Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Getting Organized in the Art Room: Personal Kanban

Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to be more organized?  Well I have an idea for you!

Kanban is a visual signal that's used to trigger an action. The word Kanban is Japanese and roughly translated means “card you can see.” Toyota introduced and refined the use of Kanban in a relay system to standardize the flow of parts in their just-in-time (JIT) production lines in the 1950s. (http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/kanban)  It helped everyone in production to see what was being completed and what still needed to happen. 

This interesting idea is most often used in the corporate world, but has also crossed over into other fields.  In education, it can be used in a group setting for committee work, collaborative projects, etc. or individually as a personal “To Do” list.  This second way is how I use it.

As an organization nerd, I stumbled across Kanban and have adopted it as my classroom to-do list.  It works really great for me because it limits what I am focusing on at any one time, so I don’t get overwhelmed.  It is also very encouraging because it reminds me what I have already accomplished.
If you google “personal kanban” you will find all kinds of examples and information.  It is highly adaptable to your needs!  An excellent website for further explanations and info is Personal Kanban
As stated in the above link, there are two basic rules:
     * Visualize your work
     * Limit your work-in-progress

There are several ways to draw up your Personal Kanban.  I
chose to use a manilla file folder and make 4 columns:

TO DO:  for all of those items you need to get done
TODAY:  for the things I either need or hope to get done        today only
IN PROGRESS (waiting):  for those things I’ve finished as      much as I can and I’m now waiting for a response or        action by someone else before they can be completed.
DONE:  my favorite!…used when something is completed!

Sticky notes are used for each individual task so they can easily move from column to column.
Every so often I clear off the DONE column and start fresh.  

What a satisfying way to keep track of the To Do’s in my teaching life.  Give it a try and see what you think!

Happy Organizing!