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.

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

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

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

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

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

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!


Originally published at embolden.co on April 13, 2016.