Is your desk covered with sticky notes from your endless stream of ideas? Have you spent your entire life searching for a planning system that speaks your love language?
Then I am about to rock your world with the inside scoop of how to use the collaboration app Trello to streamline your business.
- No more scratching things out of your monthly planner as you change your content schedule on a whim.
- No more sorting through emails or meeting notes to remind yourself what you discussed with your client last month.
- And, no more hours spent on Google trying to remember that one tutorial that saved your skin eight months ago.
Here are tips to use Trello to streamline your planning process so you can spend LESS time getting organized and MORE time on profitable tasks that actually move your business forward.
Side Note: There are so many tools like Trello in the productivity space. Some of them do similar things, so it’s best to settle on one that works for you and your style of thinking. A system has no use if you don’t actually use it.
1. Create a team and start adding boards
Get started by creating a team or two for your business! For work, I maintain two different teams on Trello:
- Krista Aoki Design: This is an internal team where I keep track of my business, work that needs to be done, and tasks I outsource to contractors.
- Krista Aoki Design Clients: This is a team I use to collaborate with clients. Each client has their own Trello board.
Once you create your team(s), you can start adding boards.
There’s a fine balance between (A) having so many boards that opening Trello overwhelms you and (B) not having enough boards to give your ideas a home.
I live and breathe simple systems, and have no need to maintain more than four boards for my business. Here are the four boards I use for my internal Trello team:
- Business HQ: This is the board I visit most often. It is my business ENCYCLOPEDIA. I keep my business branding and messaging, references, links to courses/trainings, and testimonials here. This board is also meant to be an extension of my brain that grows with my business.Of course, I keep my 3 vs of branding (values, voice, visuals) in the card at the top left for reference. There are links to tutorials, copy and paste information, and testimonials for myself or a virtual assistant to easily find.Basically, if it’s something I frequently need to search (like CSS code or my brand hex codes), I know it has a home here.
- Calendar & Overview: I use this board to track projects the kanban way, which means I drag each card to a different column as it moves through different stages. I have columns for leads, projects, sent to client for review, on hold, and complete. The cards normally have information like project description, reference links, and client hex codes/branding information. If I’m collaborating with a contractor to complete the project, I assign the project to them!
- Content Planning: I keep a running list of content ideas here. As I type out each content idea, I add notes I have regarding the topic idea. If I take screenshots from SEMRush or Pinterest keyword research results, I keep those here so I don’t forget.
- Brain Dump: lol. This board is a mess. I create different columns based on what I’m brain dumping (service offering, messaging, client management, website process). The cards in each column have no sense or order, but I try to keep as detailed notes as possible until I refine what I’m working on.
I value creating space for your evolution. Oftentimes, we want to say “yes” to every project that comes our way, or do everything for our business. By having four boards, one of which is dedicated to brain dumping, I can add notes as ideas for a project (or content idea) comes up without fully committing to the project.
Rebranding was on my to-do list for a long time, and when I finally had the space for a rebrand, I had notes from (literally) one year ago to guide me through the process.
Protip: Keep Trello on your browser’s bookmarks bar so that you can access your “digital planner” at the click of a button.
2. Give each Trello board a purpose
Every board should have a purpose. Every idea you have for your business should have a home to go into. Here are a few ideas for your Trello boards:
- Kanban-Style Project Board: A board that takes you through the stages of your client workflow. Examples of stages would be lead, onboarding, priority, general, sent to client to review, on hold, and complete.
- Kanban-Style Content Board: A board that takes you through the stages of your content workflow. Examples of stages would be idea, outlined, scheduled, promoted.
- Sticky Notes & Reference: A board that organizes your thoughts like sticky notes. Use this board to store reminders or biz encyclopedia information.
- Templated Client Board: A board you can duplicate with every new project. You can have a “Client Card” which they can refer to for important project information and links. You can also have columns that take your clients through project stages. When I have a new project, I add deadlines to the board so my clients know when they need to provide feedback and when to expect deliverables.
- Templated Launch Board: Similar to the templated client board. This would be a board that outlines steps of your launch workflow that you can duplicate every time you have a launch.
- Brain Dump Board: A no-pressure board where you can dump your thoughts as they crawl into your brain. You’ll come back to these thoughts if the time is right.
3. Explore card features
With tools like Trello’s internal Power-Ups, and Zapier, there are so many other ways you can use Trello to find biz clarity.
With Trello, you can also add attachments (by file, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.) to cards. You can also customize descriptions including making lists, adding links, and including hex codes (can you tell I’m a designer – I love this feature).
If you have tasks you repeat over and over, you can create to-do lists that exist within a card and replicate the to-do list when the time comes up.
One example of this would be your to-do list for every blog post: you also need to find a featured image, write an SEO description, and create a Pinterest image, right?
To create or set a to-do list here, you would open the card and create a checklist. Next time you open a blog post card and click checklist, the previously existing checklists would be there ready for your use!
Checklists are another great way to make sure you have all your bases covered and a step doesn’t go forgotten.
Saving time = profit
As I said before, a system has no use if you don’t actually use it. If you’re using another project management tool, try starting small with Trello instead of throwing all your eggs into one basket.
More organization and clarity means less time worrying, more time creating, and more profit for your business!
Using this project management tool has made me more productive, more focused, and just more organized.
If you still need inspiration, here are a few ideas for how you can use Trello:
- Organize funnels: your articles, the opt-in, and the email automation
- Stay on top of your to-do list
- Plan + execute launches
- Hold yourself accountable for monthly, quarterly, and annual goals
- Basically: combine your big-picture goals … with your daily to-do list.
Do you already use Trello? Are you inspired to make any changes to your Trello boards? Let me know below 👇🏽