- Paperback: 216 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (February 2, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1453802266
- ISBN-13: 978-1453802267
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 145 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,945 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life
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- Carmen Medina: Director of Intelligence (Retired) Central Intelligence Agency: Personal Kanban is a must read for knowledge workers and their leaders who recognize that old productivity models don't apply to knowledge work and seek a more realistic and centered approach. The ideas are deceptively simple but in that simplicity is their strength. As soon as I finished reading it, I started drawing out the landscape of my projects and felt much the better for it.
- Ross Mayfield: CEO of SocialText: Personal productivity systems usually fail in practice because of complexity and they don't reflect the collaborative nature of real work. Personal Kanban provides the simplest structure that could possibly work and lets you achieve a state of flow.
- Jerry Michalski: guide, Relationship Economy eXpedition: Trying to get more effective? Why use Rube Goldberg systems of tabulated notebooks and special-purpose inserts? Instead, consider a system that flows like a stream and focuses your attention, both on the task at hand and on making your process more effective. That's what Personal Kanban is, and it may just fit your thinking and doing style.
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Top customer reviews
Aside from the practice, the book is clear and practical, with doses of philosophy stirred in with the practicality. It's definitely worth a read, and the technique is easy to try. See if it works for you.
Why my self imposed deadlines become meaningless.
Why I used to be really productive and effective and the last few years have not.
Why I have felt so exasperatingly overwhelmed even on days when there is nothing I actually have to do.
Not just another time management system (I have plenty), but a way out of the stress and overwhelm of work that keeps coming at me. Of incomplete tasks nagging at me and keeping me awake.
This book deals with the disconnect between our brains and the modern multitasking/deadline driven world. It is well written a doable.
I loved the system, I have implemented it, I am sleeping better. My backlog of projects hasn't disappeared, but somehow making them tangible has also made them manageable...and I am actually getting to them one by one.
Personal Kanban allows the vital communication between staff members and with management to be fluid. People, in my experience, want to do their jobs well and want to be a part of a group that allows individuals to make decisions and be responsible for their part without the need for orders. PK is a focal point that fosters total participation.
We all feel like there aren't enough hours in the day to fulfill our commitments to work and family life. How often do we find ourselves saying "I am so busy, I can't seem to get anything done!" How can it be possible to busily accomplish nothing?
When we maintain a large backlog of existential overhead we feel stressed because we don't feel like we're making progress. Thanks to the Zeigarnik effect we focus inordinately on unfinished tasks. When we finish a task it is flushed out of our thoughts because we're constantly focused on the unfinished pile.
Personal Kanban offers a deceptively simple solution to these stresses. Take all the tasks currently occupying that ball of stress in your mind, write them down on sticky-notes and stick them to a board. By writing them down you're able to see that they're not all equally important. You remove them from the amorphous stress ball inside your psyche and stick them to the wall. Suddenly you enjoy the clarity brought by simply visualizing precisely what it is you need to accomplish. A Kanban is a signboard where you visualize your work. In it's simplest form a kanban board contains 3 columns: "Ready", "Doing" and "Done".
I generally reject dogmatic and/or complicated concepts. What Jim and Tonianne have written in Personal Kanban is neither. There are only 2 rules:
1. Visualize your work
2. Limit your Work in Progress (WIP)
I've explained the backlog already, one of the benefits of this backlog is that you can now easily see what needs to be done, and prioritize those tasks according to what's most important to you at the time. Once you've prioritized your tasks you can start pulling those tasks into your "Doing" column. If you moved every task into doing at the same time you'd essentially have created a visualization of the amorphous stress-ball you had previously stored in your head. This would not have much value. So we limit our work in progress.
This book gives some good rules of thumb and suggestions (a WIP limit of no more than 3 is a rule of thumb) but it doesn't say "There is one right way to do this." or "If you do this wrong you're a failure."
It is a breath of fresh air to see authors/experts admit that all things are context driven. Everybody is different. You might do best by only doing 2 tasks at a time or maybe you'd enjoy doing 4. The theory behind limiting WIP suggests that by doing fewer tasks at one time, you'll be able to increase your throughput. Some great analogies are drawn between what a freeway's capacity is, vs it's throughput. When we do less at a given time, we get more done at a higher rate of speed.
Finally when we move the task into the done column we get to celebrate our small successes. A full "done" column feels good. You no longer focus solely on your unfinished work.
This book is a fun read that will make your life both happier and more productive. It acknowledges that productivity without happiness is not a desirable way to live. Being stressed all the time impacts the quality and speed of our work.
Jim and Tonianne have written a book with the potential to change the way you live and work, while putting a greater focus on your own happiness. All that and a great story about a poodle too!
Most recent customer reviews
It would get 5 stars if it had more hands on examples.