How to use Trello to organise and track your goals (plus 3 awesome time-saving tips!).
We all have the same number of hours in the day, right? But sometimes it just doesn’t feel enough. Over the years, one of the things my hubby has taught me is the value in simplifying the everyday tasks we have to do, so that we have more time for the things we want to do. So I’m always looking out for awesome time-saving tools and tips. And Trello is awesome for getting organised and saving time!
I’ve used Trello in the office for the last three or four years now, but only recently in my personal life. And it really is one of those things that makes life so much easier. Let’s find out why…
What is Trello?
Trello is an online version of a kanban board. Never heard of a kanban board? That’s OK! It’s project management speak for post-it notes 🙂 .
It’s just like having your lists up in front of you, so you can see where things are at. It makes things simple. What you need to do, what you are currently working on and what you’ve finished.
Do, Doing, Done!
And you have cards that are like sticky notes that you can move between lists as you get things done. It’s a great way to see what needs to be done. Plus it feels really good when you move cards into the done list. 🙂
There are two main ways you can use the boards. Either by project or by time-period. Let me explain.
Trello board by project:
Let’s say your project is an upcoming event. Maybe it’s your child’s birthday. So to get this organised, you need to brainstorm theme ideas, put together a guest list, decide on food and a venue, send out invites and make any necessary bookings.
Trello is the perfect way to keep track of everything and make sure you haven’t missed a vital piece of the puzzle.
And the best bit is that when it’s time to organise your Christmas Party or Halloween, you already have all of your jobs identified and you can re-use them (more on this in just a minute!).
Trello board by time-frame:
Alternatively, you might have your life (or business) goals on Trello and you want to set tasks that you complete each week or month.
Let’s say you’re focusing on getting healthier over the next six months.
Maybe each week you want to get to the gym a minimum of three times and you want to cook healthy dinners at least four nights each week. By tracking your progress, you are way more likely to actually meet these milestones and consistent progress is absolutely a key to success.
By setting these tasks for yourself each week or month, you are much more like to create a healthy habit and three or four months into it, being able to see that progress will build momentum to keep you smashing your goals.
It’s so popular because it’s easy to use; it’s visual, which makes us more likely to engage with it, and it holds us accountable.
Plus it’s free to use. Whoop whoop! Who doesn’t love free tools?
How is Trello going to help you?
- Trello helps you by tracking all the important tasks you need to do so that nothing gets forgotten.
- You can collaborate with other people and update each other when progress is made, or when something has gotten stuck.
- It helps you to stay motivated by seeing your jobs move from the ‘to do’ list, to the ‘doing’ and finally to the ‘done’ list!
- It helps you to not get side-tracked. If it’s not on your list of things to do, maybe it’s not as important as you think or maybe it can go on next week’s list.
Now, I promised you some time-saving tips, right? Here we go…
1. Always start from with the “To Do” list.
Whether you’re in the middle of a task and something else pops into your head, or you’re just enjoying your morning shower with 50 things running through your head – it is so easy to throw them all on your To Do board and not lose them.
You don’t have to do anything more than that. If it’s not already on your list for the day, and you just don’t have any extra time to spare, no worries! Add it to your backlog and when you are planning for your next day, week or month find some time to do it if it’s still a priority.
Why is this is important?
Because every time a thought pops into your head, if your reaction is just to do it then and there, you’re never prioritising it against your other tasks. This is, most definitely, how you get to the end of your time without getting to the end of your list. You get side-tracked. You work in a reactive way, rather than proactively planning and then doing.
So number one, you haven’t considered how important it is in comparison to your other tasks. And number two, you haven’t taken the time to consider whether it aligns with your ultimate goal. (If you don’t really know whether it does, check out my post on setting guiding principles before you get started on a project. That’ll save you heaps of time too!).
2. Identify your common tasks.
For every project, or time-period, you can set yourself some staple cards that you use every time (as well as having unique ones that you just need to complete once).
Let’s look at an example. This is one of my cards that I’ve set up as regular staple each month –
See down the bottom right under actions there is a “copy” button? You can just click on this and it will duplicate the card for you onto any list you choose. So I might have a list for October and November as well (you can see up the top that this card is sitting in the list “Jobs for September”) and I want to make sure that I tick off my minimum tasks each month to ensure I’m consistently gaining momentum.
This way I’m not re-inventing the wheel each time.
3. Use a checklist.
Basically, if you don’t break a task down into bite-sized parts it can feel overwhelming. Or that you simply don’t know where to start.
Take the time to think about the different activities you need to get a job done. This will save you time in the long run because you’ll be able to get started, work through the tasks in the right order without getting side-tracked. And most importantly – you’ll actually know when you’re done!
Practice makes perfect.
OK, maybe not perfect, since we’re not chasing that. But you’ll definitely get better with practice.
When you are first getting started, some of these might not be as easy as they sound. You might write up a checklist and then find you missed a number of important pieces of the puzzle. Or you might over-estimate how much you can achieve.
But use all this to get a little bit better next time around. Learn from your mistakes. And once you get a good handle on it, you can start putting time frames on each job. This is when you get super-productive. If you know it only takes half an hour to brain storm and decide on a theme for a birthday party… you’re gonna have to justify that three hours scrolling through Pinterest for ideas! 🙂
By all means, if that’s what you want to spend your time on, go for it! But if you hear yourself saying “there just isn’t enough hours in the day”, you might start to see why!