Personal Kanban by Barry and Benson.

This was referenced in WorldWithoutEmail, and it provides a good overview of kanban work-progress management, provided that you can ignore the many pictures of poorly drawn whiteboards and the authors pleading that this messy physicality is necessary.

There are four parts to kanban and task management in general:

  1. Create the mega-backlog of all goals.
  2. Break the goals down into bite-size tasks.
  3. Prioritize the tasks.
  4. Execute the tasks.

Unfortunately, the two middle parts are deceptively difficult.

Bite-sizing goals is not straight-forward. The canonical example is a weightlifter who wants to bench 200 kg, so they start at zero and add five kg each day. At the start, the lifting is easy and great progress is made; shortly thereafter though, progress halts and possibly permanent damage results. Pacing and adapting to work is an involved journey of self-discovery and -learning.

As for Prioritization, we routinely mis-estimate the import of our goals and tasks, with short-term concerns over-dominating while the long-term languishes. Why? Because at its heart, prioritization is an actuarial science. And most of us make for remarkably poor actuaries.

The problem with books like these is that readers rush off to implement their little systems and like the weightlifter, they soon run into trouble.

Which I guess is fine??? It's not like people claim kanban is a panacea.