Trello makes it simple to both organize your favorite recipes and plan out a week's worth—or even months' worth—of meals. Create a recipe board where you can customize each card with a photo of the dish, a checklist of ingredients, and cooking instructions. Using Trello to organize our membership community has been a lifesaver!! I use this board to keep track of all content (we plan in 90 day increments), as well as ideas for future content AND a list of past content.
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My journey of discovery into time management to date has introduced me to many techniques and terms I was unfamiliar with previously. But both kanban and personal kanban were names I’d neither seen not heard before, so I was quite intrigued.
Could this be something I could use to improve the way I am organizing and managing my time currently?
Possibly. Read on to find out more!
What is personal kanban?
Aiwa manuals free. The easiest way to describe personal kanban is that it’s a “simple system to efficiently manage your To-Do list.”
The key benefit being that its structure enables you to visualize your work and discourages you from taking on too much at once or multi-tasking, which as you will know from my other posts, is not usually the most efficient way to handle your tasks.
Kanban (看板) is the Japanese word for billboard or sign and refers to the use of visual cards in the lean production workflow system, a system used in the Japanese manufacturing industry to track inventory and control production in a way that minimizes waste without reducing productivity.
Personal kanban is exactly as it sounds, and that is a version of kanban designed for individuals, rather than an entire manufacturing process.
The idea of implementing a personal form of kanban was developed by Jim Benson and Tonianne DeMaria Barry, authors of the book, “Personal Kanban: Mapping Work Navigating Life“.
How to use personal kanban
To manage your workflow and tasks, all you need is a simple board, known as a Kanban Board, comprising three columns (your kanban list) with the headers, “To-Do”, “Doing” and “Done”.
The “To-Do” column will consist of all the tasks you aren’t working on yet but need to get started at some point.
“Doing” holds the tasks you are working on currently and when each task is completed, it gets moved across to the “Done” column.
A “Done” column may seem redundant at first, but it is important to have a visual representation of what you have accomplished, as this is great from a motivational perspective.
You can use a physical Kanban board, which could be a whiteboard, corkboard or even just a white wall with post-it notes (your kanban cards) for each task. If you like, you can use different coloured post-its to organize your tasks by priority.
Maybe red being high priority, yellow medium and green low priority.
It’s up to you really.
You now have an excellent visual “big picture” overview of everything you have on your plate right now, but broken down into manageable tasks.
If you have colour-coded, you can quickly see which tasks are most urgent and whether it looks like you’re doing too much currently.
Limiting your work in progress is an important principle of personal kanban and you should implement a hard limit on the number of tasks you can have in the “Doing” column at any one time.
You could also extend this to limiting the total amount of post-its in your “To-Do” and “Doing” column at any on time, which will help you to keep the board organized.
If you prefer to do things digitally, you have the option of using one of the numerous apps available to support you, a few of which I will outline next.
Apps that can help
There are at least a dozen kanban apps out there currently, most of which I am yet to try. However, three I am familiar with and have tried and tested are:
Trello is a web-based project management application built around kanban and is probably the most well-known of the kanban apps around.
Although I don’t use it currently, I used it extensively when I was working at a start-up company and found it extremely useful to manage the numerous projects across our small team on two continents and several different time zones.
It made it easy to see how far we were moving with each task and prevented duplication of effort since we all had access to the ‘live’ data and could quickly see any progress made by colleagues in Asia while those in Europe had been asleep and vice-versa.
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It’s quite a simple and intuitive app and very fast to use.
Cards are customizable and you can add notes, attachments, checklists, due dates, etc., which is great because having this sort of functionality allowed the whole team to communicate through just Trello and minimized the use of multiple-recipient email communication and prevented everything from becoming fragmented and disorganized.
Overall, it’s a nicely-designed tool that will make short work of your project and time management and is particularly useful when collaborative projects are involved. It’s easy to learn and the free version is more than sufficient for the individual needs of most people, but if you need to expand on some of the core features, you always have the option of upgrading to one of the premium versions.
KanbanFlow is an app I use mainly on my phone and have found it useful at times when I’ve been managing some projects involving a lot of hands-on tasks which meant that I was out and about and so not always at my computer.
This interface has an additional column by default, which is “Do Today”, but you are free to delete it if it does not serve your purposes.
One of the things I like about this one is that it has a Pomodoro Timer. It’s hardly cutting-edge technology, but given that my main focus is on time management and one of my most favoured strategies is the Pomodoro Technique, I find it to be a useful touch.
Check out this post: What Is The Pomodoro Technique?>>>
I have MeisterTask on my MacBook but haven’t used it that much lately.
