360XQ Day 24: Trello
I cannot say enough good things about Trello. It’s become my planner, my to-do list, my freelance project center, and my theatre event management tool. It helps me stay organized, both or my personal projects and my collaborations. It’s simple, yet full of helpful features. And it’s real pretty.
What is it?
Trello is a digital version of a Kanban board. In its most basic form, it’s a simple way to visually break down tasks into three categories: To Do, Doing, Done. You make a single card for every task you need to complete, and you first put them in the To Do column. As you make progress, you move them through Doing and Done.
The Kanban method is most well-known as part of the much-admired Toyota Production System. If you want to know more about how Toyota taught the USA how to up their car-making game, check out This American Life #403.
You can stick with the simple three-column system noted above and call it a day, if you like. In that case, you just move each task through the columns until each task is complete, helping you track your progress.
Or you can do a whole lot more.
It’s pretty much limitless in terms of how you decide to customize it for your own use. You can have as few or as many columns as you like. For each card, you can set due dates, assign tasks to people on your team, use color-coding, include links and attachments, add checklists…I could go on and on.
Here’s the board I’m using to track my projects during my residency. It’s a super simple one.
But there’s all sorts of other ways I use it.
I create a board for each of my freelance clients, and track my assignments. I’m able to set reminder to follow-up on feedback, hit my deadlines, and just generally keep my head on straight.
Running a theatre collective is an insane thing to do. Not only can I keep better track of my various day-to-day duties, I can share boards with my co-producers and cut way down on redundancy and convoluted email threads.
I hate spreadsheets. I’d rather set things up here, where I can better follow where I need to send my scripts, when they’re due, what materials need to be included, which submissions are complete, and which ones I’ve heard back from.
Oh, and you can archive cards to get them out of sight, which is really useful for all the rejected submissions…
And so on and so forth
I could talk all day about how useful this thing is. Fortunately for you, and for me, Trello has a great blog. They perpetually show off new ways to use it, and unveil new time-saving tricks, so I’ll refer you there.
Once again, I'm not getting paid for this, and once again, I am a fool.