On Minimalism, Kanban & Productivity
We used to all want to get access to as wide a range of information, things and experiences as possible. For a while now, this has been changing — just as there is a shift in viewing the Internet as a place with all the possible knowledge, to viewing it a place with all of the world’s garbage and some knowledge — in the same manner, a change in what we want to focus on in general, can be noticed.
Once you know what goals you want to achieve in life, a more-less specific path can be mapped out for you. In that sense, your interests and focus should be directed into that specific goal. You don’t need to know everything about everything (does anyone?), you only need to know your preferred specialities. Here is why minimalism in all shapes and forms can be applied.
And all in an effort to make life easier for yourself.
As hinted above already — if you care to reach a specific goal in a year, a decade etc., you will benefit from strongly limiting what you spend your energy on. From YouTube channels through magazines, books, online courses to leisure activities — determine which benefit you in a desired way, and which do the opposite.
Let’s hope you’ve distinguished by now which things are of high priority to you, and which aren’t. It’s a good practice to strongly limit your weekly or daily number of high priority things to do. It should allow you to focus more easily and to feel less stressed.
Whether you’re working solo or as part of a team, there will be a few places you go to to get your jobs: email, phone, conversation, project management app, post-it notes etc. This is too much to keep track of for your brain — knowledge of all these sources alone can make you tense up.
A lighter approach to this would be keeping track of all tasks in one place. And if anything pops up in another manner, put it in your designated place before you forget all about it. Try kanbantool.com as a go-to place for your tasks. Dump everything on a Kanban board and work with items there — sort, prioritise, postpone, recur, monitor and time your tasks.
Ever worked in an open office? People walking by and talking, asking for attention, phones ringing, printers roaring and general noise and visual distraction in every direction. It is not a productivity inducing environment. If you can, try to avoid these. If you cannot, the least you can do to help yourself is wear headphones with soft music on, mute your phone and practice concentration. They do help.
The point on limiting interferences can be taken to some fantastic extremes, i.e. same clothes every day or same meals every week, feel free to find your sweet spot. Many of the choices we distract ourselves with are superficial, so skipping them altogether may not be a bad idea.
Less visual noise
Keeping multiple windows open on the screen at once, so that they are all within your eye’s reach is mandatory in some cases. But if your necessary apps are email, notepad, browser, message app and calendar — it’s likely that they aren’t making you more productive all at once. Try changing this to one thing at a time. Or, to combine these into one thing — yes, Kanban Tool does come to mind!
Not only can you track work in it, you will also communicate in it, manage a calendar and analyse work. A Kanban system that keeps a minimalist design and allows collapsing the lanes that are not important at the moment, does help to limit that visual noise.
Fewer ongoing work items
Kanban’s strong association with minimalism touches on work-in-progress limits a lot. If you decide on a limit of 1 or 2 things to be allowed in progress at any given time, you should feel less torn and stressed, and are likely to do the work faster and better. Less distraction and pressure often equals better focus.
Kanban Tool’s features are dedicated to help you achieve higher focus and more clarity over your work. Consider giving it a try.
First published on Kanban Tool Blog.