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5s in Personal Kanban

Our summary and key takeaways

When doing Personal Kanban, you may feel that there isn't much value in the particular ways you're going on about it. Because you're doing this just for yourself, the approach tends to differ from when you're trying to optimize a full project management workflow. So, your task descriptions are less precise, often lack due dates or specific descriptions.

Now, this is all fine, you and no-one else are the master of your person and your time, but.. since you've already got involved with Personal Kanban, you may like to make the most of it. Basing on the original Japanese philosophy, here are some pointers (the 5S) to do just that.


This is the notion of cleaning, getting rid of all things you have been doing previously to Kanban to keep track of your chores and jobs. If you're going to have a number of ways to track tasks, the danger is that you'll soon need a tool to manage those ways themselves. The point of doing Personal Kanban is to stop having to remember things, so it will be helpful to make sure you only need to look for the next task in one place.


This one asks of you to keep your Personal Kanban in order, meaning that - whichever way of storing your Kanban board you've chosen (a board with sticky notes, the door to your room, a large sheet of paper etc.) - it is being kept in order, and always ready to be edited. So if your use of Personal Kanban is supposed to run smoothly and efficiently, have the board in a well-lit, accessible place with all necessary accessories at the ready.


It's direct meaning is to clean and shine things. So, sure, make some effort to keep your Personal Kanban utensils clean and tidy, as this will make using them more pleasant and appealing. But furthermore, this point is also meant to indicate that you should keep order in the way you manage the board. For instance, make sure that you update its status as you go along the jobs (or at least at the end of each day), and that any new tasks and ideas do appear on it. Otherwise, you'll simply learn to dismiss anything to do with the Personal Kanban.


There is also a need to keep your standards up, if you Personal Kanban is to be a success. So do stick to a once set up set of rules, i.e. the colors of sticky notes you're using for particular kinds of tasks, the categories in which you're placing specific types of work. If you keep changing your mind about how you want to do things, you'll never reach the point, where taking just a glance at the board gives you all the information you need. But if you're consistent, Kanban will become a true visual aid for your tasks and chores.


This last point underlines the need for you to work on maintaining the system, sticking to it and to what you're trying to achieve by implementing it. By following these 5 steps consequently and fairly seriously, you have a good chance of making Personal Kanban work for you in the long run, and therefore to greatly improve the way you do things, hence use your time more effectively - and possibly to save more time for the things you really like doing?

Try it, it has worked for many, chances are it may just as well prove successful for you!

Read our article on 5 Why’s »