Featured Images - Trello logo

How To Get Crazy Organised with Trello

Being organised isn’t something you are automatically born with.  Sure, some people seem to have a propensity for it but mostly, it’s a learned skill.

That means you can get better at being organised.  It involves putting systems in place and the discipline to actually USE them.  That second part is where a lot of people fall down.

Organisation also takes practice and patience.  You may find you need to change and tweak systems if they don’t work for you.

Over the years I’ve tried MANY organisational techniques, some of these work wonders for years, but as my situations changed so did the systems I had to run them.

So today I want to talk about a new system I use.  It has helped to reduce my obsessive amount of paper (well, some of it… we’ll talk about Tackling the Paper Mountain next week!)

I needed a system I could put (almost) EVERYTHING into.  Say Hello to Trello.

Banner - Trello

DividerLine-Bold

What is Trello

Trello, the project management program. Logo

Trello is a Project Management system, it is a list-making application where you create boards and add columns (lists) and tasks (cards) that can be organised and move around to fit your needs.

Perfect for both personal and business use.  Whether you just want a running to-do list or want to manage a large project with lots of tasks.

The system allows you to organise and prioritise to get more done and to keep everything in a single location.

DividerLine-Bold

Setting Up Trello

Simply create an account to start using Trello.

You will then have an empty dashboard where you can start creating “Boards.”  Think of these like your Top Level Filing System.

Then, on each Board you create “Lists” this would be your Second Level Filing System, where you categorise your task requirements.

Finally, you create “Cards” on your lists, this is your individual tasks or group of tasks if there are several steps to complete a specific task and you want to keep them together.

Have I lost you yet?  Don’t worry, I’m going to be using my Trello system to explain.

DividerLine-Bold

How I organise myself with Trello

During a clear out a few years ago, I found well over a dozen to-do lists that were mixed in amongst all the papers.  Not only had I written SO MANY to-do lists, but I had duplicated things I needed to do.

I found Trello the best for my needs.  Though when I originally started using it I huffed and puffed and gave it up almost instantly.  Similar to how I treated Scrivener.

This was because I hadn’t taken the time to really learn what it could do (just with Scrivener).  Seriously, I have the attention span of a two-year-old sometimes!

And LIKE Scrivener once I had taken the time to check all the features Trello had and see how it could be used, it became one of my key working systems.

Let’s take a look at my Trello System

Screenshot of several trello boards

The first thing I did was to create a board for a Working Project.  As you can see, I have a board for my Writing, Blog, Bucket list etc.

Originally I had broken projects down into more boards than this.  For example, I used to have a Newsletter Board and a Social Media Board.  However, I recommend you don’t overdo it with the boards.

Remember, think top-level filing when creating boards.  So since my Newsletter is connected mostly to my Blog I turned it into a List instead of having its own board.

The same with Social Media, many of these projects have their own social media connections and it made more sense to have any SM details on those boards rather than a separate board.

That way I keep all the details per project in just one board.  It allows me to go in and only see what I need to do for THAT project.

This is especially useful since I Batch Tasks.

DividerLine-Bold

How I set up my boards

I did a lot of trial and error with my boards and ended up with endless amounts of lists and duplicated cards.

So I figured out the best working system and implemented it.  This involved making (almost) all my boards have a consistency, at least with the first three lists.

The Brain Dump

Each of my main boards has a BRAIN DUMP LIST and it goes right at the front.  This is where I put EVERYTHING about this project.

Every thought, idea, to do, question etc that comes up, needs to be acknowledged, addressed, queries or completed, no matter how big or small becomes a card in this list.

Think of it as a catch-all.

Don’t carry these thoughts with you, get them out, pronto!  So having a very clear place to drop all these things immediately is a necessity.

Trello Brain Dump list for the catch all

This Month’s Tasks

The next list I have is THIS MONTH’S TASK LIST.  At the beginning of the month, I’ll trawl through my Brain Dump list and move several items into the monthly task list.

These are things I either NEED to do or think I CAN do in the month.  For those of you who follow this blog, these are often tasks outside my Monthly Goals I set for myself.  😉

Screenshot of my This Month's Tasks list on trello

Daily Tasks

Next, I have a DAILY TASKS LIST.  On the days when I’m working on that particular project, for example, my blog, I go to my This Month’s Tasks list and I choose some of these tasks to complete that day.

I limit myself to putting just 5 tasks into my daily list.  If they are time-consuming tasks I may just move 1 or 2 across.

