I like lists. My memory isn’t what it was, and a good list helps reassure me that I haven’t forgotten something.
I’ve kept various to-do lists over the years, in many different formats. I’ve had scraps of paper in my pocket, I’ve had reminders written on the calendar (both paper and electronic), and I’ve used smartphone apps like Google Keep to keep track of tasks, but none of them were quite good enough for my needs.
And then it dawned on me… I work in agile software development all day, and use project tracking tools all day. And I figured that, if these tools work well to keep an agile team of 9 people aligned, then I could easily apply their use to my personal life.
The most obvious choice is a Kanban board. It’s great for tracking the progress of non-time-bound tasks, and helps focus the mind on getting tasks finished to completion due to the WIP limits on the “doing” column.
A simple Kanban board has three columns for To Do, Doing and Done, but I decided to expand mine a bit and add a fourth column for “Blocked”.
I also wanted my Kanban board to be electronic. They can be physical, and many agile teams use physical boards in an office with post-it notes or index cards stuck to the wall. But I wanted mine to be a bit more portable.
There are loads of online tools out there that do Kanban boards, but it seems that they’re mostly commercially focused and cost money to use. So I eventually settled on meistertask who have a free account option. And best of all, I can access my board on the web and via their mobile app. They don’t have WIP limits defined on their boards yet, but I guess I can enforce that myself for now.
Anyway, so I’ve been using my Kanban board for about 2-3 weeks now, and I’m finding it very useful to keep track of personal chores and tasks.
My only dilemma now is whether to invite my wife to share the view of my board. If I do then it might help us both track and share our domestic jobs. But it would also have the down-side of allowing my wife to allocate lots of jobs to me!