If there’s one thing (on a list of many) that I often feel inept at, it’s being organized. On a daily basis, I feel pulled between home, kids’ stuff, their school, writing and our small business that I also work at.
As the new year started, I was looking for a way to be organized but that also fits with my personality. I noticed a bunch of articles and a podcast about kanban. I knew that if I tried to get too detailed about it, it would actually create stress instead of relieving it, so I decided to take the very simple concepts of it and make my own board. (I’m certainly not saying this is the place to learn about kanban, since I am using the system very loosely, but I am making it work for me. 🙂)
If you Google the concept, you’ll find many options for column headings. On my makeshift board, I choose to do 4 columns that fit my needs.
I have a to-do column, an in-progress column—I move a note there when I’m actively working on something—a done column and then a column for things that have stalled that I am waiting for someone else to respond to, that cannot be done at this time or that I’m shelving until a later date. I don’t want those clogging up my to-do column, so that’s why my final column is labeled waiting/blocked.
The office where my board is located is on our main level, so it’s easy for me to check the board or move a post-it from one column to another. My husband decided to decorate our office with a mid-century vibe, and when we remodeled there was a mirror in the basement that’s apparently back in style now. 🤣 He ended up hanging it in this office, and I decided to put my system right onto the mirror. I think a lot of people use whiteboards and other things. But this was here, so in the name of simplicity, I used it.
I’m currently sitting in my car in the parking lot of my son’s school waiting for him to finish a meeting. Right before I left the house, I checked my to-do column to see if there was anything I could do while in the car. February’s blog post was in my to do column and I already knew I wanted to write about this kanban concept, so here I am doing exactly that. In the past, while waiting for him, I would have been racking my brain for what I needed to do and then gotten home and been frustrated at myself for not getting the blog post done while in the car. I actually enjoy speaking my blog posts into my phone, so an empty car is the perfect place for that. 🙂
I highly doubt that I would have remembered the blog post or gotten it done in the car without a quick glance at my board.
Here is a shot of me using it. I forgot to photograph it at the end of last week when many items had moved into the done category. One of the main things I appreciate about this method is that I can see what I’ve accomplished. So often I get to the end of a day or week and I think I haven’t accomplished anything that I needed to do. Of course that’s not true, but it feels that way. So, the board allows me to see that even if I didn’t get done what I had planned or wanted to, I did accomplish something.
Some of my tasks are revolving each week, so I’ve been saving those post-its and then reusing them as needed. It still feels good to transfer them from to do to done. When I started week 2, I even stacked my “done” post-it notes and put them in my desk drawer as a little reminder of what I’d accomplished. 🤣
I’d love to hear your favorite organization tricks or if you have a system that you love to use.
Here’s to a productive and happy 2023 for all of us!