Multitooling: Kanbanfor1 with other productivity techniques

Oct 21, 2016  ·  Sandy Mamoli

Kanbanfor1 gives you a simple visual overview of your to do list. It helps you keep an eye on your progress and get visibility over what you’re actually achieving—helping you to work more efficiently and become better organised.

As a productivity tool Kanbanfor1 is great on its own—but it becomes truly powerful when used alongside other organisational techniques.

We’ve pulled together some of our favourites productivity tools and techniques here: use them individually, or combine them to create One Hack to Rule Them All!

With the Pomodoro technique

The Pomodoro technique is a personal productivity method that helps you stop procrastinating and get on with your work. The idea is to focus on the work at hand for 25 minutes at a time, and then take a short break to refresh the brain.

The benefit of the Pomodoro technique is that it helps to cheat the Inner Procrastinator: No matter how complex the task, the most important thing is to just get started. And although you’re unlikely to complete a big or complicated task in only 25 minutes, you’ll find you’ve accomplished something—and that the task you’ve been avoiding begins to seem a lot less daunting.

The Kanbanfor1 board and the Pomodoro Technique are a match made in heaven. Kanbanfor1 lets you keep an overview, provides context, minimises your work in progress and helps you to achieve a good flow of tasks throug—while the Pomodoro technique helps you focus on that single task in your “Doing” column.

Used together, Kanbanfor1 and the Pomodoro technique combine the advantages of flow with the benefits of timeboxing—while Kanbanfor1 helps us finish, the Pomodoro technique helps us get started.

You can read more about the Pomodoro technique in Staffan Nöteberg’s book “The Pomodoro Technique Illustrated” or on the Pomodoro website.

With focus flags

Interruptions happen. They’re a reality of life that have to be balanced with our need to focus. Focus flags have proved to be an immensely useful way to help colleagues know when it’s okay to interrupt, or to understand when you’re deep in the flow and focus of creative work and shouldn’t be disturbed.

Focus flags are little paper flags that show your colleagues if you can be interrupted. Stick them to your Kanbanfor1 board and position them to indicate where you are in your work:

  • Flag is up: Please don’t disturb

  • Flag is horizontal: I can be interrupted with an important or urgent matter

  • Flag is pointing down: It’s okay to chat about non-urgent stuff or the weather.

It’s important to find the right balance between focusing on a task and being interruptible by other people. Sometimes helping someone else at work is better for the overall project, or a nice social interaction should take precedent over your own productivity. Make sure to optimise the whole!

With Yesterbox

We’re told we shouldn’t use our inbox as a to do list—but for many of us, that’s exactly what it is. Yesterbox helps you break this rule more efficiently, by encouraging you to ignore today’s non-urgent emails and prioritise the completion of yesterday’s tasks.

With the Yesterbox method, you look at your emails from the day before—and then decide what to do with each from four possible actions:

  • If your answer will take less than 10 minutes to write, reply immediately,

  • File the email. You could even forward videos or reading suggestions to a service like Pocket or Evernote.

  • Delete the email.

  • Create a longer task from the email.

Kanbanfor1 is the perfect complement for this last action. Add the task your Kanbanfor1 board’s Things to Do column as you process the email—then close your inbox while you work through the tasks on your board.

With the Ivy Lee method

Ivy Lee, creator of—uh—the Ivy Lee method

Using your Kanbanfor1 board with the Ivy Lee method is a great way to improve your day-to-day productivity. That’s because, like Kanbanfor1, Ivy Lee encourages you to work on just one task at a time.

It’s very simple:

  • At the end of your work day, write down the top six tasks you want to achieve tomorrow (or five tasks, or four).

  • Prioritise those tasks from most to least important.

  • The next day work through these tasks, concentrating on one-at-a-time until that task is complete. If you’re interrupted, make sure you go back to the task at hand as soon as you can.

  • At the end of the day move any unfinished tasks to your next day’s to do list.

Kanbanfor1 helps you visualise your top six tasks and the progress you’re making on each. Instead of creating a static to do list, add your tasks to the “Things to Do” column of your board—and get the satisfaction of moving each task along the board as you finish it.

With OKR (Objectives and Key Results)

The OKR method is a structured method to help identify and achieve your goals. It’s made up of two parts: aspirational “stretch” goals, and bounded tasks that help make these goals achievable.

Each OKR set needs an objective and a set of key results. The objective should be ambitious, but still measurable and definitive. The key results should break the objective down to a series of quantifiable tasks.

For example, you might say that your objective is to “Create a website that delights our users”, and your key results could be something like:

  • Talk to 30 potential users and understand what they want from our organisation

  • Develop website and test it with these 30 potential users

  • Release fully-functioning website with updated content by end of Quarter 3

It’s alongside these quantifiable key results that you’ll use your Kanbanfor1 board.

To achieve each goal and key result you’ll need to complete many smaller tasks. By using colour-coded sticky notes with Kanbanfor1, you can track your progress on each goal—giving you an opportunity to quantify how you’re progressing on these much bigger, aspirational targets.