Today we are witnessing a cult of productivity, while are continuously looking for the ways to cope with our endless to-do lists and get more things done. Being limited in time, we do want to use our time in a smarter way. That is the main reason why productivity apps are booming.
One of the problem on the way to GTD is an information overload, our addiction to our phones, emails, messages and notifications. It is killing our productivity, while remaining focused and on track feels increasingly difficult. There are probably hundreds of tools and apps available today that are called on to help us with this, from simple paper-based day planners to more complex personal electronic assistants that help to organize, prioritize and schedule our day. The best advice is to spend some time researching available tools, then choose and set up the one that suits your needs the most and will help to move you toward your goals.
I’ve tried a couple of tools and productivity apps, and it’s taken me a long time to figure out what works best for me and iterate on my process. But I found the one that really helps me to be more organised, and I’m happy to share some of my insights and hacks.
Trello for Personal Productivity
Like most people, I struggle to find a balance between all the things I need to do and the limited time I have in a day to do them. Trello has been my choice for a personal task management tool that I use for organizing all my work, processes, projects in progress, ideas, and goals for the future. It acts as a board of virtual post-it notes, that gives me a visual overview of what I’m working on, things I plan to do, and things I have successfully completed.
My personal Board is pretty simple, as I have 3 main lists on it: ‘Backlog’, ‘In Progress’ and ‘Done’. ‘Backlog’ contains all ideas or plans I come with, and I try to make writing them down in Trello a habit, usually using the iOS app on my phone. ‘In Progress’ has all the tasks I’m working on currently, which go to ‘Done’ when complited.
I try to start every day using Trello to plan all my activities. It is extremely important to take a moment in the morning and plan the day, think of the focus and most important tasks you have to get done. I would say I prefer to do this before anything else – including getting caught in my inbox.
So I look at the tasks from the “In Progress” list that I didn’t get to finish from the previous day, and think of what I need to do to move those along. After that I move over to my ‘Backlog’ and plan what tasks I will work on today. If there’s anything that definitely needs to get done today, I’ll prioritize it and move it to “In Progress”.
Trello for Managing All Marketing Activities With My Team
Trello is an incredibly versatile and flexible tool that allows it to be a great fit for personal planning, as well as for managing tasks for large projects and teams. That is why I enjoy using it for organizing all the marketing activities with my team. So I want to provide my insights into how to get the most out of Trello for your team, be it a software company, small developer team, or a startup.
As we have a lot of things happening on the marketing side simultaneously (including website, SEO, content marketing, social media, design and more), we are using Trello to run and arrange all the processes and tasks. Trello helps us to manage everything from complex tasks and deadlines to the little things we need to get done.
Trello has no boundaries regarding how you can integrate it in the team workflow, and let you find what works best for your team and set it up accordingly. That is one of the reasons we choose it above other tools available on the market. We see many benefits, just to name a few:
- It offers real-time collaboration for the team.
- Helps to keep every team member on the same page (as it’s visual and simple and clear)!
- Allows the team to organize and prioritize the tasks in our own way.
- Can be connected to our team communication tool to post live updates on the tasks.
- Has a “Ideas Backlog”, or a someday list for all the things and ideas we might work on in the nearest future.
- Can be a place for our ideas and notes, as we can use it on the go via the mobile app.
Simply said, it is a productivity tool that is flexible enough to meet all our team’s “productivity” needs!
Here’s how we organize and use Trello for our marketing activities:
- Connect Trello with our team communication tool (we use Slack) to post live updates on the tasks.
- Keep cards as simple as possible and make a descriptive and specific title that encompasses the whole task. The title is the most visible part of the card and should give a clear idea of what the card is about.
- While cards usually represent an individual task, they can also include checklists, description and comments.
- We add links to or attach all the documents we are using working on the task (Dropbox, Google Drive, etc)
- Use color-coded labels for prioritization.
One of the important hacks is that every day we try to check our tasks on the current list and in progress with the focus we have for the week or sprint – the major things we really want to get done.
It is important to make sure that the work the team is doing fits into the bigger picture.
Another important hack that helps us to GTD is to keep the “In Progress” list clean. We try not to start work on the new tasks until we finish those in progress.
Trello is only one of the many tools out there, but it really meets both my and my team’s “productivity” needs and helps to GTD! I hope you can pick from what I shared and apply it to how you organize your work and get things done.
January 18, 2016