As an entrepreneur with a lot going on, I am on an eternal quest to find ways to stay organized, up my productivity and more important than anything - lower my stress. After ten years of being in business for myself, I also know that a huge part of that equation is having a system in terms of project and "to do" list management. I won't lie, I've been known to jot things I need to accomplish down on Post-Its, various Google Documents, calendars and more. I'm a bit of a To Do list junkie. Though all this list creation and task delegation did a good job at taking those thoughts and ideas out of my head and onto a piece of paper (or computer screen), they ended up becoming yet another issue for me. So many lists, so many places, so little time for mistakes or confusion.
Then this summer while reading an article in a trade magazine about apps that will help your productivity, I discovered Trello. This (free) app allows you to organize your lists, projects and collaboration work into Pinterest-style boards (super easy on the eyes) that you can edit, access and work from whether on your smartphone or computer. The moment I loaded all of my work into the app and organized it, well the skies parted people. I was instantly hooked. And it's been over six months since I began using the app and I feel the same - if not more in love with it. That's why I had to share it with you. In fact I love it so much I shared it with the NY Post yesterday!
When you find a good thing, you don't want to keep it to yourself. While it would take much more than a tip sheet to let you know how Trello can help your business (of one or many) "get it together" I've included a few of my favorite things about it, and encourage you
It's Time to Go Easy on the Eyes
Trello's layout is nearly a Pinterest style view of all the different to-do lists, collaborations and projects you're working on. Land on your homepage and get access to your "boards" (aka projects or tasks) and pick which ones you want to work on. This will take you to a specific project list in which you can house your own project-specific to do list. Each item ("card") on your visual to do list can be modified with all the bells and whistles you need (see next point). It's user friendly and free from clutter. It's the kind of hub for all of your project management your eyes will want to land on and settle in for awhile.
Bells & Whistles for Your Project Management
Within your lists Trello offers you several options of "bells and whistles" to make your user experience and list organization easier. You'll stay on top of everything via color coding, photo attachments, checklists for specific tasks, due dates for individual items and more. I have become a big fan of breaking down individual tasks into a checklist After all even small tasks have a beginning, middle and end to them and needs within each. I can no make my list, add a task and include a checklist for that task. It helps me stay focused solely on "what is the next step" instead of getting overwhelmed by my entire to do project. It also helps me see what components I need to do (or someone on my team does) for this task to turn out the way it should.
As someone who was a slave to Google Documents for list-making and sharing prior to discovering Trello, I can't tell you enough how much better this platform will serve you. It's like getting a new car, with a smooth ride and loads of modern features!
Give Your Team or Family Access to Your Lists
There are some business to do lists you'll probably want to keep to yourself, but there are some others you may want or need to share with team members, collaborators (perhaps for a cross promotion project), interns, assistants - even family members! Trello allows you to invite specific "organizations" (you create these groups for your team, company, etc.) into your boards. This means everyone who needs to be on the same page about a specific project or task is connected in real time.
Their Blog is Filled with Ideas About How to Use Trello More & Better
I love when an app has a fantastic blog that's packed with not only "how to's" in terms of how to use the app, but also includes suggestions on where to use the app that you may not already be doing. Instagram does this, and so does Trello. It's well written, clear and packed with ideas, strategies and suggestions. Use Trello to track donations throughout the year (I just might!), use the app to organize your wedding planning (oh how I wish I knew of it then!). Wherever you have lists and projects with multiple tasks, there should be order. There should be organization. It's good for your brain, balance and your business.