how i use trello to manage my tasks

Thursday, June 29, 2017

I told everyone that I would post about my Trello system soon enough! 

Somewhere along the way, I heard some really great advice about eating that frog. It came from a book or something, I'm sure, but a Lularoe consultant was giving a training session on time management and she brought it up then. Does anyone know what book I'm talking about? Please share, if you do.

Anyway, Eating That Frog. That's what I call my to do list – because the advice was, eat the biggest frogs first. Do the things you absolutely must do and the things that will take the most time and be the most awful first. Start your day eating the frog, and then everything else will be a chocolate bar. 

The other advice was to divide all of your tasks into categories A through E.

A = must do. You cannot walk away from your day if this does not get done.
B = should do. It's really important that this task gets completed today.
C = would be nice. You can live without this task getting done today, maybe ever, but it's something you'd like to accomplish.
D = delegate. This is not a task you need to do! Delegate it to someone else, whether that means paying someone to clean your house or asking your boyfriend to wash the dishes. If it's a task like sharing your latest blog post on Facebook, switch to a tool like IFTTT or CrowdFire to do those sorts of things for you.
E = remove this from your list. If you've got something on your list that has no real purpose, does not benefit you, your family, your life or your career in any way and does not further your goals, then it is not a task that you need on your list. Get rid of it!

And so, that's what I set out to do. At first, I was typing my list up every day and organizing it into Must Do, Should Do and Would Be Nice categories. I'd print it out and put it on a clipboard and cross things out as I went. (I determined the tasks that did not need to be done and that needed to be delegated as I was typing up the list.)

I felt no one needed to see my actual Trello board. It's a hot mess and I'm embarrassed how many tasks are past their deadline.

Then I discovered Trello when my boss created a Trello board for our team, so we could manage our tasks and keep up with each other. And I was suddenly in love. My best friend tried to get me to use Trello back in our student newspaper days, but I just didn't ever look at it or try to figure it out. It probably would've been great for me then, but I was so overwhelmed with other stuff I never really figured it out.

But now... oh, it's a life changer. Here's my strategy + routine for managing my to do list with Trello.

First thing in the morning, I do a "brain dump" into Trello. 

I add every task I can think of to the Would Be Nice section – from emails I know I need to answer to projects I need to start to errands I need to run around the house to meetings or phone calls on my calendar. I do not separate work from personal. I don't clear Trello out from day to day, so there may already be a lot of tasks in there that I need to accomplish. I try not to repeat myself but it's an easy fix.

Now I go through each task and assign it a label (or multiple) and a due date.

My labels are above. I use every label color that Trello has for a different part of my life. I use this to filter Trello to be what I need to work on in that moment and also so I can easily see what to prioritize – if I'm working, I know to prioritize work tasks, and if it's a weekend, I know that I need to finish Lularoe work and catch up on blog content and reading. I also use the bottom labels, mostly when I'm really busy, to fill small blocks of time.

I also assign a due date to every task because I want to put some pressure on myself to accomplish my tasks. If I don't have a due date in mind or a pressing deadline, I usually will just aim to accomplish a task within the next 7-10 days. That's a good sign for me that this is a task that Would Be Nice to get finished. 

Now I organize my tasks by priority.

I try to cap my Must Do and Should Do lists at 5 each on my busiest days. When I'm not trying to finish a lot of tasks and am traveling or training, I let all the lists get pretty long, but when I'm at home and trying to tear through my to do list, I start with 5 in both categories. It keeps me focused and it's SUCH a relief when the Must Do category is empty! Then I transition over all the Should Dos and move Would Be Nice tasks over as well. 

How do I decide?

I take into account when the task needs to be done, how long I've known about it and what part of my life it fits into, along with how easily or difficult it will be to get done. Most of the time, this is easy, and in the mornings, my Must Do is usually five emails to answer or send, before I dig into the meat of my to do list. If I know that I have two hours to get work done before I have a chunk of meetings, then I will prioritize five tasks that I can get done all within 2 hours. 

What next? 

If it wasn't clear how much I love Trello already, I love it more because it's so easy to make it work for me. I use Trello to plan Lularoe social media and my blog editorial calendar. Here are a few other great things about Trello, specifically the plugins.

• I love the Calendar plugin! If I give every task a deadline and switch to the Calendar, it will show me all of my tasks on a calendar view. It's crazy helpful for my editorial calendar and social media calendar for Lularoe!

• For my main Trello, I use the Google Drive plugin. This allows me to attach documents, sheets and slides to my Trello cards, so I can navigate everything from inside Trello. 

• I love filtering by label and/or deadline. If I want to only work on things that are due today, I can filter the deadline down to only things due today. If I want to only accomplish some personal errands because I'm on vacation or it's the weekend, I can filter down to only show personal labeled tasks. A lifesaver! 

Do you use Trello? If not, what is your organizational tool of choice? How do you keep up with your to do list?


  1. I actually have Trello, but have had no idea how to use it. I didn't realize that they have a calendar plugin! I've gotta figure out how to make this work for me because it sounds awesome.

    1. It's a lifesaver! I still use a paper to do list for a lot of things but Trello makes it so easy to keep track of tasks that are ongoing. Also project management! It's a BREEZE with this.

  2. I think the book is called Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy? PS - I love your blogs!


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