Be agile about your life

Time eludes us. Spring turns into Summer and before you know it, the Queen’s Speech is on and we’re all drunk at the dinner table. Hours turn into days, days into weeks and perspective is too easily lost.

I find this particularly obvious on New Year’s Eve. This is a very reflective time for me, but I struggle to remember what I achieved at a high level.

Agile principles

We all have a job. So if we are working anyway, our lives should be an “optimisation game”. If we are spending time doing anything, let’s get the best from that time.

Agile comes in handy. Here’s a quick recap on the questions most agile teams answer every morning:

  • What did you do yesterday?
  • What will you do today?
  • What is blocking you?

I firmly believe in the agile way of thinking. I believe every day is an opportunity to change the world.

But I think these three questions need some work to make sense for life. And in the truest agile sense, these questions are indeed always up for debate.

Ask yourself:

  • What did you do today that got you from A to B? (this is deliberately abstract on life progress)
  • How did today make you feel? (this is diary territory but feelings significantly impact how distracted we are during our precious daytime hours)
  • What did you learn today? (this encourages us to constantly learn and improve, no matter how small)

Every day we should be agile with ourselves and ask these questions.

Days, days, days

I used to have an app that used the notifications counter to tell me how many days there were until a specific day. You might’ve used this for a birthday or Christmas countdown. Unfortunately the app stopped working after an iOS update. Sad times.

Anyway. I figured there is somewhere else I “come every day”. My terminal. I modified my .bash_profile to tell me how many days are left until the end of the year. And you can do it too. (Side note: it’s so nice to spend just a couple of hours writing a greenfield, tested “does one thing well” module on a Sunday.)

No slacking.

An example: Today [12 August 2018]

What did you do today that got you from A to B?

  • I wrote some greenfield public code that shows I still have JavaScript chops in a public context — this is good for my career/resumé
  • I achieved “Inbox Zero” (now Inbox Two, damn)

How did today make you feel?

I went out last night (messy in not a great way) so I slept a lot during the day. I dreamt a lot. I would’ve felt like it were a wasted Sunday if I didn’t write this blog and write some code, so in the end I feel “okay”.

What did you learn today?

  • Learnt how to write a global npm module
  • Wrote greenfield code with Jest (I have only ever inherited someone else’s tests)
  • Learnt what ‘figlet’ is (it’s a format/system for ASCII art)