A few months ago Jeff told me about a cool app that he was using to manage workflow: Trello
I tried it out at work for managing my day-to-day tasks, but it didn’t catch on. It just didn’t fit into the way I worked.
But then I started to use it at home. At first it was just for things that I needed to remember to do for myself:
- Clean the office
- Buy plane tickets for wedding
- Upload camera pictures and organize
Then the real power came when I got my wife to use the app too – now we could organize our lives together!
How Trello Works
So what does Trello do and how does it work?
The basic idea is that you create “cards” (which are really just tasks, to-dos, reminders, etc.) and move them between different status states: To Do, In Progress, Done.
Then just drag-and-drop your cards into those different columns to change the status.
The beauty of Trello is what you can add to the cards:
- Labels for organizing your cards into groups
- Due date
- Person or people the task is assigned to
There’s a web app as well as mobile apps for iOS and Android. I use the mobile app about 98% of the time – it has all of the functionality and is just so convenient.
How I Use Trello
The first thing I used Trello for was managing grocery, Costco, and Target lists. We go to those places once a week or every couple of weeks. The best part was how easy it was to update those checklists:
- Open the app
- Open the card
- Add the item to the checklist
It takes less than 15 seconds! So when I’m cooking dinner and I notice I only have two eggs left, I can quickly add that item to the grocery checklist. Or if I’m replacing the paper towel dispenser and see there’s only one more roll, I’ll add that to the Costco checklist.
Then when I’m in the stores, I open up the card and check things off as I go. Sure, there are a ton of “grocery list” apps out there, but Trello serves other purposes as well and is my “one stop shop” for everything.
I used to just have the standard 3 columns that come default with the app: To Do, Doing, Done. And for each of the weekly stuff I created a new card each time (e.g. Grocery 9-21). But recently I added a “Weekly” column and just create a new checklist for each week, then delete it when completed. It’s much easier to manage and now those cards are always visible in their own column where I can quickly find them.
We’ve also started to menu plan weekly sot hat we don’t have to think “what’s for lunch today” and can get everything we need at the grocery store over the weekend.
Tasks for the Family
One day after I got hooked on Trello, I decided I needed to get my wife on it so that we could plan together – mostly stuff we needed to buy. I added her email to the board, then started assigning her a few cards like “Schedule pediatrician appointment”. Once she signed up, she was automatically added to the board and had tasks assigned to her.
This quickly backfired on me – not 15 minutes later I had a whole host of things to do around the house. Clean this, order that on Amazon, schedule another appointment with this person. Uh oh!
On the bright side – we’re a lot more organized and things don’t slip through the cracks anymore!