With Personal Kanban you CAN!

Good morning my friends. This morning I'm tired. Are you?

We've got the Flat Classroom projects – the 3 we are currently running, kicking off right now and it takes a lot of energy and effort to get things going, even though we have fantastic project managers and jam up teachers. It is easy to put names and numbers on  a web page but to aim towards 100% collaboration by all students is a goal that requires quite a bit of work.

My List is a Nightmare
Needless to say, my list was becoming a nightmare. Lists are nightmares anyway. The are consistent reminders of all the things I haven't done.

I'm reading the book Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life and it makes a heck of a lot of sense to me. Attracted by the mention of one of my favorite concepts, Kaizen, or the process of ongoing improvement. I am attracted by a method that is less about the method and more about the tasks at hand.

I used Franklin Covey for years until I had children. When I had children my task list multiplied exponentially. Then, I tried to keep using it only to find that 70 things copied over and over. I found that I was spending 30-45 minutes a day just planning the next day when I could have spent that 30-40 minutes actually doing something. Besides that, everything was an “A.”

I've used so many apps that it is ridiculous but right now I just have TOO much to do. I'm a huge Home Routines fan and use that for my routines every day. (See the Routine of Being Amazing.) In fact, that app is top right on my home screen on both my iphone and ipad and now that it syncs I'm thrilled.

But, I need a way to process.

Freeways are Parking Lots when they are at 100% capacity
One of the points made in the book is about freeways. A freeway becomes congested at 65% capacity. Why do we wonder why we are paralyzed when we are running at 100% capacity?

Is 100% capacity an achievement or a death sentence?

Visit Kanban 101 for more about this board.

The biggest thing that has always bothered me about all the task methods out there is this concept of bandwidth.

Sure, I can use your tool and make sure I know what I need to do. But if it isn't humanly possible to do that then why do I bother using your tool. The Getting Things Done method doesn't have a place or way to let things fall of your list.

If I were unmarried and living alone, I might could get everything done but now in a job with lots of gray area in terms of responsibility and a life with three teenagers and Flat Classroom projects and two books — it can't be done.

Personal Kanban
Head over to the personal kanban site to see how a typical chart looks. My chart has 5 categories. On Deck, Today, in Process (only 3 at a time there), the Pen (a holding pen for what I'm waiting on) and Done. I have one for school on my whiteboard there and the other one is on 2 plastic pages in my circa planner with mini-sticky notes.

At the end of the day, I'm writing every thing that was DONE in my planner and reflecting on how I could have improved the process. I got a lot done yesterday and actually reflecting on how I could have improved it!

I can look back and see what I accomplished yesterday! Imagine that!

Productivity Processes Should Evolve with Us
I got more done yesterday than I have done in ages. I'm still learning, but just wanted you all to know that I think that there are some different ways of planning out there than “everyone” is using. I've designed my own planners for quite some time and use my own personalized planning pages in my circa planner for the last 6 months. But now, I feel I am evolving again in my productivity mechanisms. When I “arrive” – I'll let you know.

Busy Days but Memorable Days

Meanwhile. Time to head to school for Homecoming, the mini parade, to feed to football team at 3:30 pm, help the student who is playing music for the game go over the plan one more time, go to the football game, the “get dressed” party, the after the kids leave party, chaparone the dance and then maybe sometime tonight at 2 am I will go to sleep.

These are the days, but I wouldn't trade these crazy days for anything on this planet. My life is full of laughter, hard work worth doing, and changed lives if I'll just pay attention and love on these kids.

Remember your noble calling, teacher, and remember to look at your routines and how you handle the one-time to do's to make sure that you're focusing on the to-do and not the to-do system.

Have a great day!

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere
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