kanban for mental health

Kanban is known as a visual system, the purpose of which is to manage workflow. In Japanese, the word “Kanban” means “card” or “visual signal”. It originated in the Toyota factory in 1940. Today, the Kanban system is widely used and can be applied in any industry.

The purpose of the Kanban system is to help you visualize your work and understand it better. With the help of this system, you can focus on your goals and prioritize what’s currently important. You can become mindful of your approach to productivity, and mindfulness is one of the main components of mental health.

Mental health is important because it impacts our emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Moreover, there’s a link between mental and physical health. For example, numerous studies have already proven that stress increases heart rate and leads to high blood pressure. Isolation from family and friends, anxiety and depression also cause various cardiovascular problems, including high blood pressure.

How to Improve Your Mental Health with Kanban

Kanban helps organize and manage your work and tasks. When you’re overwhelmed, you may feel stressed and anxious, which isn’t good for your mental health. Here is how you can use Kanban to organize your life:

1. Create to-do lists.

One of the best ways to keep track of all the things you need to do is to create a to-do list. By using a personal Kanban board, you can create cards for every task and organize them in three columns depending on the status. The first column – “to-do tasks,” the second – “tasks in progress,” and the third one – “completed.” With the help of this technique, you will be able to see your progress and be more productive throughout the day. You can use this technique for all tasks, even those you may not consider important.

2. Write down your ideas.

We all have ideas every now and then that are worth putting into action. But if we don’t write them down, we may forget about them, and never put them into action. A Kanban idea board is a great way to make sure your ideas don’t leave your brain before you can work on them. 

3. Create a weekly plan.

If you know you’re going to have a busy month, create a plan for each week. Weekly plans will help you have a clear picture of your life for the upcoming month and be more focused.

4. Plan for a vacation.

Organizing a vacation can be more stressful than you think. There are so many things to remember and take into consideration. A Kanban board can help you make your vacation planning smooth and stress-free.

Portfolio Kanban - Reduce Overburden - Improve Flow

Benefits of Kanban For Your Mental Health

Kanban helps organize your life, which has a positive impact on your overall mental health. Here are the main benefits of this system:

  • Better visibility. You can visualize your tasks and be more productive.
  • Increased focus. With the help of the Kanban board, you can stay more focused on the tasks you need to accomplish and be more efficient while working on multiple tasks at the same time. If you cannot focus, it can cause sleep disorders, anxiety, and other mental issues.
  • Helps you prioritize. Prioritization is important because it helps eliminate procrastination. Putting a task off for too long can cause shame and guilt. You never really enjoy your relaxation time because you’re worried about that task hanging over your head. Procrastination is also often associated with such mental issues as ADHD, anxiety, depression, and eating disorders.
  • Reduces waste. We spend much time on unnecessary tasks that don’t produce any specific outcomes. Kanban helps you eliminate these tasks and focus on the things that are really important, you end up with more free time to do what you actually like to do.

Regardless of your priorities, tasks, and plans in life, you can always use the Kanban system in order to be better organized, more focused, and much more productive. There is actually a link between being organized and depression. The results of one study have shown that people living in cluttered and disorganized spaces are more likely to face mental issues like depression. Embracing the Kanban model can help you thrive in a space that works for you.

About the Author: Tasnova Malek

Tasnova Malek, MD
Tasnova Malek, MD, graduated from Bangladesh Medical College and practiced as a primary care physician for six years in Bangladesh. After moving to the USA, she worked at Emory University Hospital in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Hospital medicine research. During COVID-19, she worked as a crisis counselor in Florida Coronavirus Emergency Response Team. Currently, she is working in the National Suicide Prevention Center. In addition, she has extensive research experience in medicine and psychiatry in the USA.