It’s no secret that, as small business owners, we have A LOT to keep track of. We often get asked how we organize all of our tasks and keep everything straight, so we thought we’d introduce you to one of our favorite tools: our virtual to-do list, Trello.

Trello is our go-to hub for task management and organization. For us, it’s so much more effective than paper to-do lists and other systems we’ve tried in the past –– and the best part is that it’s completely free! * Three cheers for helpful tools that are free!

We thought the most helpful way to explain how we use it (and why we love it) was to walk you through setting it up step by step so you can see how it works. So here’s how to use Trello for your business:

Step 1: Create a Free Trello Account


Step 2: Create a “Board” for You (and Each Person on Your Team)

We each have our own board, one for Amy’s tasks and another for Jordan’s. (If you work alone, you’ll only need one board!) If you work with another person or a team, create a board for each person. That way, you keep things clean and organized and allow each person on the team to focus solely on his or her tasks. The nice part about this feature is you can easily share and send task cards from one person to another with the click of a button! Note: Your team doesn’t have to be someone who works for you full time. It could be a virtual assistant, part-time editor, album designer or even a nanny who helps with your kids a few times per week. We use Trello for business AND personal tasks!

p.s. The images we selected for our boards should reeeaaaalllyyy tell you something about our personalities. 

Step 3: Create “Lists” (Think of These as Categories)

Now that you’ve created a board, you’ll be prompted to “Add a List.” We think of our “lists” as categories, to help keep all our tasks straight. We organize our categories from left to right, with the categories on the left being the most urgent.

You know your business best, so you might want to create your own system, but if you don’t know where to start…

Here are our suggestions for categories:

– Today

This is the daily to-do list, with tasks lined up in the order we plan on completing them throughout our work day.

– On-Going Projects

These are other tasks, ideas and projects that are important, but that we’re not planning on finishing by the end of the work day.

– Weddings

This is how we organize our wedding workflow. The checklist for each client is exactly the same on each card, but having them all in one category allows us to easily see where each client is in the process. We can quickly see whether we’ve mailed out their Style Guide, for example, and we can also drag their card into the “Today” column when it’s time to work on their images.

– Portraits

Even though this workflow is much simpler than our wedding workflow, we like having a separate category for portraits for the same reasons as above.

– Personal

We use Trello primarily for business, but we’ve found it’s really helpful in organizing our personal life, too! Whenever we think of something we have to do for our personal life, we pop it into Trello to help preserve our brain space and make sure we don’t forget. We use it for groceries lists, quick reminders and so much more!

Again, these are just category suggestions! You can completely customize your list categories in a way that makes the most sense to you.

Step 4: Create Cards

Once you have your categories created, you’re ready to start adding cards! Just think of “cards” as tasks. If you were making a bulleted to-do list on a piece of paper, every new task you add would be on a separate line. It’s the same thing with cards. Every task or “to-do” item that pops into our head gets its own “card.”

The thing we LOVE about “cards” is that once you create a task card, you can drag and drop it into the order it needs to go so you can organize your day. It really helps seeing all of our tasks before we order them (we like to put the most important and urgent task on top and work our way down) and we can even drag cards between categories. So if you had a wedding sitting on your “Wedding” category that you needed to work on today, you could easily drag it from your “Wedding” category to the top of your “Today” category.

If you work on a team, like we do, you can also send a task card to someone else’s board. So, for example, if Amy just finished a wedding and she’s ready for Jordan to email the gallery to the client, she can send the entire wedding card to Jordan’s board and put it on his “Today” category just by clicking “Move.”

Before she moves the card, she can also add a comment that Jordan will see when he opens the card. When he’s done, he can add his own comments, and send the card right back to her. This system has been SO helpful to streamline on-going communication and keep everything in one place.

We also love the ability to duplicate cards (just click “Copy” in the actions section) so that once we’ve created a task card for one wedding, all we need to do is copy the card and change the clients’ names.

Step 5: Create Checklists

This is perhaps one of the most helpful features of a card!

Checklists allow us to keep track of all of the actions needed for our multi-step tasks. “Sarah and Kyle’s Engagement Session” is technically only one task card, but within that task, there are quite a few steps. The checklist allows us to track the entire workflow from start to finish.

You could also use the checklist for things like the grocery store! We buy 80% of the same food week after week, so keeping a checklist organized in the same flow as the store makes it so easy to shop efficiently. And since Trello has a mobile app, we can add things to the list throughout the week on our desktop, but then easily pull it up on our phones when we get to the store.

Step 6: Utilize Labeling & Due Dates

We like color-coding our workflow cards (so all the blue ones are weddings, for example) because it just helps our brains see things more clearly. You can also assign yourself “Due Dates” for any tasks that are time sensitive.

And that’s it! Just like with any new tool, it took us a little while to get the hang of it and figure out what works best for us, but now we can’t imagine doing business without it!

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36 comments
filed in: Education

    Hailey

    I was feeling incredibly overwhelmed yesterday and on the verge of giving up entirely, so seeing a link to this post in my inbox this morning was God reminding me, "His eye is on the sparrow." It's so awesome that He chooses to speak into the details of our lives through the mundane-- a blog about to-do lists! Keep on loving and serving; you are being used in wonderful ways :)

    Amy & Jordan

    Thank you SO much for sharing that with us, Hailey! We're so glad this was a blessing to you! We're cheering for you!

    Stephanie

    Oh my goodness, I ws just with a client and I was tlaking baout how I need to have a better way to strategically utilize my time during the day to make the most of it. I have streamlined so much but definitely have areas that need improvement. Then I sit down to start some work and this pops up on my facebook feed! Amazing how the Lord works in the most miraculous and mysterious ways! Thank you for sharing, this is so helpful!!!

