Kanban is a helpful system to visualize your work. You define discrete categories of how complete a task is, and you move tasks along the categories to get them done. With one view to your Kanban board you see your total amount of work and what you have achieved already — a great motivation and boost to your productivity.
Lets put this into practice using Wunderlist.
Choosing your categories
First of all, you need to define the categories of your Kanban system. I track my projects with Wunderlist and recommend the following generic categories:
- Pause (stopping to work on the project)
- Wait (project is triggered by an external event)
For special areas the categories might differ. For my blog posts, I use these:
- Final Draft
Once you have your categories, we can set up the Kanban board.
Categories work as visual borders. In Wunderlist, we have a vertical layout and can use two different methods: folders or list dividers.
When you use separate lists as your projects, you use folder as categories. Add the folders and align your projects accordingly.
When you want to separate tasks inside a list, you use list dividers.
As you see in the images, I extend the notation of the categories to show either the number of items or even the number of items/max items — this helps me to not start to many projects at once.
Boost your Productivity
In my experience, using a Kanban board gives you these advantages:
- Lower project stress: When you set up the Kanban system, you may see that you have 10 projects in the “Do” category. That is to much, and probably the source you feel overwhelmed. Put them in “Pause”, and work for the next days only on one or two projects.
- Better prioritization: You limit the amount of projects in the “Do” category, and selectively work on them until you are finished. Then, and only then, begin a new project.
- Avoid procrastination: Do you stop projects without any specific reason? In a Kanban system, you see these paused projects. Ask yourself why you stopped it. It it is not worthwhile anymore, delete it. And the next time you want to pause a project, you need to make a consciousness choice before putting it into this category.
And finally, you will get motivated to see your projects wandering along the categories, to finally put them in done — cherish this special moment.
Go ahead and try your version of Kanban. If it helped you, please send me a mail or leave a comment.