Agile Ways: Reflect and Adjust

The Weekly “Stand Up”

In my life, Sunday evenings just before I wind down for bed are a very special time. I use this time to reflect on the previous week and to strategize for the week to come by adjusting course as needed. This is a practice that I picked up from other personal development professionals over the years and it is also consistent with Personal Agility practices.

Reflection

But in order for these sessions to be part of my Agile life, there are a few things that need to be done. First, the reflection needs to be targeted, lovingly critical and honest, and celebratory. To be targeted, I mean I’m taking a look at the goals I defined for myself the previous week to see how I matched up to those self-expectations. I’m also considering my broad vision that I have mentally constructed for my life and how I see myself in the future.

This is important because I don’t want this reflection to be subject to whatever crosses my mind. Like, “Oh, I passed off my shopping cart to that old lady on Thursday so she didn’t have to walk all the way across the store to get one. I guess I was a nice guy this week!” It’s nice to be nice, but if that wasn’t one of my goals, I don’t want to waste my time thinking about it right now.

It is also important that my reflection is lovingly critical and honest. I want this feedback system to be grounding in self-love, completely devoid of negative self-talk. That said, the session needs to do some good, so I also don’t want to shower myself with compliments either. I can see how this might be difficult to get right at first for some people, but really, I’ve been critiquing my own performance like this for long enough that I can be pretty honest without feeling like I’m kicking myself.

The third important aspect of my reflection is that it needs to be celebratory. This is the part where I intentionally build up as much pride and feelings of accomplishment as I possibly can. If my goal a week ago was X and now, seven days later, I have accomplished X, you better believe I’m throwing a mental party for myself!

Strategy

Next, I like to mentally gear up for the week ahead. This is the most Agile part of this process, I think. The reason I say that is because these sessions are periodic and the reason they are periodic is because plans, situations, needs, and how I need to manage it all will change. So considering my broad vision that I mentioned before, what is it that I need to get done this week to keep me on track?

But this is also very specific; it is exactly three goals, and these goals have to be the three most important goals toward my vision that must get done in the coming week.

Two goals might not push me hard enough and I might not make enough progress. Four goals might push me too hard, and if put too much on my plate and consistently fail to accomplish goals, I might become discouraged or risk burn-out.

So, it’s the three most important goals for that week and at that time. And, I have all of the data (inputs) from the reflection session that I just did for the previous week’s work to use to help me figure out – in context – exactly what those goals should be.

And that’s really it. It doesn’t have to take long and it is a serious help to keep me focused on the right stuff, to keep me motivated, and to keep me moving forward in my own way.

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