Remember that episode of Seinfeld when Elaine had to select her horizontal mambo partners verrry carefully because all of a sudden, contraceptive sponges were in limited supply? She asked her dates a lot of questions, she upped her standards and raised the barrier to entry. Her dates had to qualify to be sponge-worthy. I thought of that this morning as I prepped my white board. Are the tasks I’m choosing Post-it note worthy?
Each Post-it has a task which goes on my white board, Kanban style.
With each Post-it I'm committing my time, attention and energy. I’m making a conscious choice. Clearly each task must be carefully considered. I mean, once it's on my board it's gonna get done and if I do it right, there'll be a happy ending in it, sometimes just for me, sometimes for me and my client. Doing the right tasks to get to the right result is my idea of a happy ending. (What were you thinking, dirty bird!) Progress is happiness!
My white board is primo real estate. It’s my visual representation of how I’m going to spend my week, my day, so I'm not slapping just anything up on it willy-nilly. As I go, I ask myself:
Will doing this get me closer to my goal, or is there a better way?
Is this something I should do or should it be delegated?
Is it doable in an hour or so? If not, break it down further.
When I take it to the board, I filter my priorities.
Everything starts out in the Pending section, (Is this relevant to my immediate goals or is this a down the road thing?), then the priorities get moved into the This Week section, then the top three tasks are moved into the Today section. Moving the Today Post-it's into the Done section? Pure ooh yeahs!
This Kanban system kicks overwhelm in the shins.
What goes on a Post-it must be worthy of that Post-it. What goes on my white board must be worthy of the time that I'm giving to it.
Choose your to-do's wisely. Not because there’s a limited supply of Post-it notes.
But because what’s truly limited... is our time.
I like having a white board, it works for me but you don’t need one. You can use this method with Post-its on a wall, a board, behind a door. I use Super Sticky Post-it notes because they don’t curl and fall off even after sitting in the pending section for weeks or months.
P.P.S. Yes, that does say “Get Shit Done” in the frame to the left of my white board. :D
Here’s a clip from that Seinfeld episode for your amusement. Enjoy! LOL