I only wrote about how I use Kanban for managing research projects quite recently. Here I described a physical Kanban board as well as “Kanban-like” workflows in various apps. What I didn’t know at the time, is that Todoist was working on a boards feature, which I first used in a beta version, and which has now been released!
Todoist was kind enough to feature one of my boards in their first blog post on boards, but in this post I give a few more details on how I now use the boards feature!
Research project overview
The board that I wrote about before, and that Todoist featured, is my overview of research projects. This was a picture of my physical version from a few months ago:
And here is how the Todoist version looks like (image credit: Todoist):
The columns are similar to the physical version, going left to right in chronological order (i.e. ideas on the left, published papers on the right). Several cards link to the projects for those specific papers.
Blog posts / How I Fail
Other boards that I use are for my blog posts and How I Fail interviews. The How I Fail board is especially important to emphasize, since multiple people are involved. Since I do not want to reveal the names of people I haven’t interviewed yet, I cannot post a screenshot, but I have several columns here:
- Invited, waiting for response
- Accepted, plan interview
- Schedule blog post
Most of these are self-explanatory – if I invite somebody they can either decline, or accept, and if all goes well the card move to the “published” section. “Dropped” is for people who accepted but then stop responding.
An important thing about such boards is that I would still like to see the topics/names that are “done” but I should not address again, so I don’t want to check-off the todo item. To deal with this, I use priorities and filters, but it is not an elegant solution.
Experience Points (XP)
I also have a board with various tasks, that just need to be done, but are not necessarily part of a project. This often includes scheduling “life admin” appointments, filling in reimbursement forms etc. As somebody on Twitter suggested, “XP” (based on games) seemed to be a more fun name for these tasks :).
Whereas the previous boards have a logical ordering to the columns, this board do not have a specific ordering. Rather, each column is a particular category (stuff to buy, invoices to pay, etc). Once a column gets too long, I try to clear it by doing several similar-type things at a time.
I am enjoying the boards functionality in Todoist, and imagine I will be using it more. What I am still missing is being able to define your own rules for how a board works, for example:
- Cards in “maybe” column do not show up in as “open tasks”
- Cards in “waiting for” remind you to check the status, at a specific time interval
- Cards in “done” are visible, but do not show up as “open tasks”
If you are also using Todoist boards, I’d love to see more examples!