I met Tamara (or Tammy) through the Philadelphia Quantified Self group that The Action Mill has been hosting at our studio every other month or so for the past year. I knew that Tammy used personal kanban which she learned by viewing our free webinar. Personal kanban has helped me and other Action Mill team members be more present and more ourselves from moment to moment and task to task.
I was surprised when Tammy told me that she recently placed “Die” in her kanban, a practice I had begun last year and shared with her.
The following is a Q&A I had with Tammy over the past week and the picture above is a photo that Tammy took of her personal kanban. Enjoy.
Question: How did you come to start using a personal kanban and how has it helped you?
I discovered personal kanban the first time I visited The Action Mill. I was visually intrigued and then when I began asking questions and learned it's purpose I was immediately excited to try it out. As someone with ADD and an additional memory issue, personal kanban's way of visualizing tasks seemed like something that could help me. The day after my visit to The Action Mill I went onto the blog and watched the web seminar on how to create your own kanban. I built my own kanban at work using just the basics at first and then tweaking it to better fit my job. I noticed a change in my work flow immediately; I always knew what I was working on, what had to be done, and if something was scheduled to be done soon. My boss even took to adding post-its to my kanban rather than having to send me emails. The positive reward of putting a post-it into the "DONE" section became almost addicting.
After seeing how well kanban worked for me in my professional life I decided to make a kanban for my home studio space. I broke the tradition a little by using frames instead of tape to make this kanban more visually appealing. As expected, my home kanban has been equally influential in promoting productivity. It helps for keeping track of creative ideas and making sure they get a fair amount of time spent and are ultimately completed rather than hopping from one project to the next and never completing any of them. It also makes boring home chores slightly more bearable because of the positive reinforcement of moving them into the "DONE" section, just like at work. Overall, as someone who is chronically forgetting tasks or appointments, kanban has helped me get a handle on my tasks and obligations and improved my productivity exponentially.
Question: When did you place "Die" in your Doing? How has it changed you and how you approach your day?
I added "DIE" to my kanban after the sudden and unexpected death of an acquaintance. I wanted a daily reminder that death is coming. I wanted to use this reminder as a tool to come to terms with my fear of death and the unknown it holds, but also to remind myself to actively live my life and live it positively. I hoped that perhaps also this reminder would stimulate me to get things done now and not wait until later, because there may not be a later.
Thanks Tammy for sharing a bit of yourself with us and our readers.
To see some of Tammy’s recent work check out her new website. Finally, please share any day-to-day approaches you use to stay connected with your mortality.