Check this out: KanbanFlow
As the blog progresses, you will begin to notice a pattern; certain themes will weave themselves throughout the blog, showing up again and again with something new to share each time. For example, so far I've shared a little bit about me, an update on the shop, an idea for a great outfit, and a burst of inspiration to brighten your day. Expect those themes to continue, with new and engaging content each time.
The final theme I have planned is a segment called "Check this out." My intent with these posts is to share something I recently discovered that not only inspires me, but also makes my life easier, better, or richer. It could be anything--a new product to try, a sewing tip, an event to check out, a parenting suggestion that I've found works for me, anything. The glue that holds this segment together is that whatever I'm sharing is so amazing that I couldn't keep it to myself. In short, it's something so great that you have to check this out!
The first thing you have to check out is KanbanFlow. What is KanbanFlow, you ask, and why is it worth looking into? Well let me tell you!
First, a little etymology to give you some background. According to SwfitKanban, the word kanban is a Japanese word combining 看 kan meaning "visible" and 板 ban meaning "card" or "board." It was developed as a method for improving manufacturing workflow, and it offers some great solutions for visualizing your work and translating it into action.
KanbanFlow is a modern computer-based productivity tool that incorporates the concepts of kanban into its design. I discovered it a few weeks ago, when I was bringing the shop back online after my family and I moved. The move gave the shop something of a fresh start, and I had so many things I wanted to do, so many ideas crowding each other in my brain, that I knew I needed something to help me keep track of them all.
So I began researching productivity tools that help you organize your thoughts and your time. I looked at things like Evernote, Toggl, Komorian, Asana, Trello, and KanbanFlow. I cast my net wide so I wouldn't miss anything, and once I had a full list of options, I began looking at each one more closely to determine which tool was best for me.
Why did I choose KanbanFlow? The reasons were manifold, but first let's look briefly at the ones I didn't choose:
Evernote was the first productivity tool on my list, and it was recommended often in blogs of "top 10 productivity tools" and the like. It looks like a great way to organize various types of notes and media across multiple platforms; it reminds me of Pinterest for real life (and goodness knows I love Pinterest). But for as many things as it does do, it doesn't keep track of to-do lists. So while it might be useful down the road, it doesn't fit my needs of the moment.
Toggl and Komorian are both time tracking tools. Toggl is essentially a free online timer, but the option to assign a dollar amount to each hour makes it useful for logging billable hours. Komorian describes itself as "bite sized time tracking," or as I translated it, micromanaging your entire day. I frankly don't have the time or the will to enter time for every single thing I do all day, so I passed on Komorian. Neither of these tools offered the complete task-tracking solution that I needed, so I kept searching.
Asana and Trello were the first tools I researched that actually looked like they might meet my needs. They're both proper productivity trackers, and they're simply more powerful than anything I'd seen before. From what I can tell, they are both are fairly comparable in terms of overall effectiveness, with only minor differences between them. I was very impressed with both of their graphics, features, and support, but they both focus heavily on use in group settings. They would be amazing for companies with multiple people managing multiple projects, but I felt like a lot of the features would be wasted on me. If you're looking for a productivity tool for team projects, definitely check out Asana and Trello; you should be able to tell pretty quickly which one feels right for your team. But if, like me, you're looking for a productivity tool just for yourself, this next tool on my list might be just what you need.
KanbanFlow, finally, is a productivity tool designed to work really well for one person. It's completely free, unless you want to upgrade to Premium for more features, but so far the free version is working great for me. Here's a screenshot of my board during one of my first days trying it out:
KanbanFlow's biggest selling point for me was the ability to add Subtasks to each main Task, which you can check off with a simple click. The whole design is completely drag-and-drop, so once you put something on your To-do list, you can move it between the Do Today, In progress, and Done columns, and back again if necessary. You can see your Subtasks simply by clicking the list icon next to each task name, and then close it back up again to keep it uncluttered. I love the simplicity and efficiency of it.
KanbanFlow also allows you to customize tasks in a variety of ways. Here's the initial Task set-up form:
You can fill in a Name and Description for your task, but you can also add labels for searching, color code it to make it easy to distinguish, and enter time estimates and actual hours spent. If you click through the tabs at the top, you can also enter:
If you look back at the initial wide shot of my board, you can see how an entered due date look: . Due dates appear beneath the yellow tabs for "Update Ivoire listing photo" and "Update fb cover photo" in the left hand To-do column..
Subtasks can be hidden or open on your board. If you look back at my first screenshot again, look at the middle right In progress column to see the Subtasks I listed--and partially checked off--under the green "Outfit blog: Meipuru" tab.
I haven't actually tried adding any Comments yet (I usually put any comments I would have in the Description field), but the option is there.
The whole process is simple and painless: create your task, add whatever qualifiers will help you get it done, and you're ready to go!
Plus it's just as easy to edit a Task as it is to make one, so you're always able to update your To-do list with new information as needed. I love it!
Having KanbanFlow has really helped me get my plans and ideas out of my head and into a trackable visual format. It helps me keep track of big projects and small ones, vague ideas for the distant future and detailed tasks I want to complete today. It has been such a big help!
Here's a more recent screenshot of my KanbanFlow board, so that you can see how it looks when the task flow starts to fill up:
It's pretty obvious that KanbanFlow is great for business organization, but what if you just want something to help organize your personal life? I think it would be great for that as well. KanbanFlow's format is perfectly designed to help you keep track of just plain 'ole Life: phone calls you need to make, housecleaning tasks you've been putting off, mail you need to respond to, all those little things that get cluttered up in your mind that would benefit from some clear-cut organization.
I'm telling you, KanbanFlow is amazing!
The one downside of KanbanFlow is that it has very little mobile support; for example, there's no standalone mobile app to download. To replace that, I have created a shortcut to the site on my phone's home screen, and that works well enough for now. It looks very professional--KanbanFlow logo on the icon, special KanbanFlow entry screen when I open it--but then it essentially just opens up as a website resized for mobile devices. I have to zoom in to be able to click on anything, which makes entering things clunky, and I'm not in love with the dropdowns produced on the mobile site. The limited mobile side isn't a dealbreaker for me since I do most of my shop work on my computer, but if you're looking to do most of your productive work on a mobile device, you might want to look elsewhere. I'm hoping they'll be able to beef up mobile support in the future, but I thought you should be aware of its mobile limitations at present. Here are some shots of how KanbanFlow looks on an Android device:
In shor, KanbanFlow is wonderful computer-based productivity tool for business or personal use. It has really helped me focus on what I need to do each day and keep track of my ongoing to-do's. Whether you're looking to help organize your job or your life, KanbanFlow can hep you do it. You really should check it out!