What you’ll get out of this article:

  • an easy-to-implement method to find focus every day
  • a tool inspired from agile project management

What is a Daily Stand-up?

It’s a team meeting during which each member has 3 minutes to answer the following questions:

  1. What did I achieve since our last meeting?
  2. What do I want to achieve today?
  3. Where do I need help?

It’s a structure that helps people focus on what’s most important on that day. The underlying question here is:

What is the thing that, once it’s done, will make the biggest difference for achieving my or the team’s goal(s)?

In agile project management teams, this methodical element is often used to make sure that the team members synchronise their work to reduce redundancies (i.e. that several people work on the same problem at the same time, making at least one of the versions redundant.)

Usually, the team members stand up in a circle while they answer these questions. It’s more dynamic and people are more alert standing than sitting. The number of people is limited to 5 so that if each member uses her maximum of time the overall time is no longer than 15 minutes.

Timing each person’s speaking time is important because part of the attraction of the daily stand-up lies in its brevity. It’s meant as an ignition spark in the morning.

Does a Daily Stand-up make sense for individuals working independently from each other?


Especially if your “team” members all work on similar tasks, such as finishing a PhD dissertation while at the same time looking for a job, the Daily Stand-up helps create a sense of community, accountability and focus.

You may not be a team in the same company or organisation, but you can create a connection by sharing a similar purpose.

How do you do it in practice?

As for everything, there are many ways of doing it. I can tell you, how I started it:

I asked around in my trainer and coaching network, but no one was available at the time I wanted to do it (in the morning). Then, I asked some of my friends and my partner whom, as I knew, were also struggling to find some structure and motivation to get their work things done while at the same time home schooling their kids. Now, we’re a group of four.

Then, I have created a regular zoom meeting. That means, we use the same meeting space (i.e. link) every day, saving some time.

I try to spend a few minutes before the actual meeting to make some notes about what I want to achieve that day – trying to answer that question: What is the thing that, once it’s done, will make the biggest difference to achieving my goals? Whatever the answer, this will be what I prioritize that day.

Does it help with motivation and focus in the long-term?

I’m being honest: since I started doing it (3 weeks ago), not every day was super focused and full of energy. But compared to before (and since the “Corona Holidays” started – my children’s preferred label to speak of this time despite home-schooling), there were definitely more days when I accomplished more (a lot more) thanks to this new daily routine than I would have accomplished without it.

Another benefit: I see my friends every day now, even if only for a few minutes. Knowing what they’re up to, what their peaks and lows are, makes me feel more connected to them. And that’s great.

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