How To Be An Agile Worker Jonathan Herrick A lot of us love our schedules. Maintaining a rigid routine and making sure that we know exactly what our day-to-day is going to look like is a way to manage stress and take some control over what might otherwise seem like an insurmountable workload. And yet, the more stuck we get in a routine, the less room we have to adapt — which can quickly turn into a problem in today’s always-changing business environment. What’s the fix then? For many professionals, learning to be flexible and an agile-oriented worker has helped solve the problems that rigidity can pose, allowing individuals to maintain autonomy over their schedules while still leaving room for adaptation. If you’re thinking about making the switch, here’s how to do it. The Benefits of Being an Agile Worker The concept of agility in the workplace refers as much to an individual’s attitude as it does their routine. Agility means prioritizing flexibility and personal strengths while minimizing the constraints of a set-in-stone work schedule. Sometimes referred to as activity-based working, or ABW, it’s a modern approach to an ancient problem, with the freedom for employees to work when and how they need to for peak productivity. There are a few big benefits to being an agile worker above and beyond having the freedom and flexibility to work according to preferences instead of prescriptions. Here are two of the surprising advantages that a lot of workers find when they make the switch. It shows coworkers that you’re multifaceted. When you’re able to shift gears and work on different projects as needed, you’re showing your coworkers that you’re not only skilled in various areas of work but also reliable, helpful, and a team player can help them get the job done. It helps you fine-tune your skills. Each project requires a different set of skills and various amounts of brainpower. By being agile, you can become a jack of all trades, capitalizing on what you do best and having the flexibility to develop those skills you still need to work on. For many professionals, being an agile worker means getting more done in less time and doing that work better. In a VersionOne State of Agile Survey, 69 percent of respondents reported that an agile approach has helped them manage changing priorities better, 64 percent said it’s boosted team morale, and 61 percent said it’s increased team productivity. With so many benefits, the question should really be why wouldn’t you go agile, not why you should. How To Be More Agile There are classes, courses, and conferences dedicated to helping workers become agile. But for our purposes here, we’re just going to break down a few of the essentials that will help get you where you want to be. 1. Start With Your Mindset When you’ve been doing something one way for so long, it can be hard to change course. That’s why an attitude adjustment is step one. Make sure you center yourself around the idea that a set schedule, while convenient, doesn’t always serve the bigger picture. Goals and tasks can (and do!) change on a whim, and if you’re securely tied to your schedule, you’ll just get irritated when you have to deal with that reality. 2. Be Organized To know how to best allot your focus, you need to know what your goals are. Use a calendar or project management tools to keep track of all the items on your to-do list so you can see at a glance what you need to tackle. Being more organized will help ensure that nothing gets neglected, especially when you have to switch gears quickly. 3. Have Fun! Agile working is all about breaking the yoke of inflexibility and allowing yourself to address your work in a way that makes you feel more satisfied. And while it might be hard to imagine having fun at your day job, if you make it an active goal, you’ll have an easier time learning not to sweat the small stuff. In most jobs and for most tasks, the outcome isn’t life or death. Allow yourself to relax a bit, and you might just find you’re able to roll with the punches a lot more than before. If you’ve gotten stuck in a rut with your work, your next step is to dig yourself out — not to sink in further. Try out an agile approach and see if it works for you, and don’t be afraid to workshop agile practices so you can find the exact set of tools that allows you to meet your objectives. Being an agile worker means letting go of the fear of change, riding the roller coaster of your workday, and addressing tasks and issues as needed instead of prioritizing everything at once. Not only will your team be happier, but so will you.