3 Effective Ways to use Trello for Your Businesses
It goes without saying that workflow is probably one of the most important principles in any business, project or… well, just about anything that needs work. And the most successful entrepreneurs evangelize the masses telling us that effective business comes with a disciplined work flow.
“How do I know I’m making good progress? Good time? Good money?”
When it comes to freelance work and web design, workflow is often in a flux. It’s changing constantly. Workflow all depends on the client, the context and, at times, the amount of coffee you consumed that day -especially when working with more than one client at a time, or on more than one project at a time. Naturally, the big question hits us at one point or another: “How do I know I’m making good progress? Good time? Good money?” Let’s just admit it -most of us aren’t willing to be old fashion. We don’t want to carry around a calculator and a time sheet all day constantly logging what we’ve done. And hey, who should have to with technology today?
In my line of work as a web designer I’m quickly learning that all of my projects will inevitably take on different challenges. Because of that, I can’t just clock in and clock out and my paycheck automatically shows up at my doorstep. Instead, I have to carefully maximize my workflow and adapt it appropriately to each and every client. And I’ll tell you one thing, I’m not old fashion. I want my workflow to be fun, visual and creative -and very modern.
So, here is the one creative app I found and use that helps me improve my workflow and keep all my projects organized (and no, I’m not going to waste your time talking about Google Drive or iCalendar.)
Trello is, in many ways, my work brain in an app. Most likely you’ve heard of Trello and are already knee deep in its amazingness. But if you haven’t heard of Trello or haven’t found a use for it yet -it’s time you do. There are countless ways to use it, but here’s a fair warning: you must be creative.
If it helps (though I hate the comparison), think of Trello as a sort of personalized Pinterest for yourself that’s optimized for helping you (rather than entertaining you), all without the social media hype. You create boards, and within each board you have lists, and within each list you have cards, and within each card you can add notes, descriptions, images, lists, and links. Plus you can label each card with a color as a way to remind you of its importance or of its type. Maybe to bring more clarity, think of each board as a project, each list within the board as a different facet of the project, and each card within each list as a token to help you remember, accomplish, or create something within it’s context.
Here are a few ways I use Trello to help my workflow everyday-
1) Use Trello to keep track of tasks:
I know there are a lot of tasks manager apps out there. All of our phones come with reminder apps and calendars and that’s great for personal stuff. But Trello supersedes as a task manager when it comes to business reminders and things to do.
By default, Trello has a pre-made template for things to do that include three lists: “To Do”, “Doing”, and “Done”. Believe it or not, it’s ingenious to have a “doing” list, since a lot of my projects span over multiple days. But I’ve also added a couple new lists to improve my workflow that I’ve titled: “When I Have Time” and “Do Again.” See my example-
“Trello supersedes as a task manager when it comes to business reminders and things to do.”
Whenever I have a new thing to do I create a card and put it either in the “When I Have Time” list or in the “To Do” list. Then I label all my tasks with either a red or yellow mark. Red means I want to do those things first, and yellow means second. I leave the unimportant tasks unmarked. Then as I begin to work on a task I move that card over to the “Doing” list. With how distracted life can be because of a simple phone call or that one of my children wants my attention, it’s easy to forget where I left off. But now Trello tells me what “I’m doing.” I know it sounds pathetic, but I know you have the same problem.
When I complete a task I move it over into the “Done” list which I archive at the end of the day, or I move it over to the “Do Again” list for repeated tasks.
I’m telling you -try this version of task management. You won’t regret it. See my example-
2) Use Trello to organize content:
A lot goes into gathering content for a project no matter what occupation you are in. Trello does an outstanding job of keeping all of my thoughts, ideas, links, images, articles, etc., etc., etc. in one place.
For instance, I am currently gathering content for my latest client’s project as I’m preparing to redesign a website for them. They have very little content on their current website so I need to come up with some fresh new content and fresh new ideas. So for each webpage I’m coding up for them I make a list, and any content that relates to that webpage I’ll create a card to put in that list.
It’s as simple as that. See my example-
3) Use Trello to track progress:
This is probably my favorite way to use Trello. It helps me keep track of my progress either in the design of a new website or in the sales process with a potential client.
I create a list for every stage of progress. Then I create a card with the title of what I’m progressing, like a client’s name. Then I start the card in the first stage (first list), and when the first stage is completed I move the card to the next stage.
My example is what I call this my “Sales Pipeline”. This is an incredible way to keep track of where my potential clients stand so I don’t let any fall through the cracks or accidentally approach them twice for the same thing. I start with a list of businesses to approach, then I move each business card to the research stage, then I move those cards to the “call stage” where I’m prepared to call them, and if favorable I move their card to the “lead stage”, and it keeps going and going until ultimately that potential customer becomes a sale or a fail.
Some Other Perks of Trello:
Are you a penny pincher? No worries. Trello is completely free to use! But there is also a premium version that you can use for business collaboration and further customization.
Are you always on the go? Hey! Trello is more than just a desktop app -it’s a mobile app. You can download it and always have your Trello brain with you. And again, the app is free.
Are you a check box person? Trello has you covered. Within the cards of Trello you can create lists to check off.
Are you punctual? Good! Trello allows you to set due dates and due times within each card so you know what your deadline is.
Do you like to share? Well, you can make your Trello boards public to the whole world so that anyone can access your template and use it and give you glory for what you’ve done.
Do you want more? Well, you can do so much more than what I’ve mentioned here, from collaboration to group voting.
Bottom Line: Trello is an incredible application for anyone, from parents trying to keep track daily tasks with their kids to coordinators trying to gather ideas to businessmen who need to better manage their projects. Seriously, what are you waiting for? Trello will be an incredible tool in your tool belt and could literally revolutionize the way you work, not to mention it will put to ease your stress of trying to keep track of everything.
Get started right away and sign up for your free acount at Trello.com