Tag Archives: personaleffectiveness

Remind yourself of your successes

Value in life is often tightly coupled to your personal goals and the journey towards them. When you finally reach a goal the feeling of joy and success is often momentary and drifts away from your memory before you know it, which is a shame because of the positive side effects successful memories has.

During the last year I have tried to capture the moment of success by reminding myself of my top accomplishments as a part of my daily activity management.

It is simply visualized as the second last stage in my workflow with the title “Worth Remembering” and works as my personal top ten chart of accomplishments.
Just before I move a task to “Done” I ask myself whether this is worth remembering? if so I land it in “Worth Remembering” and consider which accomplishment it needs to replace.

kanbana_worth_remembering_1024

I could also have chosen to make the list grow beyond the ten items but in this way it acts as a motivating factor because I then have to do the best I can in order to make future activities reach my personal top ten.

A tendency in many task managers and todo lists today is that completed activities is easily forgotten because they disappear in order for you to focus on the next activity on your list. The pitfall is that this behaviour makes you focus so much about “here and now” that you completely forget about the big picture and spend very little time dwell on your successes. This is a shame because I believe that your successes should be one of the key drivers of your future actions.

If you start visualizing your top successes it automatically reminds you of the good things in life and brings back a lot of nice memories which by itself is motivating and leads to positive thinking that I believe will affect the way you approach your current state of life.

An healthy exercise is to go through your whole board and evaluate if there are candidates in there to become “Worth Remembering” activities in the future. If there is you are on the right track, but if not – this is the time to rethink your life. If you have a full board of activities and none of them has the potential of becoming a top ten moment then reevaluate your activities and make room for something inspired by your “Worth Remembering” stage.

Until about a year ago I did a fair amount of agile coaching and  from that period of time I still have a single “Worth Remembering” activity. On one hand I think it is a bit pathetic that I can’t bear to move it to the done stage and make room for something new. But On the other hand it represents a valuable chapter in my life that I can use to compare my current activities against, and think about whether I miss it enough to change my current path back to what I once loved to do.

Recently I also noticed that only one of my “Wort Remembering” activities involves my family which has made me wonder wether my lifestyle is too narcissistic and I need to spend more time with my family. So other than capturing good memories my “Worth Remembering” also makes me reflect upon my overall balance in life, which I believe is a healthy thought process to go through once in a while.

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To wrap up my conclusion is that the “Worth Remembering” stage is a simple way of remembering your successes but also act as a sanity check that continuously helps you to strive for the good life.

I am looking forward to hear your thoughts on this matter. Do you think this approach could work for you? or do you have another approach that has a similar effect?

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Clarity trumps Effectiveness

Effectiveness trumps Productivity

When I first started out studying self-help methods I spent about a year using The Pomodoro Technique. The goal of The Pomodoro Technique is to sharpen your focus in order to become more productive. But the goal is also its weakness which took me way too long to realize. I learned to focus and handle interruptions in a positive manner and as my focus increased I became more productive. The only problem was that you can be very good at focusing and very productive without adding value at all. If you don’t spend your time on the right things at the right time the effect of what you are doing will be negligible. Reflecting upon a longer period of time made me realize that I produced more than before, thanks to my increased focus, but for what? I didn’t feel much more motivated and happier than before so how could that be?

Instead of focusing on productivity I began to focus on being effective. How can I with minimal effort add as much value for myself and my surroundings as possible? This requires a much broader view of what you are doing because it is about taking the right descicions at the right time and ensuring that what you are doing right now is the most important thing in the world. This requires clarity of your whole life and all activities you have going on both at work as well as in your private life.

Clarity trumps Effectiveness

Clarity should give you a calming feeling of being on top of things and being in control of your own your life and decisions. Clarity is the ability to predict your own future because you’ve realized that what the future brings depends on the actions from the past. Most of us knows about the first day at work after a vacation where you have to spent most of the day handling your inbox. Why do you think that is? People are not writing to you without a reason. It is usually a reaction to some kind of initiative you’ve started yourself.

I use to say that clarity is a snapshot of all activities you want to do within the next two weeks combined with your predictions of inevitable activities that automatically will come to you and as mentioned early the best indicator of the future is a clear picture of the recent past. If you are able to establish a snapshot like this and make it easy to comprehend you are in possession of the context needed to be in control and take good decisions. Without enough context your decisions will be based on false assumptions and you’ll start to do not important activities and initiate more than your capacity allows.

Trying to be effective without having clarity is a waste of time. In Lean Manufacturing we talk about decision filters that should guide us at a high level ensuring we are focusing on the most valuable improvements:

  • Value trumps flow
  • Ffow trumps waste elimination

If I should sum up what I’ve been talking about it can be narrowed down to my personal lean decision filters that guides my life at a high level:

  • Effectiveness trumps Productivity
  • Clarity trumps Effectiveness