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  • Writer's pictureAbigail Ann

The List Strategy to Getting More Done (Kanban Method)

Updated: Sep 15, 2022

Keeping up with all the to do's in life can be a huge challenge. When I have a lot on my plate I tend to get really overwhelmed. Thankfully, though I've finally learned a strategy that helps me keep up with everything. It's called the Kanban Method. The Kanban method was developed by Taiichi Ohno an Industrial Engineer and Businessman for Toyota Automotive, in Japan. It was created to be a simple planning system to manage work and inventory at every stage of production. Using this system at a smaller scale has helped me immensely! Here's how it works:

I focus on 4 columns total, but the first one is called the 'master to do list'. This is where I get all the to do's out of my head and onto paper, my phone, or sometimes a whiteboard.

The second column is called, 'in process'. The kicker for this section is that, it can only have 3 tasks in it at a time. I'll look at the 'master to do list' and choose 3 things to put on my 'in process list'.

The third column is called, 'waiting'. This section is especially helpful if I'm working on a task and get to a stopping point because I need more information from someone else to complete the task. As soon as I get to that point, I'll move that item from 'in process' over to the 'waiting' column. Now I have 2 items in the 'in process' column, this means I can choose another task from the 'master to do list' so that I'm currently still only working on 3 things at a time.

Let's say I get the information I needed for that last task, should I work on it right away? Nope. This is what makes the strategy so great. Once I finish one task on the 'in process' list and have 2 left, I can now add the item I put in 'waiting' back over to the 'in process' list. This ensures I'm not switching from task to task all day, without actually getting anything done.

The last column is called 'finished'. This is where I move tasks once they're completely finished. It's so satisfying at the end of the day seeing all the tasks that actually got done!

I usually use this system with a blank sheet of paper and a clipboard. If you prefer tracking tasks on your phone or computer with a project management tracker, Tailwind has a Kanban Template! As an artist at heart, I'm a pen and paper gal, here's how I use this process daily.

This strategy is helpful no matter where you are. If I'm traveling, I open up a new note on my phone and put all 4 sections in one note. That way if I don't have a whiteboard, WiFi connection, or pen and paper handy I can still prioritize everything without getting overwhelmed.

I can't wait to hear how this new list strategy helps you in your life and your business!

P.S. My business coach, Sue Mohr taught me this strategy. She's been such an integral part in my business. If you're looking for one on one coaching for business, life, or even the enneagram, she is your girl!


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