Kanban boards are usually seen as a team-based project management tool. Yet the boards can also be highly effective for solo freelancers who work-from-home. They can be used to plan, organize, and complete both project and admin tasks, which can dramatically improve a freelance professional’s productivity.
Kanban boards provide a visualization of a project workflow. They help the user to clearly and easily see the entire process from a bird’s-eye view. Tasks and schedules can then be modified and moved around in order to improve productivity and results. A typical board features columns and color-coded cards which can be fully customized to suit the user’s requirements.
In our previous article, we covered some of the ways Kanban boards improve project management.
In today’s article we’re focusing on how the boards can help you, as a work-from-home freelancer, better organize your time, improve your focus, and work a lot faster (which also means an improved cash flow).
Distractions of working from home and how Kanbans help focus
Working from home is a highly attractive lifestyle for many people yet it comes with its drawbacks. It’s very easy to get distracted in the comfort of your home. Without focus and planning, you can soon find your billable hours disappearing.
There’s also the dangers of poor organization. When you run your own business you basically need to do everything, including planning and scheduling, and then actually following through. Knowing what to prioritize, when to do certain tasks, and to make sure you’ve not forgotten something is hugely important, and often very difficult at the best of times.
Kanban boards can help you improve both focus and time management.
The boards not only come in handy for billable client work, but they can also improve other areas of your work and life. When you run your own business from home, then every single hour of the day has an influence on the time you spend in your home office.
So how can Kanban boards help improve the structure and balance of your whole day? How can they be used not only for billable client work, but also for your evening and weekend hours?
Here are 5 different uses for the popular time and project management boards.
Kanban boards for client work
Perhaps the most obvious way a Kanban Board helps you as a freelance professional is with the organization and management of client projects. The boards provide an excellent visual overview of all tasks that need to be completed and in what order. Cards, with task details, can be moved around and slotted into different columns denoting the different stages or facets of a project.
Tasks might include parts of the actual work you need to carry out as well as any phone calls, meetings, research periods, quote writing, and other details associated with your line of freelancing. With diligent updating and careful planning, Kanban boards can help ensure you never miss a project task, call, or deadline.
Kanban boards for collaboration purposes
Many freelancers collaborate with other professionals in the same or complementing industries. You might also. Whether you sometimes work with agencies or fellow freelancers, Kanban boards are a widely recognized tool used to order, arrange, and speed up project workflows. Being able to quickly understand and utilize a Kanban board helps you better integrate into team working environments.
Direct collaboration, using Kanban boards, is also sometimes required with clients. In some industries, they’ll want a more hands-on approach to the planning and organizing of their project. The boards allow clients to add notes and even documents to the cards in real-time, when they have an account themselves.
Kanban boards for general business admin
A big part of your weekly routines as a freelancer will be completing general admin tasks. When you run your own business, you need to do a lot more than just client work. Admin and business management tasks might include updating your website, backing up data, bookkeeping, writing and sending invoices, planning meetings, updating schedules, completing training courses, and a lot more.
Kanban boards help you keep track of all of these diverse tasks and spot ways you can run the admin side of your business more efficiently. Solutions might include delegating tasks or investing in software which automates a lot of your admin processes.
Kanban boards for self-marketing
As well as general upkeep, as a freelancer you also need to market yourself. It’s through consistent and intelligent marketing that clients are able to find you and hire your freelance services. When you neglect self-promotion, you’re more likely to experience the dreaded feast and famine cycle, where you can go for weeks without any paid work.
Kanban boards allow you to set aside a specific amount of time each week to marketing your business. You can detail specifically what needs to be done and how. Cards can be slotted into spare 15 or 30-minute time frames where there’s a gap in planned client or admin work.
Kanban boards for home and family life
It’s very easy to picture Kanban boards as solely work management tools. Yet they can also be used out of hours. In fact, this is where they can really come into their own and make your life easier.
Your work hours, as a work-from-home freelancer, are greatly influenced by the rest of your time during any 24-hour day. If your home life is chaotic and your time unstructured then this unbalance will run into your home office hours as well. By restructuring and bringing some sense of order to your early mornings, lunch hours, evenings, and weekends, you’ll see an improvement in your mindset and emotional balance when it comes to freelance productivity.
You can use Kanban boards to plan, organize, and successfully complete tasks such as housework, shopping, cooking, eating, exercise, school runs, prayer or meditation, vacation planning, socializing, and perhaps most important of all, family time.
A well-ordered and productive home life is every bit as important as the 9-to-5 work day in your home office. They are inseparable from one another, and it’s also why tracking your time is so beneficial.
Fully customizable Kanban boards
At Invoice Ninja we provide a whole suit of interconnected features which include fully customizable Kanban boards. These can be used to plan and schedule every facet of your work and home life, helping you to speed up your workflow, ensure you get everything done, get paid faster, and free up more leisure time.