How many of us small business people wake up in the morning and immediately go into overload mode?
There is so much to do and so little time and we know that other problems are going to arise through the day and put us even further behind.
Just thinking about it sends our blood pressure soaring and our stress levels are beyond measuring and it’s the same every single day. Isn’t there anything … any tool … that we can use to make life easier?
If that’s the way you’re feeling then I have some good news for you. There is a tool out there that will reduce our stress and blood pressure levels and help us stay focused and achieve more every single day.
And it will also help us see just how much we do get done and being able to see that will make us feel better and more positive.
What is it?
So, what is it, how does it work and how much is it going to cost?
The tool is called a Kanban Board and it works because you get to list all those tasks that are facing you each day … and when you do that, when you have a physical list in front of you instead of buried in your brain, you begin to realise that your list isn’t really that big after all.
Now you might think that what I have described is just another ‘to do’ list but it is more than that. Sure, it starts with a list of things you want to achieve today, this week or this month but it goes way beyond that.
Let me explain how you set it up and what you do with it … beyond just listing your ‘to do’ items.
Perhaps the first thing that I should mention is the cost … it can cost you almost nothing depending on what you use for the board.
Personally, I use a white board but you can use anything from a thick piece of cardboard from a packing box to a piece of wood that you have laying around your garage or workshop.
You will also need a marker pen (if you’re using a whiteboard) or some post-it notes. It doesn’t have to be fancy … it just has to work for you.
Setting it up
So, when you have decided on what you are going to use for the board here is what you need to do:
Draw three columns on it.
Label the first column: ‘To Do’.
Label the second column: ‘Doing’ and
Label the third column: ‘Done’.
And that is your basic Kanban Board.
How to use it
If you are using a whiteboard you can use your marker to write a list of jobs that you have to do today in the first column. If you have post-it notes you use those on your whiteboard too and you should use those notes for other types of Kanban Board.
Write one task on each post-it note and stick them in the ‘To Do’ column. Now you can see all the jobs that you want to tackle and, the chances are that it’s not as big as it seemed when it was running around in your brain.
Choose the first job to do and move it to the ‘Doing’ column and get started on it. You may find that you have several jobs on the go at once so you can have more than one item in the ‘Doing’ column.
As I write this I have three tasks sitting in the ‘Doing’ column on my Kanban Board and two of those were carried over from the previous day.
When the job is completed move the post-it note that lists that job to the ‘Done’ column and move on to the next task.
By the end of the day you may still have some jobs waiting in the first column, you may have some jobs still appearing in the second column, but you will have all those jobs that you have finished in the third column.
See how many jobs you got done in a day? Doesn’t that make you feel good?
You may not have finalised all that many jobs but I bet some of them will be jobs that you were dreading making a start on and that will make you feel much more positive.
Here is a rather upmarket version of a Kanban Board, your board does not have to be as “perfect” as this one 🙂