It’s a decent tool that shares similarities with Trello, but with a more attractive interface, in my opinion. This is another one that has a couple of levels of paid service, but the basic plan should be adequate enough for most needs.
Time Hack Hero Takeaway
The beauty of personal kanban is that very little is required to set up and learn it and it is very compatible with a lot of different productivity techniques, such as David Allen’s Getting Things Done method.
It’s very intuitive and enables to get your workflow out of your head and into a format that allows you to clearly visualize everything you have going on.
Anyone who has a number of varying tasks to complete will benefit from using this personal kanban technique.
You may have noticed that we at ProWritingAid have a fondness for technology that makes writers better, stronger, more organized, and highly productive. If you like creating a storyboard for your novels, or if you want an innovative app to capture all of your to-do’s for your client work, let us introduce Trello.
For those of us who use sticky notes, index cards, and other forms of reminders to help you organize everything you need for a writing project, Trello is the easiest, most intuitive way to organize your work.
Just to be clear, we are not Trello affiliates. We have never even had a conversation with anyone from Trello. We just really really like it and use it all the time.
We like Trello so much, in fact, that we built our Chrome, Safari, and Firefox extensions to work beautifully with it. Use them to prevent grammar errors on your Trello storyboard.
What is Trello?
Trello lets you create boards (like bulletin boards or a storyboard), lists of things, and cards that function like sticky notes to capture your ideas, thoughts, to-do’s, and more. If you’re working with a team on a project, you can invite others to your boards, lists, and cards to collaborate all in one place.
Trello lets you capture pictures, documents, spreadsheets, presentations, lists, PDFs, web links, and more from your hard drive, Google drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive. Think of the functionality of capturing pictures and ideas on Pinterest, only on steroids.
You can set due dates, create checklists, and add labels to help you organize your professional (and even personal) world.
How to get started
It’s easy and free to sign up and create a Trello account. There are upgradable editions of Trello for companies with teams who collaborate on large projects, but the free version has all the functionality you need as an individual.
Let’s say I’m writing 'The Great American Novel,' to which so many of us aspire. I’ve created a board by that name; here’s what it looks like:
It’s just a big blank space, waiting for me to populate it with my ideas, brainstorming, timelines, and arcs.
How to use Trello to storyboard
The next thing to do is create some lists for your board. The lists are the major categories under which you’ll capture all of your notes, pictures, documents, etc.
Now you can start attaching cards to each list. The cards are individual ideas, to-do’s, research bits, or anything else you need to capture pertaining to the lists you’ve created. This is where it starts to get good.
Let’s say I’m working on a novel with a protagonist who is a young female entrepreneur trying to drum up funding to get her innovative product idea off the ground. I’ll start a card for her.
See where you can add a description at the top of the card. You can also add unlimited comments to the card as ideas strike you. And you can add a checklist of things you need to do and even upload a picture of what you think your protagonist looks like.
You can see how I’ve filled out a basic description of my protagonist Abbie and what she wants. I’ve also created a to-do list of things I need to figure out, and attached a picture of what I think Abbie looks like.
Here’s what the completed card looks like on my novel’s board:
When you need to see the card or edit it, simply click and it brings up the card.
Now you can create cards for every list on your storyboard, filling in details as they come to you and capturing ideas and things to do to move your novel forward.
Another great idea is to use a mind mapping tool to brainstorm your novel and upload it to your storyboard in Trello. You can export your mind map as a PDF and attach it to a card on your board. When you click on the image, it displays like this:
Of course, your mind map will be a little more detailed.
As a side note, check out our post How to use Mind Mapping to Create a Novel Roadmap.
You can drag and drop everything to reorder priorities or preferences. You can create new lists and cards and delete the ones you don’t want. Or if you want to keep a card or list, but you don’t need it active, you can archive them for retrieval later.
Finally, you can use colored labels to help you organize your thoughts. Maybe cards with major conflict have a red label, or cards that need more brainstorming have a green label. Whatever technique makes most sense to you, you can add colored labels or create your own.
If you like creating storyboards where you capture pictures, ideas, and more, you’ll love using Trello as your digital storyboard. It has so many applications beyond storyboarding, too.
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I even use Trello as my weekly to-do list. I create a new board for each week, with lists for Monday through Friday. Each card is a project I must complete for my clients that contains everything I need to get it done in one place. Beyond handy.
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Let us know in the comments below if you use Trello for your personal or professional life. What are some of your Trello tricks? Let’s get a list of suggestions going from which we can all learn.