Notion Boards: How to Create Kanban Boards in Notion

Notion Boards - featured image

Are you looking for a proven productivity system, that’s easy to use? Look no further than Notion Boards – the ultimate tool for creating Kanban boards in Notion.

With its user-friendly interface and customizable features, you’ll be able to streamline your workflow and stay organized like never before.

In this article, we will go through the process of creating a Kanban board in Notion. You’ll learn how to add columns, customize your board, and even create rows or ‘swim lanes’ for a more organized view.

Although Kanban boards were first used in large industrial companies, everything that we cover is applicable to small businesses and solopreneurs.

Now, let’s dive in and see how you can create your own Kanban board in Notion to visually organize your tasks and projects.

How to Create a Kanban Board in Notion

To get started, open Notion and create a new page for your Kanban board. Give it a catchy title that reflects the purpose of the board, such as ‘Project Tracker’ or ‘Task Management.’

Once you’ve created the page, click on the ‘Board’ link in the list of what you want to create.   

create notion board

From the ‘Select data source’ dropdown menu, select ‘New database’. This will transform your page into a customizable Kanban board layout.

Select 'new database' as the data source

By default, there are 3 columns which are: ‘To Do,’ ‘In Progress,’ and ‘Complete.’ There are also 3 cards which you can start putting your tasks on.

default Notion board view

Now’s the time to start adding a bit of personality to your board. As with other elements in Notion, you can add a suitable icon and cover image.

How To Add Columns in Notion Board View

You’ve got the foundation, but customising the columns is the way to make this tool fit your particular workflow.  Click on the three dots ‘…’ menu on the top right-hand side of the board, then select ‘Properties,’ and finally, click on ‘Status.’

Editing columns by changing the status

In Notion, each of your projects or tasks are grouped into one of 3 categories: ‘To Do’, ‘In Progress’, or ‘Complete’.  Within each category there is one status by default, but you can add additional statuses to suit your particular workflow. Do this by clicking on the ‘+’ button.

Here are some examples of additional statuses that could be added:

  • Stuck – This could be a status that is added to the ‘In Progress’ category. It allows you to quickly see where a project is being held up e.g., you’re waiting for a client to sign off some work
  • Testing – A software company could add this status to the ‘In Progress’ category.
  • Up Next – If you’ve got a lot of tasks in your ‘To Do’ category, this status could allow you prioritise which projects to tackle next.

Feel free to edit the default status names. Feeling creative? You can ditch the corporate sounding names and use something that suits your style. How about ‘Dreaming Big’ for ‘Not Started,’ ‘Making Magic’ for ‘In Progress,’ and ‘Mission Accomplished’ for ‘Done’?

If you’ve added new statuses and want them to appear as your columns, there’s one important thing that you need to do – tell Notion to use your new statuses rather than the default of using category groups. Here’s how:

  • Click on the ‘…’ menu in the top right of your board
  • Select Group
  • Then select ‘Status by’
  • Toggle the selection to ‘Option’

Prefer to watch a video that covers all of this, including how to set up Kanban Boards in Notion and edit the columns? Here’s one I made earlier…

Adding Cards to your Notion Board

Now that you’ve set up your columns, it’s time to add cards to represent individual tasks or projects within each column. To do this, simply scroll to any column and then click on ‘+ New’ at the bottom of that column. A card will appear where you can enter details about the task or project.

By default, the card has properties like ‘Status’ and ‘Assigned To’. You can customize these cards further by adding additional properties such as ‘Due Date’, ‘Priority Level’, and ‘Category’. For instance, you could set up a ‘Select’ property to categorize tasks by each of your clients.

Below the properties section, you can add all the notes, images and files that relate to this particular task. This keeps everything nicely organized and easily accessible.

Moving Cards on Your Board

With just a few simple steps, you’ve created your very own Kanban board in Notion. Now you can effortlessly drag and drop cards between columns as tasks progress from one stage to another. This visual representation allows for easy tracking of task statuses and provides an intuitive overview of all your ongoing projects at once.

Most people set up their boards so that there is a logical progression of tasks from the left-hand side of the board to the right. By keeping your board updated, it can quickly become apparent where there are bottlenecks and if you need to dedicate more time or resources to any particular area.

Show Properties on Front of Cards

It’s useful to add important properties to the front of a card to make them instantly visible. On the other hand, having too much information on the front can look cluttered. Here’s how to control what is visible:

  • Click on the ‘…’ menu on the top right of the board
  • Select Properties
  • Click on the eye icon to toggle between properties being shown or hidden on the front of the card.

