There are certain apps that can be useful to just about anybody and Trello is one of them. Whether you are a business owner, a mom or even still in school, it’s an incredible task management app that is guaranteed to make your life easier.
Trello’s two main advantages are the fact that it can be used for a huge variety of projects and that it’s really simple, yet powerful. It doesn’t matter whether you want to keep track of all your upcoming school assignments, make a daily to-do list or oversee the progress your team is making on a project you’re all working on – Trello has got you covered. Plus, you can be either a tech genius or an absolute beginner, it’s equally useful for both. Sounds good? That’s because it is.
Now let’s get started and break down all of Trello’s features and see how you can use it both personally and professionally.
What is Trello?
Trello is a project management platform that gives you a visual overview of your tasks. It consists of different boards that you can dedicate to various types of tasks and these boards have lists with cards inside of them.
Here’s an example: before anyone could read this article, there are several things I need to do first. I need to write it, add screenshots, upload it to WordPress, proofread it and, finally, publish it on my blog. Therefore, I will make 3 different lists, depending on whether it’s something I still have to do, I am doing right now or I’ve already done and add all of the tasks. My board will then look like this:
Once I’m done with something, all I need to do is drag the card to the next list until all the tasks have been completed. I can also add images to my cards, attachments, set up a due date or make a checklist – it all depends on what I need.
In the next segment, we’ll explain how to get started on Trello.
How to Get Started on Trello
Setting up an account
Setting up an account is really easy – you just need to type in your name, email address and choose a password. If you have a Google account, you can log in through it, which is a time-saver, as well. You will also need to confirm your email address, so make sure to choose a working one.
Customizing your profile
Now that we’ve set up our profile, we should customize it a little. Click on your name in the upper-right corner on your screen and go to “Profile”. If you want to, you can change your username, initials, add a bio and change the profile picture. If you click on the “Settings” tab, you’ll be able to also change your account details, two factor authentication, switch to color blind friendly mode and change email notification frequency.
Let’s stick to the latter one for a minute – Trello sends you email notifications when something new happens, but if that annoys you, you can turn it off completely. However, if you’re a part of a team, it’s really useful since everytime someone makes a change to a card or a board, you’ll get notified. You can either receive an email immediately or about once an hour.
I would personally prefer only one or two emails every day instead of a new one every time someone moves a card to a different list, but that isn’t possible, at least not yet. Still, notifications keep me up to date, so it’s definitely a valuable feature.
Free vs. Paid version
Besides the free version, there’s also a little something called Trello Gold. This package allows you additional features, such as more customizing options, bigger attachment limit, stickers, emojis and other fun stuff. You can pay either $5 on a monthly basis or $45 for a whole year.
Personally, I can do just fine with a standard account because it covers all my basic needs, but if you want to go all out, go for it.
Oh, and one more thing – if you invite a friend to join Trello, you get a month of Trello Gold for free. I’ve done it to test it out and see if I needed an upgrade, so you could do it too if you aren’t sure.
Creating Boards and Teams
When you click on the plus sign next to your name, you’ll get 3 options: creating a board, a personal team or a business team.
A board can be private, which will be used by you and only you, but you can also make it public. A public board is visible to anyone who has a link to it, but they can’t change it in any way, unless you give them permission.
If someone besides you needs to be able to edit boards and lists, it’s better to create a team. Once you’ve named your team, you can change the avatar and a description the same way you’ve changed your profile settings before. To add members, go to the “Members” tab and click on “Add Members”.
You can add them either by their username or an email address and change their permissions to either normal or admin. Both can edit boards, write comments and add cards, but normal members aren’t allowed to change any of the settings. From there, you add boards just as you normally would, except now other people can participate.
I’ve created an example board for all things family. The first list is a shopping list, so I figured a checklist would be a better fit. I created a card as I would normally (by click the “Add a card” button at the bottom of the list) and named it “Groceries”. Then I clicked on the card, chose “Checklist” on the right and added my items. Now if I click on the card, a popup will open that will look like this:
I can check off the things I’ve bought, add new items and even add a new checklist for next week or whenever I need to. I can also choose a different color to label my card in case I need to make it visually more organized or archive it when I don’t need it anymore.
Next, I have a different list with different chores that need to be done around the house. However, since my other family members are also a part of the team, we won’t really know what has been done and what hasn’t. So why not change it and add another list for the tasks that are done? I’ll add a new list, which will be in the last spot on my screen, but I want it right next to the “Chores” list, so all I need to do is just drag it next to it and voila!
What I could’ve also done is added a new board just for chores, but since it’s all house-related, I chose to keep it all on one board. The great thing about Trello is that you can sort out your tasks by broader categories or more specific ones, depending on your personal preference.
On my last board, I have things like doctor’s appointments and soccer practice, only this time, I need a reminder for my appointment. I will click on the card, go to “Due date” and set it whenever I need it to. Below the title of my card, the date will be circled in yellow and when it’s close to the due date, it will change to red.
You can make your cards as simple or as elaborate as you want them to be, or both. Sometimes you will just need a card with a title, while other times, you’ll want to add attachments, due dates and have people comment on it.
While we’ve covered all the basic things you’ll need to manage your projects, there are several other useful features we should mention.
If you want to make sure someone sees a comment on a card, make sure to include their username with a handle in your comment, this will send a notification to this person, letting them know you’ve mentioned them.
To delete a card, click on it and then go to “Share and more”, which is the last option on the right, where you’ll find the delete button.
While you’re there, you can also email your card. The subject of your email will be the title of the card and the content will depend on whatever else is on the card.
Another great feature is the calendar. To activate a calendar, go to “power-ups” which are in the menu on the right side of the screen and click on “enable”. It allows you to create tasks based on dates or even plan out your whole daily schedule with Trello. Plus, you can even connect it to an external calendar with iCalendar.
You also have two other options in the “power-ups” section: card aging and voting. Card aging will make your cards look aged the older they are and voting allows people to vote for your cards. We’ve never really used voting, but it’s a great option if you and your team are trying to reach a consensus on a certain matter.
To add more power-ups, you’ll need to upgrade your account to Business Class. It allows you to integrate Trello with other tools, like Slack, Google Docs and Github and is paid annually at $8.33 per user per month. However, unless you are a part of a big company with a big team, it isn’t necessarily something worth spending money on.
As you can see, Trello has a simple interface but is really complex in terms of what it can do for your productivity. You can use it for pretty much anything, like communicating with your team, handling business tasks, organizing your week, making shopping lists, planning a vacation, school projects or even plannig your wedding. And that’s why we love it so much and so will you.