Using Paper Based Systems

post it notesHere is a question that was recently submitted about paper-based systems:

I would love a paper-based system that would display the milestones/due dates of different projects (multi-stepped tasks) across time. So, I would list the projects down the left hand side of the document, time (stretching across the semester) would be at the top of the page. Then, there would be a timeline bar representing each project. I’m thinking of an Excel spreadsheet that I could go in and change, but I could print out and put in my planner so that I know when my time-heavy days are and my available times are. Sort of a master/macro view of the intense dates during my semester. Do you know of anything like that I could use?

Meggin’s answer

I really love paper and I really love being able to SEE what is happening. Simple systems such as using either post-it® notes on a white board or index cards on some kind of board – works great. I used that kind of system when I was in graduate school.

And apparently, there is a name for this kind of system – Kanban – which is related to the whole “lean” type of manufacturing. I included some links below to information about this and you can see the ways that some people use this. There are a host of on-line tools that are based on Kanban and I’ve used a couple of them – but didn’t stay with it.

If I were going to try out another one right now, I would probably try this one – https://kanbanflow.com/, but it’s hard to say. I need to be able to use it with my team and so that’s part of why I went to an on-line version (we’re currently using Wrike.com at this point, which has its own pros and cons). For my own work, I will often make a modified Kanban board just sitting right here in my office – especially if I have a week when I know I can get a lot of work done and I darned well better get a lot of work done (vs. weeks that are pretty tightly scheduled with appointments, etc.). I like being able to SEE it and also to know that I have detailed what is coming up and can peel off those post-it® notes that are completed.

http://www.personalkanban.com/pk/personal-kanban-101/#sthash.ADa0FsRv.dpbs

http://www.kanban.co.in/

http://kanbantool.com/visual-project-management

https://kanbanflow.com/

Just found this and love the visualization of all the cards – many people use card sets to keep up with projects. It works.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jazzmasterson/sets/48077/

And here is a rather long article and a bit convoluted, but there may be some nuggets. I know I need to keep getting better at JUST ONE THING to focus on. This article reinforces that, although some of the ways he goes about it seemed a bit much (although I’m sure any of our systems would seem a bit much for someone new).

http://tinyurl.com/EdTufteArticle

I wish I had a simple answer with the perfect solution… I would probably go to Office Depot and buy a huge whiteboard and put it on a wall. If I weren’t married, I would have several walls in my house covered in whiteboard paint and just work from there. I love the idea but not enough to trade in my husband.

And if you need help with your paper filing you will want to check out Paper Tiger. To learn about this system access the free webinar I recently taught, Paper Tiger System to File & Find Your Stuff.

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