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My Experience of OKRs as a Personal Life Metric

OKRs.jpeg

January is over, it’s been more than 30 days since most people started writing their NYE resolutions. Time is passing by and the reality is that by the end of the year only 8% of people will actually achieve their NYE resolutions.

Before the year begins, we get all excited and start writing all the great things we want to accomplish this year, but this is vomiting ideas out. A big applause for motivation and excitement but execution is everything. However, it’s never too late to start doing your resolutions for this year.

It will take time and patience to build up a habit of learning and developing a new skill. Charles Duhigg in his book: The Power of Habit states that the brain is always looking for ways to save effort. That’s why our brain doesn’t work like in The Matrix where you input a skill you want to learn at the beginning of the year and then you’ll learn it.

Matrix Skill

So let’s say for this 2016 goals we want to Wake up Earlier, Lose Weight and Learn something new. We are talking about three habits and one habit becoming a skill. Because before you start learning to code every day or learning to dance salsa, you must first create the habit of making time, right?

So to make becoming the next 80-year-old salsa dancer a reality. We must establish a little bit of structure to accomplish our goals, measure them, and if we like them then continue to develop them.

 

To overcome this structure of how our brain is wired, I suggest that you establish Objective and Key Results (“OKRs”) as your personal life metric for creating better habits and new developing skills.

 

What are OKRs?

Objectives and Key Results is a popular technique that was implemented at Google in 1999 by John Doerr and they been using it ever since. Basically, it is a method of defining and tracking objectives and their outcomes.

You can found out more by watching Rick Klau explaining how Google Sets Goals:

https://youtu.be/mJB83EZtAjc

It’s pretty fascinating how this system has helped Google operate in an ambitious and measurable way. So we are bringing this easy-to-follow structure to our daily lives.

So first, you set up an Objective; it should be ambitious and take you out of your comfort zone.

Then you set up a number of “Key Results” these must be measurable, in other words, they are quantifiable and should be graded between 0 and 10, something simple to grade. The “sweet spot” according to Rick Klau, is between 6–7, and I also encourage that spot. If someone gets a 10, it means it was way too easy, not ambitious enough, and probably well within your comfort zone. Low grades should be analyzed to help you reassess the next OKRs. Low grades should make you ask: Is it worth doing? Do I actually feel passionate to develop this skill? What can I do differently to reach my objective?

And lastly, OKRs are public. This is very important; posting your OKRs will help you to have public commitment and support from your friends.

 
Richard Newton

Let’s use an example to give you an idea (in fact this will start to be my public OKR). I suggest that you should make your OKRs quarterly; this will help you to keep motivated. We should see them as small goal chunks, instead of the whole year resolutions.

Daniel Yubi’s OKRs:

Objective: To develop a healthy holistic (Mind, Soul, & Body) Personal Growth Life.

Key Results:

1.- Join a Gym and attend 5 times a week, with a 60-minute session as the minimum.

2.- Meditate 15 minutes before 7 am in the morning during weekdays.

3.- Read 1 book every fortnight.

4.- Eat 5 lean meals a day.

5.- Learn the basics of coding and launch my own website.

Basically, my objective says that I want to be healthy in different areas of my life with the purpose to keep growing as a person.

This year’s quarter has already started, so I will have less time to do my OKR. So I commit myself working on this until March 31st, just when Q1–2016 finishes. Then I will grade myself and do my average of Key Results to see my Objective Grade.

When I finish grading the Q1, then I will start planning my OKRs for Q2. I can focus on the same Objective, but pivot to new Key Results (e.g. could family be something I want to involve now? ); any new Key Result should lead to objective grading in Q2.

If I have low grades i.e 3–4, I must ask myself why I didn’t deliver. What obstacles or external variables interfered, and can I eliminate them? These variables could be: a lot of work, you had an accident, or maybe you had more quality family time; so that’s good, you could pivot to that KR.

I want to suggest that you try this approach. It will help you to have a bigger vision, but making steps towards your objective. It also more rewarding to accomplish something in 3 months, and make new Goals rather than making 1 year goals. The best thing is that at the end of the year, you can take your annual average from your 4 OKRs, and really see how it went this year!

You will have a documented system of the progress of your life’s goals. You didn’t like them? Analyze, get some self-insight and just change them for the next quarter. This is about learning about you, and to assimilate what’s the best approach to keep growing into what you want to be.

I will leave you some basic notes from John Doerr’s Deck for OKRs:

  • Maximum 5 objectives with 4 Key Results
  • 60% -70% Grade -> Good
  • 40% > 0 — = Bad
  • Continue incomplete Key Results ONLY if they are still important.

 

Now to you 

So, are you ready to write your first Life OKRs?


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Daniel Yubi