Top Of Mountain

You don’t have to work harder or longer. You simply need to change the way you look at your goals.

Research on brain imagery explains that making your brain see something is similar to actually performing the action. This is why visualization is such a key property in Kanban; the sheer act of visualizing your work will increase your chances of achieving it. There is no magic, you still have to do the work, but it’s all about how you look at it…

Seeing is believing.

Consider what would happen if every morning you started your day by actually looking at your goals for that day. I don’t mean looking at a never-ending to-do list… I am suggesting instead to actually see in your mind what you believe could be accomplished today with a laser focus on only one or two things to get 100% done today.

As we discussed in previous blogs, multitasking does not work. So every day, you should pick only tasks that you truly believe can be accomplished that day. In my experience, it’s never more than two or three tasks per day (writing a proposal, picking up your laundry, emailing a loved one, etc…). For each of these daily tasks, just spend a few minutes to visualize what exactly it will take to complete those tasks fully.

Can you visualize much bigger tasks? You can and you should. But ultimately, large tasks will need to be broken into smaller achievable tasks that fit within a certain time frame. Using a daily planning lens to visualize your work will help you build a sustainable way to make progress every day toward your ultimate goals. As you become better at visualizing small tasks, you will also want to incorporate a weekly lens to tackle bigger goals to accomplish for that week.

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Anyone can do it.

When using visualization, you must consider visualizing both the process and the outcome. As you think about a specific goal, you must imagine the steps to get there and also see what it looks like to be there.

Take the example of climbing a mountain…To visualize this goal on the process side, you will need to consider the physical training to prepare for this endeavor, the equipment to help you along the way, and the best path to get there. On the outcome side, you must visualize yourself at the top of that mountain, planting a flag or overlooking this incredible achievement.

It’s easy to get started.

All you need to get started is to visualize the process on a Kanban board and track these goals within cards that hold the desired outcome. Sounds too simple or easy to be true? Don’t forget that you still have to do it. This is not just daydreaming, it is about structure and discipline on a daily basis.

Make sure that your board is visible by setting it up so that you can see it every day. At home, I always recommend putting it in the kitchen for the whole family to see it or where you get dressed if it’s a personal board. At work, it should be the first thing you see when you walk into your office or within your team area. Using an online board is great for collaboration, but you must make sure to look at it every day.

Visualization will keep you connected to your goals and increase your chances of achieving them in a timely manner. Be careful; this is not purely wishful thinking, the Kanban board will provide the structure, and you will embrace the discipline to accomplish clear tasks every day toward your goal.

So what do you want to accomplish today? Can you visualize it?

Did this blog inspire you?

Once you start visualizing your work in Kanban Zone, you will be surprised how much faster it gets done!

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About the Author: Dimitri Ponomareff

Kanban Coach Dimitri Ponomareff
Dimitri Ponomareff is a Coach. Transforming organizations to deliver value faster since 2005, using Agile, Scrum/XP first, and then blending Lean and Kanban. Dimitri has the ability to relate and energize people. He is consistently recognized as a very passionate and successful change agent, with an overwhelming capacity to motivate and mobilize teams on their path to continuous improvements.