First things first: How to organize work and increase your productivity with the Kanban method

Many time management apps use Kanban as the basis of their structure. We review Kanban in physical format so that you capture its essence.

If organizing is a problem for you and you no longer know what to do, this simple methodology will help you. Kanban is a proven method that you can apply in your personal and professional life, and is part of the so-called agile methodologies. It will allow you to learn to manage tasks throughout their journey.

In fact, many time management apps use Kanban as the basis of their structure. Here we will be reviewing Kanban in physical format so that you capture its essence.

“Kanban” is a Japanese word, made up of “Kan”, which means 'visual', and “Ban”, 'card'. That is, you will use 'visual cards' to organize and produce better.

You will start by having a board, which can be a whiteboard, a glass window, a wall, or any other place where you can mark a series of columns, which you will use to stick sticky notes and sequence the process of tasks.

The simplicity lies in the fact that, at a single glance, you will see the status of each project you carry out.

1 – Mark on the board the columns appropriate to the flow of the projects

In the Kanban that I have in my office I use only three columns: pending, in process and completed.

Depending on the complexity of the tasks, you can add some more columns: the intention is that you have the entire process reflected in them step by step, until its completion. But be careful not to place excessive columns, which will only reduce agility. This is what is called “phases of the production cycle”, an incremental development, dividing projects into different steps.

2 – Define the project and workflows

In the first column you will place a sticky note with the name of the project, and then, attached to it, others with the different steps to follow to advance in that process.

Work with different colors to differentiate the projects, since several can coexist on the same board.

Let's look at this example: you could record there “Correct the book for the publisher”. If the task has not yet been started, this sticker remains in the To Do column. Then, it will go to “In process”, and once finished, to “Finished”.

It is advisable to add all the details in the notes, such as the deadline and any other relevant aspect of necessary information so that you, and a team – if you work together with other people – are aware and all manage the same information.

3 – Once the process has started

Each time the process starts, you move that sticky note to the second column, “in process,” where you will know that that task is moving forward.

Continuing with the example, add details there (for example, “delegated to Silvana the proofreading of the book's texts” and the date) and other stickers of that same color with what you need to complete in that phase.

In my case, which has 3 columns, I will only move the notes to “finished” once the entire process has actually finished and the project is closed.

3 – Stop starting, start finishing

This conceptual step indicates that you need to prioritize ongoing tasks before adding new ones, because otherwise you will have a huge amount of messy backlogs. Remember that the relevance priority is what will allow you to sustain the execution and completion agreement.

4 – Manage the flow

Different projects and tasks can coexist on the Kanban methodology board; That is why I suggest that you use different colors to clearly identify them.

5 – The effect on your subconscious mind

Our subconscious mind stores emotions and feelings; That way we give meaning to everything we experience. If we look at the Kanban board with days and days of tasks stuck in “Pending”, which is what usually happens with unproductive people, the feeling will be of unease and laziness to begin with.

Instead, by using the shape of colors moving on the board, at a glance you will know how far you have progressed. And when you reach the “Finished” column, your subconscious will reward you by giving you feelings of satisfaction from the achievement and additional energy to tackle new tasks.

I invite you to incorporate it to improve your productivity, clarity and management of any type of personal and professional, individual and team projects.