    Amy & Jordan

    Aw! We're so glad this was a blessing, Stephanie! We hope you enjoy Trello! It's the best!!

    Tanya Mathison

    This is WONDERFUL! Oh my goodness Thankyou both so much for all this extra helpful guidance!! It’s so refreshing to know that not only do you want us to succeed, but you are helping us to thrive!
    Many Blessings :)

    Amy & Jordan

    You're so welcome, Tanya! We're glad you enjoyed this! We're cheering for you! :)

    Kendra

    I consider myself sort of an organization geek. I enjoy creating a list of tasks and sorting them out to be the most time efficient for all involved. This is going to be so fun to try out! I know I will definitely use it in communication with my husband, we hardly ever see each other and details get lost! Using it for the business is also a no-brainer! Thank you again.

    Amy & Jordan

    You're so welcome, Kendra! We hope you enjoy Trello! It's a game changer!!

    Samantha

    Thanks so much. This seems really practical. And better than my current method of small pieces of paper all over my desk.

    Amy & Jordan

    You're so welcome, Samantha!! We hope you enjoy Trello! :)

    Vicki Rushing

    No organization. Statements, but a beginners question. Trying to get Bokeh. Have 85mm 1.8 lens. Does Bokeh show in the back view or in the actual processing. Have not printed pics, but the effect doesn’t show in back viewfinder immediately after taking pic. Nikon 3400

    Amy & Jordan

    Hi Vicki! We got your email and sent you a reply! Hope it helped!

    bridget

    This is SO helpful! Thank you for sharing!

    Amy & Jordan

    Yay! We're so glad this was helpful, Bridget!

    Jen Rogers

    Love this! Thank you! I am definitely going to try this out!! I am new to this and looking to start my business in 2018 so this could totally get me started on the right foot for organization!

    Amy & Jordan

    Aw! We're so glad this was helpful, Jen! We're cheering for you and your new business!

    Julia

    Hi guys!
    Helpful as usual, thank you for this post!
    I have a question. What service do you use for your galleries and do you deliver the pictures some other way (e.g. zip files with all pictures, dropbox, google docs etc)?

    Thank you in advance!

    Amy & Jordan

    Hi, Julia! You're so welcome! We use Pass to deliver our images to our clients! :)

    Hiliary Stewart

    Oh my gosh! Amy and Jordan!! This blog post is so helpful!! Thank you!!

    Amy & Jordan

    Aw! Yay!! We're so glad this was helpful, Hiliary!

    Marilyn Hernandez

    This is great! I am so visual and reading your step by step guide is extremely helpful so I implement the system. Thank you for taking the time on sharing what works for you. So many times we struggle with the day to day aspect of a personal/business life that we think we are the only ones with the battle. Thanks once again.

    Amy & Jordan

    You're so welcome, Marilyn! We're so glad our step-by-step guide was helpful! :)

    Lindsay Hodge

    I've been trying to figure out how to keep things organized! I'm a homeschooling, writer, photographer, who volunteers at church and a community non-profit, and I just can't seem to keep all of the tasks straight. I think this could work!

    Amy & Jordan

    Aw! We're so glad this was helpful, Lindsay! Trello is a game changer!!

    thank you for this amazing tool

    thank you for this amazing tool i love it

    Amy & Jordan

    You're so welcome!! We're so glad this was helpful!

    Jennifer

    I would like to thank the both of you for this blog! I have had major deadlines made a list on a peice of paper, this is much better! I have alot due before Christmas break. Thank thank you very much. My business is growing this will help me a ton for the future!! Love reading your blogs!

    Amy & Jordan

    You're so welcome, Jennifer!! We're SO glad this was helpful! Trello is the best!

    Jessica

    What!? How have I not heard of this before!? I am officially obsessed! No more random lists on my iphone notes, this is perfection for this list-maker!

    Amy & Jordan

    We're so glad this was helpful, Jessica! Trello is the best!!

    Candi

    Love Trello! Where is your cute bed from? Love it too!

    Amy & Jordan

    Thanks so much, Candi! :)

    Priscilla

    This blog is amazing! As I was reading this I was looking around at all the post it notes we have lining our computer screens and desks. This seems like an easier way to break it down and stay on top of it all! We had no idea, thank you! Andddd....it got us thinking, what else could we be doing more efficiently? Do you guys have tips and ideas about how to streamline the archiving process? Right now we just have multiple external hard drives with Lightroom catalogs and it’s hard to remember what photos are where...especially now that we’re working on year in review blogs!!! What would Amy and Jordan do? Any thoughts or solutions? Maybe an idea for new blog content for you guys?!?

    Amy & Jordan

    Hi Priscilla! We're so glad this post was helpful to you! Haha. And we're with you! Any time we get super organized in one area of our life (like when we did with our monthly budget) it gets us thinking about the same exact thing: How can we be more efficient in EVERY area of our life?! The compound affect of streamlining as many small things as possible is pretty powerful. To answer your question, we just use external hard drives. After each wedding or shoot, we load it onto two different ones so we have duplicate copies of everything (in case one fails) and then we keep one set in a fireproof safe (they're like $100) just in case. I hope that helps!

    Crystal Bear

    Thank you! Thank you! This is going to be a life savior! I lost some of my momentum during December but I'm ready to put the pedal to the metal and I'm taking 2 of your courses at the same time! Plus I just booked my first 2 weddings for 2018 and have 2 more in the works. My goal is 25 for 2018!

    Amy & Jordan

    You're so welcome, Crystal! We're so glad this was helpful! We're cheering for you!