Notes on Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life by Tonianne DeMaria Barry & Jim Benson


ISBN: 1453802266
READ: 15 Jan 2015, REREAD: 28 Dec 2015
RATING: 9/10

I’m on a quest to improve the way I understand and do my work. I’ve read several books on Productivity: Getting Things Done by David Allen, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, and the Pomodoro Technique to name a few.

This book, Personal Kanban, is the one I have adopted in 2015 as my main productivity system. I first read it back in January 2015, and with 2016 just around the corner, I decided to reread it and tweak/improve my productivity system.

Here are my notes from the book:

Chapter 1: The Basics of Personal Kanban

Tools should give you control and not take anything.

Personal Kanban is a visual representation of work that makes the conceptual tangible. It shows what needs to be done, what is complete, what is being delayed, and what is going on at this precise moment. (loc 217 of 2222)
We were visualizing work, limiting our work-in-progress, pushing decision-making to the last responsible moment, and continuously striving to improve. We learned that understanding our work is the key to controlling it.
Premature prioritization was ultimately a waste of my time. Prioritization for personal work is highly contextual.
Personal Kanban has to be endlessly flexible. It needs to be a system that abhors rules. It’s an enigma. A process that hates process.

Key Concepts: Throughput and Work-in-Progress

Continue reading

My 2015 in Review

Every December since 2013, I have resolved to look back at my year, look at my victories and successes as well as my mistakes and failures. The goal is to celebrate the former, and learn from the latter.

I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions–I’ve tried them in the past and it didn’t work for me. I usually forget and neglect those resolutions by the end of February after the initial excitement of the New Year. That’s why, instead of Resolutions, I am focusing on goals broken down into manageable tasks for every quarter and every month. The year-end evaluation is part of this planning and goal-setting process.

On the whole, 2015 had been a year of transition for me and my family. I’ve had some big wins. A couple of cracks that I would have wanted to do differently. But since this is a year of transitions, I don’t feel too bad about those cracks. Here, then, is my 2015 in review.

1st Quarter 2015

By mid-January, I learned that I was the top candidate for a US-based position in our organization, Young People’s Ministries. Cha, Coco, and I started the process of applying for our US R1 Visa. We were in equal parts nervous and excited. Cha and I never really planned to move out of the Philippines to work elsewhere, but we felt that this is where God was calling us, so with much prayers, we proceeded. Continue reading

How to Do a Personal Evaluation at the End of the Year

A lot of people get excited towards the end of the year. Christmas is coming. And for lots of kids, that means presents from family and friends. Families get together for reunion. Of course, students get a break from school. Even workers get to take some vacation for the holidays.

image credit: Dan Foy via Flickr

image credit: Dan Foy via Flickr

At the same time, the end of the year is a great time to look back at the year that was. It’s the perfect time to ask:

  • How did I live my life this year?
  • What are the high points and low points of my life this year?

These questions may remind you of your strict High School English teacher who gave you writing assignments related to your New Year’s Resolutions.

You probably used up all sorts of adjectives and traits that would make you appear like an angel from heaven. Continue reading

The Global Youth Wellbeing Index and Ministry with Young People around the World

One of the difficulties of working with different young people around the world is that, well… they are different! Of course there are similarities in their stories of growing up, forming identities, struggling with poverty, and other issues. But there are complex political, economic, social, and cultural forces at work that make it impossible to implement a one-size-fits-all approach to ministry with young people.

Data can help formulate a more informed strategy in dealing with young people. They can provide guidance in addressing the pressing challenges among young people, confirm what youth workers on the ground already know, or help challenge a previously held view that may not be congruent with reality. Continue reading

Timog Avenue: I Just Want to Have Some Fun!

Kung nasa Southbound lane ka ng EDSA at nalagpasan mo na ang North EDSA, hindi mo mami-miss ang Kamuning flyover. Kung ayaw mong ma-traffic sa Timog Avenue at sa Kamuning dahil sa dami ng mga bus terminals doon, take the flyover. Oo naman, heavy traffic din sa flyover during rush hour. At least, pagbaba mo, malapit ka na sa Cubao Ilalim. Kaunting tiis nga lang dahil sa sobrang daming mga bus na nakapila sa Cubao Ibabaw. Tahimik man ang Timog Avenue during the day; it comes alive at night. Lalo na kapag natapat ang payday near the weekend—super traffic sa area na ito because a lot of yuppies go there to eat, drink, and be entertained.

Hindi lang naman mga restaurant, bar, at iba pang entertainment joints ang makikita sa Timog area. This is also where the stations and headquarters of GMA7 and ABS-CBN are located. Kung may korona ang mga streets along EDSA, Timog Avenue ang title holder ng “Entertainment Center” ng buong Metro Manila. Kung super pressured ka nga naman sa work, at todo kayod ka throughout the month, puwedeng puwede pumasyal sa area na ito para mag-unwind at mag-relax.

image credit: unlawyer via Flickr

image credit: unlawyer via Flickr

Continue reading

Thinking about HIV & AIDS

At work today, we had our Advent Retreat in the morning. In the afternoon, we went to different non-profit organizations to take part, albeit for only a day, in the services that they offer to the community. I’m part of the group that went to the Center for Refugees+Immigrants of Tennessee. But that’s another story for another post.

But today is also the World AIDS day and I couldn’t help but think about the HIV & AIDS situation in the Philippines, even though, I am thousands of kilometers away. The Philippines now has the fastest growing HIV epidemic in the world. In July 2015, there were 22 cases being discovered daily! And that number represents only those that are reported!

Here’s the rub. A big percentage of these new incidents of HIV infection are among young people.

Based on a news report from Rappler: “Those in the 15-24 years age group in the population also showed an 800% increase in HIV prevalence.” Think about that for a minute and let it sink.

During our Asian Young Leaders Summit on Nov 11-15, 2015, we listened to a member of Babae Plus talk about HIV/AIDS prevention. After her session, we sat down and talked about how HIV is affecting young people. And here are some of the salient points of our conversation:

HIV-Positive Young People: Matitigas ang Ulo!

Continue reading

Don’t Donate Money to Disaster Relief and Other Lessons from Will MacAskill

I listen to a lot of podcasts. (If you don’t know what podcasts are, please find out more here.) They help make my commute more interesting. I learn a lot of new things I wouldn’t otherwise encounter. I’ve encountered new blogs to follow, new ideas to pursue, and strategies for work and life just by listening to podcasts.

One of the podcasts I listen to is the one by Tim Ferriss (who is the author of the 4 Hour Work Week). His guests are often phenomenal and I learn about top performers, their routines, idiosyncrasies, and other interesting stuff that they do to stay on top of their game.

doinggoodbetterHe recently interviewed Will MacAskill, a 28-year old tenured Philosophy Professor at the Oxford University! That is just mind-blowing! Mr. MacAskill is perhaps the world’s youngest tenured Philosophy Professor. Not only that, he is also involved in a non-profit organization called 80,000 hours, which helps provide research-based career advice to people. He is the author of the book “Doing Good Better” and co-founded the “effective altruism” movement.

He is not driven by profits. In fact he has committed to giving away anything he earns over $36,000 each year! Continue reading