Your own…. Personal…. Kanban…Posted: Sat 07.23.2011
I am disorganized.
Okay, maybe that’s not completely true, but I need to be more organized. Starting this past Spring, I took a look at how I was organizing myself and my projects, and realized I simply had too much on my plate. In the midst of balancing a qualifying research project, graduate assistantship, adjunct work, upcoming comprehensive exams, conference proposals, and, of course, that big dissertation off in the distance, I felt it necessary to turn to a new type of project tracking.
My Quality Improvement/Project Manager husband had been suggesting I try Personal Kanban for a while. And, as I tend to do, I was stubbornly sticking to my guns and telling him I had it all under control. Then, the pneumonia happened. In the middle of the Spring semester, I fell into sickness like I had never experienced before. As anyone in the graduate school/ academic world knows, you miss a week and you are behind for the rest of the semester. In my instance, I was out for over a week, and working at half capacity for another 2-3. I was in trouble.
So, that’s where Personal Kanban came in. I created a bulletin board with the “Backlog”, “Work In Progress”, and “Done!” headings, using sticky notes for easy removal and movement of projects. You could also very well do this with a whiteboard or even on your iPad, but something about the physical movement of the post-it to the “Done!” pile reinforces that feeling of accomplishment. Despite my stubbornness, the Kanban has given me the ability to see visually where I am with projects and what is on the horizon. It also helps me cognitively offload some of the thoughts that are occupying my brain all the time so I can focus on moving forward rather than remembering. It’s also important to note that this type of organizing can be done at a macro or micro level, with a Kanban for all of your tasks or for a specific project. For now, I am keeping with the big picture look, but when I get further into the dissertation, I may want to make one for that project only.
Okay, sound off out there (if we have any readers yet)! How do you keep yourself organized in the midst of chaos?