Work Smarter: What’s Your Modus?

The lifeblood of every business is its people. Business relies on individuals who collaborate to get work done, solve problems, make good decisions, and innovate. The Modus Press library features books that explore how people work, how we spot opportunities, and what to do to improve and make work better together. 

Winner of the Shingo Award

Winner of the Shingo Award

Personal Kanban

Better manage work, prioritize, understand what's important, see who is doing what...simply put, make work less stressful and you more effective. The original and definitive text on using Personal Kanban for Individuals and Teams at home and at the office.

Why & How to Work Within Your Capacity

Why & How to Work Within Your Capacity

Why Limit WIP

We can't do more work than we can handle, yet we regularly overload ourselves. We feel the stress personally, professionally, and even organizationally. Why Limit WIP gives concrete technique for limiting work-in-progress to a level you can complete and provides a guide for why that is important.

The Psychology of the Office Explained

The Psychology of the Office Explained

Why Plans fail

Every office has a personality and is filled with personalities. We are all governed by decision-making short-cuts called "cognitive biases" that drive behavior but sometimes can lead us astray. Why Plans Fail discusses how business decision making is subject to these biases and what, perhaps, to do about it.

Take your Personal Kanban everywhere!

Take your Personal Kanban everywhere!

personal kanban notebook

Take your Personal Kanban with you using our 6x9 compact Personal Kanban Notebook. Make meetings more effective, select the right work at the right time, have constant access to your board, and track improvements!

Modus Institute

Online classes that teach the foundations of healthy working styles for individuals, teams, and organizations.

Personal Kanban for Individuals and Teams

Learn Personal Kanban from the inventors and authors of the award-winning book.  Join the thousands of students who have taken our online class. Options for direct coaching with Jim and Tonianne. Learn to visualize work, limit work in progress, deal with complexity, prioritize, review, and improve your work.  Deal with overload. Have more cohesive teams. Communicate what you want to and can to better to everyone (even yourself!)


Me: What do I do next?

A new class for 2019.

Just tell me what to do! Our quest for meaningful prioritization is often frustrated by culture, overload, and unforeseen events. This class directly addresses these frustrations and helps us find that right work at the right time.

Successful Distributed Teams


Distributed teams are a fact of life today, but they come with some challenges.  How do we communicate? How do we know what work is being done? Do we all have the same idea of what we are producing? Who talks to the customers? How do we give or receive direction?

These are not easy questions and teams suffer because of them.  This class directly addresses these issues and more.



Calendar of Upcoming Live Events

Great for team and corporate learning. Contact Dave for group discounts and learning packages!

  1. Omaha, NE — November 2019 - Sign Up Now

  2. Evansville, IN — January 2019 - Sign Up Now


Build Successful Ways of Working Using Personal Kanban

Whether you’re a solo-preneur or work in a large team, a workforce "veteran" or just beginning your professional career, join us to learn how to STRESS LESS. FOCUS BETTER, COMPLETE QUALITY WORK, COMMUNICATE and COLLABORATE more EFFECTIVELY, and surface opportunities for CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT.

The Pain:

Individuals, teams, and organizations constantly feel the pain of overload. Plagued by constant distractions, ambiguous and ever-changing priorities, and a seemingly endless workload-in-flight, while constantly negotiating (and re-negotiating) deadlines, we can't seem to focus, finish, prioritize, or even plan our day let alone improve our work or the way we go about doing it. But not to worry - this is a solved problem.

The Solution:

Personal Kanban is an award-winning productivity and effectiveness system that allows you and your team to visualize, track, communicate, collaborate on, and improve your work in a brain-friendly way.

Creator of Personal Kanban Jim Benson, along with Tonianne DeMaria, his co-author for the Shingo Award-winning book Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life, will teach you how to build flexible collaborative systems to understand, plan, and act on real options.

As knowledge workers, our brains are our primary mode of value-creation, and so any personal or team optimization need to focus on the people doing the work. We need to avoid overload. We need clarity around our work. We need to choose the right work at the right time. We need to focus, finish, and then fine-tune what we’ve already completed.

This two-day intensive (but fun!) class pulls from a host of disciplines and case-studies, incorporating Lean principles, systems thinking, neuropsychology, and behavioral economics to help you better understand and manage personal and project work to end cognitive and office chaos, communications issues, and low morale.

We've delivered this class to the United Nations, the World Bank, Spotify, JP Morgan, Progressive Insurance, Starbucks, ComcastNBCUniversal, Riot Games, Turner Construction, and hundred of other companies and agencies worldwide. Come benefit from our experience and the material that's helped thousands of previously overwhelmed people collaborate better, see what is happening right now, prioritize effectively, and get the right work done at the right time.

What You Will Learn:

  • How overload sneaks up on us

  • What the impacts of multitasking are (and how to break this insidious habit)

  • How morale and culture drive successful office environments

  • How to deal with repetitive tasks

  • How to collaborate to increase quality and reduce re-work

  • How to better communicate what you need

  • What we need to be professionally satisfied with our work

  • How to create healthy work systems to balance planned and unplanned work in the office

  • How to chart the real completion times of tasks and projects for better planning

  • How to visualize and control individual and team work

  • How to set up obtainable goals and work-in-process limits

  • How to focus on completion and quality

  • How to learn and improve with real information

Sponsored by:

About Jim and Tonianne:

We’ve worked with individuals, startups, hospitals, government agencies, non-profits, and Fortune 10 companies. We’ve had the privilege of working in just about every vertical on six continents. We’ve seen first hand the complicated, emotional, and frustrating ways we universally “organize” and process our work.

Overload generated by email and phone calls, coupled with legitimate (and ever-changing) colleague and client needs lead people to believe work is synonymous with overload, confusion, and stress. They are convinced that the solution to these issues is simply beyond their reach.

But it’s not. It’s a matter of effective visualization and communication.

To be sure, while getting people to communicate better is in itself an effort, much of the problem is just trying to communicate all there is to say. Context changes and so do our priorities. Tasks are then done hastily, work (and quality) escape us, and we seldom take the time to update others on our status. This isn’t because we’re hiding things from them or intentionally being evasive. And it’s certainly not because we’re evil.

It’s because we are constantly busy.

Healthy companies rely on mechanisms that contain and convey all those really important things that we don’t have the time to: How much work do you have? Who is working on what? What information do you need? What work is in peril? What work can be improved? What work is coming your way?

We have watched how clarity, agency, and the ability to solve problems eases the stress of individuals, teams, and organizations world-wide.

Removing that stress, letting people focus on what’s important, making work life better…that’s what we at Modus are all about.