Day 3 – Daily Outcomes – Use Three Stories to Drive Your Day

“Make each day your masterpiece.” — John Wooden

Your Outcome: Take control of your day by connecting your activities to what you value and what inspires you.  Turn even the most mundane activities into meaningful opportunities.
Welcome to day 3 of 30 Days of Getting Results.  In day 2, we looked at using three stories to drive your week.  Today we take a look at using three stories to drive your day.  I call this practice Daily Outcomes and it’s from my book, Getting Results the Agile Way.
Daily Outcomes is a way to use three stories to drive your day.  Before you start your day, simply identify the three results or outcomes you want to accomplish for the day, and work backwards from that.  An outcome can be anything from, “I had a great lunch,” to “I enjoyed my day,” to “I kicked arse in my presentation.”  What’s important is that you’re jumping ahead to the end result.  I like to think of this practice as taking a few mindful minutes to avoid going on a mindless march.
3 Steps for Great Daily Outcomes
Here are three steps you can use to create your three compelling stories to drive your day:
  • Step 1. Identify your three key outcomes.  You choose what your three key results are. For example, maybe your three most important outcomes are: “I mowed the lawn, I completed my project plan, and I had a great lunch.”  If you’re feeling really off, maybe your three outcomes are, “I enjoyed my breakfast, I enjoyed my lunch, and I enjoyed my dinner.”
  • Step 2. Turn your three outcomes into one-liner stories.  Stories help you add an emotional connection to your tasks.  You can even be the hero (“Today, I conquered the mess in the laundry room.”)
  • Step 3. Connect your stories to your values. You can connect your stories to things you value.  For example, maybe you don’t like to rake the leaves, but you like to do your part “to help.”  Maybe you don’t like doing spreadsheets, but you like “to improve.”  Maybe you like “adventure.”  Maybe you like “achievement.”  To build on the previous example, “Today I conquered the laundry room with skill” which is a contrast to slogging my way through to victory.  One of the things I like to do each day is “master my craft.”  Get creative.  Find the play in your day.
The real beauty of Daily Outcomes is that you can wake up any day and simply ask yourself, “What are the three things I really want to accomplish today?”  That’s it.
Make Your “To Do” List More Meaningful
But what if you have way more than three things to do for the day?   Simply add your three outcomes to the top.
The three outcomes will guide all the rest of your tasks.  These three outcomes are your “tests for success” for the day.  It’s your personal way of setting yourself up for success each day.
Be the Architect, the Author, or the Director of Your Life
Designing each day empowers you to make things happen with skill.  You can be the architect of your day or the author of your life, a story at a time, and a day at a time:
  • You get to be the architect of your life.  Design stories that empower and inspire you for action.
  • You get to be the author of your life.  Write your story forward and connect to your emotions.
  • You get to be the director of your life.  You choose where to point your camera and what to focus on.
Always remember that you are the most important meaning maker in your life.
Your Assignment
  1. Identify the three results you want for today.
  2. Turn each result into a simple story that connects to your passion and values.
Photo by dpape.