Many of my clients and customers have what I affectionately like to call “squirrel brain”. We all struggle with it from time to time and you might be struggling with it right now yourself.
You know how it goes:
- You sit down at the beginning of your work session and you write out a lovely to-do list that leaves you feeling like you’re on top of things.
- But when you actually dive in to do the work, you’re in an endless clicking loop going from your Instagram feed to your email inbox, then back to your Instagram, and finally ending up on Facebook.
- Before you know it, your time is up and you haven’t accomplished much.
This often happens because you’re not really clear on what to do. And you’re probably also dealing with a bit of overwhelm on how to accomplish #allthethings.
One of my favorite ways to gain clarity on what I should be working on is to use the tool Trello. With Trello, I’ve been able to figure out what I need to get done each day, break down larger to do lists into simpler strategic action steps, plan out large projects, and even figure out the inner workings of my creative brain (hey, it’s true).
In today’s post, I’m going to share with you all of the wonderful ways that you can use Trello in your life and biz, as well as a few tips and tricks to use Trello effectively.
Let’s first dive in with the different ways that I love to use Trello to help organize everything that I need to do in my creative business. This isn’t a comprehensive list of all the ways I use Trello but it’s a great starting place:
#1 – Weekly To Do List
I’ll add the different things that I need to work on day-to-day inside of Trello. I have a board called “Daily To-Dos” where I plot out exactly what I should be working on.
I still use a paper planner but Trello allows me to keep a running to-do list that I can draw from on a weekly or monthly basis.
With a larger project on an individual card, I can break the project down further into actionable tasks. This makes it easy to see where I’m at in the process and then I can also check things off as I go.
As I complete the tasks on my to-do list, I can archive the card so that I no longer see it clogging up my digital space.
Each week, I can look over my tasks and make sure that I’m getting things done. I always like to double check that things aren’t lingering on my to-do list for more than a couple of weeks.
#2 – A Place to Add My Ideas For Anything And Everything In Biz
I LOVE to add my ideas in Trello, especially because I can access Trello from any device, including my mobile phone.
If I’m out on the town doing something fun and an idea sparks, I can open up Trello and add the idea to the appropriate board. Right then and there.
It makes it easy to never forget an idea.
I have boards for blog post ideas, for YouTube video ideas, for new Skillshare classes that I want to teach, and for the monthly content that I want to release in my monthly membership.
Trello makes it easy to organize all of my thoughts for each different project.
#3 – For Writing Outlines For YouTube Videos, Blog Posts, and Lesson Plans
I love to add my outlines onto specific boards in Trello, then add my specific points on to individual cards. Then I can expand on my thoughts in the description of each card to further build on my initial ideas.
I love that I can do this through cards because it helps to keep me focused instead of straying into different ideas that aren’t as relevant.
If I have a new idea, it goes on a new card.
I later will use the outline to write my blog posts or even to speak on a live video or a recorded video for YouTube.
#4 – For Project Management
If I have a larger project that I need to figure out how to get from point A to point Z, I can use Trello to organize the entire thing.
I’ll first create a new board for the entire project, then I’ll create individual cards for the larger tasks.
For instance, if I am creating a new workshop that I want to sell on my website, I can create a board for that workshop and add the individual tasks onto the cards. The individual tasks might be to film the videos for the workshop, create the workbook, and to create the sales page. These tasks are actually made up of several smaller tasks that I might lose sight of if I don’t break them down even further.
So I’ll first add the larger task then I’ll break those tasks down further.
I do this by adding a to-do list to each card and adding all of the little tasks that make up the larger whole.
#5 – To Track Money Coming In & Going Out
I love to use Trello to track what’s going on with my business money every month. Sure, I could probably use a spreadsheet to do this but I like to keep all of my business documents in one place as much as possible.
So into Trello it goes.
I add my money in and money out by adding lists for each. I typically organize my incoming money by the specific revenue stream that provides the money coming in (such as from web maintenance clients or money from Skillshare). Each revenue stream has its own list.
