I have spent the last couple of months trying several new programs and really working hard at getting my business set up. And then I realized just how disorganized my digital world had become. I had things scattered everywhere! And couldn’t find anything! So I set out to get back to a happy place of organization and beauty.
My goal was to be able to go to one place where I could find every single to-do, every reference document or site (either as a link or as a pdf attachment), links to projects I’m working on, and schedules for writing blog posts and making Etsy products. It took me 4 hours on a Friday evening, but I got it done. And I’m so happy I took the time to do it.
So what all did I do?
- I started by gathering all my business documents into one Google Drive instead of two Google Drives and my iCloud drive.
- Then I brainstormed how I wanted to set up my Trello boards to best support my work habits. I have a board for each aspect of my business, one for my personal stuff, and one that I call Zen, which is more of a “growth” board than a “to do” board. For each of my business boards, there are three common lists: To Do, Ideas/Inspiration, and Reference. Then each board has other lists specific to it.
- After that, it was just a matter of moving everything into Trello, ensuring that I didn’t miss anything, and fine-tuning the organization there.
I will go into more detail about my set-up below, but I ended up using email-to-board, labels, and attachments to get everything how I wanted it. This will take a little effort to set up, but once it is, your life will be changed. Or at the least, more organized.
Note: Some people prefer Trello, some prefer Asana, and some use both. It will depend on what you already have set up and which works the best for you. For me, Trello is where it’s at. I tried out Asana for about a month or so (one of the reasons I needed to consolidate), and while I found it nice, it wasn’t as intuitive for me as Trello is. BUT! These strategies should work with either program with some tweaks to best serve you.
I am trying to get away from having a to do folder in my email account. I wrote about using a folder like this before, and I still think it’s a good way to start getting to inbox zero. But I needed the next step. Mostly because I have three email accounts that I actively use, and I want to keep them separate. But I also want to have all of my to-dos in one place.
Enter the Email-to-board option on Trello. This is probably the main reason that I decided to stick with Trello. The ease of forwarding emails and having cards set up automatically is amazing. Asana has something similar but I found that my forwarded emails were all lumped together. I wanted more organization than that, and Trello has a specific email address for every single one of your boards. Another great thing: any links or attachments in the email are preserved in the newly created card!
1. Open a board
2. Click “Show Menu” (top right)
3. Click on “…More”
4. Click on “Email-to-board Settings”
5. Choose the list you would like your emails added to. Hopefully, you already created a “From Email” list or something similar. I just have them added to the generic To Do list that I have on each board.
6. Email the address to yourself.
7. Go to your email and add this email address as a contact. Make sure you use the board’s name as the contact because you will have separate email addresses for each board. When I was doing this, Gmail automatically populated the Contact name as “<board name> Trello Board.”
8. Repeat this process with each of your boards.
Once I had all of my to-dos in Trello, I wanted to signify which cards were more urgent and which could wait. I decided to use labels to accomplish this. There are 10 different colors plus a colorless label you can choose from. I didn’t want to have to remember that many labels so I decided to stick with three: high priority as red, medium priority as purple, and low priority as blue. Labels are specific to a board so you will have to set them up for each board individually. Or, if you are just getting set up with Trello, you could make a template board and copy it for each board you need.
To set up labels
1. Click on “… Show Menu” or open a card
2. Click on labels
3. Click on the pencil to the right of the color you want to use and enter a name
4. Assign the labels to cards by opening a card and clicking on the desired label
Once you have assigned a label, it will show up on the front of the card. You can assign an unlimited number of labels to each card. Pretty easy but uber-useful, right?!
The final strategy I used was attachments. Trello gives you the option of adding attachments to cards. I added cards with attachments for different projects, pages or documents I was referencing a lot, and even my branding materials.
This is such a time saver, especially if you are working on something and know you need to reference a number of other things. You can make a card for the project and then attach links to the project and all of your reference materials in one place. And since Trello syncs between devices, you’ll have even more flexibility.
You can add links by opening a card and clicking on the “Attachment” button on the right. There are options to attach from your computer, Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, and as a link.
So there you have it. Everybody will set up Trello and use these strategies in different ways (or maybe not at all!), but that’s the beauty of it – Trello is able to do as little or as much as you need it to. By the time I was done, I had all of my reminders, to-dos, due dates, and reference links in one, easily accessible, easily usable place. Goal accomplished! I hope this makes your life a little easier!
What’s your favorite feature of Trello? Let me know in the comments!