Article

Kanban Yourself Calm

11 October 2017 | Joshua Benson | About a 3 minute read
Tags: Agile, awareness, calm, developer, health, issue, Kanban, mental, mental health, mental health awareness, mental health week, Product, Trello


Our lives can be extremely demanding, with work, relationships and much more taking their toll. With 1 in 4 people experiencing a mental health issue each year, it’s important that we look after ourselves, seeking the help we need.

 

Having experienced mild depression and anxiety myself, the worst aspect of it was going through sleep deprivation. On some occasions, I would stay awake for hours, with my mind in overdrive, worrying about every single possible scenario about aspects of my life. No matter how hard I tried to empty my head, my mind would not stop racing, bouncing between every issue I could think of: work, family, relationships, health, finance, and many more.

 

I’ve heard from my friends, relatives and the internet to write my worries and problems down on a piece of paper. However I didn’t find this a truly effective way to deal with my issues as the paper got torn, crumpled or lost, and I found it difficult to organise.

 

As a developer working in agile, we use a Kanban board to track and finish our tasks. It’s like a glorified ‘To Do’ list. It is a simple concept, yet really effective to view how a project is going.

 

The simple concept is this:

  • Write your task on a post it note
  • Put it in a ‘To Do’ column
  • As the status changes, move it across the board into the subsequent columns
  • Move it into a ‘Done’ column when it’s done.

 

I decided to try to use this for my worries. An awesome tool online you can use for this is called Trello. That way you can take your board with you, using the app or web versions.

What’s also great about it, is that you can annotate, label and comment on your ‘post-it’, helping you find a solution, or just a place to store your thoughts.

We also have a concept in Kanban, called WIP (Work-in-progress). We try to limit this, to ensure we finish tasks before starting new ones. This can be applied to mind worries. Trying to deal with 2 at a time is a lot more useful than dealing with 10. We’re more likely to solve our problems if we aren’t plate-spinning everything at once.

 

After trying this for a few days, I found that I was sleeping better. My mind stopped racing, content in the knowledge that I had a place to store the issues that had been whirling around in my mind previously. Moving anything into my ‘Sorted’ column gave me huge satisfaction and a mental boost.

 

Have any of you used a popular agile technique to help with aspects of your life? Tweet us @AND_Digital

 

References:

http://content.digital.nhs.uk/pubs/psychiatricmorbidity07

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/how-writing-things-down-can-change-your-life.html

http://kanbanblog.com/explained/

https://trello.com

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