Trello, project management tool, screenshot

Easy Project Management with Trello

Trello offers an easy to use project management tool that is not only easy and fun to use, it is beautifully visual, encourages collaboration and is intuitive to understand at first glance.

Web Based Project Management Application
Trello is a free web-based project management system application that is available on iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows 8, and web browsers.

Visual Thinking
Trello is the greatest project management tool for visual thinkers. Trello is a project management tool that emulates a board with sticky notes on a wall or notecards on a cork board. It is a highly visual organizational tool to manage the process of completing a project. The project’s lifecycle is easily managed between tasks and milestones to provide a bird’s eye view of the work process.

Kanban Style Format
Boards are the essential collaboration tools that allows you to organize each individual project in a kanban style format. The kanban style or method, for managing work, prioritizes delivery at appropriate times to alleviate overload of information by people assigned to a given project. This process defines the task as it moves through the work process until it’s completion or delivery to customers. The purpose of Trello is to display the process in all it’s steps in the kanban style. Team members pull work from the assigned cards. In essence, Trello and the kanban system tells members what to produce, when to produce it and how much to produce.

Layered System
The layout is a layered system. First you create organizations, then you create a board for each project, on each board, you can create lists, within the lists you create cards. The board is set-up with columns across the top horizontally and cards making up the lists going down the columns vertically. As mentioned above, it is reminiscent of a cork board with cards pinned under different headings. The cards can be dragged to the appropriate columns when they are completed.

Lists and Cards
As mentioned, you organize the board by columns horizontally that are called lists so that you can get an overview of the project’s process and then add cards vertically within the lists that you can move across the columns. The cards can contain checklists, colored labels, images and attachments. Each card can be assigned to different people and files can be attached that are important to the project. In addition, each card can be moved, copied, subscribed to or archived.

Reasons for using Trello

1.) It keeps things neat and organized if you have a separate board for each project

2.) It’s easy to move between projects with the menu at the top of the Trello screen

3.) You can move cards easily from list to list (column), for instance if you follow the “To do”, “Doing”, and “Done” lists you can move cards easily as you progess

4.) You can manage running conversations almost like an email chain in an easily viewed and understandable format

5.) You will get notifications for new activity which eliminates the need for checking Trello throughout the day

6.) You can upload attachments from Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, Computer, OneDrive

7.) Simplicity is an overriding factor for some when choosing a project management tool

8.) Built for easy collaboration

Client Projects
Trello is an effective way to handle client projects. Creating a board for every client project eases the communication flow when going through various stages of the work process. It is easy to assign tasks and allow the client the view of the project in process and who is performing what task. There is also an efficiency of time due to the fact that the team spends less time checking in.

Personal Projects
Trello can be used for personal projects, keeping track of family priorities, small business assignments, art projects, daily tasks, lesson plans, hobbies etc…

Workflow
It is also a place to brainstorm, re-organize, prioritize and plan out the visual landscape of a project. The basic principles of using the system are to visualize the workflow, limit the amount of tasks in the “in progress” column, pull completed work from column to column as completed and finally and most importantly, monitor, adapt and improve.

Integrations
Trello is simple in design but can be integrated with hundreds of applications including gmail, Evernote, Sunrise Calendar, Twitter, Salesforce, Google Drive, Zapier and IFTTT.

Inspirational Examples

-Weddings, Baby and Bridal Showers, Anniversary and Birthday Parties can be planned easily with boards that use lists that detail timing such as 12-months out, 6-months out, 3-months out, 1-month out, 2-weeks out.

-Vacations can be planned easily with Trello boards to research different destination options, to dos before trip, itinerary, restaurant research, historical site research, planning, packing, etc…

-Recipe Organization can include lists for meal planning, recipe collection and grocery store strategies

-Job search can be organized with boards that list preparation, open positions, companies, interviews and follow-ups

-Home renovations can be planned with family members to interview contractors, schedule prep work, materials, design ideas, communicate thoroughly and coordinate schedules

-Editorial calendars can be created to write blogs, books, articles social media content or writing portfolios.

Pricing
Trello’s basic plan for individuals is free. The Business plan is $100 per year/per user and the Enterprise pricing is $250 per year for multiple teams.

Summary
As you can see the possibilities for managing projects are endless with this phenomenal tools at hand. The visual nature makes this tool beautiful to use. It’s simplicity for use with teams or individually is a major selling point. The integrations with other applications ensures that you can really create a robust project management tool. Create your first board today and begin the journey to easy project management. Click here to try Trello!

Written by:
Yolanda Ortega

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Evernote for New Entrepreneurs

Evernote is a Time Saver

2015 brought me the opportunity to start-up a small business.  I have a myriad of information to deal with from classes on “How to Write a Business Plan” to tips on networking or ideas for the business.  I have been deluged with information and ideas.  This is a good thing.  I had read about Evernote a few years back but never felt the need to explore simply because, I had a tried and true system of organization all in my head.  Well now I’m almost 47 and the memory is not as good as it used to be, so it is fitting that the Evernote logo is an elephant that never forgets.