Originally I didn’t set a limit and would then add dozens of tasks… fail miserably and feel like crap.  I got tired of that so changed my system.  See, it’s all about learning from your horrible mistakes!

If I manage to complete all 5 tasks in the day and still have time to spare, I can simply select another 1 or 2 tasks to work on.

However, if I fail to complete the original 5, it can either sit there for the next day in which case I’ll be bringing less over from my monthly task list (remember I can only ever have 5 in my daily list at one time) or if it turned into something more intense, I may put it back into the monthly task list until I know I’ll have a better day to tackle it.

Screenshot of my daily tasks list on trello

Completed

The last of my consistent lists is a COMPLETED LIST.  I find it motivating to see just how much I get done.

Are you one of those people who LOVED to tick things off your to-do list?  Then the completed list helps to give you that satisfaction.  Every time I manage to complete a task, I move it to the Completed list.

That way if something occurs, like something I thought signed off on suddenly develops an issue, and I need to pull it back I don’t need to faff around trying to drag it from the archive.

Not to mention it gives me a sense of accomplishment when I look over and see all the tasks filling up that list.  Yup, I’m a sucker for that!

Screenshot of my completed list on trello

Other Lists

After these four lists are created, each board will have additional lists created but they will be specific to the board project.

For example, my blog board has a list of Post Topics.  Whereas my writing board has a list for Beta Readers.  But having those initial lists be the same, creates a working structure that feeds across each project.

DividerLine-Bold

Card features (add to card)

Cards are the main part of this system, they are where you put the most information and there are numerous features that can help you stay organised and prioritise tasks.

Screenshot of a trello card opened

On the image above you can see on the right-hand side a list of features.  I’ll go through these individually.

Members

Trello allows you to invite other people to view board(s).  This is great for collaboration with other people.

This is where members are listed.

Labels

Trello allows you to label your cards.  There are several colours to chose from and you can edit the colour to be assigned to a specific thing – for example:

  • Red – Not Started
  • Orange – In Progress
  • Green – Completed
  • Blue – To Research
  • Purple – Awaiting Details

The terms you assign the labels are only specific to that board, so if you want to use Green for “Confirmed interview” on another board, that’s fine.

You can add multiple labels to a card, this means if you have something that is not started and requiring research you can add a red and blue label.

You can also filter by labels so that if you are working on, say all the “in progress” cards you can filter by orange and only see those.

Having these colours makes it quick and easy to see where you are in your tasks.

Checklists

I think this is my favourite feature and I use it all the time.

Selecting checklist allows you to add text or links (which are clickable) into individual lines, each one with a tick box at the side.

Once you complete the relevant task you can simply tick it and this puts a strike through the item and the progress bar at the top moves along.

Trello checklist

I use checklists for many tasks where there are specific individual steps that are better in a checklist than on separate cards.

You can also add more than one checklist to a card.  So if a project has different phases, you can create a separate checklist for each phase.

Due dates

You can add a due date to individual cards that will send a reminder to all members connected to that card.  This is great for anything with a deadline.

Trello due date option

Attachments

Trello lets you add attachments to the cards.  This is great as it means you have quick and easy access to imagery.

I’ve known people who use their Trello board as a content calendar for their blog and they add in pictures that they want to use for the specific blog posts.

When they are ready to write it, they go to the Trello board and pull the images they’ve stored.

Cover

You can add an image to your card to make it more visually appealing.  You will have seen from the above, that I use the cover feature.  I create a card that sits at the top and has a header banner.

I feel it makes my lists look better and I’m all for aesthetics. 🙂

Power-Ups

These are special features that you can add, though you do need the business plan to access them.  There are numerous options such as calendar, maps, custom fields etc.

DividerLine-Bold

Card features (actions)

There are also certain actions you can do to each card.

Move

You can move your cards around from list to list by simply drag and drop, however you can also use the move feature.

Trello move card option

This allows you to select the board, list and position you want to move it to.  So if you need it on another board, this makes it quick and easy to select the board and relevant list.

The position is simply where on the list.  It will default to dropping the card at the bottom of the list.  The position number will always be the last card on the list.

Copy

What it says on the tin, if you need multiple cards that are the same or maybe very similar, you can simply copy a card to create a duplicate.

Make Template

Use this to turn a card into a template.  This will then mark the card as a template and add in a Create Card from Template option.

Trello card template option

Watch

If you select Watch it puts a little eye icon on your card and you can find all your “watched” cards via the sidebar menu (discussed below).

