“Kanban” originates from Japanese words which roughly translate as “card”, “billboard”, or “visual signal”. The Kanban methodology was originally used by Toyota to make their manufacturing processes more efficient and lean. It makes use of a Kanban board which is an easy way to visualise the things you need to do, what is currently being worked on (also called WIP or Work in Progress), and what has already been done. Aside from being able to see the workflow, another philosophy behind it is to limit the tasks that are WIP. This way, you won’t get overwhelmed by the things that you need to do.
Making use of the Kanban board is usually done in the office, as an information radiator that helps teams visualise their tasks. But of course, you can use this to track and manage your personal life and goals as well. You can easily do it on your wall with post-it notes, but I prefer using a digital Kanban board such as Trello.
It has lists (which I can label as “To Do”, “In Progress”, “Done”, or whatever my workflow is), and cards (tasks) which I can also put a due date on. I can access it through the internet on my laptop, or use the mobile app and use it on my phone. I can even share my board with someone else if I want to collaborate.
I use different boards to keep track and manage different stuff – the activities for this blog, preparation for trips, passion projects, as well as short-term and long-term goals. I also find that it helps with brainstorming, when I can just dump my ideas into one list, and then move it to different lists as I work through it.
Do you use any other productivity tool? I would love to know!