Cool Tools: Planning for the future with Trello

It’s time for another Cool Tools post where I talk about systems and tools that help me be more productive! 

I’ve blogged about Todist for task management; and last time I talked about IFTTT and Zapier for automation.

Now that it’s January, and many of you may be looking to the year ahead, making plans, and brainstorming ways to make your lives better, I thought I’d share another task management tool. This one I use for long term planning.

Enter: Trello.

Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. In one glance,Trello tells you what’s being worked on, who’s working on what, and where something is in a process. (“What is Trello”, help.trello.com/article/708-what-is-trello)

 

trello

A look at my Trello board

Like I said, I use Trello for longer term planning (though you could just as well use it for day-to-day task management.)  I also use it for tasks I need to stay aware of but am not yet ready to assign a start date or due date to. I do this by using Trello in coordination with Todoist.  Here’s how:

  1. Any task, project, or idea that comes to me that does not have a due date or deadline is added to one of my Trello boards.
    • The Work Efforts board is for ideas and projects that will require a great level of work, likely including of sub-tasks.  Creating the newsletter is a good example of a Work Effort board item.
    • The Tasks board is for, you guessed it, tasks! Tasks are items that require a low to moderate level of time, and/or are low in complexity.
    • Book-specific boards (“Shift Series,” “Cloaked”) are for writing tasks that belong to each book or series board. Writing tasks, like writing the next part of Linking, are more complex than Tasks, but very different than Work Efforts. They deserve their own boards.
    • The Scheduled board is for tasks and work efforts that I have scheduled work for, assigned a due date to, or have begun working on. More on how I use that below.
  2. Every Monday, I review my Trello to determine what previously untouched items I should begin working on, if any. Or what items I should schedule with a concrete beginning date or deadline.
    • Yes, there is a recurring task in my Todoist that reminds me to check my Trello. The struggle is real, people. 😉
  3. Identified items get duplicated into Todoist (copy-paste) and assigned a due date, project, etc.  (Sub-tasks previously detailed within the card on Trello are created into individual tasks in Todoist, as applicable.)
    • The cards remain in Trello, assigned the same due date as is assigned in Todoist, and moved to the Scheduled board.

I’ve found that this system and process allows me to record all those cool “someday” ideas into a trusted system (Trello) without cluttering my task manager (Todoist).  If you like this idea, but don’t want to add another tool to your life, you could accomplish the same thing by adding “someday” ideas to your task manager without assigning them a due date.

So, how do you keep track of long-range tasks and projects? How do you activate them when it’s time to begin working on them?  Leave a comment and let me know!

 

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