Archive

If you no longer want your card, you can archive it.  On the app, this is the only option, there is no way to “delete” the card.

However, on the desktop version, once you click archive, it will also add a delete button and so if you don’t need to actually keep the card, you can delete it.

Share

Allows you to add in an email address to share this card.

DividerLine-Bold

Card features (main section)

The main body of the card has areas for you to add details or creates a tracking list.

Descriptions

Right below the card name is a description section, a simple text box where you can add any extra notes or details to the card.  It’s best to keep the card’s title short so any further relevant info can be stored here.

Activity

This is where you can add in activity notes such as what status you are up to in the task.  Again, this works well for collaboration where two or more people are working on a task.  You can keep your collaborators informed on what you’ve done.

History

There is a history listed regarding any changes made, so every time you add a card, delete a card, change a title etc, there is a history list that states it.

This is important for collaboration as it allows the administrator to know who has been working on what.

DividerLine-Bold

Board features

Here are some of the board features

Starred Boards

You can “star” a board that moves it to the top of your dashboard, so if you are working on something specific, it’s kept right at the top for easy access.

This is useful if you have a lot of boards.  Also, when you name a board they are stored in alphabetical order.

This is why I numbered my most commonly used boards so they were in the order I wanted.

Invite

There’s an invite button that gives you the option of inviting others to view and edit a board.  So if you want to collaborate with someone on a project, use this to send them an emailed invite.

This only gives them access to that specific board, not all the boards you have.

They will need to have a Trello account to access the board.

You can amend the permissions on what members can and can’t do in regards to adding and commenting, in the Settings section of the sidebar menu.

Sidebar Menu

On the right-hand side, when you are on a board, is a menu.  Here are the features of the menu.

About this Board

You can add a description of the board if you wish.  I’ve never found this necessary, but again, this is probably more for collab work.

Change Background

You can change the background image of your boards.  The cards and lists will always be white, but you can change the backgrounds to either a solid colour or an image and there are plenty to choose from.

Search Cards

Can’t locate a card?  Simply type in a word or two you know is on the card and do a search.  It brings up a list of any cards and where they are located (which board and list).

I’ve found the search ability to be pretty good.

Stickers

You have access to a few stickers such as a tick, smiley face etc.  These can be good for adding some detail to your cards.

I notice they don’t appear when using the app version though.

More

Selecting the more option gives you a second menu bar.

Settings

Here is where you can change team details and amend the permissions of your members who have access to your board.

Labels

This gives you quick access to the board’s labels so you can easily edit the of the label, this will then affect all the cards in the board.

Archived Items

If you’ve archived anything and not deleted it, this is where you can find it.

Email to Board settings

You can actually have things emailed directly to your board, this is great if you have emails that are task-specific and need to keep the details with the rest of your task lists.

This area is where you find the board-specific email address you would send your emails too.

Watch

This is where you would get a list of all your watched cards that you marked.

Copy Board

Pretty obvious copies the whole board.

Print & Export

Where you can print your board or export the data.  Obviously, this is all stored on the internet and if something happens to Trello you would lose it all, like ANY online program.

Close board

If you no longer need the board, you would go here to close.  It will close for a certain length of time and allow you to reactivate.  If you don’t, it will delete permanently.  If you’re sure you won’t need it, you can select to delete permanently at this stage too.

DividerLine-Bold

Pricing

Trello has several options.

Trello pricing options

Free

Yes, there’s an awesome free version and it’s NOT a trial, it’s free FOREVER.  This is the version I currently use and honestly, it does everything I need.

For the free version you get:

  • unlimited personal boards
  • unlimited lists
  • unlimited cards
  • 10mb per file attachment
  • 10 team boards
  • 1 power-up board
  • Add simple automation to your everyday task
  • Commands limited to 1 card button, 1 board button, and 1 rule
  • 50 Command runs per month
  • 2-Factor Authentication

Business Class ($9.99 per month)

  • unlimited personal boards
  • unlimited lists
  • unlimited cards
  • 250MB per File Attachment
  • priority support
  • observers
  • custom background and stickers
  • unlimited team boards
  • board collections
  • team board templates
  • unlimited Power-Ups
  • custom fields
  • list limits
  • card repeaters
  • calendar view
  • map view
  • voting
  • 100+ app integrations
  • unleash the power of automation across your entire team.
  • unlimited buttons, rules, and scheduled commands
  • 1,000 Command runs per team + 200 per user, team quota pools up to 6,000 max per month
  • scheduled commands
  • command administration
  • email notifications
  • HTTP requests
  • 2-factor authentication
  • advanced admin permissions
  • domain-restricted invites
  • deactivate members
  • google apps sign-on
  • simple data export

