3 weeks ago a co-worker of mine introduced me to Trello. When he told me about the online software I thought it was called Jello. I was massively disappointed when I realized that it was not named Jello.
After showing me the software I saw how powerful it could be. With our collective endorsement our company slowly but surely adopted Trello at work.
I have been using Trello in the weeks that have past. It has been instrumental in helping me be more organized, focused, and productive. (I have no affiliation with Trello, and their software is free to use.)
What is Trello?
The Trello help website sums it up best.
Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. In one glance, Trello tells you what’s being worked on, who’s working on what, and where something is in a process.
The interesting and captivating aspect of Trello is how simple it is. You use the software and create “boards”. With each board you make “lists”, and within each list you make cards. Inside of a card you can write notes, create checklists, and upload files. Trello is fundamentally simple. There are no confusing features – it is refreshingly easy to use.
What makes Trello powerful is how you can customize it for any situation. Currently I use Trello at work in a small team setting. I use it at home as a personal organization tool. And I use it with others outside of work to collaborate on ideas. Trello is extremely versatile.
Trello at work
When working in small teams communication is priority number one. Number two on that list is organization. Trello serves as a platform where both can interact seamlessly.
Before Trello our workflow from account managers to developers was complex. It involved dozens of emails back and forth, searching for scattered files across Google Drive and DropBox, and occasionally having to sit down one on one to address confusion.
With Trello we now have everything organized on a single board.
Developers have lists with their name on it. Account managers place cards on these specific lists. Within each card is a file with a project brief. There is also a checklist for what needs to be completed, and a due date assigned for when it must be finished. Upon completion developers place their cards in a review list. Account managers then move that card to a final done list.
Although it may sound like a more convoluted system it is actually much simpler and easier to work with.
Another benefit comes from writing notes within cards. Many times I have been asked if I completed client work and could not remember. I would then look back through emails and saved files simply to determine if something I thought I had completed had actually been done.
Writing notes within a card creates a documented trail of what has been completed.
Trello for personal use
Trello extends beyond work. At home I use Trello to stay on top of my personal tasks.
I have a Trello board called “weekend to-do list”. Throughout the work week I write down what tasks I want to accomplish over the weekend. When and idea pops into my head on Tuesday it get’s put on this board.
Before Trello I would wake up on Saturday morning and spend an hour writing down a list of tasks I wanted to do. Or, more frequently, I would wake up and create no list.
Although my weekends were more spontaneous a month ago, they have been much more productive as of late. I have found myself more focused, attentive, and dedicated. I follow through on my “weekend to-do list” , and accomplish more than before.
Trello also serves as a platform where I can share ideas with my friends and family.
I have created boards for different business ideas. On each board I add a friend or family member who might be interested in collaborating. My Trello board shows them what I have been working on, and also lets them contribute easily.
Trello has replaced and improved upon my previous attempts to be organized. It is the one tool I would recommend to individuals and teams that want to organize anything and everything.