Try This: Trello

Up until last week, I kept my to-do list in Google Docs along with my grocery list and ideas for tweets. But then I was introduced to Trello, and that all changed.

The pitch:

Trello is a free, cross-platform application that helps you organize your life. It’s a cross between a to-do list scribbled on a napkin and a Pinterest board. It’s great for collaborating on a project with coworkers, putting together a wish-list for remodeling your kitchen, planning a vacation, or making a Netflix to-watch list.

Screen Shot 2015-09-04 at 1.00.03 PM

The basics:

You create boards, each of which can either be private, public, or shared with certain people. Each board has one or more lists. Every item on the list is called a “card”. If you click on a card, you or any of your collaborators can add a comment.

For example, your “Office To-Do” board can have a separate list for things you need to have done by the end of the day, week, and month. If you have a card for “Call Fred,” you can comment on the card with Fred’s phone number and the times of day he’s available.

On the surface, Trello can just be a simple place to keep all your lists. But it has the power to be much more than that!

Screen Shot 2015-09-04 at 1.05.51 PM

The frills:

Cards can carry more than comments. Each card can also have a checklist, a colored label, and an attachment. Checklists are great for tasks that have multiple steps; labels can work for marking the urgency of an item or assigning the task to a team member; and, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

There are also advanced features, called “power ups,” which allow you vote on cards, see a calendar with due dates, or make the cards fade over time.

Ready to dive in? Here’s a board of templates you can use to get started.