Enterprise ($20.83 per month)

  • unlimited personal boards
  • unlimited lists
  • unlimited cards
  • 250MB per File Attachment
  • priority support
  • observers
  • custom background and stickers
  • unlimited team boards
  • board collections
  • team board templates
  • unlimited Power-Ups
  • custom fields
  • list limits
  • card repeaters
  • calendar view
  • map view
  • voting
  • 100+ app integrations
  • take your company to the next level with advanced automation.
  • unlimited buttons, rules, and scheduled commands
  • unlimited Command runs
  • scheduled commands
  • command administration
  • email notifications
  • HTTP requests
  • 2-factor authentication
  • advanced admin permissions
  • domain-restricted invites
  • deactivate members
  • google apps sign-on
  • simple data export
  • single sign-on for all SAML IdPs
  • power-up administration
  • attachment restrictions
  • organisation wide permissions
  • organisation visible boards
  • public board management

So, yeah, paying DOES give you a lot more benefits, but it all comes down to what you really need it for.

DividerLine-Bold

My Thoughts

I’ve been using Trello for a while now and I LOVE it.  As I’ve shown, I use it to keep my notes and ideas in (mostly) one place.

I have the app on my phone so I can add things while I’m out and about.  I love the quick drag and drop feature and the labelling makes it quick and easy to organise my tasks and track the progress.

Once you get the hang of the features it’s easy to use and great for both big and small projects.

DividerLine-Bold

~ ☆ ~ ☆ ~ ☆ ~

Big thanks to all you awesome readers who managed to get through to the end.  I really hope you found it useful especially if you never yet used Trello and are looking for something to try and get you more organised.

Happy writing

Signature & logo of Ari Meghlen

Like what I do? Support me on Ko-fi. Support Author Ari Meghlen. Buy me a coffee

TwitterFacebookInstagram ☆ Linktree

12 comments

  1. I’ve never heard of Trello before. It looks fantastic and you’re ‘how to use’ guides are always so thorough and user friendly. I prefer good old fashioned lists for keeping organized. I love the satisfaction of crossing things off. Lol.

    1. I can’t work without Trello now. It’s my fave thing. I know what you mean and I do still have some things written, because I will transfer things from my Daily list to my diary beside me so I can cross it off, but for brain dumping it has freed up so much thinking space.

      thanks so much Lorraine, I always worry I am just overwhelming people by going through everything

  2. Wow, thank you for sharing exactly what Trello is and how to use it. I heard you and others mention it but I wasn’t sure what it was, lol! I’m glad the system is working for you. It sounds a bit overwhelming but I might have to look into this as I keep getting moments where I just go blank or look at everything that needs doing and don’t know where to start. Grea post 🙂 Hope your writing challenge is going well ❤

    1. Hi Cat, it can feel overwhelming at first. The best way is to create just one board and build from there. I really love having brain dump lists that I can just get EVERYTHING out and onto the screen and then, when I have time I can move things around.

      If you ever want to try Trello and get stuck or are unsure of anything, just drop me a note and I’ll do what I can to help.

      1. I will do, thank you 🙂 ❤ Hope everything is well and you are safe and well yourself, take care ❤ 🙂

      2. Anything to do with the global thing? Or is it the new podcast I saw in your newsletter?… How exciting! Let me know how/where I can listen and I hope you enjoy it! 😀

      3. Family thing. LOL I hope no one has seen your comment because we haven’t announced it yet, other than in the email! lol

        Pssst new blog post coming out today with details 🙂

      4. Oops, in future I’ll keep the newsletter stuff hush hush 😉 😀

  3. This post was so helpful!! Trello has been in the back of my head for a while now, and I even tried to use it once but I just got super overwhelmed. The fact that I could do “whatever I wanted” with the boards and lists scared me lol. So it was awesome to see how you use it! I’ll definitely have to give it another go. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much Madeline! So glad you enjoyed this. I know what you mean, when I first tried it I was like “nope, too complicated” and ignored it for ages. I’m really glad I went back and I found having my boards mostly consistent with the Brain Dump, Monthly Tasks, Daily Tasks and Completed has really helped me streamline my thought processes and action processes.

      If you try Trello and get stuck or overwhelmed, feel free to reach out and I will help however I can 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.