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rogue synthetic

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What I've been doing lately is using the Kanban board in combination with a written to-do list that blocks out the whole work day.

The kanban board works as the master task-planner, the high level view where I can get a feel for the "shape" of the major goals and projects.

The daily plan gives me a little more structure, reminding me what I need to get done and the best times to do it. I've found that any creative or cognitively-demanding work needs to happen between 7am and noon, for example. The putting-out-fires stuff needs to wait until the hours between 1 and 5pm when I'm not good for anything.

I'm routinely amazed at how forgetful I can be at 6 or 7 in the morning when there's a whole internet full of distractions -- and it doesn't take much of that goofing off to set the whole day off on a bad footing. Opening up the daily plan and knowing I'm booked to do X between the hours of Y and Z takes the decision-making out of the loop.

The daily plan comes in because the Inbox/Todo and Work In Progress lists on the kanban board don't feel "hefty" enough for this. I like to plan the days down to a fine grain and the cards feel too cluttered. I know I could put it in a checklist, but that seems to not really solve the clutter problem and compound things by hiding it behind a card.

The compromise is to link to the daily plan in a card at the top of the Inbox list, which I keep in a document in Dropbox Paper. Each day gets blocked out in advance, on Sunday evenings, and put in the same document. This is handy for reviewing weekly goals and seeing what is and isn't working on a day to day basis.

Moving the kanban cards out of the Inbox and WIP lists while checking off the daily task sheet has been much more productive for me than using the boards by themselves.

Call it redunancy in accountability, I guess. All that matters is that it keeps me on task.
 

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rogue synthetic

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Hi RS,
My name is Eric and I work at Zenkit. If you get a chance to try it out, I'd really appreciate your feedback.

Quick thoughts on why we built it: We always found that Trello cards were getting to long and the board was getting too cluttered, so we wanted to build a way to "view" the core data in different tools. Use a calendar to quickly set dates and use a table to drill down into the numbers.
Hi Eric, thanks for checking in.

I've found myself using Zenkit exclusively over the last few weeks. I'm still no power user, but I do find that the UI and aesthetic, and some of the extra options for viewing the card data, are useful enough to keep me using it.

I still haven't found any use for the mind-mapping feature, but I do like that the option is there if it ever comes up. The list and calendar views are amazing, I agree.

There are two features I really liked in Favro that I haven't been able to duplicate in Zenkit.

I really liked the way Favro has a backlog board for tasks which is separate from the kanban cards. It was nice to have a high-level overview of the to do list separate from the kanban lists.

I also liked how Favro made it possible to have several (collapsible) rows of kanban lists on the same baord. I've gotten close to this by using different sorting of the cards according to tags and other attributes. But so far as I've seen there is no obvious way to have multiple rows of independent lists on the same board.

I'm not the most creative person in the world so there's every chance these could be duplicated with the existing functionality (or it's already there and I just haven't found it). If this is there, or your team could see any way to add something like these features, I'd be sold.
 

Em_Ebert

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Hi Eric, thanks for checking in.

I've found myself using Zenkit exclusively over the last few weeks. I'm still no power user, but I do find that the UI and aesthetic, and some of the extra options for viewing the card data, are useful enough to keep me using it.

I still haven't found any use for the mind-mapping feature, but I do like that the option is there if it ever comes up. The list and calendar views are amazing, I agree.

There are two features I really liked in Favro that I haven't been able to duplicate in Zenkit.

I really liked the way Favro has a backlog board for tasks which is separate from the kanban cards. It was nice to have a high-level overview of the to do list separate from the kanban lists.

I also liked how Favro made it possible to have several (collapsible) rows of kanban lists on the same baord. I've gotten close to this by using different sorting of the cards according to tags and other attributes. But so far as I've seen there is no obvious way to have multiple rows of independent lists on the same board.

I'm not the most creative person in the world so there's every chance these could be duplicated with the existing functionality (or it's already there and I just haven't found it). If this is there, or your team could see any way to add something like these features, I'd be sold.
Hi RS,
I'm so glad you're using Zenkit! My apologies for the late reply. We've been a bit busy with our desktop app roll-out: Zenkit Brings Its Project Management App To Windows, MacOS And Yes, Linux Desktops

1. We have an 'Upcoming' feature coming soon that should solve the first issue. Stay with us, we're working on it. We'll also be releasing a Global Kanban "view". I'm not sure exactly what you're looking for with multiple collapsible boards in a single collection, but you can probably do this using the 2D Kanban function and a Label field for each list/board. I guess I'd need more information on what you're trying to do here.

