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Help getting the most out of Trello

I have been using Trello for a while now, which I really like, but admittedly struggle with using. Primarily because I have a hard time wrapping my brain around its functionality. So I often find myself recreating a board multiple times for one reason or another, until I am frustrated and just give up.

Unfortunately, I am responsible for a lot of "stuff" at home and for myself. All of which has left me feeling increasingly overwhelmed because I cannot find a good method of organization and prioritizing. I have lists scattered across Alexa app, AnyList, Apple Notes, Plan, Trello, etc. But I know Trello would work much better and be far easier, if only I could grasp how to use it so that I can actually commit to using only it. Also, I am ADD and OCD AF, which does not make things easier.

I have various lists such as Grocery Shopping List, Household Goods (mac addresses, serial numbers, specs, warranty info, etc), To-Do, Want/Wish List, Vital Info, and many others. Projects range from those that are clear-cut and involve only a few steps, to those I do not know where to start due to all that is involved. My notes consist of random ideas, measurements, reference info, etc. One thing I would LOVE to have a system for is my Communication Logs, which I refer to or have to update constantly!

That said, I am wondering if anyone has a Trello Template they can suggest to help me organize and prioritize all my lists, projects, notes, etc?

Thank you in advance!


Jay Jarman
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
Sep 02, 2020

DIYdee,  you need more than on Trello board for everything you listed.  I use Trello for work and for home.  Your list of stuff above seems more of a home list of stuff.  Create a separate board for your different lists.  Start with a ToDo list.  There are a bunch of templates for it but really you need three columns:  ToDo, In Progress, and Done.  Some people like a Waiting column for when you're not really working on it but someone else is and when they're done you can continue.  Start with that board.  I add a Custom Fields power-up to every board I have.  That way, if that board needs a special field like Amount Spent, I can put that on every card on that board.  Start creating your list of ToDo items as cards in the ToDo column.  Move the one you're working on into In Progress and get going.

I have a Lowes/Home Depot board.  That is my shopping list for when I'm there.  Sometimes I have a weekend project and I need a couple dozen things.  They all go on the list.  I also need things like water softener salt every month.  I set up a Butler rule to add water softener salt to my list every month on the 25th.   I use a label for the store (Lowes or Home Depot). This way I can sort my list by store.  As I get items, they go from the Gotta Get list to the Got list.

I also have a small farm.  I have a board for taxes.  I have lists within the board for each tax category.  Then when I'm at the feed store, after I'm all loaded, I immediately create a card for that expense.  I have a custom field for store, amount, and date.  I also take a pic from within Trello and attach a pic of the receipt to the card.  Then, before tax season, I can export a spreadsheet of all my expenses.

You could easily do one for your grocery list.  I created a grocery list board for my friends that are more advanced in age (they hate the word old).  When COVID hit, people didn't want to go out.  I'd go on a grocery run once a week.  I gave my friends access to the board.  I have a list for each of the groceries and drugstore.  I have a custom field for each of my friends.  They add a card when they need and item.  So, if Mary wants organic Skippy peanut butter, she creates a card with that on it and puts in her name.  Next time I'm at the grocery, I check the list and get her peanut butter.  You could do the same thing for your own list.  Have a list for each store and create cards for each item.  You can share the board with your family members and they can add stuff to the list instead of yelling down the stairs that Mom we need toilet paper.

I've known people that manage their wedding planning with it.  I have one to keep track of the things I accomplish at work.  That way come review time, I don't have to try and remember what I did last year.  There are so many things you can do.  Just start with one.  I simple ToDo list.  Don't worry about templates or backgrounds, just get to using it.  Pretty soon you'll have ideas for more boards.  Don't try to have a single board do more than basically a single thing.  Don't make a board for your ToDo & Grocery list.  Have them as separate boards with a single item on the todo list; go to the store.  When you get there, open up your grocery board.  

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Iain Dooley
Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
Sep 02, 2020

@DIYdee In terms of tasks that need to get done, basically what you need is a graceful way of letting go of all the stuff you will never do. I do this using a process I call task shortlisting:

I like having one central board where everything I'm accountable for resides. As @Jay Jarman mentions, having multiple boards helps as the information you need to store becomes more complicated, but in some cases you can find yourself with so many different boards it becomes difficult to keep track of. In that case, what I will typically do is create card in my "central board", linked to a separate board, that way I'm reminded to check in on that board, and maybe choose some tasks from it that I want to complete (I use automation to create a linked card in my "central" board when I add myself to a card or mention myself in a comment):

For reference/information stuff, I find it useful to just have one list and if cards are related, I use labels and filters to narrow down that list:

As far as shopping lists go, I use Siri shortcuts to add cards to a shopping list by voice. My shopping list is in my meal plan board, and my meal plan board is linked from a "meal plan" card in my central board.

Using this "linked board" approach gives you a way to create a single card in your central board about big complicated project that might involve lots of random notes, ideas, tasks or other bits of info, and compartmentalise them so that you aren't constantly having to shift around all that info, but you're also confident that you're not going to completely lose sight of it.

Then the final piece of the puzzle is recurring tasks, habits or maintenance items. For that, I have a household board with a simple automation:

2020-09-03 at 10.14 am.pngThen I have lists like "1 days", "7 days", "30 days" and so on. Each card in those lists has a due date. When the date is marked as complete, it is offset by that number of days and moved to the bottom of the list. This means that all those myriad tasks that need to be done periodically but aren't technically *due* at those times (they're not "calendar tasks" their "periodically scheduled" tasks) can live in one place, and I can always go and pick off a few things to do over the weekend or during my housework times during the week.

I actually also use labels there to identify how long things take, so I can filter to show only 15 minute tasks for example.

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