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How I 10xed My Productivity With Trello and Organized My Entire Life, Projects and Businesses

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How I 10xed My Productivity With Trello and Organized My Entire Life, Projects and Businesses

Over a year ago, I uploaded my most popular video on YouTube and wrote one of my most popular blog posts. My post and video on how I use Trello to organize my entire life was really well received. Being that the post and video are over a year old, I think it’s time to update you all with my present system.

It’s changed quite a bit.

I’m about 10x more productive than I used to be thanks to Trello.

allboards

Today, I wanted to share this entire system with you in great detail. I hope this system will help you track and reach your goals, manage projects, be happier and be much more productive.

I should also note that I didn’t entirely invent this system. While using Trello for most of this system is unique to my system, I did borrow elements of this system from Chris Bailey’s The Productivity Project and J.D. Meier’s The Agile Way. These two books heavily inspired and helped me. They are part of the reason that I’ve been able to 10x my productivity this past year.

Ok, here’s my system in as much of a nutshell as possible.

Maintenance Days

Every Sunday is my maintenance day. This is my day to do as many chores and productivity tasks as possible. Every Sunday I:

  • Do laundry
  • Do grocery shopping
  • Prep meals for the week
  • Clean/tidy my office
  • Review accomplishments
  • Read articles I’ve saved up throughout the week
  • Review my projects and define next steps
  • Review my “waiting for” list
  • Clear out all my inboxes
  • Review my hot spots
  • Define outcomes and todo tasks for week ahead

The reason I leave all this to Sunday is so I don’t scatter chores throughout the week. I bundle all my chores to one day a week, so that I can have more productive time during the week, as well as give me a day during the week where I can regroup.

My Trello Boards

I have several boards, they go a little something like this:

Goals 2016

goalsfor2016

In this board, I have a list for my goals for the year, a list for goals for this month, and list for goals accomplished (so I’ll drag accomplishments to this list as they happen) and a dreamline list. This my list for things I’d like to have happen in my lifetime… such as owning a Tesla or teaching a class at Harvard.

Every month, I will dive into this board, check up on my yearly goals, and set new monthly goals.

Weekly To Do

weeklytodo

I have a list for each day of the week, in logical order (Sun-Sat) and a list for “Someday”. Every Sunday, which is my Maintenance Day, I’ll add items to my todo for each day of the week. I’ll limit each day to 3 high value tasks.

I also have a list for my goals for the week, as well as accomplished items. Every time I complete a high value tasks, instead of archiving the card, I will drag it over to my Accomplished list in this board.

Every Sunday, I fill my Sunday list with the Maintenance Day items. They are usually the same every week. I also schedule out my to-do list for the week every Sunday after completing all my maintenance day tasks.

Waiting For

waitingfortrello

This board contains lists of everything I’m waiting on. This is my brain dump so I can stop worrying about that package from Amazon or phone call I’m waiting for someone to return. It also allows me to follow up and anything I’m waiting for.

Every Sunday on my Maintenance Day, I review my Waiting For items and add/remove cards.

Hot Spots

hotspots

This is all about me. I have a list for Mind, Body, Emotions, Career, Finance, Relationships, and Fun. This is where I create lists under each category of things that are important to me. Under Finance I’d put my mortgage, under Career I’d put all the projects and businesses I manage, under Body I’d put Muay Thai, sleeping 8 hours a night and low-carb diet.

I can add notes to each of these items or just reflect on any of them every week to see which I’m neglecting and need to spend more time working on, or which I’m likely spending too much money on.

This board is all about balance. Every Sunday, as part of my maintenance day ritual, I see which items and which buckets I’m spending too little or too much time in, and make mental notes. This helps me see where my priorities lie.

By seeing this, it helps me come up with high value to-do list items for the To-Do board. If I need to meditate more, I’ll add a few “meditate” to my to-do list for a few days.

Projects

projectstrello

I also have a board for each project. So, a board for each business I manage and every course/book I’m creating. Under each board I’ll create a list for Activities, Projects and Backlog. Here’s where I’ll brain dump things I’m working on, things I need to do frequently (activities) and things I need to eventually get to.

Idea Dump

Lastly, I have a board where I can just dump random stuff that might not fit anywhere else. Cool event I heard over the radio? Put it in here to look up later. Cool idea for a new business? Throw it in here.

