Use Trello to maximise productivity and remove stress

Trello is at the heart of my task management system. I have been using it for two years, discovering new functionalities and ways to increase my personal productivity and the effectiveness of the business.

For several years, I have been looking for a comprehensive and flexible task management system. I tried paper lists, Evernote, Apple Notes, emails, and was never completely satisfied.

After a few months of trying one system, I was abandoning it and looking for another solution.

I eventually started using Trello. It happened progressively and unconsciously at first. But its qualities have made me take over my task management and project management system altogether.

Trello is incredibly intuitive and effective system, for both personal and collaborative use.

Trello as a personal task management system

Trello allows you to manage activities as “cards”, which are similar to digital post-it papers. You

can move and organize your cards on your “board”, that is similar to a whiteboard.

For each card (or task) you can allocate a deadline, a team member, add some additional information (any type of files) or comment.

The principle is very simple but incredibly versatile and powerful. Other features and integrations can also add to its already significant value.

My workflow is an implementation of a lighter version of the Get Things Done (GTD) method, which I partly described before, and which will be the subject of another blog post.

Trello as a team / project management system

It is when managing a team or a project that Trello makes wonders.

With the board view, everyone that is participating in the project can see the overall list of tasks and have a broad picture of the importance and the progress of the project.

This helps prioritize actions and be more effective in the decision-making.

Using Trello will also be very useful to lead meetings, and completely remove the use for minutes of the meeting. All the decisions can indeed be directly integrated to Trello.

Its integrated features help you manage a collaborative project in a very flexible way:

  • Allocation of one person responsible for a task (or several team members as participants)
  • Tagging of your colleagues in the comment section to ease the discussion
  • Powerful filtering of tasks by person, or label, in order to see the activities that are relevant at a point of time for a person or a department

What I like

  • Flexibility to use the cards and boards as you see fit. You can plan your next travel, organize a party, manage a project or production process ;
  • Pleasant to use and entertaining
  • Very intuitive when rolling it out on a business scale
  • Free for a lot of good features

What I don’t like

  • The tendency to create a task bureaucracy and increase the volume of unnecessary things to do, because of the ease of use. It is not due to the software specifically but you have to watch out. I’ll come back to that in another post.
  • There is no distinction between a participant to a task and the responsible that is accountable for its delivery
  • It is hard to find negative points to Trello

Pricing (as of December 2017)

trello-pricing.png

Conclusion

Using Trello and the GTD method have much increased my productivity. But the more interesting takeaway is that it dramatically reduced stress and increases control over my tasks. Trello being very visual and pleasant, it makes working more entertaining by giving it a game-like aspect.

If you never used a task management system before, Trello maybe overwhelming at first, but it is still very intuitive so the learning curve will be short.

For the advanced user, Trello will also give huge benefits when integrated with other compatible apps and used with teams.

What are you using to manage your tasks? Do you have any specific tools or perhaps the old pen & paper? I’m interested to know more about your habits. Leave a comment in the section below or share the article with a friend that may like it 🙂

Showing 3 comments
  • Jonathan
    Reply

    Hello, I have been using Evernote and my calendar to keep track of my personal projects. I am satisfied with it for my personal task management. What did you not like from Evernote?
    I recently purchased a few books to start the year but once I am done with those I should get GTD, thanks for the reminder 🙂

    • theleanfox
      Reply

      Hello Jonathan,

      Thanks for your feedback.

      I initially implemented Evernote in combination with the GTD approach. Evernote was a good system but in my opinion was not ideal for the following reasons :
      – On Mac and iPhone it was not easy to select the tags of “what, who, when” simultaneously, you had to use the filter. When you have many tasks, it becomes a burden,
      – Evernote is better suited to manage tasks for a writer
      – Does not easily handle smaller type tasks. If you want to change a task priority, move tasks around, label them etc.. Trello is much better suited.
      – Evernote does not handle well projects with several members. You have to share notebooks and the synchronisation is not optimal.

      Hence, I still use Evernote to gather notes, but I do it in combination with Trello. I find it much more productive and adapted.

      If you use Evernote only as simple note-taking app, I recommend you to try Google Keep or Simple Note (from Automattic, the company managing WordPress.com). The latter one is extremely clear and simple, free, and gives complete sync across devices. It is quite simple and recent, but I will follow it closely.

  • Jonathan
    Reply

    Excellent, many thanks I might give Simmle Note a try as it suits my preferences and needs.

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