How to use Trello to tame your to-do list.

Part of the stress of having too much to do is, in fact, remembering what needs to happen and when it needs to happen.

Can you easily put your finger on your priority tasks? Maybe you have the habit of forgetting things, when a “Oh, I mustn’t forget to do that” thought pops into your head, right in the middle of a clinic?
If you are the kind of person who has Post-it notes falling like confetti out of your diary or off the screen, or, if like me (in my previous life) you prefer to stick them all over your desktop screen, obscuring the ‘finder’ button, then, are you thinking, maybe it’s time to switch to a digital tool?

Why not try Trello?

Trello is an online app which you can access from your computer desktop (mac or pc) and on other devices, such as your Smart phone or tablet. It allows you to store ‘To Do’s’, thoughts and pretty much anything in your head, in a manner of which allows you organise it all in a simple, rational way.

This is all thanks to their system for recording your thoughts and tasks, (they call “cards”) designed to simply move around and stick into different places (they call “boards”) – just like you would do with a Post-it note.

Trello lets you organise cards into a meaningful system by allowing you to place them onto ‘boards’. Trello’s basic version is free to use, and you may never need to upgrade to the so-called ‘business class’ version.

To use it, open up a browser and go to, signup, add a few details to your profile and you are good to go.

The first time you do this, it’s probably best to sit at a desktop, although it’s perfectly feasible to do this all in one go from your Smart phone.

First, let’s create a board…

Add a title to your board and chose a background to go with to differentiate it from other future boards.

You can either use a colour swatch or a photo, and they provide some of these for free. For instance, let’s imagine I’m helping my Ninja clients write their cookies policy, I can then create a board that houses all of those policies and anything relating to this process.

Next, create a card.

For instance, I might decide to use a card to work on activities pertaining to an individual client (e.g. grinding out that cookies policy with them). So, in the ‘To-Do’ section on my board, I’m going to add a card.

You can name the card but if you also click the little three dots and the bottom of the card you are creating, you will find an option to create labels.

Labels are like little visual tags and are another way to spot at a glance, what the card relates to.

I have created one here which is in orange and I’ve called it ‘Ninja Client’. That means that I know that card corresponds to a Ninja Client, as opposed to something I might want to remind myself to research or purchase.

Once I’ve have made my card, I then decide when I’m going to action the task related to it. Is it sitting in my still ‘To Do’ list, or am I going to get cracking right away, and pop it into the ‘Doing’ list? This just like a digital countdown and it’s really satisfying to then pass it into the ‘Done’ list. Sweet.

Use your ‘To Do’ section of the board to brain dump everything you might need to remember that relates to that particular project area.

Not only can you load up Trello to your smartphone or tablet but, you can also email yourself a link to a particular board.

So, if there is something that you specifically want to be working on in terms of tasks, and you are not at your usual desktop, this can be quite useful. This is how it would open up in your email inbox:

Remember: In theory, anyone can gain access to your Trello board, were they to click on the link, so whilst it might be useful to share it with somebody if you need to check with them about something, make sure you don’t share it around publicly (obvs).

If your card is looking a little bland, you can jazz it up with some stickers (So, I like pink rockets ?? – who doesn’t?)

So, what do you do with the card, once you have created it?

If you click on a card, you will see a screen pops open to show you where you can add thoughts, ideas instructions and add files pertaining to that card.

Here I have added a couple of lines of text and attached a pdf. On the right-hand side, you will see other options under the ‘Add’ section.

For example, I might want to ‘Add’ a ‘Due Date’ for that task to be completed by.

If I then click on the calendar button at the top board on the right-hand side near the menu button, it will then open up a calendar view and my task will be entered in it.

If I go back to the board I’ve been working on, I’ll then see on the card that there is a paper clip to show there’s an attachment linked to the card, and a date that tells me when the task is due.

It will then open up a calendar view, with my card (task) listed in it:

Trello’s free version has its own calendar, but you can get it to sync with an Outlook account, Office 365, or Exchange accounts relating to 2013 through to 2016.

  Here is how to set it up for an Office 365 account…

I go into my Office account and I find the ‘settings’ cog wheel. Under that, there should be a drop down that says ‘manage connectors’, and then it will give you the option of adding a Trello connection to your email account.

Running your own Private Practice can mean spinning many plates, all at the same time. Anything that can relieve the additional worry of planning and organising your tasks is a bonus, so that you can relax and focus on growing your Private Practice.

I reckon it takes around one hour to set up and get good at Trello, link it to your calendar and brain dumping all of that stuff you need to shake out of your head.


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