How to get work done efficiently - 6 min read

Nocturnae

Instagram Legend
Apr 12, 2017
933
1,078
93
33
Belgium
This is a 'guide' I wrote for my merry band of private group professionals, but it's something I think may benefit more people. It's been a while since I shared something of meaning on AV, so here it is :) just a small, quick guide on a tool I use daily for things like hashtag orders, client mgmt, todo's... I hope it at least helps 1 person on this forum get their 'sh**' together and build a meaningful future for themselves.

How to get work done efficiently

fHUfmtmeLuEyQ1-t8EsJVJvHx2KkwLSlvxQQMvrEvFOMR8sMf0csmZwH5_kXzKF-jWxyAbnGPCdor7VZoIw38FUS26PKZOucU67YWqaCK6U6PU6D6sDsy7zynyuXsf6K784lA_d2


When you’re in the process of starting up a new venture, project or business, being organized is a key component to getting things done in a sensible amount of time. Personally, a lot of my personal ventures or ideas have failed or took way to long to complete because I wasn’t organized... AT ALL! And sometimes, I still fall victim to this.

The reason behind this is that when you first start out, your head is filled with so many ideas and you just jump back and forth trying to complete all of them at once. But sadly, that doesn’t get you anywhere! Been there… done that (or actually: didn’t do that).


Insert: management tools
One tool I found to be useful on my quest for organizing my workflow was Trello. Trello is a (free) project management tool that is built on the Kanban methodology. Not to derail you with an overload of information, but Kanban is a basic methodology that uses lists and cards to organize work.


So within Trello, you have 3 core elements:

  • Board(s) (which house everything)
  • Lists (who hold cards)
  • Cards (which are your tasks)

So in short, you create one (or multiple) boards, fill it up with lists and then fill up those lists with to-do’s or tasks.
I personally use this for multiple projects, for example: for Viral Insight I have a public board that helps organize my release roadmap: https://trello.com/b/skLVlzd9/viral-insight-public-roadmap


wYy1RGPfUC5EOdyJz7oTx_JCwyC2Q2hW9jjpoVB4UtwdvJUwKxPtZgbLAa8vKFYUgMRTHW7blJ8OvmV3mMW1QtS40Oe5YpkVTM0ZOxUuSaMjoqnzTzUSwFgT5tUwebn4fWOcuHsE



Now, as we dive further into organizing yourself to work more efficiently, I will be using Trello to explain MY process. This doesn’t mean that this setup will be the most optimal or efficient for you. Neither does it mean Trello will be best suited for you, there are other great alternatives like Asana or Monday.com. In the end, it comes down to this: the best tool, is the tool you end up using!


My default lists for Trello
I have tried different setups for Trello, but nowadays I always start out with 7 basic lists:

  1. About
  2. Ideas & Concepts
  3. Exploring
  4. Next up
  5. In Progress
  6. Done! (Feels so goooood!)
  7. Leaving it for now

For the purpose of this tutorial, I have created an example board, which you can find here. And I’ll walk you through it.


mQzLQLZ4Um3MlHf6c_fGGoL_g2cT2GQIUVCAzTcP8uMSWxaaUuU5VSGVINdk38ebKwB62v6XlEnolz_yARuhCSVfDtwmhPNFkVGcNYoyzoxdLzpc5u-10t9EK-u5gAr3ELvxznnF

  1. About
So first off, I always create my About list. This is just a basic list that isn’t going to change much in the future but holds basic information about my board. If you’re working with a lot of boards, it’s useful to have it there.


As you can see, what I do in this list is highlight the core functionality for this board (to facilitate the startup), and a legend of the labels I will be using. For this project I’m using:

  • Website
  • Legal
  • Tech Stack
  • Products

Website and legal are quite self-explanatory. I added Tech Stack to label all tasks related to software or technical things like VPS, Jarvee, Invoicing platforms.


Under products, I would add tasks that are related to the services I will be offering. Things like coming up with the description, aligning the things I would be doing (or not doing) for each product, pricing…


Using an “about” list also helps to speed up new employees, as they can quickly scope what this board would entail.

