The Daily: Another Agile Practice in Family

Some time ago I shared the first formal agile practice we incorporated as a family. I’m talking about our Family Meeting. During this meeting we analyze our week in terms of what we achieved and valued. Likewise, we get ready for next week’s challenges.

In fact, in order to face whatever we need to face during this new week, we’ve put in place another agile practice. Today, I introduce you to our Daily. But first, why adopt agile practices? Or better yet, why the agile last name?

I see it this way. Agility as a life philosophy or mindset is based in essentialism, the practice of less is more. Minimalism has been something we’ve integrated into our way of living for a few years now. How can I do things in a simple way? How can I pay attention to life’s details? How can I let go of the extra, of everyday’s noise? I focus my essentialist practice in these questions; in other words, going back to our values, keeping what works, detaching from what you don’t need, and giving space to what you value — give way to abundance.

Without getting into the details of any specific framework, agility allows you to work in such a way that you can be effective and adaptable. From my point of view — I’m no expert, but I practice it anyway — the agile practices we’ve adopted bring some order to the chaos, without becoming rigid. These are flexible structures that help you develop a work habit, be organized, have a clearer criteria and focal point, and still ride the ups and downs of a rollercoaster. Let’s dive in into this practice I want to share with you today.

Before anything else, you should know that my husband and I share a board. It looks like this:


As you can see, it has five columns:


In the first column, we put our projects. For example, one of my projects is the blog. I also have another one for other personal stuff. Finally, I share a project with my husband, the Family Sprint, where we put our shared tasks.

The second column corresponds to the Inbox. Here you’ll find all the tasks we need to work on. Next, the column of Vital Few. We decided that in this column, precisely because we are talking about what’s essential and vital — and priorities can’t be comprised of many things — we can have a maximum of three tasks per project.

We move now to the column we have named Laser Focus. The wip (work in progress) limit is one task. However, I’m not talking about one task per project, but ONE task among all the current projects. We are directing our laser, our whole attention to this single task. Finally, there’s a Done column.

We empty all our pending tasks in the inbox. Then, from those tasks we choose up to three. Tasks are written on post-it notes. So, we move those selected post-its to the next column of Vital Few — you can have three tasks per project at the same time. These tasks are our priority. To the extent possible, we estimate that all the tasks within this column should be completed in the current sprint. Understand a sprint as a race with a set time. Our sprints last one week. Therefore, these are the tasks we expect to complete before finishing the race by the end of the week.

The scope, though is variable. That’s why I said “to the extent possible.” This means it’s ok if we don’t get to finish everything we estimated. At the same time, it allows us to improve our predictability and avoid planning fallacy — which it essentially is underestimating the time it takes us to complete a task.

At the beginning of every sprint, in our case Mondays, we determine its objective, meaning, what we want to accomplish that week. We write it down on a post-it and place it at the upper-left corner of the board, above the projects.

Sprint Objective

Let’s keep going with the route. Once we have chosen the most important tasks, here comes the Daily. Each morning, before setting ourselves to work, we stand in front of our board and answer the following questions:

  1. What did I do yesterday that contributed to reaching the sprint’s objective?
  2. What am I going to do today to contribute to reaching the sprint’s objective?
  3. Is there any impediment or risk that will prevent us from reaching our objective?

As you can see, this practice starts with a brief reflection on the work done. Then, we establish our focal point for the day. For such, we move the post-it with the selected task to the column of Laser Focus. If we complete that task early on, we can drag another task from the column of Vital Few to Laser Focus. Every time we complete a task we drag it to the last column of Done. As a last step, if we identify an impediment or risk, the idea is to find a way to remove it in order to reach our goal.

In my path to finding balance among habits, systems, structures, and flexibility, the Daily has allowed me to keep focused throughout the week. This in turn offers me a greater opportunity to finish the important tasks. You see, when you’re your own boss and lack unmovable deadlines, it’s very easy to get carried away, to get distracted. You lose consistency and stop showing up. When I remind myself every morning what’s my objective of the week, I can better channel my thoughts into the right direction.

Even if you work on a tight schedule, the Daily is a practice that can help you better organize yourself and prioritize. What is more, since the pandemic, I’ve never stopped hearing people say they have more work now than before. Well, then, all the more reason for integrating this practice into your day to day. It will allow you to visualize the job to be done, make better decisions about what needs to be done right now, and keep sailing on that boat for better efficacy. Furthermore, it’s very dynamic and fun; it gives space to reflection and continuous improvement.

So, how is your agile and essential road looking like?



…Because for every door shut at you, a window of opportunity will open. Join me in the path of mindfulness, happiness, and essentialism for a fulfilling life.

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The Collector

…Because for every door shut at you, a window of opportunity will open. Join me in the path of mindfulness, happiness, and essentialism for a fulfilling life.