Are you more productive when you have a bunch of things you are working on or only a few?
For most people, it’s the latter. Too much work-in-progress (aka WIP) in manufacturing leads to waste of materials and creates inventory; that’s why lean management systems developed tools like Kanban. Too much WIP in service environments creates distraction and can lead to low quality. So how do we manage WIP?
At an organizational level this is accomplished in planning meetings at levels from corporate strategic planning to daily scrums but at a personal level, many need to develop their own system. One can create a personal sticky note or whiteboard-based system in minutes to track work status and priority. Want something electronic? Try tools like Trello, Microsoft Outlook’s “Tasks” functionality, or a color-coded spreadsheet. But what’s less important than the tool selected is how you use it: try to only have only 2 or 3 priorities at any given time and re-prioritize regularly.
How can you use WIP management to be more effective?