This blog post is more of a description of how Trello helps me manage my life. If you want a more in depth training on actually setting up and using Trello for yourself, I've included the link to the video training I put together (it's free) and it's at the end of this post :)
What My Life Looks Like
For those of you who might be kinda new here, I have four kids. They are 8, 6, 4, and 2 years old. My husband Brian and I homeschool the first three (Emmett just colors and pretends to be a part of it), and I own my own business based on this website. I’m CEO and president of creative content and Brian is CFO and vice president of media. I also co-own The Purposeful Home Podcast.
Brian and I recently ditched the whole 9-5 job, house in the suburbs thing and are currently traveling full-time in our renovated camper. This means our family of six lives in a space smaller than the average kitchen, and that space is not only our home, but our school and our office.
Yeah. We have a lot going on.
I get asked a lot of questions about my personal life, and the one that is probably more common than any of them is, “How do you do it?!” It’s usually coupled with a face of shock mixed with a little stress.
Honestly, I don't do everything all the time. Something is always thriving and something is always needing a little more of my focus - that's just life.
But in short, here’s how I do all that I have going on:
And I’d have to give a shoutout to my noise-canceling headphones. They my boo.
This post is all about number three - Trello. Because the truth is, I absolutely could not run my business, my homeschool, or my life in the smooth way that I do without it.
And you should know before we even get started - this is NOT a sponsored post. Trello has no idea who I am as far as I know, and they have no idea I’m writing this. I don’t do sponsorships, I only share what I truly love with you guys. That’s how this blogger rolls.
The Big Picture
So listen. I believe that I am called to a purpose. Part of that purpose is to raise my babies to be world-changers. The other part of that purpose is to spread the message of abundant life and simpler living to my fellow women - that’s my job, and I love it. The thing is, I can’t do either of those things well if I don’t have some kind of plan in front of me. It has to be visible, I need to be able to pull it up and see it on a regular basis.
Usually, I’m a pen and paper kinda girl, but there is so much that needs to be written down and so many changes I need to make all the time, that it just has to be digital. Otherwise I’d end up with pencil eraser remnants coating my floor and my planner would look disgusting. We can’t have that.
Organizing and scheduling everything out goes against my DNA. Although I feel the need to know what’s coming next in life, I like to be spontaneous and untied day-to-day - free to pack up the kids and head to Disneyland at a moment’s notice, but the life God has led me into requires some structure in order to live well, and so, I Trello. And yes, I am officially making that a verb.
I Trello because with four kids and a husband who is always home with me (and schooling with me, and working with me, and cooking with me…) I am always being talked to, interrupted, and distracted. Literally nothing would get done if I didn’t have Trello to reference.
My Typical Day
So to give you an idea of what I do day-to-day and what I’m working with (so you can see and compare and figure out how you want to use Trello in your own life), let me tell you what a typical day looks like for me. Keep in mind there aren’t really a lot of days in a row that look the same for me. “Typical” is very fluid here.
I usually wake up between 4:30 and 5:30 in the morning. 4:30 if we have plans in the afternoon and I have a lot of work to do, 5:30 on most normal days. I believe that if something is important and needs to be done during the day, then it needs to be done first, otherwise life happens and kids happen and it usually ends up not happening, and I don’t like who I am under that kind of stress. And so, I wake early. I usually have my quiet prayer time, exercise, and accomplish my most important work tasks, like writing. It’s quiet, it’s still dark, and I can give the most crucial tasks of the day my full attention (thank you, coffee).
If you want more helpful information on how I wake up early and get stuff done, click here.
The kids know that breakfast is around 7:30 and they aren’t allowed to get out of bed and go crazy until then (except for using the potty of course). At that time we all make breakfast and start our day. Brian usually works after breakfast (he mostly does editing and video work, so he can do it right in the midst of our chaos - lucky) while I start on the homeschooling, and after lunch (11:30-ish) we switch. I accomplish a little more work and he takes over the schooling. The rest of the day is up for grabs. Naptime is involved and sometimes errands or something fun, usually outdoors. The kids go to bed at 7:30 most nights and Brian and I follow around 10.
