How I’m Getting Things Done with Trello

For context, you’ll want to read Getting Things Done: Tools, Practices, & Principles and Say hello to Trello, a new tool to organize your life and ministry

I have a “team” in Trello called Trusted System. Within that team I have six boards:

  • Next
  • Projects
  • Tickler
  • Someday/Maybe
  • Reference Lists
  • Horizons & Areas of Focus


My Next board has four lists of cards:

  • Inbox – for throwing stuff in as go throughout my day
  • Waiting for  – anything that needs to get done ASAP but I’m still waiting on someone else’s action (reply to an email, etc)
  • Next – Stand alone physical next actions ( for example “move bookshelf from living room to hall nook”)
  • Agendas – One card containing a list of things to talk about, per person need. There’s always agenda cards for my wife, bishop, associate pastor, administrative assistant, plus a few others as needed.

I use Trello color-coded “labels” for contexts. My contexts are:

  • Home
  • DMAC (the church I pastor)
  • Read
  • Phone
  • Errands
  • Anywhere
  • Laptop


My Projects board contains anything that that requires more than one physical next action. As I review this board every week, I add physical next actions to my next board. I have two lists on this one:

  • Current – Projects that are active
  • Pending/Delegated – Similar to “Waiting for” on my Next board.

Reference Lists

This is a pretty flexible board that just contains any lists I need on regular basis for reference. Mostly just packing lists as this point.

Someday Maybe

My Someday Maybe board has six boards, each with stuff I’d like to do eventually, but are not at all pressing. As I review this I move these things to the appropriate places on my Projects or Next boards. My lists are:

  • Personal Projects
  • DMAC (the church I pastor)
  • Writing
  • Stuff to buy
  • Home & Family


This functions as a complement to my physical tickler file and my digital calendar. It is made of four lists:

  • January – March
  • April – June
  • July – September
  • October – December

As I go through the year I drag the current quarter to the left so it’s always the first one I see. I use this to put date-specific reminders, files/confirmation numbers I’ll need etc.  This is for stuff that needs to happen around a certain date/month, but is not set in stone. So “schedule eye exam – January” I’ll just throw in January-March. When I review this board, I’ll move stuff to the appropriate place as needed: Projects, Next, or my calendar.

Horizons & Areas of Focus

This board is made up five lists. The first list is Mission and Core Values. The first card contains my personal mission statement:

“Help others discover and grow in the great love of God.”

Below that I have a card for each of my core values:

  • Spirituality
  • Family
  • Fellowship
  • Fun
  • Service
  • Stewardship
  • Creativity
  • Rest

In each of those cards I have a list of core habits I try to cultivate. So in the “Stewardship” card I have:

  • Spend less than I make
  • Exercise at least 3 times per week
  • Review calendar weekly

The other lists are “areas of focus” or “spheres of life.”

  • Husband
  • Father
  • Parish Priest
  • Musician

Each of those lists has four cards:

  • Desires – Specific ideas of what I want to be like in these areas
  • Actions – Concrete ways to move toward the vision (no more than 3 at a time)
  • Challenges – Thinking ahead to possible obstacles
  • Vision – A description of  the big-picture “end result” in each of these areas

Why I observe Lent

I had been in an emotional and spiritual struggle for years, processing how the Body of Christ could be so defined, so marked, by division, quarrels, and willful ignorance of each other. My spiritual journey had led me right into the middle of some of those painful internal wars, and I hadn’t escaped without getting hurt. Read More

How to win spiritual battles

In Paul’s ending to his letter to the Ephesians, he talks about how to defeat the powers of evil and darkness. We have take up the whole armor of God.

We have to take it up. Surely the armor of God is a gift, and we would have any of it without God, but Paul says we have to take some initiative. We have appropriate it, practice it, put in on. We have to make the choices to accept the gifts of protection that God has given.

And it’s no coincidence that the metaphor here is a full set of armor, each piece designed to work with the others. Each item is crucial, and with out even one, the whole solider would be compromised. That’s why he says take up the whole armor.

So what is the whole armor of God? Let’s survey these briefly in the order they appear: Read More

Who are you fighting?

In Paul’s famous passage in Ephesians 6:10-20 on the armor of God, he makes a big deal about letting us know who we’re really fighting when it comes to the battles of the Christian life.

So who are we up against? This is crucial. You’ve got to know your enemy to be able to fight them effectively. Paul tells us that our struggle is not against flesh and blood (by which he means human beings) but rather “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

Spiritual forces of evil, people. In other words, the devil and his demons. In our hyper naturalistic culture this kind of language seems pretty strange, but there’s no way to get around what Paul is saying here. If he’s right (and I believe he is), there are forces at work beyond that which is immediately visible to us.

This has important implications.

It means that as we look at the world, the things we perceive as our enemies are not in an ultimate sense what we are fighting.

It means that ISIS is not ultimately our enemy. Politicians and presidents are not ultimately our enemies.

These are pawns only of greater, spiritual powers that desire violence and oppression not only for Christians, but for anyone they bring under their influence.

I say this because we give much attention to to the terrorists and the kings of this world, but if we only ever deal with the pawns, solving earthly problems with earthly means we will not make significant headway against the evil powers and principalities of the spiritual realm.

What Paul is saying here is that you have to take the battle past what you can see…and start fighting even the things you can’t see. 

Stay tuned for more.