Five Practical (and Fun) Ways to use Trello

What is Trello and Why Should I Care?

Trello is many things. It can be different things to different people.

It has been called a project management tool. Some staunch project managers have argued that it is not a project management tool because it is not sophisticated enough. However, as a project manager myself, I can say that if project management can be done with a piece of paper (according to the Project Management Insitutie), then it can be done with a tool like Trello.

Don’t let the idea of project management steer you away from Trello. It is an excellent tool for much more simple applications, making your life that much easier. I have to give credit to Gail Gardner for really turning me on to Trello. Let’s look at ways we can use Trello in our daily lives.

Trello: The Basics

Even Trello does not necessarily define itself. Trello basically says that it is a place to organize things, either having sole access or sharing with a group. Whatever it is you want to organize, you can do it with this drag-and-drop technology and the Trello “cards” and “columns.” Check out Trello’s own “how to” and ideas section to get an idea of Trello.

Idea 1: To Do List

To Do List
To Do List

I shared a technique that I use daily, in the article “5 Successes Per Day.” In the article, I talk about the value of using a notebook. However, that is not the only way to track your To Do list and your Success list.

You can also do this digitally, with a tool like Trello. The idea is to enhance your To Do List by having a list of what you want to accomplish that day (no more than six) and what you accomplished the day before (like a list of five). You can create a Trello column called “successes” and add to it every day.

Maybe you want to have one card per day and link to some of your successes (like a great video you uploaded, etc.). That way, when you are feeling down or need encouragement, you can visit your Trello “To Do” and “Success” list to get that encouragement. (Also works well when putting together a portfolio for your next job or client interview.)

Idea 2: An Assignment System

Maybe you have some assignments for members of your team, members of a voluntary group, or even for your own family or yourself. Put those tasks on the Trello board and you can create an “assigned” column and a “completed” column so that everyone on the team (even if it is a team of one) knows where they are at at any given time. Hey, if your family is really digitally savvy and everyone is on their computer or even smart device, you can assign out those chores on the Trello board. Check out the applications that Trello has for smart phones and devices.

Idea 3: A Networking Tool

A Networking Tool
A Networking Tool

Networking is where Gail Gardner has taken Trello to a whole new level! You won’t want to miss the article where she talks about how she has set up her Trello board and organization to benefit the blogging community. She presents experts via the Trello system. So, whether YOU are the expert or you are looking for the expert, you can likely find someone in her Trello “organization.” You can set up columns for each category of expert and then group types of experts together on boards, within organizations. Then, when you need that writer or the virtual assistant, you will have a recommendation board to visit to find someone to help you.

Idea 4: Project Management

We started this article talking about project management, so it seems fitting that we should mention it here. As you can see from some of the ideas above, you can set up Trello to be as simple as you need, or as complicated as you want. The same thing is true for project management. You can set up different sub-projects within the columns on Trello. Or, set up the phases of a project in the Trello columns. Drag an avatar over to the card that represents the task, in order to “assign” it for your project management purposes. Then, that assigned person can drag that card over to the “completed” (phase) column to let you know that it has been completed, or ready for review. This can work for client projects, internal projects, or external projects. Only the sky is the limit to what you can do with it.

Idea 5: Brainstorming


Are your juices flowing yet? Well, there you go… as you are surfing the internet or reading newsletters or watching TV, those ideas are popping in your head, right? Why not put them in Trello? Or, brainstorm with a friend or group. Why not brainstorm virtually while watching a favorite show together. How about add a Google+ Hangout? There is no need to have perfect organization to this brainstorm process.. it is brainstorming! Organize it later. After all, that is one of the beautiful aspects of Trello, with that drag-and-drop technology at your fingertips. Let those ideas flow!

Where Do I Learn More?

Glad you asked! I’m sure you can expect more articles on the topic, so stay tuned, here at DirJournal!

Written by
Deborah Anderson
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