Personal Kanban – What will you do today?

5th August

Be honest! Is procrastination preventing you from starting a great business blog?

Do you ever feel overwhelmed and wish you could get advice on how to manage your time better? I’ve been feeling like that myself recently but I’ve had a light-bulb moment in the last week. I want to tell you about it because it has to do with overcoming procrastination…

My husband Ben is always recommending ideas or books on stuff that intersects our worlds; [his] computer geekery and science + [mine] creativity and business. His latest suggestion was a book called Personal Kanban. Apparently, his IT team use a version of the technique to manage ongoing agile projects.

I seem to have huge ‘to do’ lists. I’m great at writing them. I have lots of fun with highlighter markers! But the hardest bit is putting it all into action. Where do I start?

Are you like this too? Maybe it’s because we now spend so much time online. There are so many distractions. We just need to decide how we can best spend our time doing ‘actual stuff’!

The best light-bulb moments can be summed up in a couple of sentences. Apparently there are only two rules to Personal Kanban: Visualise your work and  limit your work in progress.

The rules of Personal Kanban by Jim Benson and Tonianne DeMaria Barry
The rules of Personal Kanban; a book by Jim Benson and Tonianne DeMaria Barry

The ideas in this book were a revelation to me. Once you have a clear visual view of what you need to do, it’s much easier to see the steps. The key thing though, is to outline all of the steps involved and then limit that to a small number of actionable, daily ‘Doing’ tasks.

The book is full of brilliant ideas which I’m going to be using! My favourite aspect is that all of the plans are written on post-it notes and placed on a wall or whiteboard. There are three basic columns; Ready, (work waiting to be processed), Doing (work-in-progress) and Done (completed work). This is an active ‘to do’ list, with items moving towards completion.

There’s many more great ideas in this book but I’m going to leave you with a quote from the authors  to get you thinking;

Hours, days, weeks of our lives vanish into the ether. Precious time we’ll never recoup because we aren’t paying attention to what we’re doing, we’re just endlessly and mindlessly doing. By visualising your backlog, your work-in-progress, and your completed tasks, Personal Kanban rewards you for recording the good work you’ve done and knowing what comes next.

Do you have tips on getting things done? Please leave me a comment below. And if blogging is one of the new things you’d like to do for your business, I’d love to connect with you. You might prefer a one-to-one session or a small group workshop. And if this is something that’s still in your ‘Ready’ list, you can sign up by email to hear about my upcoming courses!

I highly recommend this book. You can find out more about Personal Kanban and purchase the book via the website. let me know if you read it

6 Responses

  1. Hi Aisling! I love this one. I am a great believer in lists that you can tick off as you go and it was interesting to see the “ready, doing and done” variation!
    Sometimes I break mine up into an easy and quick pile vrs long (and sometimes boring). Then I can “reward myself” with easy ones after I spend some time tackling the big ones.
    If I really really don’t want to tackle something I trick myself by breaking it up and doing the easiest parts of it first to help gain momentum… Then I can slide into the middle of it with a big splash. It’s all about momentum!

    • admin says:

      Thanks Melissa. It’s great to hear your take on this! I think we all need help with taking action. Sometimes a new way of looking at things really helps. I feel so much calmer seeing everything together and then choosing a few things to do each day! I like your big splash analogy too 🙂 Work needs to be fun too.

  2. Gorka says:

    Great post Aisling. We all have that good ol’ timing problem ;-). I will definitely give it a try.

  3. admin says:

    Thanks Gorka. Let me know if you find it good. All you need is a wall and some post-it notes. It’s great to see tasks moving into to ‘Done’ column!

  4. David says:

    I almost convinced myself that it suffered from OCD since I would find myself working off my to do list daily. Good to see that its normal for other people too

  5. admin says:

    Hi David – I know what you mean! I prefer to work with some sort of list so I can see what I’ve got done during the day and what’s left to do… There’s a acceptable level of OCD for me 🙂

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