Try sleeping on the job

There's no doubt about the most influential part of my morning routine. It is a practice that has simplified and destressed my every day for more than two years. My kanban practice grew out of watching a Udemy course by Gerry Kirk a couple of years ago. Using a kanban panel, I've been better able to stay on purpose each day. 

Using the kanban panel ("visual organising board"), you:

- Gather activities you are intending to do on the POSSIBILITIES panel. This is the panel with the mind map icon on the left hand side of the image above.

- Select those you are going to do today and drag them to the DOING panel. This is the upper central panel with the target icon.

- Move to the PAUSED panel items you cannot complete today for some reason. This is the smallest panel, lower centre with the pause icon.

- Drag items to the DONE panel once you have completed them. The done panel is to the right of all the rest with the tick icon).

The kanban panel is elegant and simple . It will help you manage the crazy, diverse collection of ways you could spend each day. Must hurry that big report out of the door? No problem with your kanban panel!

Mind map your large project into component parts on the POSSIBILITIES panel. You won't be afraid of losing any of them - or any of the other things that you must pack into these next few days. Create a programme of activities for each project. Prioritise various areas of your list. Stack them into a sensible flow ready for working your way through on the right day. And it holds the possibilities you don't want to lose. You can keep cherished dreams for the day that is just right. 

The central DOING panel focuses your attention: you commit and get things done. Those items that you select are for action. They are for completing today. And you can leave the rest for another day: they wait for you as possibilities.

You'll love the gratifying sense of achievement every time you drag a task across to the DONE panel. You'll see from the selection of font size that I am rewarding myself for getting into a gym habit at the moment! And, as you refresh the DONE list at the end of each week (did you really do all that this week?) - reflect and revel! 

It is wonderfully simple and wonderfully effective. It has flow. In fact, it has agile flow. Not like a GANT chart where you lock down flexibility days or weeks in advance. It's a to do list that breathes - and it's one I've been able to keep going longer than any other system I've tried.

I constructed my kanban panel using Scapple. Scapple is a neat and simple piece of "thought organising" software. You can find it on the Mac app store and at literatureandlatte.com (home of  the software house that produces Scrivener). As a more formal alternative, you'll find a Skillshare course by Brett Romero describing the use of Trello for setting up your kanban system (https://www.skillshare.com/classes/business/Ship-Your-Book-Or-Online-Course/132453228).

If you decide to give it a go, drop me a line to let me know how you are going with it! - Nigel

Well - that's all very well but it doesn't make my heart sing. And I'm not sure that this next tack will either but it feels closer to my heart:

Try sleeping on the job

The most important part of my work day happens just before I wake. Then, before consciousness propels me forwards, I reach back to those critical discoveries made by my sleeping mind.  I drag them forwards into my day. And they change everything!

Don't you think that your creating value for clients arises from helping them innovate? From addressing challenges they have had for aeons? From solving the problem that will otherwise end the world tomorrow? Or from helping them present something in a completely different way? A way that sets them apart. Explains complexity in simple terms. Clearer than water. More memorable than a misplaced spot of cyanoacrylate. All just ideas .... so where do amazing ideas come from?

Your nights are jam-packed full of them. Every night. In your dreams. And have you ever noticed this critical feature of your dreams? That your dream smells of the blueberries that burst upon your tongue at dinner?  Sounds like the fast moving bicycle bell that all but mowed you down at the mall? Feels warm as the air moving over the hairs on your arm as you recently walked the night-time streets of Bangkok?  Your dreams combine things you would never consider putting into a single sentence. Things from any time you have ever experienced. And especially things you experienced yesterday. Could anyone ever invent a more powerful innovation engine?

So your morning routine starts yesterday. It starts with being the sponge that sucks the essence of the day's challenge from the air around you. You read about it. You whiteboard it. You gaze at it through the bushes outside your window. You listen to its echoes in audiobooks with relevant titles. You sketch out its skeleton. You whistle it in the shower. And you take it for a spin in the Challenge Gym. You handstand. You cartwheel. You roll, swing and shape. You push and you prod. You tell the problem that you recognise that it is the most important thing in the universe. You tell it that you won't stop thinking about it until you know that it will live happy ever after.  And once you know that it believes you, you do the most important thing you could do: you sleep.

And that's the last thing you remember - except for the whisps of fast fading dreams - as you wake. So don't wake too fast. Don't let your day crowd in until you've fished your amazing new day's fresh pond of dreams. Fish in silence. Fish with your eyes closed. Feel for pulls! Watch for shapes, ripples! Let your line run deep! Pull them up, one by one! And out of the outrageous pile of fish that you land, there will be one that will change your client's life. Amazing and so easy - all in a good day's sleep!

Got an important challenge? Try sleeping on the job!

Yes - my heart has the start of a song forming - let's see where this goes over the next while with Cathy's process ....


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