How to Organize Your Life with Trello

 
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I was an absolute mess! I had physical AND digital sticky notes, notes on legal pads and in notebooks. Notes in documents on my computer and in the cloud, notes in Google Drive and in Dropbox. Plus I love stationery, but rarely end up using it, so I have a couple planners where I intended to put notes but never actually did... that...

I thought I was organized, until I realized I wasn't.

🙌🏻   Then I found Trello. 🙌🏻  
(it really deserves a standing ovation!)

Now before you say, "ugh... not another paid app to download." Nope!

This is FREE! 

As in: you-can-use-99%-of-what-they-have-available-without-ever-having-to-upgrade. Yeah, that kind of free.

Never heard of Trello before? It's okay, I hadn't either! I'd heard of Asana, and I tried it but, ...I didn't really like it so I never actually used it = ineffective.

You can use Trello to plan for pretty much anything going on in your life, whether that's for home or business related tasks. You can view those tasks in both a visual list view and in a calendar mode, so you can see which tasks in your board overlap with each other. You can also attach stuff, comment, tag and the whole system is drag-and-drop friendly too.

Does any of that sound good??? Awesome. Then you better keep on reading, because Trello could change your life! 😉

 

 

First, before we get started going through the list of all the awesome things you can do with Trello, here's a link to go signup for your own account right now!

Yay!! Okay, now that's out of the way and we can get going with this!

Now that you have an account, you should also know they have a free mobile and desktop app, so you can use it in multiple places and the information syncs as it's changed & updated.

🙌🏻  Hooray!! 🙌🏻  Never forget your grocery list at home again!!

Here are some Trello basics to get you started:

 
 
 

1 | Boards

Think of them like Pinterest boards, or notebooks (for those of you who don't do Pinterest). They're essentially an area where you can group like tasks and lists together, like categories. (click on the photo above, to enlarge it)

So, you can have a board for Meal Planning, your Business, Fitness, Reading, Home and/or Family, school, temporary project planning (like for home renovations), etc. The possibilities are endless!

You can choose from one of their solid color options, or picture from the free stock photos that are available via their partnership with Unsplash.com, by searching for a topic (like: cleaning supplies, or desk).

 
 
 

2 | Lists

Lists are literally what they sound like: lists of tasks within a board. So, lets say on your Home/Family board, you have a list for housework to-do's, "honey do's" for your spouse, school-related reminders for the kids and/or their extracurricular activities. 

You make a list (column) for each, and it could be one for:

  • you
  • your spouse/significant other
  • each child
  • pets
  • house-related tasks/chores

Whatever makes the most sense for you, and within those lists you can create line items called Cards.

 
 
 

3 | Cards

These are the individual tasks created in each list within a board. So, under your list on the Home board (for example), you could have cards for things like:

  • pickup/return Redbox movie
  • put fresh sheets on the guest bed for Mom & Dad

Or whatever works best for you. The best thing about Cards though, is that they can contain so much more information than just a title. So let's dig into that a little more!

+ DUE DATES
Any card can have a due date, and the best thing is you can see the date on that card in:

  • grey when it's a couple days away
  • in yellow when it's due soon
  • in red when it's due that day
  • in faded red when it's past due.
  • You can also "check off" the due date inside the card to mark it done, and it turns green.

+ CHECKLISTS
These are created inside the card, and are literally check-off-able items. You can have multiple checklists inside a card as well.

– Example:
You could have a card called Grocery Shopping, and inside that you could have 1 checklist for all of your grocery items, or a checklist for each type of grocery item (frozen, produce, pantry, household, toiletries, pet stuff, etc.), –all inside that one card, if you want.

The best part about these? You can literally check or uncheck each item and they get marked through visually as you check items off. You also have the option to "hide completed items" in each checklist, so you only see what's left to do, AND there's a progress bar at the top of each checklist that updates the completed percentage as you check things off. It's gold, I tell ya!!

+ ATTACHMENTS
You can also attach documents, links, and photos to any card from a number of locations, including Google Drive, Dropbox, your own computer, links and more. It's as easy as dragging the file on top of the card where you want to attach it.

Have a link copied already? You can just use the quick key command (Command + V on a Mac) to paste it while that card is open, and it automatically attaches that link to the card for you.

+ COMMENTS
Anyone who can see your board can comment on any card, tag you in the comment, and/or attach something to the comment. Cards can also be attached to comments.

+ LABELS
You can add color labels to a card to further organize it (if you're a visual person like myself) and want to see which tasks are what, at a glance.

