How to Use Trello to Boost Your Daily Productivity

You have a ton of stuff that needs to get done—as a matter of fact, it probably should’ve been done yesterday. Needless to say, you can’t keep up with all of your sticky notes and other random pieces of paper. You need a system to get your stuff together, and attack each day with a clear set of goals.

Boy, do I have the tool for you. It’s called Trello, and if you haven’t heard of it before, I’m about to rock your world.

Here’s a collection of interesting and inventive ways to use Trello. Subscribe to receive this extra resource.

What is Trello?

Image Courtesy of Trello

Trello is a web-based organizational tool. It’s dead-simple to use and completely free (unless you want extra bells and whistles).

How does Trello Make You More Productive?

Trello allows you to plan and organize your tasks in a visual, user-friendly way.

This is basically how Trello works:

It’s broken into three parts: the board, the list, and the card.

Think of boards as the the main topic or project that you’re working on. You can have a board for work, a board for traveling, and a board for personal to-dos, for example.

Within each board, you will create lists. Lists are a set of cards, or tasks, that you need to do.

Because Trello is web-based, you can access it from its website or you can also download the app and use it from your mobile device. It’s available on iOS and Android.

You don’t even need to set up a separate account for Trello. If you already have a Google account (and who doesn’t?), you can use your Google account to sign up. Easy peasy.

How to Use Trello to Work with Clients

If you have a certain process that you like to implement with your clients, be sure to create a Trello board for it.

You can create a card for each client you’re working with, and then move them from one list to the next, depending on where they are in your workflow.

For example, a new client may go from the “initial consultation” list to “appointment scheduled” to “email follow-up”.

Of course, your specific lists can get even more detailed. Think of the possibilities.

Create a Posting Schedule with Trello

Use Trello to organize ideas for upcoming blog posts. For example, you can have a list of ideas, and then a list for upcoming posts that you’ve written but not yet published, with a due date of when each post is set to be published. If you’re working with a team, you can assign certain posts to certain team members.


Get Acquainted with Trello Shortcuts

Image Courtesy of Trello

Once you become addicted to Trello, you’ll find that you do the same tasks over and over again. Keyboard shortcuts can really make life easier for you. Here are a few of my favorites:

Press “B” to open the boards menu.

Press “Esc” to exit out of any open window or pop-over.

Press “/” to open the search box.

Press “M” to add and remove members.

Press either “<“ or “>” to move a card from one list to another.

Press “S” to subscribe to a card so that you can receive notifications of any activity on that card. You can also unsubscribe by pressing “S”.

Press “?” to open the shortcuts menu in case you forget a move.

Here’s the full list of keyboard shortcuts for Trello.


Create Checklists Within a Card

One of my favorite features in Trello is the ability to create checklists within each card. Some tasks have multiple steps and can benefit from a checklist. This saves you from cluttering an entire list with small tasks when you can package related tasks together in one card.

To create a checklist, open the card, and click “Checklist” on the add menu. You can even copy a checklist from another card.

Turn a Checklist Item Into Its Own Card

When you realize that an item on your checklist needs to turn into its own card, it’s easy to convert it. Simply click on the item to activate the edit mode, and then click “Convert to Card”. Voila! It’s now a new card on the same list.

Use Labels as an Extra Way to Sort

Don’t miss out on beauty that is color-sorting in Trello. There are so many different ways you can use this color label feature in Trello. One of my favorites is to assign a different team member a specific color, so whenever you see “red” on the board from a glance, you know it belongs to “Jan” or “David.”

If it’s just you alone on your Trello board, you can still use color labels to better organize your work. For example, use color labels to sort the types of clients (i.e. prospective, first time, or return). You can also assign each client their own color.

That said, you only have eight different options for label colors, so if you have more than eight clients, you may need to repeat colors.

See Which Cards You’re Assigned to in One Glance

Sometimes, lists can get confusing, especially if you’re working with a team and your tasks are mingled together with others.

Fortunately, there’s an answer for that, too.

On Trello, you can view only the cards that you’ve been assigned to.

To do this, click on your username in the top right-hand corner and select “cards”. You’ll be able to see all of the cards assigned to you, from every board, at once. What a thing of beauty!

Use Trello and Email Together

There are times when email is useful, but most of the time, it becomes another thing to do.

Since you’re already using Trello, I recommend forwarding your incoming emails into Trello. Here’s how to do it:

Each board on Trello has a unique email address. You can find the email address by going to “Show Menu” then “More” then “Email-to-Board Settings”.

Here, you’ll find your super secret email address for this board. It’s only for you and your team to use. I wouldn’t suggest giving it to your clients because then they will be able to add cards to your Trello board unwittingly every time they send an email and you definitely don’t want that.

What you do want is to be able to forward client emails into your Trello board. This turns the client’s email into an actionable to-do list.

When you forward from your email, the subject line becomes the card’s title in Trello. The body of the email is then the card’s description, and any attachments in the email are automatically added to the card (this includes photos).

If you want to get really fancy, you can also use labels, too. In the subject line, add #labelname. Replace with whatever your label is, for example #NewYogaClients. Instead of joining the words together, you can do underscores, too, i.e. #New_Yoga_Clients.

You can add members in the subject line as well. Simply type @username (replace username with the name of the team member).

And if that isn’t enough to increase your email-to-Trello productivity, you can even email to specific cards. To find the email for a specific card, select the card and then go to “Share and more…” You’ll find the card-specific email address. Keep in mind that emails sent to this card will appear as a comment from you.


Add Images to Your Trello Cards for Easy Reference

Image Courtesy of Trello

You can attach an image to your Trello cards to share with your clients or your team, or just as an easy reference when you don’t want to sort through your files.

What’s even better is you can simply drag and drop your image right onto the Trello card.

Format your Text in Trello

One of my favorite ways to customize Trello is through stylized text. You can add italics, bold text, links, crossed out texts, codes, and more.

Trello uses Markdown syntax. This allows you to add interest into otherwise monotone text. Here’s an example of what you can do from the Trello site itself:

Image Courtesy of Trello


Embed images, insert bulleted lists, add bold header titles, and more. Lots more.


Over to You

Do you use Trello and have a productivity hack that I’ve missed? I’d love to hear it. Share it in the comments below!


Here’s a collection of interesting and inventive ways to use Trello. Subscribe to receive this extra resource.



Oh! And I'll send you a FREE Tech Toolkit as a thank you :)