How to use a Kanban board to increase your productivity (A beginners 10 step guide)

If you would like to try using a Kanban board but dont know where to start then check out this beginners guide on how to successfully set up and use a Kanban board.
Rob Mark
5 mins
A Kanban board is a visual tool that helps individuals and teams manage tasks and increase productivity. It originated from the Toyota Production System and its popularity has skyrocketed since the early 2000’s as many workplaces adopted agile ways of working. 

Its popularity has led to the development and adoption of many Kanban board based productivity apps like Briefmatic or Trello. The rapid adoption of collaboration tools such as Slack & Figma thanks to Covid has further increased the use of apps like Briefmatic as more people look for digital ways to manage outputs and increase productivity.

If you would like to try using a Kanban board but dont know where to start then check out this beginners guide on how to successfully set up and use a Kanban board.

  1. Set up the Kanban board: You can create a physical board using sticky notes and a whiteboard or use one of the many digital Kanban board tools available online (we strongly recommend Briefmatic of course). 
  2. Divide the board into columns representing different stages of work, typically "To Do," "In Progress," and "Done" but these can be anything. Think about the normal flow of you work and try to make the columns specific to the stages or gates your work passes through most often.
  3. Define tasks: Break down your work into individual tasks or items that can be easily managed. Each task should be clear and actionable, ideally represented by a card on the Kanban board.
  4. Populate the board: Place each task in the "To Do" column. These tasks represent the work you need to accomplish. It's essential to keep this column manageable, so only include tasks that you can realistically complete within a specific time frame.
  5. Visualize progress: As you start working on a task, move it to the next column, typically the "In Progress" column. This column shows the tasks you are actively working on. Limit the number of tasks in progress to avoid overwhelming yourself and to maintain focus. A kanban board based productivity app like Briefmatic makes it easy to move items between columns.
  6. Track progress: As you complete a task, move it to the "Done" column. This column represents the tasks you have finished. Celebrating completed tasks can give you a sense of accomplishment and motivate you to continue working.
  7. Manage work in progress (WIP) limits: To prevent overload and maintain productivity, consider setting work in progress limits for each column. For example, you may decide to limit the "In Progress" column to three tasks. Once you reach the limit, you must complete or move tasks to "Done" before starting new ones.
  8. Continuously update the board: If you are using an app like Briefmatic new tasks will automatically appear in your “To Do” column once you have integrated Briefmatic with your other work tools such as Gmail or Slack. Move tasks between columns as progress is made, add new tasks, and remove completed or irrelevant tasks. This ensures the board remains an accurate reflection of your work.
  9. Prioritize tasks: Kanban boards allow you to prioritize tasks easily. Arrange the tasks within the "To Do" column based on importance or urgency. This way, you can focus on the most critical tasks first and make progress efficiently.
  10. Analyze and optimize: Regularly analyze your Kanban board to identify patterns and areas for improvement. Look for bottlenecks, tasks that remain stuck in a particular column for an extended period, or tasks that frequently get delayed. This analysis will help you identify potential productivity blockers and refine your workflow.

By following these steps, a beginner can effectively use a Kanban board to manage tasks, visualize progress, and enhance productivity. Remember, the goal is to create a clear and organized workflow that enables you to focus on your work, maintain momentum, and achieve your goals more efficiently.

Ready to give a try? Start a free trial with Briefmatic today and get your productivity journey underway now.

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