Personal Kanban: Three simple steps to more efficiency

How to visualize your task processing flow and tackle obstacles in a targeted manner.

Britta Ollrogge, MBA
3 min readOct 4, 2020


Photo by Valery Sysoev on Unsplash

Kanban is a method that was established in production by Toyota in 1947. Taiichi Ōno, a Toyota employee, looking for ways to improve manufacturing processes, developed the system. Kanban means translated “signal card”.

The idea at the time was to make just-in-time production possible by optimizing the flow of materials. The goal was to avoid bottlenecks and excessive stocks of production materials. The signal cards signaled when production materials had fallen below a defined stock level. The card visualized that replenishment should be delivered. Still today, one speaks of a pull method with such a procedure. The supply of material did not come in a fixed rhythm (push), but only when someone signaled that new material was needed (pull).

Personnel Kanban

Meanwhile, Kanban is established in many areas. Use Personal Kanban to get a better overview of your tasks and process them more efficiently. By limiting the number of tasks you work on simultaneously, you don’t get tangled up and focus better on the respective task.

The Kanban Board

Setting up a Kanban board is very simple. Take a whiteboard, a flip chart, a door, a piece of wall, or a window. Then define three columns and label them with the “Backlog”, “Open”, “In progress”, “Done”. If you use a wall, a window, or a door, you can write the titles on sticky notes.

Kanban Board


On (more) sticky notes, you note down the tasks to be done and staple them into the “Backlog” column on the left. You can also store rough ideas here.

Tasks that you have defined clearly and on which you plan to work on shortly, you can pull to “Open”.

The tasks should be neither too small nor too large.
Too small could be: “Sharpen pencil”, “Create folder”. The right size could be: “Write an article on topic xy”, “Write an…



Britta Ollrogge, MBA

I write on Self Improvement 🌱, Productivity 🎯, and Agile Product Development 🏄. My goal is to inspire.💡