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