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Ric Raftis Consulting

Improved Workflows for Mulitiple Kanban Boards in Obsidian

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Introduction

This is the fourth article and videoon using Kanban boards in Obsidian. It all started out by just seeking a simple way of keeping track of my tasks and To-Do lists with a Kanban board. Then it grew to putting coloured backgrounds on them to improve the focus when they were appearing in a matrix on the screen. Now, this last video is essentially seeking the best way to manage that on screen situation, particularly where you might have more than four Kanban boards. 

Working with Kanbans

It is quite conceivable that you could have six, ten or twenty Kanbans, whatever your heart’s desire. So if you have a look at the screenshot below we have a blank canvas. Assume this is your Home screen on opening Obsidian.

Figure 1: Home Screen in Obsidian

Figure 1: Home Screen in Obsidian
Source: Screenshot by author

 In previous articles and videos, we have talked about workspaces. It can be useful to set up a range of tabs in a workspace, name it and then assign a hotkey to take you back to that workspace from anywhere within Obsidian. You could use Alt + H if there is no conflicts.

I have also set up hotkeys to load the view of the Kanban boards in a singular workspace. So that one is called Alt + M. It immediately brings up the matrix of the Kanban boards. As you can see in the screenshot below, they are all coloured and are populated with a couple of tasks. What has been done is that I have actually set the view up and then created this workspace. In the lower half of the screen, all of the Kanban boards are loaded into each of the panes. And if I had 10, then I would make sure that all 10 were loaded there. At the top I was simply have my daily Kanban, which is I’ve mentioned previously should be blank at the beginning of each day and the other one is your Main Kanban board, where all of your tasks would be stored.

Figure 2: Workspace for Multiple Kanbans with all loaded

Figure 2: Workspace for Multiple Kanbans with all loaded
Source: Screenshot by author

The value of this setup is that the two Kanbans in the top half remain fixed as they are the ones you will work on constantly during the day. Having all the Kanbans available at the bottom allows you to rotate between them and drag and drop tasks as needed. The accompany video provides a demonstration of moving the cards back and forth and working in the various boards.

Further Options

Sometimes I actually outsmart myself and this has certainly been one of those occasions. What I wanted to do is to dress up the process a little bit further and make the actual cards in the lists the same background color as the board. The object then was that when you dragged the card from one board to another, it would keep that originating colour so that you would know which board it had come from.

The premise behind this approach was as follows:

  1. You had a heavily populated Daily board.
  2. At the end of the day, you needed to move cards back to their originating boards.
  3. With this approach, it would be obvious which board each card came from.

I was able to achieve the background colouring of the tasks, but the colours changed as soon as you moved them to another board. The task adopted the colour of the board it had been moved to. However, as you can see in the screenshot below, the Daily board tasks have a green background the same as the board itself.

Figure 3: Task cards adopting the same colour as the board

Figure 3: Task cards adopting the same colour as the board
Source: Screenshot by author

It would seem that CSS won’t allow such dynamic styling as expected, but it is always worth a try. Either way, there are now two CSS scripts available for people who want a black background on their task lists and another if you want the tasks the same colour as the board. Personally, I like the latter. The template for the coloured boards with theme coloured tasks are in the previous article. The new css is shown below. But for those who want a ready made solution, all the boards and the two CSS scripts are available for download.

Figure 4: CSS snippet for coloured tasks

Figure 4: CSS snippet for coloured tasks
Source: Screenshot by author

Conclusion

In closing, because I think this will be the last one in the series of Kanban boards, I would like to stress that I am not an expert in productivity and organization. In fact, probably the opposite. What I have done with these boards are just some things that appealed to me. If they appeal to you, then that’s great, but work out your own system that works for you. And by all means, check online and see if you can find some experts on running Kanban boards and multiple Kanban boards. they are certainly very well used within the Agile space. You may well be able to improve upon this system even further.

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