2. For the backlog, you could build two separate collections. Move items from your backlog collection to production (todo) collection using bulk actions and continue on from there. (tip: to make the transfer easier, you may want to set up identical fields in each collection. So you can just clone your production board, rename it backlog, and then weed out your backlog items using filters to get a clean backlog.)

I hope that helps and feel free to email me with anything else: eric@zenkit.com
 
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LightHouse

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For those of you that switched to Favro, they just released some amazing updates that I haven't even wrapped my head around yet, like custom fields, Lanes, and workflow automation.

At the moment the only thing i have tried out was the custom fields... and it is pretty freaking cool. I will be developing a new thread here soon with my new version along with the accountability group framework, but in the mean time, test the new stuff out and see how it works for you guys(and gals).


EDIT - Also, if you work off of two collections on Favro (aka two boards), if you favorite both of them it creates a really cool switcher button at the bottom that makes it incredibly simple to flip back and forth.
 

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I will be developing a new thread here soon with my new version along with the accountability group framework, but in the mean time, test the new stuff out and see how it works for you guys(and gals).
You should get on this asap.
 
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Here is a quick example. Note the reason I haven't started it because I am still redefining the weeks goals portion, the color separators are new and I think are too distracting so far, so they may be changed before the final. I will explain how this works in the post.



Also, these are the lists I am using on that same board..



Currently The weeks goals is a mess because I have not had my weekly accountability call yet to clear them and add this weeks in. But you get the idea.

@AllenCrawley I think you should post a bit about your board to show how you use the backlog effectively. I feel like a lot of people may use that method as well.
 
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Also another great feature, If you have a problem with putting more than 3 cards on a lane, click the TODAY list and limit it to 3, it gives you the added benefit of showing card counts for every lane on that section as well (sans archived cards)

 

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@AllenCrawley I think you should post a bit about your board to show how you use the backlog effectively. I feel like a lot of people may use that method as well.
Still dialing it in but this is how my favro is working for me now. Screenshot is annotated so click the image for full image.

favro1.png
 

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Currently The weeks goals is a mess because I have not had my weekly accountability call yet to clear them and add this weeks in. But you get the idea.
What you're doing with the weekly goals makes a lot of sense. I had tried doing like a Monday-Friday to-do thing, and scheduling it all out at the beginning of the week. But it's been hard to stick to that, and it didn't reflect reality very well.

I like your way better, and will give it a try this week.
 

amp0193

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Here's how I set up the backlog, and I REALLY like it.

Each task is set up in a collapsible sub-header, by project grouping. Each task has a color tag, which visually helps to really separate them.

So if I want to see what all needs to be done on the website, it's all right there. If I want to see what else I need to do before I go to China, I can find out in 2 seconds.

 

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Also another great feature, If you have a problem with putting more than 3 cards on a lane, click the TODAY list and limit it to 3, it gives you the added benefit of showing card counts for every lane on that section as well (sans archived cards)


So what's in your "inbox"? Is that everything for the week that supports the weekly goals?

So sort of like a mini-backlog?
 

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So what's in your "inbox"? Is that everything for the week that supports the weekly goals?

So sort of like a mini-backlog?
Everything, I just don't use the backlog like you and Allen are. Mainly because I don't need to to span my various boards like you guys do. The set up you guys have looks fantastic as well. My inbox shows when i have GSD open. I click open the weekly goals to make sure i'm hitting targets for what i set out in the accountability call each Monday. The tasks in the inbox reach far beyond whats in those weekly goals though.

BTW i already removed a lot of the color from the weekly goals as it was too busy, lol.
 

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Everything, I just don't use the backlog like you and Allen are. Mainly because I don't need to to span my various boards like you guys do. The set up you guys have looks fantastic as well. My inbox shows when i have GSD open. I click open the weekly goals to make sure i'm hitting targets for what i set out in the accountability call each Monday. The tasks in the inbox reach far beyond whats in those weekly goals though.

BTW i already removed a lot of the color from the weekly goals as it was too busy, lol.

Understood.

I used Trello that way, and that big old inbox list got overwhelming for me. I like the backlog because I can hide it with one stroke of the letter B.

I'm going to try what I just said though... putting a little "inbox" for the week on the GSD, and see how I like that.
 
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Understood.

I used Trello that way, and that big old inbox list got overwhelming for me. I like the backlog because I can hide it with one stroke of the letter B.

I'm going to try what I just said though... putting a little "inbox" for the week on the GSD, and see how I like that.
Yup, I totally get that, I think yall's method is actually better TBH.