I use Trello’s phone app to be able to quickly access this board and add any new idea I may have while I’m on the go. I find this to be a lot more effective than simply creating a random note on your phone that you’ll never remember to check.

How to Improve Trello

Here are some Chrome Extensions I use to power up my daily Trello experience.

Card Color Titles: This Chrome Extension gives your labels a little more pop. You can now see the names of your labels on cards instead of just colors with this Chrome extension.

Slim Lists for Trello: This Chrome Extension slims the lists down in your boards, making more lists fit onto your screen. No more scrolling!

Your Turn

If you don’t have Trello, I highly recommend checking it out. I’m not paid or anything by Trello, I just love the software and hey, it’s free so why not.

If you have any questions about this system, let me know. It’s a lot to take it but I think once you try it out for a week or two, you’ll find tremendous benefits from it!

Be sure to leave a comment below. I engage with and respond to everyone!

Published in Productivity Hacks

  • Awesome article. I’m always looking for different ways to use Trello. The Slim Lists extension is great too for my smaller screen on my laptop. I don’t know why I didn’t think of looking for an extension before.

  • Thanks Corey! Cool one. I will use it because I just got rid of my paper agenda and Evernot in its coolness it’s pretty limited.

  • Suhail

    Even I use Trello for my personal projects and other daily routine stuff, But not as heavily as you do. But I think I learned and picked up a lot of pointers from this article. Thanks buddy. Awesome article.

    • Haha, yeah my Trello system is pretty insane. Thanks!

  • Project Director

    Hey

    • Activities are kind of just a reminder of the regular things I need to do: schedule posts on Buffer, write blog posts, etc. Projects are longer, more on going things where I can make notes about something I’m working on. Like a long guide for the blog, a new course for the blog, etc.

      I hope that clarifies it a bit.

      • Project Director

        Got it. Thanks!

  • Iain Davidson

    Hi Corey – great article, thanks for sharing it.

    One question – with each project having a specific board, what’s the trigger you use to remember to check each one out, and how frequently do you do that?

    Thanks, Iain

    • Hey Iain, good question.

      On my Sunday “maintenance days” I include “check X board” “review X board” as a to-do list item. However, to even get to check my Weekly To-Do board in the first place, I used pinned tabs in Google Chrome.

      So I open up Trello in my browser and pin the tab in Chrome. This way, the tab always stays open. Even if I close my browser, the next time I open it, Trello is the first tab that opens.

      I always have Trello open (usually in the Weekly To-Do board) so I always know what I need to do next.

      I hope that helps. Alternatively, you can just set a reminder on your phone for yourself, say at 1pm, to check Trello, or something similar.

  • Michelle Lithgow

    Hi, i’m looking for an app for task listing & sorting as described below. Any ideas on if or how to use Trello for this, or any recommendations for a better app to do the following: I like to list my tasks by two criteria, what I call: SUBJECT AREA (spiritual, physical, organization, house, financial, relats, recreation, computer); and then also by LOCATION -(which for me is where I would actually do a task, such as: Desk, In-house, Garage, Outside, Errand, At Someone Else’s House.
    Then when i’m reviewing my lists, I want to be able to sort two Different ways: 1st by Subject Area with the tasks grouped secondarily by Location, i.e., Physical items sorted by desk work, then in-house, etc, etc.
    SEPARATELY, i’d like to be able to list/sort those same tasks first by Location, i.e., desk-work, and those desk-work tasks then grouped by similar Subjects.
    Is there a way to use Trello to do this? As explanation, I use the first sort to brainstorm, see what else i’m missing, what else I want to do. I use the second sort to decide, in part, what i’m going to do next, eg. when i’m at my desk, or going to run errands. Would greatly appreciate any input, direction for using Trello to do this?, or any recommendation if a different app might work better?
    P.s.- i’m very visual too, and really use color to group the Subjects. Tks.

  • dude thank you so much for this i’ve been so disorganized on my online hustle. I appreciate you!

  • Karl

    For the boards that have Achieved (Goals)/Accomplished (Weekly To-Do) lists when do you clear those cards out, if even? I like the idea but wondering if it gets overwhelming after a while, especially in the Weekly To-Do Board? For the Goals board, I presume, selected few make it to the yearly Accomplished lists? Can you describe a bit more on how you clear those lists out?

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