May 9, 2011

Organisation and the Writer

The Writer's Kanban:

I started reading Personal Kanban. A book about organising your tasks. I'm a big to-do list girl but am always open to new ideas for organisation and project management. The biggest problem I've found with most tools is when you try to combine several projects at once, for me that would be teaching, writing and home life.

This book was easily read in a day and I suspect it is one of those techniques that you have to use for a while before you appreciate it. It seems simple enough; write all your tasks on post it notes, stick them in the backlog (to-do) column, prioritise and move the ones you can work on now to the 'doing' column and move them to 'done' when finished. The key difference that I can spot between writing a to-do list and using this system is in a list all your tasks are there waiting to be done, it can be a bit overwhelming. Kanban insists you limit your WIPs, that is limit the number of tasks you allow in your 'doing' column.

I didn't have a whiteboard handy, so I improvised with my wardrobe pink is writing, blue is teaching (today was Mother's Day, so I felt no need to add domestic chores):

I'll try this for a while and let you know if it turns out to be a life-changer. You can find out more about the Kanban system by visiting the website:

Or view these slides:
I've been trying it out along with the Pomodoro technique - you work on a task for 25minutes, take a 5minute break and then move onto a different task for 25minutes. I've blogged about it before in:

Or, you can find out more at:

Now I'm reading Seth Godin's Poke the Box:


  1. Right, I need to get a shift on with all the things I need to do, I'm going to give this a go.


  2. Sounds like something I could use. I'll come back later to read your 8 Ways to Prioritize. So much to juggle.

  3. Very interesting. Writers and organisation goes hand in hand. Anything that can help to organise, set goals and be productive gets a thumbs up from me!

  4. Using sticky notes is always fun, and lining them up like that makes it a game, plus helps with the visual. Might try it some time. Maybe this summer when all the boys are home and I need to prioritize or go crazy!

  5. I have the Things to Do list from the Promodoro technique, but I haven't settled in the 25-minute attack plan. :) The post it listing looks to be something that will work for visually inclined people.

  6. Honestly, I don't know how you get the time to do so much. So maybe YOU should write a book about it.

    I so appreciate the information. Thanks so much.

  7. I struggle with organization. Thank you so much for the info! Blessings, Joanne

  8. I've seen a couple people using this technique. I'll be interested to hear how it works out for you!

  9. I love lists, but I tend to keep them simple. Sounds like a great system though.

  10. Interesting. I'm always looking for ways to juggle my time a little better.