January 10, 2012

Fresh Starts in the New Year

By Jeannie Crawford-Lee |

I will not scoff at New Year’s resolutions. Yes, many go by the wayside, but I appreciate a call to pause, assess, and think about how we move forward in new ways as we enter a new year.

One of my fresh starts relates to handling the work of my office. I’m one of those people who need to see stuff—read “piles”—or I forget about things (out of sight = could slip my mind). But leaving everything out gets so messy and looks rather unprofessional. Lists don’t quite do the trick for me. I start multiple lists in different places. So when I came across a book about a highly visual project management system, I determined to give it a whirl in 2012.

Personal Kanban: Mapping Work/Navigating Life http://amzn.to/AvLC3V offered something I could relate to: making all you have to do visible on a board (instead of in a pile), and then literally moving work along—via sticky notes—as steps are taken for various projects. OK! Let me try that.

Here you see a table with piles.


Here is my start-up project board. Putting up colorful sticky notes is fun!

Here is a cleared table. The stuff has gone into file folders.

Let’s hope this actually helps me keep on top of things. Why? Because there are a lot of good ideas coming my way from current Upper Room authors and new writers who are submitting proposals. My job is to identify ones that align with The Upper Room’s mission and work with our editorial, production, marketing, and finance teams to get books out to individuals, small groups, and churches. And that’s an excellent reason to improve my work habits.

No matter what happens with the new system, I do have this motto to keep me going:

What motivates you to explore fresh starts in 2012?

(And please share your best organizing tips with me!)

Jeannie Crawford-Lee
Acquisitions Editor

  • rita collett

    I am learning to use OmniFocus on the iPad to my advantage in terms of tracking work duties. Prior to this approach, I too had multiple lists in many places. Obviously I must keep the iPad handy and check it daily. For those of us who love the feeling of accomplishment by marking through to-do items on a written list, a shorter and shorter to-do list on the iPad can give the same feeling as one comes to day’s end!

  • Andrew Breeden

    The project board is a wonderful idea. As a visual person, I like to see the concrete results of whatever it is I am working on, and not only the finished product, but the different steps I have to take to achieve the finished product. For the writer and editor alike, the production and publication of a manuscript is not like washing your car or cutting the grass where it is easy to see what you have accomplished and how much you have left to go, but a process in which tangible and concrete accomplishment can be difficult to gauge until a book comes off the press. I like the idea of tracking my progress with sticky notes, if for no other reason than the assurance that it can offer that I am actually getting something done other than making lists, revising those lists, and moving piles of papers from one side of my desk to the other. Thanks for sharing.

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