is where you have to stop and decide what to say yes to while keeping the amount of time you have in perspective.

Over the past few weeks, this has been a hot topic in our house.  As an entrepreneur you can easily focus on the tasks that are interesting, quick wins and ignore the harder more daunting but infinitely more important tasks.  Maybe those bigger tasks that seem daunting are what will move your business forward the most but you can’t find the time or energy.

What if you tried something similar to an Agile approach?

This is something that I recently implemented inside my business and we are even giving it a whirl in our homeschooling routine as a way to manage and master time.  Using an Agile approach definitely makes you keep the time that you have in perspective, helps you get the big things done, and get those other satisfying, “yes” type tasks taken care of as well.

I don’t follow the letter of the law with Agile because Agile is not deadline driven, but I hope to get to a place where I can use Agile in the way it was intended. For now, I’m taking the pieces that work for me and building from there.

Remember, keep your time in perspective.  You can’t do everything all the time in the exact way you’d like.

If you are ready, I’ll give you a sneak peak into how I’m keeping time in perspective this year in my planning and aligning everything back to my vision.  Doing this is not only bringing clarity, it is bringing simplicity and ease. It’s already bringing simplicity and ease. And I’m just getting started. Does that sound like something that you want to have inside your business?  Probably shaking your head. Yes, I can. I can understand. And I can agree.

Agile Process Explained

Let’s talk for the remainder of our episode, our time together today, a little bit about what the agile process looks like when I’m implementing agile inside my business, what I’m doing is creating a set of systems, essentially. And I start with, what’s known as the backlog inside of agile.

Now I am a list-maker much like many coaches are. We like to make our lists. We like to check them off, keep everything in order in line. And sometimes when you create your lists, you start to go, oh my goodness, that list is long. How am I supposed to tackle it? What does it look like with the agile backlog?

What I did was create all of the tasks that I needed to do this next year. This includes things like social media. It includes masterclasses. It includes networking. It includes all of the different things that I need to do. Whether it’s planning, implementing, creating, it’s all listed in the backlog. The backlog is long, but funny enough, it’s not overwhelming because here’s what I did.

I took the backlog. And at first I had a really long list of items that need to be taken care of in 2022. Then I looked for some categories and I divided things out so that I would know what categories I was focused on with each of these different tasks that I had listed in the backlog. And from there, I started to plan what I would complete in what’s known as a sprint.

And for my purposes, I chose a 10 day sprint. So this is 10 working days. I chose a 10 day sprint. Some companies go with a seven, some companies go with 10. It really just depends on what works for you and your business. The idea though, behind a sprint is figuring out what tasks you have time for in that set amount of time.

What can you accomplish in that, in my case, a span of 10 working days. And so what I did was I moved items from the backlog based on priority. What’s most important to get done right now, in my case, some things have a deadline that are looming. So I moved those. And as I was moving things from the backlog into my sprint category, I was able to think about how much time each would take. My husband sat down with me and he helped me think about, is this a small task, a medium, a large and extra-large task. And it will help moving forward to know, can I accomplish three small tasks in 10 days, or maybe just one large task. If I have medium tasks, can I get one or two done? And in doing this, you become more and more effective at planning your time, because you start to recognize in a sprint, you can accomplish X amount of small, medium, large, extra-large tasks. 

You plan accordingly. And if you have any deadlines thrown in there that you need to be aware of, you can make plans for that as well. In my sprint, I pull things from the backlog. I had categorized my backlog. I had put each category, all the items in each category in priority order. I knew to draw from the top of each category. And then I put all those into the sprint. So now, instead of having all these things looming and wanting to get ahead and wanting to pre do things, now I have a really concrete list of stuff to do. And this is a little bit different than my daily to do stickies. What it allows someone to do is look at the bigger picture. So a 10 day list of stuff that needs to get done. And sometimes that means grouping things together and getting them all done at once. It might mean taking a task and breaking it across four different workdays.

And then the remaining work days are devoted to a different task. It might mean interspersing different tasks every day, but always keeping track of the time that you have as you plan a sprint, you have to make sure that you are not planning more than you can do. And you may be saying, but what if I just overshoot it? Then I have, you know, if I get things done, have something to pull from, no, my friend, you don’t need to do that because now you have a backlog, you have a list already created. That’s prioritized that you can pull from. In fact, you can even move one or two things from your backlog so that you have it right there, ready to go.

In case you get done with your sprint work. So now he don’t have to over to do yourself, right? You don’t have to put more things and you can get done in your sprint because you already have a backlog created and is already prioritized. It is already ready and waiting for that moment. When you go, whoa, I have an extra hour.

I bet I can accomplish. And now you can say, Ooh, I have time for a small task. Let me find the next small task on the list and inserted here into the sprint. I am still a big fan of each day, having three big tasks to get done, like three tasks that I write out, knowing that one will probably get done.

But this sprint helps me better plan that this sprint information helps me better plan it. And when you start to work on something from your sprint list, you move it into an in progress category. This lets you know that you have already gotten, it started. You have already begun to make progress. Now, if you have something up on your agile board of things, whether it’s a physical board, like the whiteboard I have in my office or a digital board like Trello, you can notice if something has been neglected so much easier because now it still may be stuck in the sprint category hasn’t been moved to in progress. You can highlight that, put some exclamation points, a red sticky note beside it so that you know, to get working on it. And if you’re anything like me, you love to check a task off. I love the physical act of checking something off in my planner. It’s one of the reasons I use a paper planner is because I love to check things off. It is one of those moments that you go, oh, you breathe your shoulders release that tension.

And you know that you’ve gotten something done. Guess what? Agile has a column for done. We moved from backlog to sprint the things in your sprint. As you start working on them, go to in progress and you continue to work on those. And once you finish that task, you move it to your done category. It’s a great way to see what you have accomplished.

Remember when we have a lot on our mind when we’re doing a lot of things at once, it’s easy to forget how much we are getting done. This is a simple, a simple visual way to see all that you have accomplished. And at the end of that sprint, what happens is you look to see what you were able to get done. You use that data in a way that helps you plan your next sprint.

Maybe you overestimated what you could get done, and you still have a task that was on the sprint list that never even made it to in progress because you just didn’t have time. Now you better know how to plan for the next sprint. You can realize. While I had three smalls, one medium and a large planned, I got the large done and I got the smallest done,

but I didn’t get to the medium. Now you know what you’re typically capable of in a sprint. And you can continue to learn and evolve your process for choosing from the backlog based on what you get done, each sprint. Notice we start with a lot of prep, work, a lot of planning. And at the end, you, you end with a lot of prep work and planning.

You don’t go into each new sprint going, oh, I hope it works. No, you look at that backlog with intention with time in perspective so that you know what to say yes to right now. And then you put it into the queue so that you can get it done.

Conclusions

There you have it.  A start to keeping time in perspective and deciding what to say yes to inside your business.  By keeping your backlog and sprint parameters in mind, you can move with intention and ease through your list.  Make progress and take more consistent action today.

Next week we are going to talk about the things that you are or should be saying no to inside your business and even in your life.  And if you guessed that Agile helps with that, you are right.

Tip for the Week

To help you stay on track this week, create your backlog list.  What do you need to get done in the next month, quarter, or even year.  Look back to your previous year if you have task lists to help you build this backlog, revisit your vision to think about what needs to get done so that vision becomes a reality.  Then choose tasks from your backlog to work on over the next 7 or 10 days.

I look forward to seeing you back here next week for another episode of the Coaching Hive Podcast where a focus on mentoring and community removes the overwhelm of building your successful coaching business and adds in a dose of momentum.

Until next time, have a healthy, safe, and happy week!

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