Advertising
Advertising

5 Secret Uses of the Trello App to Overcome Procrastination and to Boost Productivity

5 Secret Uses of the Trello App to Overcome Procrastination and to Boost Productivity

The Trello app is a simple, yet brilliant productivity tool.  Don’t be fooled by its simplicity, however — Trello is not just a basic to-do list app. Using Trello will help you feel calmer and more productive.  Being organized and in control of your time, plans, and activities will unleash a tremendous amount of energy in you.

The Trello design is a straightforward series of “lists” arranged from left to right on a plain background “board.” Each “list” represents a category of tasks. Within each “list” are “cards” which are to-do type items within that category of tasks. “Cards” can be shifted to other “lists” through a drag-and-drop motion.

Trello can serve as:

  • a way to plan a project
  • a way to keep track of who is doing what in a group
  • a way to see all of the working parts of a project together on one page (or multiple pages)
  • a historical record of the action steps you have taken through a particular project

For people who tend to avoid their work, Trello provides a clear, easy-to-access space for depositing relevant information for getting things done. Once you become familiar with using Trello, both to enter your to-do list items and to remind yourself of them, you’ll have a smoothly functioning system of recording your activities and plans. When you complete any items you have on your Trello lists, you have the option of archiving or deleting the notes you have on those items.

You will get a healthy rush of good feelings when you archive or delete the items. As you continue to rely on Trello over time, your confidence in your ability to get things done will grow.

Advertising

Trello also comes to the rescue for people who tend to be forgetful.  You can access your Trello boards from your smartphone, tablet, or computer and enjoy the benefit of having all of your information synched across devices.  You can jot down any type of note to remember any sort of thing.  You can also add attachments, e.g. photos or clippings from the web, to your cards.  You can keep a list for “to be filed later,” for names and information you’d like to remember about people you just met, or ideas for characters for your upcoming novel.  Having the ability to capture your thoughts as soon as they occur to you through Trello will help you to be more consistent in your work and life.

Trello also functions as a planning and action guide for people who have difficulty knowing how to get things done, since individual cards are moveable both within lists and to different lists, Trello users have a reliable method for figuring out what is of highest priority and in what order items should be addressed.

Taking the planning process out of the brain and on to a visual-based tool will help you to stay lucid in your thinking and judgment.  Get in the habit of entering to-do list items with action words in front, e.g. buy broccoli, and you’ll soon become a master at completing those actionable items.

Here is a list of 5 ways to use the Trello app to your best advantage:

1. Use Trello on your desktop monitor.

When you set Trello up to display on your desktop monitor, you will have the sense of having “everthing at your fingertips.”  Trello will serve as your own personal Command Central.  Admit it — you’ve always wanted to have a Command Central. Start and end your day with a quick review of your Trello lists and keep yourself functioning at your best.

Advertising

You’ll be able to make decisions about what needs to get done and how much more quickly with Trello.  You’ll know what is “in play,” or what tasks you have started, but need to wait for someone else to complete. You’ll have a neat, accurate record of your progress — beginning, middle, and end — on all of your projects as Trello date and time stamps your entries.

2. Design your boards and lists to fit your needs perfectly.

Your connection with Trello will deepen when you figure out the most useful array of lists for your needs. This will be somewhat of a trial-and-error process, but an easy one. Make a list to handle each area and type of “worry” you have in your life. Once your lists are set up, your worry will seem to lessen. Trello will serve as a reliable reminder of what you need to get done.

Suggestions for lists to keep include:

  • TODAY – which should be self-explanatory
  • $$$$$$ – since there always seems to be some task that involves giving or receiving money that needs to be tracked carefully
  • WAITING FOR – because you’ll need a reminder of those actions you started but are waiting for someone else to complete

Here’s a screenshot of what a Trello layout might look like: 

Trello picture

    The possibilities for Trello arrangements are endless.  Have Trello boards with information on books you’d want to read, movies you’d want to see, and apps you’d want to try. These are items you won’t need to review every day but might like to have readily accessible. Other suggestions for ways to use your Trello boards and lists include arranging a wedding or graduation party, keeping track of expenses, finalizing packing lists for a business or vacation trip, and remembering details about your medical treatment.

    Advertising

    3. Construct and design your lists to guide you to tackle your priority items.

    Once you’ve decided which cards should go in which lists, do another round of sorting and determine which cards should go to the top of each list. In other words, top priority tasks should go to the top of each list. You can also highlight any task by using the “labels” function. You can choose which colored label you’d like to tag a card with and assign your own label to it, e.g. “urgent,” “Julie,” or “important.”  Each card can have multiple labels.

    Here’s a screenshot of how you might organize your own set of labels:

    Trello labels

      When you organize your Trello boards with an eye towards priority and purpose, you’ll have a much easier time initiating your tasks, maintaining your momentum, and bringing them to completion.

      4. Consider ways to “share” your Trello lists.

      Trello lists can be “shared” so you can invite one or more people to see a particular list and to edit its contents. You can use this function when working with an assistant or collaborator on a multi-pronged project. Other suggestions for ways to “share” a Trello list include:

      • maintaining a grocery list with your spouse, partner, or roommate
      • keeping a list of chores, homework, and scheduling issues for your child or teenager – Trello removes the need for in-person nagging
      • enabling smooth communication among members of a team, troop, or organization or between an employer and employee

      By sharing lists, you’ll be able to delegate tasks and to keep track of the entire back-and-forth interaction.  You’ll save yourself time and aggravation in the process.

      Advertising

      5. Use Trello as your memory bank.

      Using the Trello app will help you if you have ADD or ADHD, if you are disorganized, if you are forgetful, or if you feel overwhelmed.

      Get in the habit of turning to Trello to capture loose details which you might forget if you relied just on your memory. Log in due dates, ideas for blogposts, upcoming birthdays – anything that requires action on a later date. Having all of your to-do items and plans in one place will be a great source of sanity and relief.

      Trello provides a way to have a view of your own life — past, present, or future. Once you determine how to tailor Trello to your needs and lifestyle, you will be more efficient in your planning and more accountable in your actions. And then the sky is the limit.

      To get the Trello app, follow this link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/trello/id461504587?mt=8&at=1000lwqv

      For more inspiration for how to use Trello in your own life, follow these links: https://trello.com/tour http://zenhabits.net/putaway/ http://lifehacker.com/how-to-use-trello-to-organize-your-entire-life-1683821040 https://trello.com/b/fDsPBXFt/board-of-templates

      Advertising

      More by this author

      8 Things You Should Try To Avoid Doing To Your Children That You Think Are Acts of Love 5 Secret Uses of the Trello App to Overcome Procrastination and to Boost Productivity

      Trending in Productivity

      1 5 Values of an Effective Leader 2 How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them 3 The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work) 4 30 Practical Ideas to Create Your Best Morning Routine 5 Is People Management the Right Career Path for You?

      Read Next

      Advertising
      Advertising
      Advertising

      Last Updated on July 21, 2021

      The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

      The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

      No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

      Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

      Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

      A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

      Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

      In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

      Advertising

      From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

      A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

      For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

      This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

      The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

      That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

      Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

      Advertising

      The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

      Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

      But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

      The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

      The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

      A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

      For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

      Advertising

      But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

      If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

      For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

      These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

      For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

      How to Make a Reminder Works for You

      Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

      Advertising

      Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

      Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

      My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

      Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

      I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

      More on Building Habits

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

      Advertising

      Reference

      [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

      Read Next