So in the spirit of getting organized in the New Years and keeping up with resolutions, this week I thought I’d share the way I keep track of all that’s going on with La Vie en Orange. It helps me manage priorities and keep from feeling overwhelmed with all there is to do and all I could be doing. Check out the video below, or read on for a more detailed written explanation with photos :) I learned this great project management system from Jeremy Lightsmith at dotORG Weekend, a Seattle volunteer event where tech professionals, grant writers and attorneys donate 30 hours over a 3 day weekend to support participating non-profits’ needs. You can use it to break down big projects (like we did during the 30 hours we spent with our 6 person team), or keep track of lots of different things over a longer period of time, like I do for my creative business, or like we do at the office where I’m a fundraiser for a non-profit law firm.
Essentially, each project (or task) gets a card, and a rating for its size/difficulty. I like to rate mine according to tshirt sizes S-XXL or even bigger (I haven’t met a task that big yet :)). Then, you move your cards left and right through various categories (I’ll start with the furthest right first…):
- Accomplished – where all the cards eventually go :)
- In Progress - what you’re working on right now
- Pre-flight – tasks/projects coming up, that will soon move into In Progress
- Ongoing – a category I created specifically because there were so many things going on that I needed to keep in mind, keep visible, and remain accountable for
- Parking Lot – great ideas that aren’t yet ready for pre-flight, or that aren’t a huge priority wait here for their time in the lime light.
You can also put your tasks/projects/cards in priority order and move them up and down under their headings appropriately. I also keep a column for my overarching goals (both doing goals and being goals), and at work, we have columns to help keep our constituencies at the front of our consciousness.
I find this system to be very flexible, and I love how dynamic it is. I get lots of pleasure from moving things into the Accomplished category, and when I have a great idea that I want to revisit later, I love putting it in the Parking Lot, because I know it won’t get lost or forgotten.
I think this form of project management could also be super effective in a spreadsheet, but I’m a little bit more old-school :)
What do you think? Would you adopt something like this? What systems or tricks do you already use and love? Please comment below or email me at koriel [dot] jock [at] gmail [dot] com. :) xoxo