Say hello to Trello, a new tool to organize your life and ministry

Think of Trello as note cards on digital steroids. I tend to resist new organizational tools these days, but when I started digging into this one, I was hooked. This could be a game changer for me.

Old-school organization

Trello is based on an old Japanese process for managing projects and workflows called Kanban. You are probably familiar with the basic idea in the form of sticky notes arranged in columns on a whiteboard. As items on the sticky notes move through a process, you would transfer them from column to column to indicate progress.

Trello duplicates this basic functionality beautifully on the web and via mobile apps.

The astonishing thing about Trello is that if you wanted to, you could keep things this simple and never skip a beat. There is no learning curve.

Create a new board, make a couple columns (“lists” in Trello) and start moving simple cards around. All the advantages of the notes/whiteboard combo (visual, flexible, creative) with virtually none of the drawbacks (cumbersome, limited, messy).

Digital-Age implementation

Trello takes it to the next level in two key areas: supercharged notes (“cards”) and collaboration.

Trello “cards” can be anything from simple text items, to checklists, to rich multimedia. This means your Trello boards can be used for virtually anything from simple shopping lists to Pinterest-style galleries to semi-automated workflows and software development.

Cards, lists, and boards can all be collaborated on in real time and shared with multiple people. Your whole team can contribute to boards, and you can control was various members are able to see and edit.

The way that Trello manages to maintain a simple feel and genuine ease of use is nothing short of a feat of user-interface design.

An innovative ministry-management tool

The applications of this simple yet robust organizational tool are limited only by your imagination. Possible applications of Trello for ministry include:

  • Tracking volunteers
  • Developing program ideas
  • Planning sermons
  • Collaborating on events
  • Creating liturgies
  • Collecting audio/visual inspiration

Reservations

I’m excited and enthusiastic about Trello, and I think it could change the way I manage both personal and professional projects. That said, it’s a fairly new service and I’ve only been using it a few days, so we’ll see how I feel in a couple months! One feature I’d love to see the developers add right away is offline support for mobile. Right now you have to have an internet connection to see and edit your boards. Honestly, I haven’t found much else to complain about.

Learn Trello fast

At first, I saw Trello as primarily a list of lists. Trello Dojo by Daniel Root is short ebook that helped me to grasp how it could be used to design workflows and track projects. I also learned a ton of tips, tricks, and advanced features for making the very most of my Trello boards. If you end up buying a copy of Trello Dojo, I’ll get a kickback on the sale that will help keep the lights on around here.

(For more info see https://leanpub.com/affiliates. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials.” Nathan R. Hale is a Member of the Leanpub Affiliate Program.)

Final point: it’s free!

Practically every feature on Trello is totally free (another reason to love it). That said, if you sign up with this link, I’ll get some premium features like the ability to upload my own backgrounds, etc, which will be awesome!

How can you see yourself using Trello to organize your life and ministry?

8 thoughts on “Say hello to Trello, a new tool to organize your life and ministry

  1. I’ve seen trello mentioned a few times by people and it looks an interesting app. I really like your ideas for ministry and the multimedia aspect is really great. .. But it just doesn’t grab me! I’m not sure why. Dies or have cross platform support? Can you add other people to tasks?

      1. Hummmmmmm maybe I should check it out again…I really like my current tool set of omnifocus and Evernote but I now that I need more collaborative tools soon. I’m not sure I like the “all in one” approach though… Plus I’m wary of always looking for a new tool to do a task a little but better… So in summary it sounds interesting but It’s not enough to push me to it.
        (Well deciphered the autocorrect error there!)

      2. Funny thing, I just checked out my todo list (I didn’t look at it during my holiday) and I had put “Check out trello” on my todo list before I saw your post! Maybe I *should* check it out…

      3. I checked it out and I am giving it a spin. The more visual the better for me. What I like about Symphonical and Trello is the ability to visually track tasks/projects through a process leading to accomplishment. I like the organizations feature. I have personal boards, WellSpirit boards, and Family boards

  2. I have used a similar tool called Symphonical (www.symphonical.com). It is very flexible in the number of boards and how they can be structured. You can share and collaborate on boards as well. The concept can be helpful in tracking workflows. The basic product is free with upgrades to a personal dashboard, calendar synchronization, and no ads for $4.99 per month. I’ve used the free version. I’ll check out Trello too.

  3. Great site!

    Trello is a great tool. It’s perfect for light levels of task management. I do however think it breaks down a bit when you really try to use it for GTD style task management. Where you have 50 to 150 projects going on at any one time. If you are that kind of user, I would suggest taking a look at http://GTDNext.com where you will have next actions lists that just show the next action for any one project and loads of tools to help you slice and dice your task list down to just the actions you should be looking at now.

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