Kanban Boards: An Organizational Tool
Do you struggle to stay organized? Do to-do Lists just feel too plain and don’t motivate you enough? A kanban board might help you stay organized and get all of your responsibilities and goals done.
What is a kanban board?
This begs the question; what is a kanban board? It’s an organization system that helps you see at a glance what you need to focus on during the week and see what you’ve accomplished. There are three sections of the board: Goals, This Week (Do it Now), and Accomplished.
The goals section should take up half of your board. This is where every task goes at the beginning. You can color-code the Post-its to match the goals. On my board (above), purple is my writing goals, hot pink is schoolwork, orange is my internships, yellow is my critique group, blue is a newsletter, and pastel pink is miscellaneous things. You can do the same thing based on your goals.
This Week (Do it Now)
Move the Post-its here when you need to focus on them during the coming week. It should be the middle quarter of your board. It helps you to know exactly what you must do. You can move them around as needed. My “week” is fluid, and often these tasks are completed as needed because I have flexibility. If you crave more rigidity, then put the deadline in the corner of the Post-it and get the task done before it’s due.
Congratulations! You finished a task. Now you can move the Post-it to the accomplished section on the bottom quarter of your board. Not only does this give you a rush of dopamine, but also it’s incredibly motivating to see everything you’ve accomplished stack up.
Refreshing the Board
The board goes through cycles of being full at the top and then moving completed tasks to fill the accomplished section. I refresh my board every month or so, but it’s more fluid, with one month running into the next, because I like flexibility. For example, my schoolwork is planned out until the beginning of March, while my writing goals are exactly one month long. I often add extra Post-its if I reach another 5k milestone with my word count for the month. Some people refresh their board on a 90-day cycle. Find what works for you.
Online Kanban Software
There are two main software programs available that work a lot like a kanban board. The most popular is Trello, followed closely by Asana. If having an electronic copy on your computer or phone would work better for you, then use these. Both have free versions that give plenty of features.
Keep a Record
Instead of throwing out the Post-its at the end of a cycle, tape them in a notebook so you can flip through all of your accomplishments for the past year or more. It’s a good feeling to flip through everything you’ve done and it can motivate you during a tough month.
kanban boards can help you stay organized and reach your goals. I have found I am much more productive and feel a lot more accomplished since I started using one. I hope it can work for you, too.