Friday, April 16, 2010

Personal Kanban – More Done, Less Stress

Personal Kanban whiteboard

Life used to be simple:

  1. Get up
  2. Go to school/work
  3. Relax
  4. Go to bed

It didn’t require much planning for effective time management. As a result of the increasing hustle and bustle of our society or just the result of getting older (which I’m not ready to admit yet), increasing responsibilities and extra-curricular activities place demands on our time.

  • little league
  • professional associations
  • school functions
  • home maintenance
  • [insert your challenges here]

That is where a personal Kanban can help us work smarter and reduce our stress level by knowing we have a handle on our activities.

Anyone can do it

You can use a simple whiteboard (or even a sliding glass door) to help manage your time and activities visually and efficiently with a simple system of sticky notes in columns labeled similar to the following:

  • to do
  • in process
  • done
  • I find “awaiting decision” or some variation helpful also

How To

Jim Benson has a great Personal Kanban presentation that introduces, in detail, how you can improve your personal productivity using a personal kanban.

Home and Office

The process works equally well at the office for work activities/projects and at home. I use 24” X 36” whiteboards (Sam’s Club - $15) which has enough space for two types of projects being managed with separate spaces for each - and a little area left over for impromptu notes and sketches.


If you are like me, once you try it out and realize the power of them, you start using them for everything... and try to convince everyone around you to use them also.