On a whim, I borrowed Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time from the library. I’ve been hearing about the concept of Scrum/agile/Kanban for a while, and wanted to finally figure out what the excitement was all about. (Plus, the subtitle of the book sounded incredibly promising…)
While Scrum is designed for teams, I quickly realized that many of the concepts could be adapted for keeping on top of the (seemingly-insurmountable) mountains of (often quite disorganized) material that gets flung at us in med school.
Tools for Personal Scrum
The Steps I Took to Plan My Workload Using Modified Scrum for Personal Productivity
The night before
- Set up an Asana board with four columns:
- On Deck
- In Progress
- Listed my deadlines, tasks, and priorities (each on an individual card) in the “backlog” column.
- Moved my top (most urgent and/or most important) cards to the “On Deck” column.
- Figured out which of those cards I could reasonably complete the next day using timeboxing/timeblocking, and blocked off appropriate estimates of time in my calendar.
- Moved those (scheduled) cards to the “In Progress” column.
The day of
- Opened my kanban board and calendar. Reviewed to see if my priorities or time estimates needed to be adjusted, based on emergent tasks or newly-scheduled commitments. Made minor adjustments to my calendar and/or kanban board as needed.
- I started off my day with a brief “daily scrum” (took about 5-7 minutes to write in a Word document), and asked myself the three questions of Scrum:
- What did I do yesterday?
- What will I do today?
- What are the impediments in my way?
- As I went through the day, kept notes in my daily scrum log as to how long I thought a task would take, and how long it actually took.
- Ended my day with a brief review, and made comments in my daily scrum log.
- Planned for the next day as per the steps in the first list.
This approach is new, so I wanted to keep a list of my steps so that I can look back, analyze my system, and tweak in the future as needed.
Useful articles for reference and further reading
- How I work and use Scrum personally
- Scrum of one: how to bring Scrum into your one-person operation
- Scrum for students: a brief manifesto
- Personal scrum: using agile techniques to manage your life
- Scrum for one