Late last year I discovered Trello, and I’ve been a faithful user ever since.
Trello is a task management system that uses a hierarchy of boards, lists, and cards to help you visually organize your to-do lists, project plans, goals, and more. You can access it on the internet or through desktop and mobile apps so your information and to-do lists are always right at your fingertips. Best of all, it’s free to use!
You can upgrade to a paid account to access “power-ups” (advanced features and service integrations). But it’s not one of those services that forces you to upgrade by withholding key features; I’ve been happily using a free account for months. If you expand to the point where you need to hire a virtual assistant or other contractors or want to use more advanced integration, a paid account might be the right move, but the free plan offers plenty of power and flexibility to start.
Originally intended for business and enterprise project management, the format of Trello makes it a great tool for individuals as well. It’s an especially useful tool for bloggers who want to be able to manage both their blog and all the other areas of their life in one place (since the separation between the two is rarely cut-and-dried).
I don’t often stick with digital task management systems, preferring the tactile experience of writing a to-do list and crossing items out. However, the drag-and-drop mechanism in Trello—as well as the ability to customize your boards—very closely replicates the satisfaction of writing a to-do list while also making it accessible virtually anywhere.
To start, let’s take a look at some of the features that make Trello such a unique and effective planning tool:
Once you’ve set up your account, your next step is to create boards. Think of each board as a separate silo. You’ll have to physically switch between boards to see what’s on each one, so you don’t want to overuse them, but they can be a great tool if used properly. Here are a few ways you might set up your boards:
- Create weekly or monthly to-do lists or content calendars.
- Create separate boards for home information and blog information.
- Use one board for your big goals for the year and another for your current tasks.
- Create a separate board for each large project and then move cards to your current to-do list as they become relevant.
- Create separate boards that hold and organize information for quick reference.
- Weekly or monthly to-do lists: By day, task category, time required, importance, or urgency.
- Content calendar: By day, platform, or category. Or separate them into stages (research, write, edit, publish).
- Home information: By person or task category (chores, appointments, meals, etc.).
- Goal setting: With weekly or monthly check-ins, goal categories (personal, business, health, etc.), or timeframe (yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly).
- Projects: By phase or strategic objective.
- Quick reference: Login information, quick links, frequent blurbs (hashtag blocks, affiliate disclosure, etc.).
Finally, within each list, you can create individual cards. Cards are the real workhorses of your boards. These can be tasks, information, images, etc., and you can add a description, comments, checklists, and attachments to each one.
The power of Trello templates
Cara and Elisa from League of Extraordinary Moms offer great examples of using Trello to manage your blog here.
But one thing that makes Trello so easy to use is that you can create and share templates1. This is a great way to “borrow” from other people’s ideas as well as to save time when using recurring boards. For example, I use a version of this weekly template (customized with our recurring appointments and tasks) to set up my board for each new week.
If you’re looking for inspiration for your boards, here is a small sampling of all of the templates available:
- Content calendar: option 1 or option 2
- Social media calendar (with Zapier & Buffer integrations!)
- Post ideas
- Course planning & product launch
- Company overview (built for larger organizations but can be adapted for a blog)
- Personal & business goals
- Household chores
- Meal planning (read Elisa’s detailed instructions here)
- Reading log / to-be-read list
Whether you’re looking for a simple to-do list for one person or an intricate planning system for a team, Trello provides a robust and flexible system!
Have you used Trello?
We’d love to hear your about your experience using Trello! Have you used it for blog planning? What’s your favorite feature?
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- Click here for instructions on copying boards, lists, and cards.