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Your business tip of the month: Remove the hassle of project managing

Get a grip on your work by planning it in a user-friendly, access-everywhere management application like Trello

Do you want to be able to glance at your project plans or to-do lists and know immediately what state everything is in?

By using the right project managing tool you'll be able to break down your tasks into simple chunks of information - allowing you to be more productive and focus on the important things.

In our blog this month, we're looking at one of the free project managers you can use - it's called Trello.

Last month we talked about hand-drawn to-do lists - and you can be even more organised by making use of these high-tech tips.

Before we begin, sign up to Trello on your computer and follow their tutorial to understand how boards, lists and cards work.

We'd explain ourselves but we'll never do a better job than they can - plus, they teach you by using a cartoon husky called Taco. Who can top that?

When you're ready, click on the links and find out how to set up Trello boards to manage a project or maintain a to-do list.

Don’t forget to download the app too - then you'll have your boards with you wherever you go.

Trello as a project manager

Most projects have four stages: planning, doing, sign off and done.

Step 1

Create a board for your project and plot the stages of your project onto the board as lists. My example uses the stages suggested above.

Set up board

Step 2

Put the various aspects of your project onto the board as cards. Try to put them in the lists that reflect their current status.

Here's an example of my project board for this blog (from a few days ago).

Trello add cards

Step 3

Add detail to your card as checklists, links or colour coding. I've colour coded my cards by type of activity (purple for social media, red for website, blue for email and green for support materials).

Add detail

Step 4

Move your cards around when their statuses change. This 'living' board means you'll quickly see what is ahead-of, on or behind schedule.

As you can see, even though the blog is published the social activity hasn’t moved any further than planning. This may be because it can’t be worked on until the blog is published – or could be an oversight that is easily spotted by checking your Trello project plan.

Update details

Step 5

For complicated cards, don't be afraid to make them into their own boards too - here's a board for the social activity I planned alongside this blog. See how much extra detail you may need to add for some parts of the project.

Social board

Using Trello for to-do lists

Step 1

Create a board for your to-do list.

Create a board

Step 2

On the board, create lists for your different ‘to-do’ statuses.

This could be as simple as 'To-Do', 'Doing' and 'Done' or could be more structured like the Eisenhower Matrix. You can see the lists that I've used match the Eisenhower Matrix which I talked about in the last month's business tip.

Create list

Step 3

Each task can be added as a card to the appropriate list.

Add tasks

The useful thing about Trello cards is that you can colour code them to add more organisation within the list, and add checklists so that you have a greater visibility of how close the task is to being 'Done'.

I’ve organised my cards with green (for tasks to complete in the shop), blue (for tasks to complete online) and red (for tasks to complete for customers).

Update cards

One final thing - you don't need to keep these boards to yourself. You can share your projects or to-do lists with others by inviting them with their email address or Trello username. When they next access Trello they can view the boards you've shared - and even edit them if you authorise them to.


Image: Productivity board courtesy of Dennis Hamilton on Flickr.