It always seems like you need more than 24 hours in a day. Whether it’s at work or home, you want to find ways to make more time in your schedule. Writing lengthy to-do lists can take up time. They tend to also apply more pressure to complete everything in a day. The end result leaves you unproductive and over-stressed.

However, with IT project management on the rise, many different systems exist to increase work productivity. One Japanese time management technique is called personal Kanban. In Japanese, Kanban means “signboard” or “billboard.” It rose to popularity in the 1940s once Toyota introduced “just in time” manufacturing to its production. Furthermore, this applies the Kanban principle to help the overproduction of manufacturing.

The Principle of Personal Kanban

In 2010, author James Benson published the book, Personal Kanban: Mapping Work — Navigating Life. In his book, he explains how he implements the personal Kanban methodology in his life. He bases personal Kanban on two simple principles:

Japanese Time Management Technique 1:
Visualize Your Work

itr woman presenting

To begin applying time management techniques at work, start with a blank poster, white board, or notepad. Any online task manager would work as well such as Trello. Then, create three columns labeling them to-do, doing, and done.

Next, place the individual tasks in the to-do column. Try color-coordinating your tasks to help determine the priority level of each task. For example, red means very important. Yellow means of mediocre importance while green means less importance with room for pushing the project back.

Japanese Time Management Technique 2:
Limit Your Work-In Progress

man avoiding wfh burnout by establishing work like balance

This second time management technique at work helps complete what you start and understand the value of choices. When you begin to work on tasks and start moving them in the doing column, choose no more than three.

The second principle of personal Kanban means you limit the work-in-progress tasks until you finish. This helps you focus more on getting things done than just getting things started.

Lastly, when you complete the task, move it into the done column, and choose a new option to pull into doing.

More Tips on Increasing Work Productivity

Try applying the personal Kanban method to your workflow to help improve your productivity and time management. By combining these two principles, personal Kanban can improve your productivity and time management. In addition, check out our Career Advice blogs for more tips and tricks from our team of recruiting experts.

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