When I think back over the course of my career and my life… The times where I’ve done the best and accomplished the most are all times where I was using well-timed and well-orchestrated sprints.

I can virtually guarantee that all the top people in any given field use some type of sprint planning. It’s the best way to accomplish more and get more results all while maintaining a great work-life balance.

Too many people—like you, reading this—are working too much, not getting enough done, and not spending the time they’d like with their family and loved ones. So, whatever it is you’re doing, let’s look at how you incorporate sprints to improve all of those areas.

What is a “sprint”?

The idea of a sprint is simple. It’s a set period of time where you agree to accomplish a certain number of things, with an overall goal for the sprint.

Sprints can vary in length, but I like 90 days. Some people may use a two-week sprint, a 30-day sprint, or even a 120-day sprint—it all depends on how likely you are to be changing things. If you’re not clear on what you should be working on 60 days from now, then set a smaller sprint. But if you know exactly what you need to do for the next 90+ days, then set a longer one.

Now, here’s how I tackle a sprint. At the beginning of a sprint I will look at the next 90 days and say to myself, “What do I want to accomplish?” and “What do I NEED to accomplish in order for this to be a successful sprint?” What are the biggest things to move the needle, or lever movers to get results in my business and personal life?

In my life, these are things that will move my business forward. In your life, it could be totally different. This doesn’t even have to be for your career or your business—if you’re a student, it could be for studying or if you’re looking to get in shape it could be for exercising.

Either way—you’re setting a goal for this sprint and you’re planning out how you’re going to achieve it.

When you’re looking at the goals for your sprint, I always recommend aiming high. Higher than you’d think, in fact. And here’s why…

The idea of setting “realistic goals” is B.S. Why would you set realistic goals? If you set realistic goals and follow them you’ll never achieve the massive leaps you’re capable of. But if you set high, lofty goals, you’ll already be surpassing the realistic goal even if you don’t hit your lofty one.

It’s a no-brainer—if you want to make true progress in your sprints, set lofty goals. You’ll be surprised by what you can achieve.

Sticking with your sprint

Now that you’ve decided on a goal and how to achieve it within your sprint period, it’s time to start working towards it.

I use 90 day sprints because I’ve found that it’s the perfect length of time where I can learn something, implement something, and do it for 90 days. But, again, whatever time frame works for you is best—it may take some time to dial it in.

As you’re getting close to the 90th day, you should be close to attaining your goal (or surpassing it). It is important to leave a one or two day buffer in your sprints in case you’re close to hitting your goal but you need a few more days. In that case, you want to just keep going until you hit it.

But once the 90 days are up, it’s time to step back and reevaluate. Take a break and look at what just happened over the 90 days.

Did you crush it and achieve your goal? Great! Now you have a good idea of what to plan for the next sprint. Take some time off and then reset for the next sprint.

Did you fall short of your goal because you reached too high? That’s great as well, because you probably went much further than if you had set a realistic goal. 

Did you fall short because of a choice you made? In some cases, you may need to change your path because of something that comes up midway through the sprint, because your goal changes, or whatever it may be. That’s fine, but you want to go back and figure out if you need to recommit to those goals or change something for the next sprint. I just completed a book that you may want to grab, titled The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick), by Seth Godin. That will help with this part of sprints.

Either way, at the end of the sprint you can now take some much needed time off. I like to take at least a week, sometimes two. That’s what makes it all worth it—you’re able to accomplish a lot during your sprint, but then you get some time off and you get that work-life balance you so desperately need.

Holding yourself accountable

Using sprints is only worthwhile if you’re able to hold yourself accountable! Just like any other goals, sprints serve no purpose if you’re just going to get lazy and not hold yourself accountable when you fail.

As I’ve said many times on this column, on my YouTube channel, and on all of my other content… GET YOURSELF AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER! 

Accountability partners and sprints go hand in hand. If you have this grand plan to accomplish a million things in the next 90 days, yet there’s no one there to hold you to it… You’re not going to accomplish those things. Let’s just be honest with ourselves!

I have an accountability partner that I meet with once per week on Monday. I make him a part of my 90-day sprint so that he’s not just holding me accountable to the end-goal, but to every step I take during the sprint itself. 

I would strongly suggest you do the same. In fact, sprints may not even be worth your time if you don’t!

It’s time to set up your first sprint. What will you accomplish during it?