How I Use Trello

I am not exactly a Trello power-user, but I use it on a regular basis, especially when I am juggling multiple tasks and projects.

I keep a separate board for each side project I am working at the moment and the main board for my 9-to-5 work. For the most part, I use them alone.

Basically, I start new boards the same way: a To-Do, Doing, and Done lists. After a while, I start breaking down the To-Do list into different lists, depending on what the work is about. If I am going to use a particular board alone, I eventually drop the Doing list. Otherwise, I keep it for visibility.

For example, for my Python & Django blog I have a Posts Backlog list for ideas for future posts, I also have a Improvements list for existing posts I need to address some issues (some changes on Django or someone suggested some improvements that could be done on the post).

For my 9-to-5 work, I have a list for my Ph.D. related tasks, a list for the project I’m currently working on, a list for tasks related to papers I’m working at the moment, and another list for general administrative tasks.

I try to always set a deadline for all the tasks. Except for cases that do not make much sense, for example, my ideas backlog for the blog, I usually just pick one idea and write about it.

So far so good. But here is where the problem arises: What to do with a card once it is done?

Here is what I do:

I use Trello Power-Up called Butler. It is a utility plugin to automate tasks. I create two simple rules:

  • When the due date is marked as complete in a card, move the card to the top of the list “Done”;
  • Every Sunday, archive all the cards in the list “Done”.

Butler: Trello Power-Up

It works pretty well for me. The process of clicking on the tasks and marking them as complete give me some sort of energy boost and a perception that I’m progressing and achieving something. It is like a small victory in my day. I used to archive the tasks right away, but keeping them on the “Done” list for the week is incredibly motivating. It gives a good overview of how the week progressed. Then after the end of the week, Butler will archive everything in the “Done” list, and on Monday the board is ready for a fresh start.