My main goal is how do i set up a system to be able to 1 dump stuff out 2 see where i am going and 3 see exactly what i need to work on when i need to work. So everyone is going to have different versions.

I try to post what i think most people can just jump in and use at any stage and then folks can mod it whatever way they want after that.
 

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I've been using Favro and found it way better than ZenKit and Trello for me. I have a sophisticated system for managing my team at Territory, as well as managing my side hustles and personal logistics. I'll have to share it up shortly - it's similar but a bit different to how you are using it.
 

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I've been struggling with keeping myself productive now that I'm working for myself, so I am going to give this kanban a shot.

Using Favro, since it seems to have a bit more features than trello.

Cheers
 

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I've been struggling with keeping myself productive now that I'm working for myself, so I am going to give this kanban a shot.

Using Favro, since it seems to have a bit more features than trello.

Cheers
I like Trello, and am curious about Favro. But since I don't work with a team right now, I have reverted to a wall kanban with colour-coded post-its. I also use a sheet of paper to plan my weekly top priorities (3 priorities, 3 money making activities, 3 non negotiable) and hang it on my wall. Then, I block time in iCal. My big sin that impacts my productivity: I am addicted to email. I also noticed that I am more easily distracted by anything, thus less productive, when I skip my early morning walk/jog.
 

Andrew W

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As of right now I don't have very much rep and am particularly new to this site. But this thread has actually made a difference in my life so I thought a little success story might help. Let's start with where I was before: lazy, unmotivated but most importantly, I was a serious procrastinator. Some of you might be thinking, "Come on, it can't be that bad." But it was. I was forgetful, and unreliable. People began to think of me as someone they shouldn't trust. My grades were suffering (I'm a student so right now that's the priority), and my relationships were too. What do people start doing when you are an unreliable, lazy, procrastinator? They stop asking you for things. Sound great right! Wrong. This reputation was bleeding into all avenues of my life, and I decided enough was enough. The only way to stop being thought of as an unreliable guy was to become... well, reliable. So I researched.

Hours and hours spent clicking away at every link that might show me the "simple trick" or "hidden secret" that I was missing. I ended up here. I spent a while reading most of the GOLD Threads and figured I might glean some valuable information from the site. It was an instant bookmark. Then I came across this thread. I thought, "the title is too clickbaity, this probably won't work." Just about to give up, I give it a read. And you know what, I thought, "This might actually work." So I went and downloaded Trello, and the application called Pomello and gave it a try. Let me say, I've been more productive in two days than in the past two months. I'm not joking.

So blah blah blah, a success story. Why am I writing this comment? It's for one purpose. The things on this forum work. Now I can only advocate for this post but with such a massive increase in productivity, what can the rest of this site offer? Will each of the threads here offer this much value? I hope so!

TL;DR: I found this method, I finally decided to use the method, it worked extremely well, it might work for you too.

Tools Used:
Trello, Trello-Calendar Sync, Pomello
 

amp0193

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Just integrated an employee into my GSD Favro system. About to integrate a VA.

He was super skeptical at first, but LOVES it now. It's a great way for us to collaborate on projects, since we're not always in the same location. Loads better than email. A good way to keep tabs on his progress as well, and for him to see everything I've got on my plate.
 

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Just integrated an employee into my GSD Favro system. About to integrate a VA.

He was super skeptical at first, but LOVES it now. It's a great way for us to collaborate on projects, since we're not always in the same location. Loads better than email. A good way to keep tabs on his progress as well, and for him to see everything I've got on my plate.
I’m still using Trello, but have yet to check out Favro. Would you say it’s far superior? What features do you prefer it for?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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amp0193

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I’m still using Trello, but have yet to check out Favro. Would you say it’s far superior? What features do you prefer it for?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I just like the backlog in Favro honestly. The backlog has changed my life.

Not enough of a power user to know much of the other differences.
 

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First came upon this thread waaay back when the method was taught in Trello and implemented the method for awhile but dropped off the wagon.

Revisited this thread recently and was tempted to try out favro upon @LightHouse 's recommendation, but I came across airtable.com and while I initially thought it was quite meh, it's now the cornerstone of my business and project collaboration.

Disclaimer though, I'm using Wunderlist in conjunction with Airtable, just talking about Airtable in this post as it's more relevant to OP's productivity system.

I'm using Wunderlist for personal tasks/ideas and Airtable for Project Management with my team/more structured/bigger projects, I guess the distinction is a story for another different day..