  1. Ideas & Concepts
When I initially create a task, I will add them to the “ideas & concepts” list. This means that it’s just that, an idea. Perfect for when you’re going for a walk and come up with THE game-changing idea for your business. Add it to the ideas list.

I called it ideas, but essentially these are just tasks or concept waiting on the next phase.

pL2T5cn7z1hgjUool20HG-0urfnMhUQeVYz2kgvA3MwBNu6T6P9Dt5L8XLdt5DPZuHs-Zy9mCi5uo8wHuYYoqaRJ1XAHrGlPEoj4d2XDOEmmDhMBIjJV08N7Gg7CiyuxC_QcUhFM


  1. Exploring
When I’m back home from my walk, I will further explore the idea I had. Things I ask myself are:

  • Is this new or does it fit in with another task I already have (keeps the lists clean)
  • Is this a valid business idea, or are there other options
  • Does this require that I create something from scratch, or are there readymade solutions
  • What’s the potential ROI on this. Meaning, does it take me a lot of time to complete, for a low return? Or does it have huge potential?

Basically, I just test out the validity of the idea or concept.


In the above example of “find an accountant”, this is the part where I would first ask myself: do I really need one. And secondly, go out on a Google search for accountants in my area.

  1. Next up
This list holds all the tasks that made it over from the ideas list. So I will be effectively implementing these tasks, and schedule them in the future.

  1. In Progress
These are the tasks I’m currently working on. Once they’re done they’ll be moved.


  1. Done! (Feels so goooood!)

Now, this is the BEST list of all, it holds all the tasks that are completed! Seriously, I love filling up this board! It’s even fun to gamify it. How about a small reward every time you complete 2 tasks?? That’s how you get stuff done!

SKDa_p9Nhqwva3rfM2FmlqrHKLRWsk4kEl43xlvwmGEGEjqSdKZehPaecEtdqt-lE6HHVW7ph1mrsKzpQt6PloD-O4hNwFtLv_jvIJiUXlXhQHGlU9mL9g6lKnNsWmJcGNMoBFzI


  1. Leaving it for now
This is the last list in my chain, but it’s actually one of the most important things. Tasks come here directly from the ideas list (at least, most of the time).


I will move tasks to this list that don’t make it past the idea phase. But there’s a reason why I don’t outright delete them, but rather move them to this list. These are the ideas & concepts that might have a valid case for them, but not right now. This could be things like future products, tools you want to install but don’t really need…


Obviously, whenever I have the time, need or budget, cards from this list can make it back to any of the other lists.

Useful card features
Organizing your board in lists and adding cards to them with the correct labels is one thing, but Trello has a lot more interesting features I frequently use.

Checklists
One of the most used features on my cards is hands down checklists. This allows you to easily break up a single card into multiple (small) todo’s. Don’t use this for big things, those should get their own card.

Here’s an example where I would use it for a task for my website:


LEYTHMK2lm32MhINspRLeqv-zVTsYscpYc7dNL-1mxPIP9t5UbuxJ_e2xNFORA8C5WJ6fdK2ZhGy48xS2VkA1QFF8U9JMUp8791_dpO2N-t9Rhr-A1N8GibONx9vX2dpMnplf19B

The task itself is: install Wordpress and it’s required plugins and themes. Altogether this is a pretty fast task (<1 hour). But it consists out of multiple sub-tasks, like:
  • Setting up the hosting
  • Installing WordPress
  • Installing the theme
  • Installing plugins

The benefit of using checklists like this is that they provide a guideline for the singular steps to complete the tasks. Very useful if you’re interrupted or need to continue another day.

Another benefit is that the completion rate is also shown in your list view:

8SfgxXTOO2lfF04FFxXLv0HuGAFAl2A0b5Oqcrj8KPg2Rn6MdIhW5kIzIs5nFkI0o5EOEGT2OCrQorOqe0dlE-PiZnOFdq1S3A6NfXFWI0bEcDm94YjVfxNzTOdoo7q3K1mB9cM3



This gives you the energy to finish off that task quickly if you know you only have to complete 1 more step. And then you can move it off to “Done! (Feels so goooood!)”

