I had been trying to find a solution to the problem of how can I feel productive if I don’t know where I’ve spent my time? I would get to the end of a day and wonder, what did it amount to?
That’s when I started writing down every task I did that day, it’s beautifully simple and the benefit was clear on the first day: I could see I was doing quite a few different tasks in one day. That lead me to my second problem: how can I measure where I spend my time when I regularly switch between tasks?
I tried out a few different systems before I arrived at KanbanFlow. There is a lot more to it but I’m just going to talk about the things I use. If you’re not familiar with Kanban checkout this 5 minute explainer video and if you are not familiar with the Pomodoro technique checkout this 5 minute explainer video, it will make the rest of this article make more sense.
When you create a board the default swim lanes are To-Do, Do Today, In Progress and Done. I generally add my tasks to To-Do, then drag them directly to In Progress when I’m working on them. Which when I have had the time and forethought to add sub tasks are immediately expanded as soon as they land in In Progress where I can check them off much to my satisfaction. Once it’s complete I move it into the Done swim lane where tasks are grouped by the day they are completed on so you can get a sense of what tasks were completed on a given day.
What really makes KanbanFlow for me is the Pomodoro timer. I can select a task and start a Pomodoro on that task, then if I complete the task before my Pomodoro timer runs out I can switch to another task and whatever time I’ve recorded on a task is saved so I can see how much time I’m spending on any given task.
When you’ve completed your 25 minutes of work, KanbanFlow plays a bell sound on repeat until you start your break, during which time it’s still recording time against your task. I spend my break checking my emails and instant messenger which I ignore during the 25 minutes. I also try to take off my headphones to let everyone know now is a good time to interrupt me and refill my water glass (keeping hydrated helps with concentration).
My favourite part of KanbanFlow is how it’s pragmatic not opinionated, it doesn’t limit me to a certain number of tasks in progress, it warns me. It doesn’t expect my tasks to all last exactly 25 minutes, it allows me to switch tasks midway.