I’m currently trying the Kanban Board System to keep track of my writing-related goals and progress.
Last week I shared how I set Half Term Goals which I’ve been doing since February. With a fresh academic year starting in September I decided to pair my goals with a kanban board so I can break my goals down into tasks and watch my progress.
What is a Kanban Board?
Kanban boards originated in Japan in the 1940s. A kanban board is a visual way of managing work as it moves through a process. The board helps you visualise how your work flows. At its simplest it has 3 sections – to do, doing and done but there are more complex versions that include backlog and other categories.
I got the idea for trying the kanban board system from 2 writers. I’ve been following Helen Redfern on Instagram and YouTube for a while. Her behind-the-scenes peeks at the writers’ life (including goal setting and planning) are really inspiring. And Helen led me to Sarra Cannon of Heart Breathings who has a lot of youtube videos available about goals and kanban boards.
Creating my Kanban Board
I’m currently using a large wooden picture for my board. It’s a Keep Calm & Carry On poster which was gifted to us when we lived in New Zealand. It seemed apt for what I’m trying to do! And was handy when I was looking for a large surface to use.
I’ve tacked up 3 sections – a large “To Do” section. A half size “In Progress” section (it’s smaller to ensure I don’t try and do too much at once!). And a final “Completed” section.
Each section is split into 4 categories which relate to my goals. I’ve got 4 different colour post-it’s – one for each category and each task is written on a post it. I’ve got tasks grouped together by project.
Converting Writing-related Goals to the Kanban Board System
I started out with sharpies and a big A3 sheet to work out what my bigger goals are. I came up with 4 areas within Writing. These are:
- Find the Good Everyday – my blog, newsletter and social media accounts
- NZ Story – the memoir I’ve been working on (sporadically!) since 2016
- Freelancing – something I’m currently exploring
- Learning & Development – to keep building my writing-related skills
For each of these areas I came up with a BIG goal and why I wanted to achieve it. I then noted down how I can work towards each goal. Once that was all brainstormed I came up with smaller tasks directly on to the post-it notes for each category.
For example under FTGE I have each weekly blog post as a task on a separate post-it. I’ve currently moved “Blog Post w/c 16th Sept” to the “In Progress” section and once this post is finished and scheduled I will move it to “Complete”.
It was a little overwhelming at the start trying to come up with the tasks and then see how much I was planning to do. But now I’ve started working on the goals and progressing some tasks through the board I am enjoying the process.
I did have some feedback from my accountability group that I may have too many priorities so it’s likely that I may concentrate on some areas more than others and update the tasks accordingly. I plan to share updates on Instagram stories as I go.
Have you heard of the Kanban Board System? Do you use it? I’d love to hear your thoughts.