Organizing Time With Trello

It’s pretty rare I find a tool that I continue using over a week. I can almost plot my enthusiasm for a new app on a graph; I go from excited to evangelical to blasé within the space of a few days. Fortunately I’ve recognised this pattern and I try not to tell others about new apps until at least two weeks have passed. So much so, it has taken me a month to start writing this post on Trello: an app I’ve been using every day since my office-mates at Codeworks first introduced us to it.

What is Trello?

Trello describes itself as a ‘web based project management application’, but actually it’s far simpler than that and so much better for it. Trello is a web-based to do list with a very logical linear flow. If you’re familiar with Agile then you will get the idea pretty quickly, but even if you’re not, the beauty of Trello is that there is hardly any learning curve.

The premise is easy: you write tasks on cards (sounds familiar, SCRUM guys?), and attach them to lists. By default there are three lists: To Do, Doing & Done, but you can create as many or as few as you like. Moving cards from one list to another is as simple as drag’n’drop.

How come this one stuck when others haven’t?

Despite being a geek, I have pretty much always written lists by hand. In my opinion, if you have to think about the way you organise tasks within an app, it’s already too difficult and it won’t work.

Until Trello there was only one app I would use for all Applingua’s projects both external and internal: The Hit List. The Hit List is a small Mac app where you just press Enter, start typing your task and press Enter again to complete. It’s so simple, you hardly have to pause your workflow to enter todos.

But then I employed Sarah and it quickly became apparent that we needed to share tasks. Trello is as easy as The Hit List, but it’s constantly online and updates live (think Google Docs). You can also assign and notify people of tasks by dragging and dropping their avatar to a card. It works perfectly as a simple to do list and helps us keep track of what each other are working on.

Scratch beneath the surface however and you’ll find a great many features that make this a little todo list a real powerhouse. You can vote up tasks for example, or add comments directly to a card. You can attach files behind the scenes, add checklists and set due dates. You can even share tasks outside of your organisation.

Trello is now our daily go-to. It’s always open, either in a browser window or via their native iOS app. We have a board for each “department” of Applingua: marketing, sales, admin, etc and I’ll soon be moving all our client projects over too.

How much is it?

Well this part’s easy: it’s free. Trello is 100% free. Yep. I presume one day they’ll start charging for premium services, but if you read their current take on pricing, it looks like it’s going to be free for quite a while yet.

Want to know more?

I highly recommend watching this 7 minute video and you’ll know Trello literally inside out. It’s so simple:

Robert Lo Bue

Rob is CEO of Applingua. With over a decade's experience, he is at the forefront of tech localization.