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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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    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.

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      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

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      Last Updated on October 21, 2021

      How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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      How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

      Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

      Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

      The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

      Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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      Program Your Own Algorithms

      Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

      Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

      By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

      How to Form a Ritual

      I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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      Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

      1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
      2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
      3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
      4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

      Ways to Use a Ritual

      Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

      1. Waking Up

      Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

      2. Web Usage

      How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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      3. Reading

      How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

      4. Friendliness

      Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

      5. Working

      One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

      6. Going to the gym

      If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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      7. Exercise

      Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

      8. Sleeping

      Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

      8. Weekly Reviews

      The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

      Final Thoughts

      We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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      More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

       

      Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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