In the screenshot below, you can see that the task name and due date are being shown on the front of the card.

setting to make properties visible on the front of cards in Notion

Change card size

By adjusting the card size, you can create a layout that is tailored to display all the important information at a glance. Whether you want larger cards to highlight key tasks or smaller ones to accommodate multiple columns in a compact view, Notion allows you to effortlessly resize them with ease.

  • Click on the ‘…’ menu on the top right of the board
  • Select Layout
  • Select card size

From here, choose from the available options: small, medium, or large. You can experiment with different sizes until you find the perfect fit for your board.

How to Create Rows or ‘Swim Lanes’

As your project progresses, you may need to categorize tasks based on clients, team members, or any other criteria. By creating rows, this saves you creating separate kanban boards for each of your clients – you can see at a glance everything on one large board.

Project management professionals sometimes call these ‘swim lanes’, which is a great analogy as it perfectly pictures how data is kept in separate sections.

You can do this in Notion by creating sub-groups.

  • Click on the ‘…’ menu on the top right of the board
  • Select Sub-group
  • Choose which property to subgroup by

In the screen shot below, it would be a good choice to sub-group by ‘Client’ or ‘Assign’ (which is the team member that has been assigned the task).

How to create rows on a Kanban board in Notion

Using Filters on Your notion Board

Subgroups can be handy if you want to see all data on one page. However the downside is it may start to appear a bit messy.

An alternative, cleaner approach is to use filters. I often prefer this way to separate out relevant data, without being distracted.

Here’s how to filter tasks by client. Duplicate your board view, and give the new board a name to represent a specific client. Set up a filter to show only relevant tasks for that client. Do this for each of your clients and you’ll have a series of focused views. Keep your main board unfiltered, so you can still get an overview of all tasks.

Going Beyond a Standard Kanban Board

If you want to take your Kanban board to the next level, consider going beyond a standard setup and incorporating elements like a sales pipeline, video production, and content creation.

Sales pipeline on a Kanban board in Notion

Sales Pipeline

For businesses with a sales focus, Kanban boards can be your secret sales weapon. Create a new board with columns for the different sales stages, like ‘New Lead,’ ‘Initial Contact,’ ‘Proposal Sent’ and ‘Closed Deal.’ Then you have a perfect visual representation of your sales pipeline. You can then take action before a sales dry spell hits.

Video Production

So many things go into video production, and it’s easy to get off track. Kanban boards are like your behind-the-scenes producer. Customize columns for ‘Ideas’, ‘Scriptwriting’, ‘Shooting’, ‘Video Editing’, and ‘Distribution’. This will help you and external contractors stay on top of your projects.

Content Creation

With Kanban boards, you can transform your content creation process. Arrange columns for ‘Ideas,’ ‘First Draft,’ ‘Editing,’ and ‘Published.’ By adding a date property to your work, you can also produce a content calendar in Notion.

Benefits of Using Notion Boards for Small Businesses

Now that you’ve mastered the art of creating Kanban boards in Notion let’s take a moment to explore the benefits of using them for small businesses.

  1. Enhanced Organization: Kanban boards provide a visual representation of your projects, making it easier to grasp the bigger picture while still focusing on individual tasks.
  2. Efficient Task Management: By dividing tasks into different stages, you can easily track their progress, identify bottlenecks, and prioritize what needs to be done next.
  3. Streamlined Client Management: When working with multiple clients, filters and subgroups help you keep track of tasks and progress for each client separately.
  4. Flexible Adaptability: Notion’s Kanban boards can be easily customized and adapted to fit various projects and workflows, making them ideal for dynamic small businesses.
  5. Collaborative Possibilities: If you have a team, Notion boards can be shared with them, facilitating better collaboration and seamless project management.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I share my Kanban boards with others in Notion?

Yes, you can easily share your Kanban boards with others in Notion. Under ‘Settings and members’ you’ll find a shareable link, and also a way to invite other Notion users to share your workspace. It’s a fantastic way to collaborate and foster innovation within your team and update clients.

Is there a way to set deadlines or due dates for tasks or cards on a Notion board?

Yes, you can set deadlines or due dates for individual tasks by adding a ‘Date’ property to the cards. This feature allows you to stay organized and keep track of your progress towards milestones and target dates.

Is it possible to assign tasks or cards to specific team members in Notion boards?

Yes, you can assign tasks or cards to specific team members, this is one of the default properties when setting up a board. This feature ensures everyone knows their responsibilities and encourages ownership.

Final Words

You’ve now unlocked the power of Notion boards and are ready to conquer your projects with unmatched organization and efficiency. Whether you’re a solopreneur or a small business owner, Kanban boards in Notion are the perfect companion to keep you on top of your tasks.

Happy Notion-ing!

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