The Agile Way To a Healthy Life

Using a project management tool and the agile approach to track and improve my habits.

ver the past 2 years I’ve tried dozens of methods, systems and different morning routines, all eventually going away or eventually failing.

About 2 months ago I decided to rethink my approach and use tools that I’m deeply familiar and comfortable with, Scrum and Agile.

Scrum?

Scrum is an Agile framework for completing complex projects. Scrum originally was formalized for software development projects, but it works well for any complex, innovative scope of work. — “What is Scrum?

For my goals, I’m borrowing two core ideas:

  • Scrums
  • Retrospectives

In software development, a sprint is a set period of time on which specific set of work is completed and made ready for review, at the end of the period there is a process of review to see how the sprint went.

Retrospectives are used to facilitate the process of continuous improvement, by reviewing what happened during the sprint.

The Software

In order to have some flexibility, ability to search and keep a story record, I’m using Monday.com

Monday.com (formerly daPulse) is a visual project management tool that helps transform the way teams work together. It is a simple but intuitive tool that enables people to manage work, meet deadlines, and build a culture of transparency.

I found it incredible powerful and easy to use, not to mention convenient since I’m already using monday.com to plan and manage my team at work and a couple of side projects.

How?

The process itself is really simplified from proper agile scrum, the main focus is to create a system that can help me track, visualize and to continue improving.

I decided on 20 day sprints, as is both long enough to track meaningful change but short enough to make changes and course corrections; the first sprint looked like this:

Retrospective:

  • I tried to introduce too many new habits to my routine at the same time
  • Once I completed an habit for a couple of days straight it became harder to break the chain.
  • Unfortunately, the same chain logic psychologically works the same for failing to meet habits, once I failed to start for a couple of days it became hard and harder.
  • The order was not ideal, and as news catchup was fairly distracting.

Continuous Improvement

Based on the information from the last retrospective I made a few changes:

  • Consolidated the list of habits into more manageable list.
  • Setup a cap for morning news reading.
  • I pushed myself as not to allow more than one failure in a row.

The outcome was a much stronger sprint, with a couple failures mostly due to sickness.

Next Steps

I’m by no means done and I’m still tweaking the process, but so far it seems very promising it has allowed me to establish a cadence and build up towards better health and productivity.

If you want to give my method a shot, I have made my template available in google docs, just follow the link below.

Disclaimer: I’m a paying user of Monday.com and have received no form of compensation for this post.

Senior Engineering Lead @Humi, Regularly writing about software engineering and technology

Senior Engineering Lead @Humi, Regularly writing about software engineering and technology