Make a Personal Kanban Board




Introduction: Make a Personal Kanban Board

About: I think therefore I ride.

Just by coming to shows you like doing stuff. If, like me, you like to do lots of stuff then sometimes things get on top of you. Try an do too much and nothing ends up getting completed because you end up starting something else before you have finished your current task.

Kanban was designed to help with the flow of manufacturing tasks in the Toyota factory but it can be adapted to personal tasks to help you organise your life. I have been using Kanban at work for about 12 months. A couple of months ago I used a simple Kanban board to help organise moving house, this was just done using three panels on the study door. After a really inspiring talk by Sandy Mamoli I decided to create my own board based on her designs. I am now bringing it home to help organise the huge amount of work running our small farm, leading a cub scout pack and general living.

You can buy a board at, there are some really great designs, for me putting the effort into making one gives me more incentive to use it. I will give some info on how you can use it later in this instructable, but it is not intended as a KanBan tutorial.

Step 1: Materials

  • 1/2 Sheet of Plastiflute 450mm * 600mm * 3.3m (like corrugated card but plastic)
  • Craft Knife
  • Permanent Marker (contrast with background)
  • Straight edge
  • Pencil (useless on the black)
  • POST-ITtm Notes 5cm or 2" (different colours)

I chose the Plasiflute as it was lots cheaper than the card & foam sandwich. At the end of the day you can use whatever you want as a background. I've used glass, paper and even written an application for my computer. For a personal board the size 450mm * 300mm works well with the 5cm2 POST-ITs. This post-it size seems to be readily available in blocks of many colours, making it easy to colour code your tasks.

Step 2: Prepare the Board

First you need to make sure that your board is about the right size. Too big or too small are not good. 
I have decided that I can't successfully work on more than 2 tasks at a time, but I could have 4 or 5 on hold. Also about 4 or 5 in my immediate todo list should be about what I can get through in a weekend.

Playing around with a few POST-IT Notes  confirmed 450mm * 300mm was a good size, fortunately it is 1/2 a board so you can get 2 boards out of one sheet.

I found that the pencil didn't work in the shiny board so I drew some arrows on a couple of POST-IT Notes and used them to mark positions as I went along.

As I was using a slow drying marker on a non-porous material I cleaned the ruler with a cloth between uses. 

Once you have the lines drawn, give them a heading. What you use is really up to you as long as it works for you, this may only become apparent when you start using it. Once you get into using it don't be surprised if you feel like changing the labels.
I used:
  • Waiting
  • ToDo
  • Doing
  • Hold
  • DONE! (yeh party!)
More on these in the next step, so you may want to think before you commit to permanent marker.

Step 3: Use the Board

So, now you have a board just how do you use it? I won't go into the all the hows and whys but these are the general principles I am trying to follow.
  1. A task is important, it is not "get breakfast"
  2. One task per post-it
  3. Tasks are colour coded
  4. No task takes longer than a day
  5. Tasks move from left to right
  6. If there is no more space there is no more space.
  7. Only I add tasks - others can request them.
The waiting section is for stuff that needs doing but I am not going to get to it in the next couple of days.

To Do
These tasks are what I am planning on doing soon e.g. during the weekend.

What I am actively working on, I should not be working on anything that is not in here. There is only space here for 2 tasks because any more tends to get overwhelming.
If something comes up which is more important something will need to be put on hold. If I can't progress a task because I need materials or am dependant on someone else then the task may also be put on hold.

Partially completed tasks that are not progressing.

Completed tasks i.e. 100% complete including clean up.

The bottom of the board
Currently used as the legend, but can be used for notes or other stuff. Traditionally this is a speed lane but I don't think I should have too much use, will see.

If you want  to know more...

1 Person Made This Project!


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