October 16, 2015

A Personal Kanban & a OneNote Folder for Every Client, Project, Aspect of Life

For the last couple years I have almost always had 5 to 10 active Personal Kanbans in Trello along with a folder in OneNote and another in Outlook or gmail (one for each PK). I have one of these trios for each client. I also have a trio for personal/home projects and another for church projects. I can access all 3 of these on my Mac, my windows laptop, and my Android phone. Sweet!

I'll generally work on one client or one project per day, or for a week, or even a month at a time. Whenever I finish for the day I endeavor to ensure my PK and notes pages are all up to date and in a state that will help me pick it back up tomorrow or some other day. Whenever I switch contexts, it's a simple matter to switch which Trello board and which OneNote folder I'm viewing.

I really like the way these work together. It's helping me become paperless which is a bonus given my travel and the number of notes I need to search for (and the sloppiness of my handwriting). This approach has segregated notes and tasks and emails into specific views so that I don't get distracted by what I don't need to focus on at the moment.

Seeing people take notes on a laptop, or open laptops in general, can be off-putting to many people. This is especially true when working with many different people or with a newish client, where we're still gaining trust and feeling each other out and haven't had many (or any) interactions yet. So I tend to take notes on paper whenever I'm having a conversation in person. Then I'll transcribe what is important of those notes into my PK or OneNote. Rewriting them (I'm told) helps to digest, consolidate, and remember what is important, a skill I never got the hang of in school. Many of my colleagues use those fancy pens to record handwriting and automatically convert it to text. I can see the benefit of that, but I'm a late adopter of new technology, due in part to being overly frugal. (I used a paper PK for a long while, until I found Trello.) I think I'll stick with manually reviewing and transposing the notes for a while.

All of this has gotten my life very organized. David Allen's Getting Things Done has helped too, but I've covered that in a prior post.

This may be the fastest blog post I've ever cranked out, one of the few I've cranked out in one sitting. I didn't know where the post was going to go until I wrote it. I just thought I'd share something about this system since it's been so powerful for me. I figured there was a blog post to be written about this, but I didn't/don't know what my readers would want to know. 

What have I not covered that you'd want to know?