Manage your time and work more efficiently using Kanban Method

kanban board

Do you often feel overwhelmed by the number of tasks and projects you have to juggle? Do you struggle with prioritizing, organizing, and completing your work efficiently? Do you want to improve your productivity and quality without sacrificing your creativity and flexibility? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you might benefit from a simple but powerful time management method called Kanban. In this article, I will explain what Kanban is, why it works, and how you can apply it to your personal and professional life.

What is Kanban?

Kanban is a combination of two Japanese words: 看 (Kàn), meaning “sign,” and 板 (Bǎn), meaning “board.” It originated as a scheduling system for lean manufacturing, developed by Toyota in the 1950s. The idea was to match the production of goods to the demand of customers, using visual signals to indicate the status and flow of work.

Later, Kanban was adapted to software development and other knowledge work domains, where it became a popular framework for implementing agile and DevOps principles. The Kanban method is based on four core values:

Visualize your work: Make your work visible on a board or a tool that shows what you are working on, what is done, and what is next.

Limit your work in progress: Focus on a few tasks at a time and avoid multitasking and overloading yourself with too much work.

Manage your flow: Monitor how your work moves from start to finish and identify and eliminate any bottlenecks or waste that slow you down.

Improve continuously: Inspect your work process regularly and look for ways to optimize it for better efficiency and quality.

Why Use Kanban?

Here are some of the benefits of using Kanban for time management:

It helps you prioritize your work: By visualizing your work on a board, you can easily see what is important, urgent, or optional. You can also use different colors, labels, or categories to highlight different types of tasks or projects.

It helps you organize your work: By limiting your work in progress, you can avoid cluttering your board with too many tasks that distract you from your main goals. You can also use different columns or lanes to represent different stages or statuses of your work.

It helps you complete your work: By managing your flow, you can track your progress and ensure that you are moving your tasks from left to right on your board. You can also use indicators such as due dates, estimates, or checklists to measure your performance.

It helps you improve your work: By improving continuously, you can learn from your experience and feedback and make adjustments to your work process. You can also use metrics such as cycle time, throughput, or lead time to evaluate your results3.

How to Use Kanban?

Here are some steps on how to use Kanban for time management:

Create a Kanban board: You can use a physical board with sticky notes or cards, or a digital tool such as Trello, Asana, or Jira. Your board should have at least three columns: To Do, Doing, and Done. You can add more columns as needed to reflect your specific workflow.

Populate your board with tasks: Write down all the tasks or projects that you need or want to do on separate cards. Include any relevant information such as description, deadline, priority, or assignee. Place them in the To Do column in order of importance.

Set a work in progress limit: Decide how many tasks you can handle at a time in each column. This will depend on your capacity, complexity, and context. A good rule of thumb is to start with two or three tasks per column and adjust as needed.

Start working on your tasks: Pick the most important task from the To Do column and move it to the Doing column. Work on it until it is done and then move it to the Done column. Repeat this process until all your tasks are done.

Review and improve your board: Periodically check your board for any issues or opportunities for improvement. For example, you can look for tasks that are stuck, delayed, or forgotten. You can also look for patterns or trends that indicate your strengths or weaknesses. Based on your findings, you can make changes to your board, your tasks, or your process.


Kanban is a simple but powerful time management method that can help you manage and improve your work systems. By visualizing your work, limiting your work in progress, managing your flow, and improving continuously, you can achieve more in less time and with less stress.

If you want to try Kanban for yourself, here are some steps you can take:

  • Create a Kanban board for your personal or professional work.
  • Populate your board with tasks and set a work in progress limit.
  • Start working on your tasks and move them across the board.
  • Review and improve your board regularly.

Happy Kanban-ing!