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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.

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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 March 21, 2019

      11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

      11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

      Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

      You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

      But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

      To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

      It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

      “What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

      The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

      In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

      Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

      1. Start Small

      The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

      Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

      Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

      Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

      Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

      Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

      It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

      Do less today to do more in a year.

      2. Stay Small

      There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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      But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

      If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

      When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

      I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

      Why?

      Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

      The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

      Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

      3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

      No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

      There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

      What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

      Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

      This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

      This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

      4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

      When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

      There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

      Peter Drucker said,

      “What you track is what you do.”

      So track it to do it — it really helps.

      But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

      5. Measure Once, Do Twice

      Peter Drucker also said,

      “What you measure is what you improve.”

      So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

      For reading, it’s 20 pages.
      For writing, it’s 500 words.
      For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
      For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

      Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

      6. All Days Make a Difference

      Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

      Will two? They won’t.

      Will three? They won’t.

      Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

      What happened? Which one made you fit?

      The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

      No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

      7. They Are Never Fully Automated

      Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

      But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

      What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

      It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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      The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

      It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

      It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

      8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

      Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

      Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

      When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

      The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

      Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

      9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

      The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

      Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

      You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

      But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

      So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

      If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

      This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

      The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

      Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

      10. Punish Yourself

      Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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      I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

      It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

      You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

      No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

      The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

      But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

      11. Reward Yourself

      When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

      Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

      The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

      After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

      If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

      Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

      If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

      In the End, It Matters

      What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

      When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

      And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

      “Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

      Keep going.

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      More Resources to Help You Build Habits

      Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
      [2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
      [3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
      [4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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