I’ve been using Evernote and have discovered that it has been invaluable to me thus far, and I can only see it getting better in terms of organizing ideas and projects.  I share these tips for any small business owner to get started.

First let me explain.  My system of collecting information on the internet or links, pdfs, random notes, random thoughts, meeting notes, etc… was almost non-existent.  I would save web clippings in a bookmark file on my  bookmark bar.  I would use yellow pads and notebooks to keep the random notes and thoughts as well as meeting notes together. Pdfs would be saved to a file on my desktop.  All that is over.  I have one central location to put all these things.  Here are my tips for getting started.

Organize

First I set-up the Evernote Web accounts on my laptop, tablet and cell phone since you can use each tool to collect data including camera, web clippings, email, pdfs, voice recordings, handwritten notes, etc…

Set-Up

I basically spent some time setting up all of my notebooks where you will put the individual notes that you create or that are links, pdfs emails, pictures, scans, etc….  The word notebook appears on the left side of the screen, right click then click new notebook.

You can also create a stack which is sort of like a suitcase to save all your related notebooks.  Example all of the notebooks related to my business operations can be in one stack.  All of my blog notebooks can be in another stack.  So the hierarchy that I customized for my own life:

  • My Business (Stack)
    • Financial (Notebook)
      • Bank loan (Note: note, article, pdf, link, email, scan, picture)
      • Bank account (Note: note, article, pdf, link, email, scan, picture)
    • Operations (Notebook)
      • Staffing outline  (Note: note, article, pdf, link, email, scan, picture)
      • Meeting (Note: note, article, pdf, link, email, scan, picture)
  • Blog (Stack)
    • Instagram Blog (Notebook)
      • Article about Instagram (Note: note, article, pdf, link, email, scan, picture)
      • picture of Instagram (Note: note, article, pdf, link, email, scan, picture)
      • web clipping re: Instagram (Note: note, article, pdf, link, email, scan, picture)

As you can see it is an easy organization system that anyone can set-up.  Customize in your own way for your own projects.

Notes

Create notes clicking the large button on the top of the page marked +New Note.  Begin to create notes and organized them by clicking the dropdown menu to choose the notebook.  This is the way to save the notes that you type.  Then type the tags that you would like to include.

Tagging

Tagging is an important component when using notes.  They allow you to organize your notes on another level than just the Stack, Notebook, Note method.  I tag with all the keywords in the article or elements of a picture so that I can easily search for notes.

Automate

Next take the time to automate some of the functions of Evernote.  I use IFTTT to have gmails that are starred to go directly to a notebook.  There are also IFTTT recipes that allow you to save pictures from FB, Instagram, Twitter or almost any social media channel automatically to a notebook.  The IFTTT recipes with Evernote are a long list automating would be beneficial to save time.

Web Clipper

My favorite tool with Evernote is the Web Clipper an extension for your browser or a widget for your mobile device.  I can scan articles then I can save the link or screenshot to an Evernote notebook.

Another favorite thing I can do with Evernote is create lists with check boxes.  Just click the box on the toolbar that looks like a box with a check mark to place the check boxes in your note.  And get your checkboxes immediately.  It’s nifty little time saver and can eliminate your paper to do list.

Sharing

This brings me to the next great tool within Evernote that you can use which is the collaboration tools.  You can click the Share button within a note and send your note via Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Email or create a link that you can send to a person or group.

Mobile

Evernote for your mobile device is the most handy tool of them all.  As a small business owner, I collect a lot of pictures and voice recording as well as random ideas for blogs and services.  First I downloaded the apps for Evernote on my devices.  Then, I easily shared them with my Evernote notebooks using the widget on my phone just choose share on any picture or recording and click the Evernote icon.  It sends directly to my Evernote.

Paperless

Evernote has allowed me the ability to go paperless in this delicate world.  In addition, this has caused less paper clutter in my life.  I really love this app and have only just begun to discover it’s uses in my life.  Here are some ideas for you:

  • Create outlines
  • Create to do lists
  • Take notes while learning a new skill
  • Record ideas and save in a central location
  • Keep copies of paper, receipts, reports, pdfs, important docs
  • Organize research
  • Record meetings
  • Save children’s artwork
  • Save certificates
  • Save coupons
  • Collect social media updates (automate with IFTTT)

Evernote for Small Business

Evernote has been one of my important discovery thus far as a business owner.  I find that I am more organized than ever because of this tool.  I know I will use this tool far into the future for keeping every project or life task organized.  I am able to do everything to date with the free version of Evernote.  This is a tool I highly recommend for use for any business owner trying to track their projects or ideas.

Written by 
Yolanda Ortega