Fresh Starts


fresh starts

“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” — L.M. Montgomery

Nothing is worse than feeling like a beast of burden.  It’s easy to get overwhelmed with things to do, and keep on piling more and more.

One of the most important aspects of Agile Results in Getting Results the Agile Way is the idea of “fresh starts.”  Get a fresh start each day, each week, each month.  To do this, you shift from focusing on “backlog burndown” to “value up.”

Several years ago, a friend and I were driving to lunch.  It was Friday, it was sunny out, and it should have been a great time.  Instead, we were both focused on all the work we didn’t get done yet.

I caught myself looking in the rearview mirror and realized I could look forward or backward.  I turned to my friend and said that we have a few hours left in the day, and we can make the most if it.  There’s more than we could possibly do, so we have to choose what we want to achieve with the time we’ve got.

Together we identified a few wins we could do with the time left in the day, including having a great lunch, and we ended the week on a high-note.  Strangely, by shifting our focus to “value up,” meaning what’s the value we could focus on, instead of just burning through our backlog of stuff, was the difference that made the difference.

While I still keep a master “To Do” list, I get a fresh start by creating a new list each day and each week.  I let things “slough off” by focusing on the highest value.  I get a fresh start each Month by thinking of it as a reset, as I turn the page.  I recap the three wins from the last month, and I identify a new overall theme for the month, and three wins that I want to achieve.

You can think of Fresh Starts as a focus on opportunity, instead of a focus on unfinished business.  It’s also a focus on the future vs. the past.  All the stuff on your plate is still input, but it’s not the focus.  You create a fresh start by carving out the wins you want to achieve.

Fresh starts create energy and momentum that you just can’t get if your mind is full of baggage and burden.

Want a fresh start today?  Ask yourself would would be three wins you could achieve today.

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