⚡️  Here's a (lightening) quick overview below ⚡️

 
 
 

+ Teams & Members

TEAMS
If you click the "+" in the top right corner, you can create a new board or a new Team. You can see Trello's description in the image above; Teams are a group of boards with members who also have access to those boards. You can use Teams to organize your family boards, or business boards etc..

– Example 1:
You could have a Family Team where you & your SO could share the a board together, both adding to or editing it as needed. Like if you have a Meal Planning/Grocery Shopping list, one of your "team" remembers you need milk so he/she adds that to the checklist inside the Grocery List card. You're both editing the list in the same place, so both of you can see the changes whenever and wherever you look at it, whether that's on your phone, tablet or computer.

– Example 2:
Say you have a business partner, you could have boards specifically for your team that they also have access to for things like a specific project (with to-do lists, calendar for due dates, approved lists, waiting on documents lists, etc.), or even something simple like a virtual rolodex for client information and you could even attach a photo of the client to each card so you can search visually for their face.

– Example 3:
Yet another example is for people who work in a department with a few other people. You could set up a board to display everything you're working on and add team members that need to know that information, so they can see it at any point.

On the board you could have a list for different categories like: 

• New Projects
• Sent for Approval
• Approved
• Waiting (on a document from client, for example)
• n progress
• Revisions Requested, etc.

On the New Projects list you could create a card for each project & use the PO# and project name in the title for that card, like so:

• "1862 Katelyn Dekle, Trello Blog"

Drag & Drop that card as it moves through each list in your process, and when you move that card (if a coworker is subscribed to your board) they will be notified when you move it (ex: from the "In Progress" list to the "Approved" list). 

Coworkers can also use the search bar to search for a PO# (if you're including them in your board anywhere) or phrase to make it easy for them to find out what the status on that order is.

If you work on a project with proofs/images/documents/links, you could also attach it to the card. If you're working with proofs & you attach it, whoever looks at it will know what that project looks like, or they can see the latest version of it. Works great if you're in an art dept. for example, and the customer service rep. needs to bill for an order; they can search for the PO# and see/do things like:

• which person in a dept. has the order
• the last proof sent (as long as you attached it)
• which list it's in = what the current status is
• comment on the card (ex: client cancelled the order, etc.)
• mark a due date as complete, etc.

MEMBERS
You can also add Members to cards without them being on a team, and that subscribes them to any changes you make to that card.

– Example:
Let's say you use a project board for business projects, like Example 3 above. You can add your secretary or VA to a card if you want them to know about this new task. If you add attachments to it, or comment on it, they'll get notified of any changes to that card.

 

+ Editing

The best part? Nearly everything you create inside a board is drag-and-drop-able.

Once a card or list is created, you can reorder the way it appears by dragging it around on the screen. You can also copy and/or move them to another position on that board, or move it toanother board entirely.

If you're looking at the Calendar, and you see a task on the wrong date, click & drag it to the new one. When you switch back to List view, the date will be updated for you!

 
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+ Calendar

One minor caveat, is that the free version only allows you 1 Power-Up per board. The main one I choose to use is the Calendar Power-Up.

To turn that on, click on Show Menu, then "Power-Ups," then scroll to Calendar and click Enable. Close out of that side bar by clicking the "X" in the right corner.

Now you'll see (example image above) a small icon with "Calendar" text at the top right next to Show Menu, and you can toggle on/off the Calendar view at any time to switch how you see your tasks with due dates.

 

 

Want Some Inspiration?

For some of you, this all might make more sense after you see it in real life.

So, if that's you, head over to Trello's Inspiration board list to see how other people are using Trello. Those boards are usually public, so you can open any of those boards in the list by clicking the "View Board" button below the thumbnail image. (example below)

 
 
 

If you find a board you like, copy it to your account!

Once you've found a board on the Inspiration list, you can copy that board to your account by following these quick steps:

1 | Click "Show Menu" at the top of your board

 
 

2 | Click "More"

 
 

3 | Click "Copy Board"

 
 

4 | Give your version of the board a new title, choose who to share it with (if anyone is on your team, and choose whether to keep the cards in each list. 

 
 

5 | Click "Create" and you're done!
That board copy now lives in your account & you can edit it however you want!

 

 

I'll have more tips and tricks for Trello in the future, so keep checking back!

In the mean time, if you start using Trello & you're loving it as much as I am, leave a comment below and tell me all about it!

Katelyn Dekle

Studio 1862, P.O. Box 244, Calvary, Ga, 39828

I'm a freelance graphic designer. I've been designing for 10 years, and still love it! My passion is helping small businesses, startups and entrepreneurs become successful by providing professional branding and website design services.

What do you need help with right now? Visit my website for advice from my blog, sign up for my newsletter + access to freebies, or follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest to stay connected! =) 

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