A few days ago I read a blog post by Daniel Kosmala on “5 ways to be highly productive”. In his post, Daniel outlines the 5 things to do in order to improve your productivity. All 5 things are pretty logical, easy to come up by ourselves but somehow we still tend to not apply them in practice. Yes, that’s our procrastination talking. Several studies show that the less concrete a given thing is, whether it’s a task, a rule, etc., the less willing we are to apply or act upon it. So I’ve decided to take these 5 ways to boost our productivity and make them relevant for the Kanban method or to phrase it in another way: 5 Ways to be Highly Productive – Kanban style.
1. Just Do It
The first thing on Daniel’s list is the famous Nike® tagline or, if I have to quote a phrase famous in the Kanban community – “stop starting and start finishing”. There is always this task that needs to be done but it’s just not the right time, or place, or universe. The Kanban rule to always pull the task on the top solves this dilemma, but still, it is the team who need the discipline to apply it in practice. The getting things done mindset that Kanban preaches really sticks after a while and what is needed is just a little practice.
2. Plan ahead
Being part of the just-in-time strategy, Kanban is about pulling the items that are in demand right now and not planning everything for a long time ahead. This way of working helps you be lean, flexible and react to the market changes. If we have to rephrase what Eisenhower said – in Kanban, a plan is nothing, planning is everything. So you still have your items in your Backlog which helps you have a clear picture of what is to come, but if you decide to make a little change, you won’t mess everything up because of a chain reaction.
3. Tackle Bigger – Earlier
This advice is universal and it’s not strictly about Kanban. People tend to be more focused at the beginning of the work day, but still, we tend to leave the hardest task, which also requires our greatest creativity and productivity power, for last. Always start your day with the one thing that you will rather leave for later. Believe me, it’s a small change that makes a huge difference for your productivity.
4. Avoid Interruptions
This is one of the top two things that kills our productivity. It is also a common case, which almost everyone nowadays experiences. That is why we are staying way after our work hours end, looking for a free conference room so we can have some quiet time and also think about more creative ways to just do our work. Imagine if we tried to spend all that mental energy thinking about innovative solutions and products instead of how to… well, do what we are supposed to be doing in the first place?
My colleague Dimitar wrote a blog post on this topic which I recommend you read.
5. Do Not Multitask
Multitasking is just not working! It isn’t real, or as Daniel puts it “The ability to multitask is about as real as the ability to safely juggle knives, breathe fire and safely kiss babies while treading water in a shark tank.”. Multitasking is a vicious circle that we have to escape and the only way to do that is by self-control and discipline. The good news here is that Kanban is just the best way to achieve that goal. By following the Kanban principles and applying WIP (learn more about how to do that here) you will put an end to this habit and significantly improve your efficiency.
Well, these are the 5 ways to be highly productive – Kanban style. I hope you enjoyed them and if you do, make sure to show us some love by commenting in the section below. It is what keeps us motivated to provide you with even more great content.
And if you are looking for specific Kanban examples for different teams, check out our 5 Kanban board presets for different departments: