Episode 61: Is 90 The New 365? Why 90-Day Sprints Are Magic

Let’s discuss why 90-day sprints are magic.

Welcome to the SPS Podcast

“Whether it’s the best of times or the worst of times, it’s the only time we’ve got.” 
—Art Buchwald.


I’m bullish on 90 sprints.

They changed my life.


Let me explain...

Up until 2018...I would set yearly goals. Then do a mid-year review during June...my birthday month.

I love having a birthday slap-bang in the middle of the year. It’s a fantastic milestone.

But...as I got older...especially in my 30s...

I often felt depressed and annoyed at my lack of progress for the year.

I was pushing myself to climb the corporate ladder or start a business. And felt behind in my goals. 

My wife even picked up on this yearly cycle and dip in energy. The early summer June blues. Dumb Sh*t looking back now...haha

While I was happy to have a birthday...I know I was frustrated with my year being off track...compared to my January goals.

So what changed? 

Early in 2018...I was given the opportunity to lead a pilot project at the insurance company where I worked. 

Helping 4 managers and 30 team members trial a new customer onboarding process. 

It was a 90-day project... PWC had been hired to help set up and track the process. I was there to roll it out to the teams and lead them through the process.

It was my first time working with proper project managers and a top-level consultant specializing in behavioural economics. 

It was an exciting time in my career.

But...I was more excited about the concept of 90-day sprints and what they could do for me.

While in the meetings and brainstorming sessions for the pilot project...I couldn’t stop thinking I had found the Holy Grail of personal progress.

I felt like Archimedes taking a bath.

EUREKA...I found the answer to my yearly progress problems.

The process lit up my brain...

From milestones and journey mapping to work breakdown structures... the fundamental project management skills gave me the tools to set up 90-day sprints 

Then it all clicked and seemed so obvious.

The year is broken into 4 seasons that last roughly 90 days.

The equinoxes happen every 90 days at the back end of each quarter.

The Earth goes around the Sun in 90-day sprints. (Kinda)

Okay...yes...this is amateur-hour science...but it felt like the universe was telling me... “Yo Stephen...this is how you get sh*t done.”

This is where it gets interesting...

I started doing it.

By the time April 2021 came around...

I had been promoted and moved to 3 other projects. With my side hustle... I built up enough momentum to leave corporate and start my coaching business 

From 2021 to today in 2023...I have now helped dozens of business owners progress...and my business continues growing.

I no longer feel sad and frustrated in June. I no longer wait for New Year’s or mid-year to review and set new goals. 

I make progress every quarter.

Damn... these sprints work.

But you may be asking..” Why do they work?”

Good question... besides the universe and seasons wanting you to work in these 90-day chunks.

I have pulled out 5 key benefits of working in 90-day sprints:

Let’s dive in.. 

1) Clarity and Focus: 90-day sprints provide a defined timeframe for achieving my goals. This short-term focus helps me concentrate on my high-value/dollar work. It helps prevent me from doing dumb sh*t.

2) Adaptability: If sh*t isn’t working... I have the flexibility to pivot after just 90 days or earlier. I’m no longer waiting for June to do my mid-year review. 

3) Data and Feedback: 90-day sprints allow for frequent check-in. Four times a year...I go deep into reviewing and planning. 

The best way to set goals is with data. This process gives me data.

4) Motivation and momentum: Short-term goals are more motivating than long-term ones. 

Yes...I have long-term goals...you should too. But the momentum you get from week to week working on your 30...60..90 days goals is unmatched.

5) Risk Mitigation: I gave myself two 90-day sprints to start my business in 2021. It wasn’t until halfway through the second sprint I started making money. Today...I use sprints to test ideas...hire support...or focus on a skill.

You avoid over-committing when you work in sprints. 

Now...I will say this...

Sprints don’t mean I’m hustling and busting my balls for 90 days.

It means I’m chunking out my year into 4 and selecting goals to complete each quarter.

I pick goals for health...family...wealth...business.

I approach my life holistically.

I want the summer quarter of the year to be more chill.

But I always have goals I want to have completed by the end of each 90-day sprint.

Some quarters... I sprint...others I walk...because life is a long ass journey of many milestones.

Are you ready to tap into the magic of 90-day sprints?


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