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Looking for more ideas to improve a productivity tracker Trello board

Brittany Joiner Community Leader Sep 19, 2019

Hey there friends!

A little bit of context: We've all heard tons of productivity advice... be a morning person, use pomodoros, stand while you work, etc. But the truth is, not all of that advice works for everyone, and the best way to find out is to try things and see works. To do that, you just need a list of things you want to try and a way to measure and document what you learn from trying those things. 

Cue Trello!

I'm playing around with the idea of using Trello to track my productivity experiments. I'm thinking a list of ideas... like pomodoro technique, eating breakfast, skipping lunch, drinking more water, starting my day earlier, leaving my inbox closed, keeping my phone in another room, etc. And then another list of In Testing when I am actively testing something, and Tested for when it's complete. 

To track things, I want to use Custom Fields to track things like my level of Focus, Mood, Attention, Energy, etc.. Of course this will be somewhat subjective, but at least giving some thought to it and hopefully relatively comparing all these things so that will be great. 

Here's an example board of what I've put together already.

If i can get something cool here, I want to try to write about it on the Trello blog, so please note - I might share things that are mentioned in this discussion! (Please let me know as you post if that's NOT okay and I'll make sure not to mention that in my post.)

So community... 

1) Any ideas how to make my tracking less subjective? (Ie, how can i measure my level of focus besides "i felt more focused this week when i did this".)

2) Any other ideas for what I can do with my Trello board for better tracking? 

3) Any other ideas of good tests? (Any common, or not so common, productivity advice you've heard). 


Iain Dooley Community Leader Sep 21, 2019

@Brittany Joiner cool idea, here are my thoughts:

1) What does focus really mean? The only way to keep things from being subjective in my experience is to track outcomes. What will you achieve more of if you're more focused? Really you need some way of standardising what you expect to achieve and then tracking how much of that you get done using different techniques

2) In order to track things better maybe you want to assign points to various cards and then track how many points are completed by adding comments or incrementing a custom field automatically on the currently testing card when you archive cards in a different board. So a Butler command to increase the "Points completed" custom field on the currently testing card when you archive cards on your todo list.

3) I wrote up my core productivity process, which I call "task shortlisting" here:

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Brittany Joiner Community Leader Sep 23, 2019

These are great points! (No pun intended :) )

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@Iain Dooley How does one assign the points!?!?

Brittany Joiner Community Leader Sep 26, 2019

Sounds like this is going to be a fun Butler test!

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Iain Dooley Community Leader Sep 27, 2019

@Andy - PTC Redundant technically speaking and depending on your range of point values, you could use labels (small, medium, big, or 1 - 10) or a custom field (number or dropdown maybe). Operationally I guess it's just a matter of getting a feel for what constitutes big or small amounts of work. Undoubtedly you'd get it wrong sometimes. 

I'm actually not sure this would be possible with the Butler power up now that I think of it because the only way to do it (I think) would be to set a user variable to the value of the points on the archived card, find the card for the current week in the reporting board and then increment the total points completed value by the value stored in the variable; but the power up doesn't have user variables.

If you used labels like small, medium, large then you could create 3 different rules that did something like:

When a card with label "Small" is archived find card "Week {monthweeknumber}, {monthname} {year}" in board "My Tracking" and and increase custom field value "Points Completed" by 1

When a card with label "Medium" is archived find card "Week {monthweeknumber}, {monthname} {year}" in board "My Tracking" and increase custom field value "Points Completed" by 2

and so on.

If you wanted to use a wider range of point values this would be a cumbersome number of Butler rules, but you could do something like this in Trellinator:

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Iain Dooley Community Leader Sep 27, 2019

@Brittany Joiner oops sorry I meant to mention you above before the Butler bit

@Iain Dooley : Excellent. I really appreciate the lengthy explanation! 👍🤩

This makes sense to me and actually is relevant to a board I work on almost daily. Yey for points!! :oD Thank you! 👏🧐

Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Sep 23, 2019

Hey @Brittany Joiner

This is a neat experiment!  I agree with a number of things @Iain Dooley already said, However one thought I would add would be that I have a set of activities I plan to get done each day.  Because of the nature of the role I'm in I get interrupted A LOT!  If I can manage to complete 50% or more of what I planned to do, I consider that a good day.  That might be something that you want to consider as well.  If you have a set of planned tasks to complete and you can manage to complete all or almost all compared to how many you would normally be able to accomplish, that's data you can use to validate the experiment.

Just my two cents!


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Brittany Joiner Community Leader Sep 23, 2019

Oh this is a good idea - I am already in the habit of making a to do list of what to accomplish for the day. It would be good to measure % completed each day. (Just have to be careful abotu adding more stuff on through out the day!)

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It sounds a bit boring... but.... make SMART goals.

What is focus? On top of Iain and Jimmy I would help on this by making it personal:
For me I always lack motivation - so focus would be "One Atlassian Article per Week" / "Max 30min per day on Community" <<--- HAH! Just joking! And Etc.

For tracking the most obvious ones come to mind for me.... labels and colouring have meaning: good, ok, not good, using checklists for monitoring progress.

Meditation is a good example! I like to do a daily Yoga routine that is only 10min. I pretty much do it without fail because its fun, straightforward and short. If I was to track this one and then be able to show results it would probably look like this:

I was thinking about additional tests and one I just realised I am doing without writing it down is playing with lengths of meeting times. I no longer plan meetings on the hour or half hour... e.g. 30min, 1hr, 1h30, 2h, etc.
I go for 15min, 20min, and 45min only

If I need longer I really question why I am planning such a long meeting and start evaluating the agenda to remove wasteful items.
Recently I had a 4 hour workshop reduced to 2h45min thanks to this!

So maybe play with how you plan meetings is fun to have as a card.

Skipping Lunch....!?!? ARE YOU MAD....!? That's some serious experimenting 🤯

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Brittany Joiner Community Leader Sep 26, 2019

Not necessarily planning to test this one specifically haha.

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Hah hah! 


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