The problem before Trello was that I would always drop the ball on exactly what work needed to be done during my work times during the day. With my life, I couldn’t remember that I was supposed to schedule the social media content for the next day and plan the photo shoot for next week’s blog post. I would forget where we were at in our homeschool and wasn’t keeping track of the kids’ progress. I was totally scattered.
Trello is my secret weapon for life management. I can’t say enough about it!
I use Trello to organize my personal life, plan out my blog content, work tasks, homeschooling, everything. I have a board titled My Week in which I store all my tasks.
It doesn’t matter if it’s for the podcast, the blog, homeschooling, working out, or running errands - if it has to be done by me, it’s scheduled into my week in Trello. I check this board every single day, multiple times (Trello is a web-based program as well as a smartphone app for on-the-go use). If something is an actual event (like a meeting, speaking engagement, flight, coffee date, etc) it goes on my calendar (I use Google), but Trello holds my heart when it comes to task management.
I also have a board called My Month where I store my themes for each week of the month. I am all about batching my work in order to be more productive (to learn more about this concept, read this) and theming my weeks my task really helps me do that.
The first week of the month is for media work (this is mostly Brian, but I help with the creative aspect of it and am always the one IN the photos and videos), the second week is when I hit reset and just take a break and get some fresh ideas, the third week is for planning new content and getting all my new ideas out on paper (or Trello), and the fourth week is always for taking action and actually writing my content for the entire next month.
I have labels in place so I know which business each task is for (pink means it’s for the podcast), so I don’t have to write that out each time. Trello thought of everything!
I also have a board for running The Purposeful Home Podcast. Kelsey and I collaborate on this throughout the week and then meet up online three times a month to record episodes and have a monthly business meeting.
One of the boards that really help a lot is my homeschool board. Our school is called The Arrow Academy, so that’s what my board is titled :)
I use the labels in this board to distinguish between each student so I’m not writing their names on every single card.
I created a video to really show you how I use Trello and how to set it up, because photos don’t really do the job and I want you to be able to take this action in your own life.
If you want a more in depth training on actually setting up and using Trello for yourself, I've included the link to the video training I put together (it's free) and it's at the end of this post :)
How Trello Works
Trello is made up of boards, lists and cards. So my Editorial Calendar board is its own separate page on Trello. When I have it open, none of the other boards are open. Same goes for all other boards.
Each board is made up of lists, and each list has cards underneath it - how many lists and cards there are in each board depends on how many you create.
Every card has a front and a back. The front is what you see when you’re looking at your board as a whole, and the back is what you see when you click on a card.
The back of the card is where all of Trello’s best features live. On the back of each card you can assign it a color label, create a checklist for accomplishing this particular task, set a due date for it, add a photo or file, tag another person in it, and other stuff like syncing with DropBox and Google Drive.
Let’s pretend we’re creating a new board with lists and cards right now. Say I’m taking on a big project - renovating a vintage camper - and I want to organize the tasks of that project with Trello. I’d start a new board titled Camper Renovation, then I’d start a few lists.
Let’s say list #1 is all about repairs. List #2 is all about interior remodeling. List #3 is all about decorating. And list #4 is where I’ll keep my timeline for the entirety of this project.
Underneath each list I will create cards. Cards are meant to be more specific for single tasks. So for example, I wouldn’t write “remove mold, replace panels, & paint ceiling” on the front of a card.
Instead, I’d make a card that says Water Damage Repairs and then on the back of the card, write out remove mold, replace panels, & paint ceiling because those are the details of accomplishing that task.
I could also just give each one of those three tasks its own card and then have the task breakdown for each one on the back of each card.
Trello can be overwhelming because it’s all what you make it and how you set it up. There aren’t a lot of boundaries or pre-set ways to use it. Don’t let that intimidate you because it’s an awesome perk and one of the reasons Trello is so awesome!
** Trello also has a mobile app that lets you set up notifications so you can be reminded of all you have going on while you're not on the computer. Two thumbs way up.