I’m here to tell you that tools make the world go round. Back in the day, my only time management tool was a raggedy spiral notebook full of ‘to-dos.
Basically, my strategy was to write everything down that I would ever want to accomplish in life and, as I did NOT accomplish them all- transfer them to the next day’s page and add to that. It was kind of an ongoing process that was not so pretty.
Of course, I didn’t assign a due date to them because that would indicate that I was not going to finish my life’s work on that particular day (gasp).
But I robbed myself of that amazing accomplishment response. You know, that euphoric feeling that comes when you ‘did good’ – when you completed your tasks and added your name to the plaque of productive people for the day.
I never got that. Instead, I got stress, anxiety, and disappointment in my lack of superhuman ability.
One day, I was searching for some inspiration from some of my minimalist go-to’s when I saw it. Trello. The app that would be my future personal time management tool and bringer of all things productive.
Nope, I am not an affiliate in any way. This is not a sponsored post. This is one busy mom telling you that I found a holy grail.
Meet Trello, my time management tool (and hero)
Imagine you have a bunch of cork boards. Each of these cork boards is devoted to a different project that you have going on.
So, you have one cork board that is dedicated to meals where you intend to collect recipes, pictures, and anything else related to meals.
Another board maybe related to your monthly schedule and arranging tasks that you need to accomplish this month. You can basically dream up any cork board topic you want. With me so far?
On each board, you have ‘lists’. The lists can be separated however you like as well. For the ‘meal’ example you may have 4 lists – one for each week of the month.
On the monthly schedule board, you may have 5 lists – week 1, week 2, week 3, week 4, and ‘notes’. That’s how I tend to layout my personal monthly schedule. So we have an unlimited number of boards in front of us and each can hold as many lists as we want. So what do you fill those lists with?
Well, in the case of Trello, those lists are filled with ‘cards’.
Let’s go back to the ‘meal’ example. You have a board titled ‘meal; and you have 4 lists on the board, one for each week of the month. So, you would probably want to fill the lists with 7 cards each, containing recipes or meal names for each day of the week.
If you’re like me, you may want to add photos to go with the meals. Here’s what my own looks like (and do NOT judge my menu!).
You can see in the top left corner that the board’s name is ‘Meals’. Now, in my case, I have an additional list titled ‘Grocery list’ so that I can keep track of shopping. But, for Week 1, 2, and 3 I have images of a meal plan for each day that week. (Week 4 was empty at this time).
Here’s another example:
This one is for my current monthly schedule. (You’ll see this current blog post is on the top of the list ).
All you have to do to accomplish this is click ‘Add a card…:” at the bottom of any given list. It will give you the option to enter whatever text you want. If you want an image instead of text, just copy and paste using ctrl+C and ctrl+V. It takes a second and then the image will appear.
So, what’s up with the colors?
Well, with this time management tool you can color code your cards however you like. In my case, I like to prioritize my top tasks with a green color, my next up tasks with a yellow and my last tasks with a red.
Then, as I complete them, I add a blue color (yep, you can have multiple colors) and move it to the bottom.
You can move a card at any time just by clicking and dragging to anywhere on the screen. Or you can archive the card if you no longer need it.
What’s that you say? You like my backgrounds…?
So you can actually choose from multiple stock background images in the settings of your Trello account. Even on the free version (which is what I use). If you want to upload your own images you have to have the paid version.
Sometimes I like to add images to the bottoms of my lists as well when I’m feeling super artistic. Here’s my writing schedule along with some images to keep me inspired:
As you can see, I have tons of boards.
Trello connects to different apps like IFTTT and Zapier so you can use your Google voice to add cards wherever you want.
For example, I have a ‘notes’ section under my ‘monthly schedule’ board and when I have a bright idea while I’m driving I just use my ‘ok google’ to add a note to that list.
Ok, so, boards, lists, cards, decorations…but what about a calendar?
You get one free ‘power-up’ per board…not per account, per board. Now, a power-up is Trello’s version of special apps that you can connect to one of your boards to do extra things.
For my ‘schedule’ board I am using a calendar power-up by Trello which allows me to set dates and times for my tasks and view them on a calendar or vice versa (add things to the calendar which will automatically be added to my board as a new card).
Here’s what it looks like:
It comes with a week and a month view.
You don’t have to use your power-up on this; there are tons and tons of other power-ups to choose from, most of which, I am not familiar with.
How this time management tool can manage your day
Teamwork makes the dream work
There are a variety of teamwork features that would make Trello an awesome app for a company or work team situation (like for you and your spouse).
For example, you can invite others to your boards. In the settings, you can ‘create a team’ which can include multiple boards and people or you can specifically create a ‘business team’ which apparently has more security and admin controls.
I’ve invited my significant other to join me in a board for summer activities. It basically emailed him an invite. Pretty simple.
Short-term to long-term task break down
I have a board for ‘monthly schedule’ as you saw, but I also have 4 other boards called ‘week 1’, ‘week 2’, and so on. On those other boards, I go deeper into detail for what I want to do in each particular week.
I sometimes will separate my weeks into phases in order to time-block – or group similar tasks together.
For example, in week 1 I may do all of my writing tasks. So, on that board, I would have 7 lists (for each day of the week) where I house specific cards for that particular day in that particular week.
I’m not going to have the same tasks on a Monday in a ‘writing’ week that I would on a Monday in a ‘content planning’ week.
So, while the ‘monthly schedule’ is showing my big tasks for that month, my weekly breakdown is giving me more specific hourly details.
Now, I could also take that a step further and create a ‘90-day goals’ board with an even broader view than what is in the monthly board.
For that board, I might have 3 lists – one for each month in that 90 day period – and list out the main goals and activities.
Convenience – this time management tool is everywhere
Like I’ve said before, Intentional living is freakin’ magic. I like to make my goals as straightforward and clear as possible.
So, I have Trello pinned as a tab in my Chrome browser so that it’s always there when I open my browser. The Trello app is downloaded on my Microsoft account and is pinned on my laptop taskbar at the bottom. And I have it pinned to my app screen on my android phone.
It’s literally everywhere!
So, at any point, if I need to check my tasks or my calendar, I can from wherever I am.
That pretty much sums up my brag about Trello, the fantastic time management tool that I use every single day. Have you tried it? If you check it out give me a shout in the comments! If not, let me know what tool you’re excited about right now.