It's been a while since I wrote a post on this blog. I've just needed a break from the blog while I focused on other things for a while. If you've stuck around, thank you very much for your patience :)
The last couple of years have been full of challenges and there is always so much to do. The over-whelm gets to me sometimes as I struggle to tread water. Just the other day as I was commuting to work it occurred to me...am I so conditioned to work and life being difficult, that I have just accepted that it has to be that way? I know it isn't constantly hard for everyone. I work for a lot of people that have a pretty sweet life. But I also know that adversity finds everyone sooner or later, in one way or another. There is no escaping it. Maybe some of us get extra practice. Anyway, this is not a woe-is-me article. My life is pretty good overall, I know that, and I have much to be grateful for.
But I'm always looking for ways to make my life easier and it usually involves some type of simplification. Simplicity is often the answer when nothing else seems to be working. Back to basics!
Just finished reading the book Born For This by one of my favourite authors, Chris Guillebeau.
It is a good read and I may do a review sometime. But I wanted to share one simple and effective tool that I learned from this book that I've been able to use with success when it comes to managing multiple tasks on a given project...
It originally came from Toyota in Japan. It is called the kanban method for task management. It is a great tool for starting the work day and assigning tasks, especially if you are working as a team.
Simply create 3 columns - To Do, Doing and Done. Take your individual tasks and write them on a Post-It note (you can use different coloured notes for different workers). This helps you get your projects and tasks out of your head for everyone to see. At the beginning of the shift, all tasks are in the To Do column. Workers place their current task in the Doing column and focus on that single task until it is completed, at which time the task is moved into the Done column. This reduces feelings of overwhelm, lack of focus, and losing efficiency by multi-tasking. It also provides satisfaction from seeing tasks completed. It starts as a To Do list and finishes as a Too Done list. At the end of the day it is clear what has been accomplished to the team leader and even to the client.
I use dry-erase markers and write the columns and headings on a window or mirror (just test to make sure a window film won't get damaged). It wipes off easily and negates the need to carry a white board around to job sites. At the end of the day it can be photographed as a record of the day's accomplishments.
A simple tool to improve communication, set objectives, encourage initiative, improve focus and maximize job satisfaction. It will reduce missed tasks, passively waiting for directions from a leader, multi-tasking and overwhelm.