Due dates
Sometimes, you just need to add a timestamp to something and make sure you do it on time. Real life examples: filing your tax report or doing something for a client. Tools like Trello have this built in.
otCKWX3X1cw-qhzz6haLdFAheRNJDlWp9zSy4GIuJpIycn1u-CWwNR0somUO5SrvfOfKy0Em3xDxOIG_Em6OOeoGsofphSMic6zcb2EYSPwBPONQ0XssfUD_r7nbANNIK7bQEJOP


And it’s also conveniently shown on the list view.

r5X0XagLX4nb7nV3t6Yymo9kpkuRXg4pvF6QjxjQJIjKaEy_zNY97HpgYBE4E4c780nKOMmd4NjSS6mdEfCbdGCK-y0wRqsLuwTj6gqgIEoQ0AwFRhq2CDO8waEm2XGa8rmdY-00


Watching cards
Another great feature, especially when you work with teams or VA’s, is watching cards. This will send you a notification whenever something is added or changed on the card, allowing you to easily track what’s going on.

NPNJrhE6r4QIG6_fCPY-sV8hxm6UmDj1wCzlCds3qGjdSfxsoXL_9TFY75Gxqps_XdIm2WNKP0ePOjB47XJ9Ki80KigigfdnwmPHxLsi9DijukDeAnLXm4hUxiXp9dpSoI3Y8RWB


Archiving your cards
From time to time, you will want to clean out your “done” list (or other lists for that matter) by archiving all the items. It’s excitingly easy, just click the three dots on the corner of the list, and select “archive all cards in this list”. Now you have a cleaner workspace again.


LeqTgikpsSXgFH0WLtp_QTVHuBpntuueWCjbsalxPh3D8ej6d6hev2bdD318nZeWM5__WQt7cr7gKK2ekjXXMbvwH2nvrmH9cs_fgA9Y56lS5P6R_2d2FndksVGQ7eEk13gzMehl



The benefit over archiving them as opposed to deleting them is that you can always retrieve archived posts. So that’s useful for when you want to check specific remarks on tasks.

Plugins, extensions, and automation
Trello offers a wide variety of plugins, extensions and automation features and I would suggest you go over them quickly.

One of my favorites is "Custom fields", and I use it to add custom fields (duh) to my cards. Mostly things like:
- order date
- delivery date
- payment date
- transaction ID

1553867321253.png


Closing thoughts
Undoubtedly, there are more features and uses for Trello to organize specific tasks, but this is one of my basic goto uses for Trello. And as said earlier, this might not be the exact process you would like to use or the tool you feel most comfortable with.


But one word of advice: don’t spend too much time looking for a tool to facilitate you. Just pick one and start forming the habit of using it. Adapt processes and workflows as you go. And if you notice after a while that Trello (or any other tool) doesn’t tick all the boxes you need it to, then you can start and look around on the market for an alternative. Don’t waste hours going back and front between Trello or Asana, pick one and just start! Time is one of our most precious assets, so instead of wasting 3 hours reading through reviews about a tool, use 60 minutes to set it up, and then 2 hours to create that lead-gen ebook you always wanted to get more signups on your mailing list!


Other uses for Trello Boards:
Sales & CRM
https://trello.com/b/lrAIa0JW/sales-crm-pipeline

https://trello.com/b/G7i9fEgj/sales-pipeline

Project management
https://trello.com/b/cPC4jGzZ/project-manager-sample-board


Content planning & editorial
https://trello.com/b/zRqGQVlr/content-planning-calendar

https://trello.com/b/mo04wOm4/editorial-calendar

https://trello.com/b/e8AKTZIS/youtube-editorial-calendar

https://trello.com/b/B8OBu6zB/personal-brand

https://trello.com/b/l5bVFz1h/multi-client-content-calendar
 

ohwhale

Active Member
Oct 20, 2018
25
6
3
31
Not surprised you will nail this one Thomas. I have been a fan of some of your previous work on hashtag research/ pricing break down. It seems to me you are very organized and number driven individual.

Just one question:


Is world domination in your "leaving it for now" or "In progress" list? XD