Thoughtful young female boss team leader looking at kanban board.

Productivity is critical to getting things done on time. Both your work and home life benefits when you get the things that need doing done on time. You have a clearer mind, less stress, and more free time to spend doing things you actually enjoy. While that sounds easy, it is something that people have wondered how to do for a long time. The list has been around for a long time. However, not only a “to-do” list relevant to jobs and chores. Benjamin Franklin is famous for creating lists for self-improvement and tracked his own progress on a basic chart. However, times have moved on; we are now in the era of computers, and more – the Personal Kanban tool.

What Is A Personal Kanban Tool?

A basic yet indispensable work method that provides you with a visual representation of what you need to do, what you are doing, and what you have done. A lot like a to-do list, but more visually appealing, simple to work with, and more flexible. Both people and companies have various ways of implementing the Kanban methodology, from dry wipe boards to cork boards and post-its, to software specifically designed for the task. We have a more in-depth explanation of what a Personal Kanban is if you want some more information.

Personal Kanban Software and Personal Productivity

Planning your tasks, even just personal tasks, can become difficult, especially if you have too many of them to plan well. That can leave you bouncing between a few tasks that do not get done on time and leaving more important ones behind. So, what can personal Kanban tools such as software do for you?

  • Allow you to see exactly what you have to do.
  • Control the uptake of any more work
  • See your progression through the tasks.
  • Visualize what you have done and what is left to do.
  • Organize tasks by priority.

When you can see what work you have on your plate, you can do a few things. First of all, you can plan your time accordingly to ensure you fit it all in and complete it when it needs to. Furthermore, you can see how much you have to do, thus control how much more work you take on at any time. Everyone has their limits, and going over them will create confusion, anxiety, and stress. Personal Kanban tools will help you to see how much you have got to do when it needs to be done and what you have already done at any time.

Basic Personal Kanban Board

The most basic example of a personal Kanban board is a whiteboard where you write your tasks down. You group them into the three columns:

  1. To do
  2. In progress
  3. Done

Of course, the places where you put the tasks are pretty straightforward. However, you do need to keep on top of changing the position of those tasks. It is always a good idea to schedule some of your time to update the board, whether daily or weekly. Another basic concept is a corkboard with notes that you can reposition as you change the status. The principle is the same as a drywipe board.

One thing that you can do with both methods is to use different colors to indicate importance. For example:

  • Yellow: Not Urgent
  • Orange: Moderate
  • Red: Critical

Use different colored ink or post-its to show the urgency level of each. Remember to put a “required by” date on the items so you can see at a glance when things need to be done. That will help you to order your das work into more productive and meaningful chunks.

Portfolio Kanban - Reduce Overburden - Improve Flow

Personal Kanban Board Example

You can add more to the idea of the three points above (to do, in progress, and done) by having extra steps. For example, a testing step is often added in for manufacturing. Here is a personal Kanban board example that uses the three basic stages of To Do, In Progress and Done:

Example of a Personal Kanban Board

One of the great features of a virtual personal Kanban board is that you can create a checklist within each card to enumerate more items that you need to accomplish. In this Kanban board example, the Buy Groceries Kanban card contains the list of food items the board owner needs to buy.

Example of a personal kanban board checklist

When creating your personal Kanban board, you can choose to add in more stages as necessary. You can also add people on the board and collaborate with them to get more stuff done.

Pros and Cons of Basic Personal Kanban Boards


  • Easy to set up.
  • You can change the tasks easily.


  • You have to write the task every time you move it.
  • May need a big board.
  • It can get messy.
  • Unable to move.

Intermediate Tools – Spreadsheets

A step up from the dry wipe boards and post-its for personal Kanban tools is a spreadsheet. You can use them in the same way, providing you set them up properly. There are a lot of templates available for download that you can use. However, sometimes, creating your own is often one of the best ways, as you understand what you put where, and why.

Kanban Spreadsheets Pros and Cons


  • Easy to visualize.
  • Easy to move and change tasks.


  • It can be difficult to set up.
  • It can be complicated to keep with you.
  • You need to sync it over multiple devices to get the mobile benefit.

Professional Personal Kanban Software

After you have looked at the options of dry wipe boards, post-its, and spreadsheets, you may feel like there isn’t enough flexibility. However, here at Kanban Zone, we have developed personal Kanban software capable of much more than a spreadsheet or pin-board.

You will find the process of adding, removing, altering, and updating tasks easier than any of the other options you have. Furthermore, you can add other filters such as “this week,” “next week,” etc., into the to-do section. The in-process section is a lot more customizable, too. For example, as I added in step 3 in the example above, you have unlimited options to add steps into personal Kanban software, such as review, execute, verify, etc.

There are a lot of other things that you can do, too. You can add photos into the tasks to remind you what you need to do, add phone numbers, emails, addresses, etc., so that you don’t forget them, and a whole lot more. At a glance, at any point, you can see exactly what you need to do and when for optimal productivity.

One of the other great things about personal Kanban software is that you can add as many tasks as you like. You can color-code them for different tasks, such as personal, work, hobbies, or anything else that you might want or need to do.

Boost Productivity with a Personal Kanban Tool

Productivity is key to lower stress and better management. Using the right tools to get better productivity is the best way that you can change your processes. While it may take a little while to get used to adding something else into your regimen, you will reap the benefits very quickly.

If you would like to find out more about how Kanban Zone can help you with your personal and business projects through our personal Kanban software, sign up for a free trial!

This was a guest blog. Please review our guest blog disclaimer.

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About the Author: Steve Gecko

Steve has a great interest in business management and making use of the best tools for the job. He is a passionate blogger and entrepreneur.