How I use Trello for personal productivity and manage multiple marketing projects
I do marketing for multiple brands (including my personal brand) and I use Trello to keep everything organized to maintain productivity.
Before I started using Trello, tasks, appointments, important notes, ideas and things to remember, were all scattered through a bunch of different apps because each app does different things. Trello is not one app that is for a specific thing. It’s flexible and you can use it for whatever you like. I use Trello for project management for each of the companies and brands I handle, and as a centralized to-do list to make sure I’m doing what needs to be done and when.
What is Trello
I first came across Trello as a project management or team collaboration tool where in one glance, you can see what needs to be done, who’s working on what, and what’s the progress of those tasks or projects.
If you’ve been in a team working on a project, you’ve most likely come across certain methods to get things done more efficiently. The teams I’ve worked with usually use either the Kanban method or Agile method.
Imagine a white board, filled with lists of sticky notes, with each note as a task and they are under different columns labeled To-do, In-progress, Done or something similar. Trello is a digital version of that. Trello is not just for teams or business. I use it for personal productivity as well.
My Trello setup
This setup I’m going to show is what I use to organize marketing for different companies & brands. If you’re in a different situation, you can still use this setup as a base and build from there.
I just have one personal board which is my central to do list. This is what I look at before starting any work for the day and also the last thing I look at for the day to prepare the tasks for the next day.
I use the Trello labels so I can see which task belongs to which project.
Aside from personal boards, Trello also allows you to create teams and create multiple boards for a team. I suggest creating teams only if you’re in a situation where one team uses multiple boards. This is because the free plan limits teams to only 10 boards but for personal boards it’s unlimited.
This is the general setup for the project board of the particular company/brand I’m handling. It’s similar to the central to-do board but instead of focusing on what needs to be done today, it’s more of a project management style with lots of notes.
My actual workflow
“Plan tomorrow, today. Plan next week, this week. Plan next month, this month.”
Every night before going to bed, I visit my central to-do board. Move today’s tasks to done and plan the tasks for tomorrow, this week, next week. I make sure that for every working day, I make use of my time. If I don’t complete the day’s task, it will just remain there for tomorrow.
The most important but overlooked part is the brainstorming section on the project boards. That is the fuel to my productivity. Any ideas that I have, while consuming content, during discussions, while doing house chores, I make sure to jot it down in the brainstorm section.
From the brainstorm section I turn it into an actionable task and put it under the to do list. Every night I go through each board so I don’t miss anything and compile it into the central to-do board where I can see an overview of all the projects I handle in one place.
Other board ideas
As I mentioned earlier, Trello is flexible. It’s not just a to-do list app or project management tool. You can use it however you like and for whatever situation you like. If you think that carrying a notebook around is a hassle, use Trello as your notebook or bullet journal. You can also move between devices with the Trello app.
Here is a list of other board ideas:
Committing to your system
Setting up the boards and lists is the easy part. The hard part is sticking to this system. I admit, it still is hard for me too. I went on and off with Trello, just like all the other productivity tools I used (my bookshelf is full with halfway notebooks & planners).
One way that helped me get used to it was using it as a “to-done” list. Whenever I finish doing something that I didn’t even plan, I write it down in the boards and move it under done.
And don’t expect your team to commit to this system as well. Collaboration will and forever will be all over the place unless you really enforce it. If you want your team to really commit to using Trello, you have to take the lead. This means consistently updating it yourself and really force them to communicate and collaborate through Trello and nowhere else.
My Trello system is still not perfect. I add and move things around alot. Treat it as a work in progress. Eventually you’ll get the hang of it and find out what works for you.