Armed with an obsessive love of color-coding and all things related to organization, I’m on a mission to help you maximize efficiency in your business and life so you can spend time on what matters most to you.
Equally right and left-brained, I’m that unique business owner who can think like a creative, but act like an administrator. This blog is where you’ll see me bring that dual-brained magic to life, taking the left-brain side of life and breaking it down for your right-brained self.
Whether you’re naturally inclined to fly the seat of your pants or you would color code the world given the chance, the truth is we all need at least a little bit of organization in our lives… especially if you’re a business owner.
Running things in a haphazard fashion only works for so long, and if you truly want your business to grow and your life to flourish, organization is a necessity.
Now you might be sitting there, shaking your head and wanting to run away at the thought of getting things organized, but don’t! Even if you aren’t naturally inclined toward organization and possibly even pride yourself on your laissez faire approach to life, implementing some organizational tactics will only help… promise.
Me? I’m naturally a pretty high stress person and I’m also a planner, which means when things aren’t organized… I get stressed. And fast. You might not be like me, but chances are, the disorganization in your life or business is subconsciously stressing you out more than you might think.
Imagine this: you go on vacation for two weeks. When you come back, everything in your business could be a total hot mess… or it could be a seamless transition back into work with minimal catch up because you were organized and prepared beforehand.
No matter how laissez faire your approach to life is, that sounds pretty incredible, now doesn’t it?
My approach to organization and systems is this — by putting systems in place to keep the things that need to stay organized organized, it allows me greater freedom to be spontaneous and relaxed about the rest of my life, because I can rest assured knowing the things that had to get done got done.
So how do I keep everything in my business and life organized? None other than my favorite project management tool — Trello!
Okay, so I’ve officially convinced you that a disorganized approach to life and business isn’t serving you or your clients well… but how do you actually get your ish together and into color coded, Trello-ed bliss?
The beautiful and terrifying thing about Trello is, because of its relatively simple framework, it can be literally whatever you want it to be. Which is pretty darn overwhelming if you don’t go into it with a plan.
So how do you create this plan?
Before you can start getting things organized, you need to be clear on what’s feeling out of whack.
Is it things in your business like your client communication or management? Your content management workflow? Or your data and projects?
Maybe your business organization is flowing fairly well, but it’s the rest of your life that feels like a hot mess — meal plans, a cleaning schedule, or your family’s calendar?
Whatever it is, knowing what needs to be organized will make figuring out how to organize it that much easier.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed at this point, especially if you want to organize everything.
Take it one step at a time. Focus on the things that will give you the most bang for your buck when it comes to organization and then work your way down to the smaller things, one by one.
Give it time… you’ll get there!
Now that you’ve assessed what in your life needs to be organized, you have to figure out how those things fit into the Trello framework.
If you’re not familiar with the platform, here’s a quick rundown on Trello.
Information is divided into three major categories — boards, lists, and cards. Cards go on lists, and lists go on boards, so the more detailed the information, the more likely it is to go on a card vs. a list vs. a board.
Depending on the things you’re getting organized in your life and business, you may need several boards with lots of lists and cards, or you may just need a few.
Don’t get caught up in the numbers here. More boards does not mean more organized. More boards just means more boards.
My suggestion is to start with as few boards as possible, and expand from there. You’ll probably need to experiment a bit to figure out what works best on its own list or board and what can be combined.
Remember: you can always adjust the system as you learn what works best for you.
For your business, big categories with lots of moving parts like content ideas or the tracking of clients, customers, or sales will most likely need its own board. Similarly, anything that could benefit from a visual workflow like your onboarding process or editorial calendar may also need its own board. For your life, the approach will be fairly similar.
When trying to decide what boards to make, think in overarching terms and big categories.
If you’re still unsure, walk yourself through the lists or cards that would wind up the board. If there would only be a small number of lists, then it can probably be combined with another board to keep things from getting too unruly.
When in doubt, don’t be afraid to create an “all the things” board. I have one of these for both life and business and they basically function as a catchall for those things I want to track in my life or business but don’t necessitate the creation of their own board.
Once you’ve figured out how you’re going to set up your boards and lists, you’ve got to pull all the information together.
For business, this could include information like client statistics, checklists for processes or workflows, or plans for content. For life, you may need to pull together recipe or workout ideas, checklists for things like cleaning schedules, or lists of goals or bucket list items.
From a business perspective, hopefully you’ve got all of this stuff organized in some form or fashion already, but if not, now is a great time to start putting things into one place so it’s easy to find later.
Now comes the fun part — setting everything up!
Start by creating your boards, then go through them one at a time. Don’t worry about making everything pretty right away. Just get the information in there in a somewhat organized, coherent fashion.
Once you’ve basically brain dumped everything onto your boards and lists, then you can start making it your own by adding labels, emojis, cover images, and the like. This is another area where you get to play around and figure out what works for you.
I use cover images and labels for practically everything, but my business bestie prefers to use emojis for designating things on her lists and cards.
Like I said before — the beauty of Trello’s framework is it can be literally whatever you want it to be. You can use labels, cover photos, emojis, a combination of all three, or none of them! It’s all about what works for you!
Last but certainly not least, quite possibly the most crucial step of all — defining your management system.
The reality is, it doesn’t matter how beautifully organized something is, if you don’t come up with a game plan for actually managing and using that organizational system, it’s not going to help you.
If you’re using Trello for things related to business, maybe you approach it like your inbox and check it at certain times throughout the day to make sure you’re keeping up with all the things. If you’re using it less frequently, like weekly to manage things in your life, add a reminder to your phone or put a sticky note on your mirror — whatever works to keep you on track.
Just like any new system, it’ll take some getting used to, but once you get into a rhythm and routine, you’ll find that adding even the smallest bit of organization to your life makes all the difference.
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