Personal Kanban it’s a Family Affair

Do you ever sit on the weekend and think about what you have coming up in the next week? And when you begin to think about what your children have coming up and your husband, you become overwhelmed. And well, you just don’t want to venture into the week wondering how you are going to keep everything straight and get everything done. This happens to me every weekend. Well, let me re-phrase that, the first part happens to me but I don’t become overwhelmed because I take action instead.

It is no small secret that you can’t do everything yourself. A well oiled machine’s gears only work well with all the parts of the machine when they are well oiled. I like to think that my family works in this way. I believe that we do because we use a Personal Kanban to keep our well-oiled machine running.

Last week, we had an daunting amount going on in our family. I was traveling, my husband was going to be traveling and my daughter was starting practices for her spring sport among other activities she had going on. Immediately I got out the sticky notes. I asked each member of my family what color sticky notes they wanted their tasks to be on. I asked my family members this because I wanted each of them to be able to take one glance at the board and know exactly what each of us is doing at any given time, and I wanted them to be a color that made them happy. 🙂

A lot of the time when I am entertaining or making a special recipe or meal, I will make a Personal Kanban right on my kitchen counter.

My kitchen counter Personal Kanban

It’s usually a smaller scale Personal Kanban and is perfect for my use. However, when involving my whole family with a lot of tasks, I need more room and need it to be highly visible where all members of my family can access it.

In the past I have liked to use the refrigerator, but the Post-its wouldn’t stick to the door, so I decided on the cabinet that is most used, the dish cabinet. (No one can eat without going into this cabinet!) 😀

Our family kitchen cabinet Personal Kanban

My husband chose the blue, my daughter the purple and I was the pink color sticky notes. This worked out great because I didn’t need to add names, just what each task was and we all knew immediately whose task it was. I even decided to add the day the task was going on, that way when I filled the ready lane I could put every task up in chronological order, it made it easier to wade through.

An example of our task sticky note.

I set up our family Personal Kanban with three lanes ready, WIP (work in progress) and done. Then I filled up the cabinet doors with the tasks. Sunday came, and we dove right into the week.

By Tuesday we were in a very good flow.

What I love most about doing a family personal kanban is the fact that it involves everyone. While I was away my daughter and husband moved their tasks and kept each other in check. Here’s another thing that I love: it’s like I have a safety net in place, it ensures that we are working together as a family (even if one of us is traveling.) I’m not worried that my daughter won’t get to her activities on time. I know it’s getting accomplished.

Saturday Afternoon

By the end of the week, we had wrapped up almost all the tasks, we were just waiting for my husband to arrive back home from his business trip, so we could enjoy the weekend together as a family.

I have been using family Personal Kanbans since I discovered Personal Kanban, and I am always thrilled that each time I (we) learn and evolve while using them.

My daughter gives her appreciation

Although it didn’t happen on our kitchen cabinet Personal Kanban, in the past my daughter has even shown her happiness on our progress by leaving a little happy face right on the board.

Here are a few take-aways that I have discovered since implementing Personal Kanban in my home with my family.

  • We learn something new about each other with every new board we set up.
  • Our family boards are constantly evolving with each new one we make together.
  • Putting your week on a board and being able to visualize your upcoming tasks somehow gives you a wave of calm.
  • I sleep better at night when I’m traveling knowing my family members have the visual reminders of important tasks that can’t get overlooked.
  • We learn to trust each other more.
  • By using color specific Post-it notes, each of us can glance and immediately know what we need to do at any given moment. This has worked much better for us than all of us using the same color and just putting names on each of the post it notes. That can get very confusing, especially when you have a lot of tasks.
  • By each of us having accountability it adds to a great feeling when the board is complete at the end of the week. It feeds our brain and makes us happy. It’s brain candy!* 🙂
  • This is something we work on together as a family all week long. It brings us closer together.
  • Each board is a direct reflection of our family and where we are all at together in our lives.
  • This time it was a kitchen cabinet, next time it might be on a white board, on the bathroom mirror or on our family room coffee table. We are doing what works for us at each unique moment in time. This is what I love most about Personal Kanban, it’s personal.
I highly recommend trying this out with your family, or even on a smaller scale, by making a Personal Kanban just for yourself.

How are you using Personal Kanban? Have you tried it with your family? What is your experience? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences, feel free to drop them in the comments below.

Follow me on twitter – @topsurf

Like this post? Want to read more? Check out how I am using Personal Kanban in my classroom by reading this post and this post. Also take a look at other ways I have used Personal Kanban to become more effective and efficient by reading this post.

Coming up next: Find out how I am using a Personal Kanban in LeanKit Kanban to track my students’ progress in my classroom.

*”When you pull that sticky note into DONE, it’s brain candy. This is the full quote taken from the Personal Kanban Mapping Work Navigating Life book.

Intrigued but not sure where to start or need more information? Check out Personal Kanban by visiting the website. I highly recommend purchasing the book, Personal Kanban Mapping Work/ Navigating Life by Jim Benson & Tonianne DeMaria Barry.


2 thoughts on “Personal Kanban it’s a Family Affair

  1. Pingback: My Personal Kanban Journey Continues to Evolve « not out of reach

  2. Pingback: Personal Kanban and Recovering from Major Surgery « not out of reach

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