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Annual Planning and Review with Trello

I'm writing this on New Year's Eve as I decided to upgrade my annual review process with Trello this year and wanted to share in case anyone else was wanting to do the same.

I've been planning my life in Trello for many many years, but this year I decided to bring everything together, make some upgrades, clean up my board, and add some new features and automation with Butler. 


Here's a template of my board if you want to copy and use it for yourself. Keep reading below and I'll explain how it works!

I started out by doing some reflection on 2020 (a good exercise in which I realized it wasn't actually a total dumpster fire), and then I did some planning for what I wanted to accomplish in 2021. (Here's a cool annual review I found where you can copy a google doc and go through the prompts. Thanks, Morning Brew for the recommendation.)

Okay, now to the Trello board we go!

1) The Table of Contents List

My word of the year is "Confidence" as I want to learn to be more confident in myself and appreciate things about myself that I sometimes take for granted and learn to like myself. I created a card at the top of the list to remind myself of that. 

Next, I created a card where I listed out my annual goals. 


Markdown formatting makes it look nice :) I broke my goals into three main categories and listed specifics below them. Every week, I copy the description in a comment and add notes next to each bullet point about the progress I made toward that item.

I also added a few more cards to this list, but you don't need to do that. I want to incorporate more Hygge Habits and themes from Marcus Aurelius' Meditations into my life this year, so each week I'll grab something from those cards. 

Keeping track of things I learn is really helpful to me, so I also made a card called "Things I learned this year" and every week, I add something to it that I learned. I started doing this about halfway through 2020 and it was actually a really fun exercise and very helpful.

Lastly, I made some templated cards with checklists for daily, weekly, and monthly habits.


And that's the table of contents list, which is the base of the board that everything else is formed off of.

Next, I created my "working board" section which is where all the action takes place. 

2) Scrum lists

I organize my life in an agile methodology, so I start with a Backlog, then have To Do, Doing, and Done lists to track what's going on. Each week is a sprint and I pull things from my backlog and add to my To Do list. 

I call my backlog "Ideas for 2021" as anything that comes up gets dumped in here and then re-prioritized when I do my weekly planning. This is the list where I take my annual goals and turn them into bite-sized tasks that I can accomplish. I also use labels with the theme of my goal so that I can keep track of them and make sure everything on the board falls under a goal so I'm not just adding random things. 


Part of my weekly checklist includes reviewing tasks completed at the end of the week and moving any special tasks to my "Yay" list. This is fun to look back on over the year and see what I've accomplished.


I created a card in "Doing" for Ongoing and used the card cover setting to make it seem more like a divider. My weekly and monthly checklists will sit under here as they will spend more time "in progress" than most of my other cards and they're meant to be more ongoing.

3) Butler automation for my habits and checklists

I used Butler to create rules to make my daily / weekly / monthly checklist cards. It was actually super easy. I had previously used Card Repeater to accomplish this, but it got a little messy and didn't give me as much customization as I wanted. 

With Butler, I can actually name the card by the date, so it's super easy to keep track of. 

Here are some screenshots of my rules if you want to set it up for yourself. 


I also used to have problems with these getting a little clogged up, so I created some Butler rules to move these over to done if 1) I complete all the items in the checklist, OR 2) the due date has passed.

4) Additional lists to keep my life organized

I have a list called "Things to Buy", and this is essentially my "Add to Cart" button for my life. When I come across something I want to buy, rather than instantly buying it, I just add it to this list and periodically review this list when I actually am ready to buy things. It gives me time to decide if it's an impulse purchase or if I actually want it, and it helps me spend money better by comparing it to other things (do I need both of these programming books or just one?

It's really easy to do this because if I'm on my phone, I just click "share" and there's an option to add to Trello. (If you don't see this, you might need to configure it in your Share settings on your phone.) If you're on your computer, you can just use the Trello Chrome Extension and click the Trello icon and add it to your list.


And then lastly, I have a list of other boards or things that I might want to reference, such as other boards that I am working off of or links that I want to keep handy. 

5) Now spruce it up and make it yours!

This board looks very nice in the screenshots, but I started out by just building the layout and then adding stickers and custom backgrounds as I went. It was really fun to design as this is basically a vision board for me, and something I am LITERALLY in every single day of my life. (Thanks, Atlassian for the lovely background image.)

So now it's your turn! Feel free to copy it and customize it to work for you!

Happy New Year, friends!



I LOVE this!  It's very close to my board and I love the goals part.  I think I will copy and tailor it.  Great post - thanks.  I wish you a successful and happy New Year @Brittany Joiner !

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Happy New Year 2021 !!! 👌 🍸

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Dave Liao Community Leader Dec 31, 2020

@Brittany Joiner - Love the idea of a "Yay" list!

I have a list called "To Done". The name makes no sense now that I'm writing it in a public forum (haha) but it's my "Done" list.

"To Done" comes in handy for populating resumes when people want them, or writing those little blurbs people ask you to provide when you're about to give a talk on something.

Anyway, a "Yay" list sounds way more interesting to bring up at a happy hour. 🍻

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Hi @Brittany Joiner ,

First of all, wish you a very Happy New Year!

Thanks for sharing the annual planning and review process with us and Thanks for the template too.

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Happy new year @Brittany Joiner , and all

This board is awesome, Thank you Brittany, I love the butler automation in specific, I wanted to have similar feature for the board/Template I created for a certificate am preparing, and had been exploring how to do it, suppose I now have a reference handy :) 

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Brant Schroeder Community Leader Jan 01, 2021

Another great way Trello can be used to help keep you organized. 

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@Brittany Joiner  Happy New Year! thanks for sharing this great Trello template.

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Great board @Brittany Joiner - thanks for sharing! It's always a surprise how you find another awesome way using Trello 🤩 Thanks for being so inspiring :) 

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This is awesome Brittany!

david_hibler Community Leader Jan 18, 2021

This is a great use for Trello.  I'm going to start transitioning our reviews to Trello and merge them in with our monthly updates to show how everyone is progressing.

Thanks for this wonderful board. I think it will inspire me to do one of my own. We all need that kind of motivation for the year to come. :)

Thanks for sharing.

(And happy new year even though January is almost over uWu)


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