I like that Airtable allows me to work with it via both the Maker schedule and the Manager schedule. (Not heard of it yet? Great article, and a very important one for new entrepreneurs: Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule by Paul Graham)

Manager Mode
--
It allows me to sit down and rapid-fire-type out a whole bunch of tasks related to projects, assign tasks, assess progress and action steps, and I work on it like I'm working on Excel.

Here is an (obviously) hypothetical view of my current projects.

upload_2018-6-9_2-51-42.png

See? Just like Excel.

Thing is, you can brainstorm a breakdown of tasks required to put a task to completion. You can attach images and all that good stuff.

Each task is nicely nested under the project title via grouping.

Maker Mode
--
Once you're done with planning/brainstorming and other managerial tasks, you can magically convert this base into a Kanban Board where cards are sorted into columns based on Todo, Doing, Done (Or whatever you want, really)

This is what it looks like.

upload_2018-6-9_2-52-43.png

Have specific due dates for some tasks? You don't need to force yourself to create artificial due dates for all tasks. Only tasks that actually require a due date.

Once you do that, you can view tasks in calendar view, as such.

upload_2018-6-9_2-53-23.png

Slick, isn't it?

The possibilities with Airtable are so powerful that I initially didn't even think much of it until I explored their universe with examples of how other companies are using it. I think you really need to explore their universe, spend some time creating your own bases before you can see how powerful it is.

P.S. hope I'm not hijacking this thread with such a long post out of nowhere; I was planning to create my own thread about my own productivity system "some time down the road" but revisited this old thread which I benefited alot from in the past (thanks @LightHouse !) and decided to drop some quick thoughts; couldn't stop lol.

Mods, pls feel free to dump my post into its own thread if you think it's distracting people away from the original post.
 

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Thank you @HackVenture for the suggestion! This looks insane! I tried GSD/Trello a while back, think I might revisit the system using Airtable with the amount of time I'm spending on my laptop now.
 
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First came upon this thread waaay back when the method was taught in Trello and implemented the method for awhile but dropped off the wagon.

Revisited this thread recently and was tempted to try out favro upon @LightHouse 's recommendation, but I came across airtable.com and while I initially thought it was quite meh, it's now the cornerstone of my business and project collaboration.

Disclaimer though, I'm using Wunderlist in conjunction with Airtable, just talking about Airtable in this post as it's more relevant to OP's productivity system.

I'm using Wunderlist for personal tasks/ideas and Airtable for Project Management with my team/more structured/bigger projects, I guess the distinction is a story for another different day..

I like that Airtable allows me to work with it via both the Maker schedule and the Manager schedule. (Not heard of it yet? Great article, and a very important one for new entrepreneurs: Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule by Paul Graham)

Manager Mode
--
It allows me to sit down and rapid-fire-type out a whole bunch of tasks related to projects, assign tasks, assess progress and action steps, and I work on it like I'm working on Excel.

Here is an (obviously) hypothetical view of my current projects.

View attachment 19721

See? Just like Excel.

Thing is, you can brainstorm a breakdown of tasks required to put a task to completion. You can attach images and all that good stuff.

Each task is nicely nested under the project title via grouping.

Maker Mode
--
Once you're done with planning/brainstorming and other managerial tasks, you can magically convert this base into a Kanban Board where cards are sorted into columns based on Todo, Doing, Done (Or whatever you want, really)

This is what it looks like.

View attachment 19722

Have specific due dates for some tasks? You don't need to force yourself to create artificial due dates for all tasks. Only tasks that actually require a due date.

Once you do that, you can view tasks in calendar view, as such.

View attachment 19723

Slick, isn't it?

The possibilities with Airtable are so powerful that I initially didn't even think much of it until I explored their universe with examples of how other companies are using it. I think you really need to explore their universe, spend some time creating your own bases before you can see how powerful it is.

P.S. hope I'm not hijacking this thread with such a long post out of nowhere; I was planning to create my own thread about my own productivity system "some time down the road" but revisited this old thread which I benefited alot from in the past (thanks @LightHouse !) and decided to drop some quick thoughts; couldn't stop lol.

Mods, pls feel free to dump my post into its own thread if you think it's distracting people away from the original post.
Adding to the conversation is never a bad thing. Just like this thread has evolved, methods and tools do as well.

I really like the manager/maker distinction, I hadn't heard of that before and may explore it.

I love when people add their own methods to this thread because as folks discover it, they have a baseline and can modify whatever until it works for them, which is the best outcome.

Thanks for taking the time to share!
 

