This post is a journal for my daily chores and how I organize them. It is divided into two halves. In the first half, I explain the functional structure of the journal. The second part is about the implementation of functionalities, like power-ups and Butler (automation).

Let’s start at the beginning though, what’s the point of having a Trello board as a journal?

For years I always carried a notebook around with me in which I planned my work, organized it, and made notes.

The next day, I would go through these notes and think about what I needed to continue and which tasks I would still need to do later that day or week.

While “working at home” during Corona time, I questioned the usefulness of this notebook.

By working at home, I am no longer with the customer. I can capture my thoughts directly in applications like Confluence, Trello, Stickies, or Notes. In short, writing something in a notebook first and then transferring it to a Confluence page didn’t make sense to me anymore.

So I was looking for a new way to easily, routinely plan, and organize my day.

My requirements were the same as I had for my notebook. I stick to the guidelines from the bullet journal. The following elements are important to me:

  • An overview of the current month

  • An overview of the current week

  • The daily view should list all the tasks and also allow notes and comments.

Due to the use of an application on the computer, I would like to have a good search function and the possibility to annotate or tag content.

The above-mentioned elements should be clearly readable without much additional effort in structuring.

I decided to use Trello and, in the following, I will show how I implemented it. Trello is often seen as a ‘simple’ tool where you just create boards, lists, and cards with a heading. However, Trello can do much more.

In standard mode, it offers a lot of functionalities like Labels, specific responsibilities, activating due dates or edit dates, geolocation, or the integration of images and videos. Furthermore, maps can be created comfortably via “drag and drop” of content. Also possible is the use of emails to create and update all elements.

In addition, Trello offers, as a helper, automation of work steps. It makes daily work easier.

Structure of the journal or Trello board

Here is an overall view of my electronic journal with the various elements.

Trello as a journal - board

The board represents an entire month. The first list (represented as a column on the board) contains tools such as a card with shortcuts for time booking, cards with ideas, or a list of quick recipes for the lunch break :wink: . Each other list draws a calendar week and each day is represented by a single card.

A new card is automatically created each day and placed in the corresponding calendar week (list/column). With the beginning of a new week, a new list is automatically created with the name of the new calendar week.

The representation of the day in a Trello card

In my thinking, I wanted to have enough ways to plan a day, mark important elements, or put them in context with projects and ideas.

The Trello card meets these requirements. The heading of a Trello card serves as a calendar day.

Trello as a journal - cards

By specifying the column, I always know which calendar week the day is in (CalendarWeek 13 in this example).

This Trello card replaces the daily new pages from my notebook. Each of these cards has a due date. If cards in my Trello board are not completed, those cards are marked as overdue. It is helpful not to forget tasks for planning on stressful days.

Trello as a journal - open task

Next to the overdue date, the number of open tasks can be read. In the Trello card, the description itself is empty or filled with different notes.

ToDo lists in Trello

An important element is the ToDo list. All upcoming appointments are noted on the list. I can additionally specify a possible start, due date, or include involved colleagues (assign a card). In the activities (comments) on the Trello card, I reference my notes to the respective ToDos.

In the cards, I can additionally create Confluence and Jira links via Power-Ups (additional apps).

Trello as a journal - todo list

End of the week in Trello

On Friday, I often add a picture of fireworks or something similar to the cards to celebrate a successful end of the week.

Trello as a journal - end of week

Another special feature is the Highlights card. It prompts me to reflect on the week and record any noteworthy or special successes on the card. This gives me a good conclusion to the week and I start the weekend with a good feeling.

Last but not least, I get documentation of what happened and always have a good overview of the events of a calendar week for later.

Summary

In this post, I described how I converted my analog notebook into a “digital” journal using Trello. By going digital, there are more options for reminders and searching in the “digital” notebook. Furthermore, I can now share content better with colleagues.

What is missing now? I have extended this board with some power-ups and added automation to the calendar to simplify the work and see what is possible with Butler. In the second part, I will explain what Butler is and show how calendar weeks and days can be created and configured automatically.

You want to learn more about Trello as a tool to organise your daily tasks? We are happy to answer any questions you may have. Just contact us.