To Do, Doing, Done


To Do, Doing, Done is one of my favorite way to segment a Kanban board.  A Kanban board is simply a tool to help you visualize, organize, and complete your tasks.

Here is a very simple example:


Splitting your work into To Do, Doing, and Done is simple and intuitive.   Another benefit is that it’s easy to glance at three segments.  (I’m a fan of “glance and go” vs. “stop and stare.”)

Best of all, you get to see your work go from To Do, to Doing, to Done.

In the Kanban above, the To Do segment has a set of work items (the gray boxes) yet to be started.  The Doing segment has three things in progress.   The Done segment shows three things completed.  It’s simple, but visualizing the work helps declutter your head.  It also helps you focus.  It also gives you simple visual feedback.  And, if you’re part of a team, it helps create a shared view of the work.

Whether I’m using my whiteboard, a wall in the hall, or a wall at home, I tend to start with To Do, Doing, and Done.  It’s served me well for years, whether it’s for a personal Kanban or a Kanban for the team.

Here are 4 ways you can get started with your own personal Kanban, based on your tool of choice:

  1. On a piece of paper, draw 3 columns labeled To Do, Doing, and Done.  You’ll then simple write your tasks in the appropriate column.
  2. In a Word document, add a table with 3 columns labeled To Do, Doing, and Done. You can then simply type your work items in the appropriate column.
  3. On a whiteboard, draw 3 columns labeled To Do, Doing, and Done.  You can write your tasks in each column, but a better approach is to write them on yellow stickies, and add those to the corresponding column.  This way, you can easily move a sticky from To Do to Doing to Done.
  4. On a wall, add three giant sheets of self-sticking paper.  Label one sheet To Do, another sheet Doing, and your third sheet Done.   Again, yellow stickies are your friend.  By writing your tasks on yellow stickies, you can easily move them from your To Do sheet to your Doing sheet to your Done sheet.

I hope the simple visual above inspires you to manage your work in the simplest way possible, so you can spend more energy where it counts … the work itself.

Nothing gets results like actually doing the work.

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