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I was planning on writing my own software to fix most of the problems I have noticed between Trello and Favro, but the suggestion for Airtable.com from @HackVenture fixes most of them. The original idea was to set up an application that is optimized for desktop and mobile. I was tired of having to wait to drag an item to another column on my phone, and wait or scroll endlessly to get to a spot in Trello. The integrations section in Trello is neat, but is obviously more geared to getting the company money instead of providing the end user with new features. I'd prefer something that has the Gantt chart, the Pomodoro technique, and all the other features FREE. Anyways, looks like Airtable cover's most of these issues mentioned throughout this thread.
 

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Discipline is the cornerstone for progress here. I've been looking for a system like this for a long time, yet now I've found it, it seems daunting to even start this mammoth organization I have planned. Thanks for the share.
 

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@LightHouse happy to hear! Need to set aside some time to write up on my system, seems like there's alot of interest in this topic on here :D

I was planning on writing my own software to fix most of the problems I have noticed between Trello and Favro, but the suggestion for Airtable.com from @HackVenture fixes most of them. The original idea was to set up an application that is optimized for desktop and mobile. I was tired of having to wait to drag an item to another column on my phone, and wait or scroll endlessly to get to a spot in Trello. The integrations section in Trello is neat, but is obviously more geared to getting the company money instead of providing the end user with new features. I'd prefer something that has the Gantt chart, the Pomodoro technique, and all the other features FREE. Anyways, looks like Airtable cover's most of these issues mentioned throughout this thread.
Creating my own software was exactly what I was trying to do before I found Airtable.

One thing that's still kind of lacking with Airtable is that the mobile app isn't that effective to use though I'm guessing that might change soon.

Regardless, it solves so many other points that tweaking my workflow abit to address the mobile usage is more than worth it.

Hope you find it useful.
 

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I tried Trello and didn't like it.

The tasks don't wrap to the page and instead the page warps on into infinity causing a perpetual scrolling need. Any way to change this? I spent 30 minutes trying to find a fix and none was found. I saw other people complain about the same sh*t.

I deleted my account thereafter.
Look there is a business idea lol
Solving a problem that is not being solved very well...
 
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First came upon this thread waaay back when the method was taught in Trello and implemented the method for awhile but dropped off the wagon.

Revisited this thread recently and was tempted to try out favro upon @LightHouse 's recommendation, but I came across airtable.com and while I initially thought it was quite meh, it's now the cornerstone of my business and project collaboration.

Disclaimer though, I'm using Wunderlist in conjunction with Airtable, just talking about Airtable in this post as it's more relevant to OP's productivity system.

I'm using Wunderlist for personal tasks/ideas and Airtable for Project Management with my team/more structured/bigger projects, I guess the distinction is a story for another different day..

I like that Airtable allows me to work with it via both the Maker schedule and the Manager schedule. (Not heard of it yet? Great article, and a very important one for new entrepreneurs: Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule by Paul Graham)

Manager Mode
--
It allows me to sit down and rapid-fire-type out a whole bunch of tasks related to projects, assign tasks, assess progress and action steps, and I work on it like I'm working on Excel.

Here is an (obviously) hypothetical view of my current projects.

View attachment 19721

See? Just like Excel.

Thing is, you can brainstorm a breakdown of tasks required to put a task to completion. You can attach images and all that good stuff.

Each task is nicely nested under the project title via grouping.

Maker Mode
--
Once you're done with planning/brainstorming and other managerial tasks, you can magically convert this base into a Kanban Board where cards are sorted into columns based on Todo, Doing, Done (Or whatever you want, really)

This is what it looks like.

View attachment 19722

Have specific due dates for some tasks? You don't need to force yourself to create artificial due dates for all tasks. Only tasks that actually require a due date.

Once you do that, you can view tasks in calendar view, as such.

View attachment 19723

Slick, isn't it?

The possibilities with Airtable are so powerful that I initially didn't even think much of it until I explored their universe with examples of how other companies are using it. I think you really need to explore their universe, spend some time creating your own bases before you can see how powerful it is.

P.S. hope I'm not hijacking this thread with such a long post out of nowhere; I was planning to create my own thread about my own productivity system "some time down the road" but revisited this old thread which I benefited alot from in the past (thanks @LightHouse !) and decided to drop some quick thoughts; couldn't stop lol.

Mods, pls feel free to dump my post into its own thread if you think it's distracting people away from the original post.
I have been thinking about two things since you posted. The Maker/Manager distinction which I am working on implementing (although i don't think the original purpose lines up with what we are using it for here) and also this spreadsheet view.

I think @amp0193 uses a similar mode via the backlog in favro... i just can't wrap my head around how you all use that method. I feel like i am missing the workflow in it? To me it seems more complex and there is more to process every time you look at it.
 

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