I stumbled upon a great tool last week. It’s called a kanban board. The ‘kanban’ concepts have Japanese roots and were developed for managing workflow in manufacturing projects.
Two key concepts are 1) it is a visual representation of the project or projects and 2) it requires you to limit the current capacity for work in progress – i.e. limit the current number of things you are working on.
Consistent with the philosophies of David Allen, in his best-selling book, Getting Things Done, the tool has a place to dump all your ‘to-do’s’ into a secure place and out of your head. Just by removing the large amount of tasks that hang around in your conscious or subconscious mind, you can relieve your stress of being overwhelmed.
Although the capacity restrictions were originally defined by the specific capabilities of a particular machine on the plant floor, it seems to apply fairly well to people also!
When each person only works on the number of tasks they are actually capable of completing, productivity improves and they enjoy the pleasure of placing a high percentage of tasks in the final segment of the kanban board – “DONE”.
As with most things these days, all you really need to do is type “kanban board” into your browser and the all the knowledge and offers for kanban products including digital kanban boards, just show up on your screen.