Different ways to use Kanban in Email Inbox

By 28th February 2018 February 5th, 2020 No Comments

We talk a lot about Kanban in our blog. A task management system consisting of multiple lanes in which tasks are organized and moved across, it was created originally to improve manufacturing efficiency.

Proven successful in the automotive industry, it has expanded to several other industries such as software development – with tools such as JIRA -, project management – with tools such as Trello – and even CRM, – with tools such as Pipedrive.

Why not applying such a strong and visual layout to your email inbox? After all, most emails require tasks and most tasks require emails. We are sharing today different ways to use Kanban boards in your email inbox.


Understanding Kanban

Kanban is great and has many valuable attributes:

  • It’s visuals, will bring a holistic view of tasks across different stages;
  • Simple, breaking a number of tasks down into smaller and manageable pieces;
  • It enhances productivity, allowing sorting and prioritization of tasks;
  • It just works. 

Don’t you think that all these attributes would be valuable to better manage your inbox??

That’s why we speak so much about Kanban in email.


The original Kanban layout was distributed across stages, for example: To Do, Doing and Done. However, variations of Kanban boards started to be created on a way to customize boards according to priorities or nature of your business activities.

For example, if you are a Salesperson, you probably won’t use the same Kanban flow in your email as a customer service representative, because you probably have different workflows. By the way, if you are a workflow addict like us, here’s a nice checklist to create process maps in your company developed by process.st.

So here are some ideas we want to share with you on how you can organize your personal Kanban to do even more with your email inbox by different types of column segmentation:

Kanban ideas for everyday tasks

To kick it off, let’s see how you can organize your personal Kanban with the most basic ideas, applied to any nature of To Dos. There is no right or wrong ways, people have different workflows and you need to define what works best for you!

1. Stages

Let’s get as an example the traditional To Do, Doing and Done. This is the most basic and traditional way of organizing tasks. Dividing tasks by what you’re doing and what needs to be done gives the idea of stages and the status of each To Do.

2. Prioritization

Define your priorities by separating the most urgent work from everything else. You could use columns as due dates, for example, “Today”, “Tomorrow” and “Someday” or as important levels like “Very Important”, “Important” and “Not Important”. 

3. Topics or Team Members

For CEOs or managers that lead with To Dos across multiple topics or team members, Kanban works very well to visualize multiple areas at once. You could segment it by topics like “Sales”, “Marketing” and “Finance” or assign each column to a team member in a project or department, for example.

4. Weekdays

Last, but not least, you can separate your work by what day you need to do it. By doing so, it is also helpful because if there’s something you couldn’t do on Tuesday, you can just drag it to Wednesday, and so on!

Kanban ideas for specific tasks

As mentioned in the introduction of this post, Kanban boards can be customized according to the nature of your daily activities. Here are some examples to illustrate how Kanban boards may differ if you are working across different businesses.

1. Sales

If you are a salesperson, you might love the idea of dividing your sales funnel into lists, to help you recognize in what stage of sales you and your team currently are. So points such as “Leads”, “Call/demo”, “Lead interested” and “Deal closed” can help you out.

2. Helpdesk

Another way to keep your work organized as a Helpdesk team is by adding Ticket Status as your lists, so you can spot right away what needs to be done with your clients.

3. Marketing

For marketing, as an idea, you can divide your lists into smaller areas in marketing, such as PRSocial Media, or any other Marketing channel you would be dealing with.

4. Projects

Finally, in your projects, you can divide your cards into status lists, so you know what is still being planned and what you’re executing already. This will lead you to better performance.

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Kanban solves more than just email

Kanban in email can help you through much more than just email, especially if shared! Try Drag to turn your Inbox into Kanban board in 3 seconds. Our drag-and-drop system will make everything easier to be organized, and once you understand what are your priorities, you will save so much time.

And then you’ll be addicted, just like we are. ?

Drag was created to Inbox your life. You spend most of you time on your inbox, so why do you need to leave it to manage your To Dos across different apps? We apply the proven Kanban layout into your Inbox to make you more productive every day. Drag offers:

  • Customizable columns: add and customize as many columns as you want. Drag’n’drop emails across columns.
  • Add tasks to inbox: add and organize tasks on your boards.
  • Sort Emails and Tasks: prioritize your To-Dos by dragging important ones to the top.
  • Checklists, notes and due dates: add extra information to your emails and tasks.
  • Unlimited boards: different boards for different things.
  • Team Collaboration: do all the above collaboratively with your teammates!

If you have more ideas of how you can organize your inbox, please let us know. We’d be very pleased to get  your feedback!

What you’ll learn inside Drag

Starting now, we’re aiming to share what our plans are, how we’re doing and what lessons we’re learning along the way.

You’ll get:

  • Live Instagram updates. Real-time stories of what’s happening
  • Just like this article, you’ll get real-time updates on what’s happening, what’s working and how it feels in a startup.
  • Quick videos explaining quick wins and how to grow your business


What’s next

This is our attempt at sharing everything. It’s as simple as that You don’t have to be a customer to follow us.

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Samantha Anacleto

Author Samantha Anacleto

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