Productivity insights – Go visual with Kanban, better than a to-do-list?

This video podcast takes you into you a Kanban Board and how it’s “a great tool to help manage your diary tasks”.

About Kanban

A Kanban board is a workflow visualisation tool that enables you to optimize the flow of your work. Physical Kanban boards typically use sticky notes on a whiteboard to communicate status, progress, and issues. Online Kanban Boards draw upon the whiteboard metaphor in a software setting.

The Kanban technique emerged in the late 1940s as Toyota’s re-imagined approach to manufacturing and engineering. Line-workers displayed colored Kanbans — actual cards — to notify their downstream counterparts that demand existed for parts and assembly work. (Kanban is the Japanese word for “visual signal” or “card.”) The system’s highly visual nature allows teams to communicate more easily on what work needs to be done and when. It also standardises cues and refines processes, to help reduce waste and maximise value.


How do you use Kanban?

How do you build, sort of a flight plan for your tasks and this is where using a Kanban comes becomes important. I send everything to what I call my backlog file in Kanban, and it’s just literally all the incoming jobs that I have to do.

Urgent v. Important

So you need to break those things that are going to go into your diary into things that are important and urgent things that are not important but are urgent things that are important, but not urgent and things that are neither important nor urgent.

You need to break your tasks into those things and I have to immediately work out, is this something that’s important and urgent, and it needs doing today. I’ll move that into my today column.

Is it not important and urgent? I’ll also add to my today column, but it will be a lower priority thing so I can start to really prioritise things that have to be done today.

You actually have to think about time in your own diary when you can do jobs.

Now, if you fill up your diary with stuff all the time, then that’s a problem because how are you going to do things that turn up almost like as an emergency?

So to some extent, you have to put aside some time in your diary to deal with emergencies.

If you don’t do that, you’ll end up doing a lot of late nights, which is what, unfortunately, quite a lot of people end up doing.

Then I look at the other things in the backlog. So things that are important, but not urgent. I’ll put them into my work in progress. If I start work