At the end of the month, I go in and add in the revenue streams that I’m expecting to earn money from the following month.
#6 – Various Checklists For My Business
I can add a monthly checklist in Trello for just about anything that I need to do on a recurring basis to keep my business running. For instance, a monthly website maintenance checklist or a checklist for admin to-dos that I must do every single month.
Doing this helps to make Trello become more like a center of operations for my business.
I can then look over my various running to-do lists and use them to make my weekly and daily to-do lists.
#7 – Brand Mood Board
By adding my Brand mood board, I’m able to keep all of my Brand elements in one place where I can easily access things again when I need them.
Since you can attach images and links, it makes it easy to retrieve things or to have a quick look at your overall Branding inside of Trello.
I love that I can also access this from my phone or any device that I might have open at the time.
#8 – As A Place To Store Photos
I decided to test out Trello as a place to store photos for my Instagram when I needed to download a photo to my phone and didn’t want to email the photo to myself. It worked out brilliantly.
Now, I love to add photos that I might want to use on my phone to Trello for easy access later. It also serves as an additional backup should something go wrong with one of my devices.
#9 – As A Place To Communicate With My VA
I recently started working with a VA and Trello will be our center of operations/communication besides Voxer. I love that my VA and I can easily share boards.
I can very easily check in to see where we’re both at when it comes to who needs to do what each week.
I was so excited that my VA used Trello, which meant that it was a match made in heaven.
Now that you know all that you can do with Trello, you might be wondering how it all works.
Here’s a quick rundown of my best tips and tricks to help you run your Trello more effectively for your creative business:
Install Chrome Extensions
There are several Chrome Extensions that I use to make Trello work more effectively for my creative business:
- List Layouts For Trello – This extension allows you to move your boards so that you don’t have to keep scrolling to the right to view everything. This was one of my biggest pet peeves when I first started using Trello so I was happy to find this extension!
- Collapsible Trello Lists – If you want to be able to close a list so that you aren’t distracted by it, this extension allows you to do just that. I feel like this extension makes it easier to focus only on the lists you need to focus on.
- Card Color Titles For Trello – With this extension, you can add a colored label for each of your cards. This can help you to identify things really easily and quickly.
- Trelabels For Trello – You can use this extension to choose different styles for your labels. I like to see the title of the tag, plus the color, so this makes it possible.
- Next Step For Trello – This extension allows you to see the next item you need to complete in your to-do lists without having to open a card. This means you can know what’s up next with just a glance.
There are plenty of other Chrome Extensions out there that you can use to make Trello work more effectively for you. These are just the extensions that I’ve tried and liked.
Use Teams To Keep Your Business Organized
I decided to organize my larger projects and revenue streams inside of teams (I’m using teams like folders). This gives me more flexibility and more organization so that I can make Trello work for me.
It’s super easy to create teams, you just go to the left sidebar and click on “Add Team”. Then inside of each team, you can add specific boards.
When I am doing batching blocks, I can just open up the specific team/folder that I’m currently working on. By creating teams, I can increase my focus and get more done.
Personalize Your Trello & Do What Works For You
When I originally signed up for Trello, I looked around to see what others were doing with Trello and what they were using it for. I felt like I had to copy what others were doing but quickly discovered that their methods didn’t completely work for me.
Now I realize that I can do my own thing and I’m constantly working to get more organized inside of Trello. But I’m really glad that I didn’t just copy someone else’s method, and I encourage you to do what works best for you too.
A tool is only effective if you use it and if you don’t like how others organize their Trello, you might be tempted to let Trello collect virtual dust. I suggest that you use it in a way that works best for you, instead.
You can add in photos instead of labels, for instance. Or you can create a calendar inside of Trello and work from that. Whatever you do, think about how it will work best for you and never be afraid to tweak what you’re doing as you go.
Have you dived into the world of Trello yet? If not, what’s holding you back? Leave a comment below! Or if you’re already using Trello, let me know your favorite feature in the comment section below.