How to use a personal kanban to improve daily output at work

by Venchito Tampon

In this digital age, the ability to enhance your focus and be able to complete many tasks on your plate is becoming more of a need than a want. Distractions may come your way just for a second, but then it can take you 21 minutes to regain your focus.

That’s the reason there are hundreds of articles about productivity hacks and strategies publishing every month to teach professionals how to produce more output in a day.

Personal kanban is one productivity system that’s been around for decades that can simplify your daily priorities and accomplishments.

The kanban is a tool to visualize, organize and complete work. It was historically used by Taiichi Ochno at Toyota to simplify how he communicated work that had been done to all his workers.

There are three main parts of a personal kanban, from left to right:

  • To Do: First block showing work you haven’t gotten yet (unfinished)
  • Doing: Middle block showing your work in progress
  • Done: Final block showing your completed work

Your kanban tools can be physical or digital. You can simply make a personal kanban tool with PostIts on a board with three separate blocks.

For digital products, Trello can be your handy online personal kanban tool with lists to separate tasks in the three blocks.

Even productivity experts like Monisha Longacre, who is the founder of Productivity 101 Biz and Priorigami is an advocate of kanban for his teams at work, mostly with the help of Trello.

“It was a very effective way to see where everything stood so I didn’t have to keep bothering team members about their status plus they didn’t have to waste time providing progress updates to everyone. I definitely recommend it for team collaboration,” Monisha told me in and interview.

“Personally, I use a simpler tool to track and prioritize my own tasks. At the start of each day, I review my to-do list on my task management app, Priorigami, and select the top three priorities.  I then work on these first. Priorigami reminds me around 2 p.m. to review my list and shuffle any priorities since things come up during the day and priorities sometimes shift. The app also keeps a record of all completed tasks and when they were completed. It’s a great motivator for me to get things done so I can check them off the list,” Monisha added.

Being able to adjust when urgent matters come in is extremely important as you want to cater to these needs as soon as possible.

Here are more tips on how to use personal kanban for extreme productivity:

  • List down tasks for your “To-do” blocks in your personal kanban tool, the night before. This can enhance your memory, so you don’t forget things that should’ve been added to your list.
  • Transfer tasks from “To-do” to “Doing” one at a time. Don’t try to move tasks just to get that feeling of satisfaction. Instead, just move one task and as soon as you finish it, then take another one from your “To-do” block and transfer it to your “Doing” block.
  • It is best to track how much time it takes you to accomplish your tasks in your “Done” block and cross-check to how much time (working hours) you spend in your office. This helps you catch time-wasting tasks and look to improve them.
  • Chop your big projects into small chunks of micro-activities, so you can get more done in a day, than just procrastinating the whole project execution. It’d be better to check which mirco-activities needs to go first, so you can proceed to another micro-tasks and build momentum to finish all of them.
  • Project how much time it requires for you to finish a certain task. Moving a project from the “To-do” block to the “Doing” block isn’t a guarantee you’ll complete it within the day, which is why it’s imperative you identify the number of minutes/hours it’ll take to execute a task/project, regardless of its size and volume.

You may personally have tried other productivity systems but haven’t seen good results. Spend time applying a personal kanban to your business, professional and social life, so you can attain extreme productivity.

What other productivity hacks do you have? Have you used a different productivity tool to get things done? Tell us about it below!

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