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“Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.”

– Peter Drucker

How do you effectively manage a project? How do you keep your team on track, on task, and stay goal driven?

These are questions that every manager must face when working with small teams or businesses. With the right tools in place, this doesn’t have to be a tough question to tackle.

What is the right tool you ask? If you are reading this article, you may already know this tool is Trello.

Of all the project management tools out there, not many can give you the same powerful, yet easy to use experience packed into Trello. On top of that, Trello is simply fun to use. Let’s dive right in!

Table of Contents

If you are here looking for something specific, feel free to use the links below to jump to the sections that you care about. You know what they say, “Time is money!”

  1. What is Trello?
  2. Trello pricing
  3. How to set up Trello
  4. Trello templates (ideas)

What is Trello?

First, what is Trello?

Trello is a “list-making” application based on the scheduling system for lean manufacturing called, Kanban.

Fun Trivia: The original Kanban system was developed in the 1940’s from the Toyota Production System, introducing “just in time” manufacturing. I’ll spare you all the details, but if you are interested, you can check out, Kanban Explained in 10 Minutes.

Really, Trello can be whatever you want it to be. Think of it like a digital whiteboard or collection of sticky notes – only a lot more useful. With Trello, you are able to organize, collaborate, and track thoughts, ideas, tasks, and goals, to name a few.

On top of that, The user interface is extremely easy to use.

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Trello Boards, Trello Lists, and Trello Cards.

You start out with a Trello board. This is the main screen where you will be working and collaborating on Trello. You can use boards to accomplish specific tasks, brainstorm ideas as a team, and assign tasks. Honestly, there are a bunch more uses, but that would take another post.

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Within each board, you will set up lists. Trello lists are almost like headers within your boards. There are no rules when it comes to setting up your lists. It is all about how you and/or your team prefer to work. You can have a list for each member of your team, to track each individuals assigned tasks. Or each list could be an individual step in a given process; Blog Post to Be Written, Blog Post Currently being Written, Scheduled Blog Posts, Posted Blog Posts. When setting up your Trello boards, the possibilities are endless!

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Trello cards house all the information you need for your tasks, ideas, and thoughts.

After your lists are set up, start filling them with cards. Trello cards hold all the information for your tasks, ideas, or thoughts. To move a card from one list to another, simply click and drag the card into another list.

When adding information to your cards, the amount of control you have is rather impressive. I’ll list a few:

  • Add a description or notes to your card
  • Create multiple checklists within your card
  • Add team members to the cards to assign tasks (members are notified when they have been added to a card – pretty nifty)
  • Better organize your cards by giving them labels, you create
  • Give the cards/tasks due dates
  • Attach documents or images to your cards

This is just a small taste of what you can do with the Trello cards. After you are comfortable creating and editing cards, Power-Ups will help take your Trello game to the next level!

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What are Power-Ups?

Trello Power-Ups are essentially “apps” that you can add to your board or cards to give you additional features and functionality within your experience.

With the Free version of Trello, you get one Power-Up that you can add to each board. If you upgrade to Business Class or Enterprise, you get unlimited Power-Ups to add to your boards and cards.

Trello Power-Ups add extra functionality to your Trello boards and cards.

To access the extensive list of Power-Ups you can add, click on Show Menu in the upper right corner of your board.

Next, click Add Power-Up.

Find the Power-Up you would like to add and simply click Add.

Pro Tip: Not all Power-Ups are free. There are various Power-Ups that offer free trials to use this additional functionality. After the trial period, they require payment (one-time or monthly) to continue using after the trial period has ended.

Give this list of Power-Ups and look. You’re bound to find something useful!

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The Trello pricing is pretty straight forward, but the pricing structure did get a little confusing once I started using more Power-Ups and automation features. Hopefully I can clear up any possible confusion here.

Trello Pricing. Free, Business Class, and Enterprise Class

Trello starts out completely free to use. You can create as many personal board as you want (and have up to 10 team boards). Honestly, the free version of Trello will probably be sufficient for most individuals, and even some small businesses. At the very least, it would be a good idea to start building your boards and process structures in the free version of Trello. After you become more familiar with the features and Power-Ups, you may find it beneficial to upgrade.

Upgrading to a paid (premium) version is where it started to get a little confusing. Alas, I am here to help choose the right package for you!

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Trello Gold

Trello Gold. Add extra features and Power-ups to get more out of Trello.

The first, and cheapest, upgrade option is Trello Gold. The Gold upgrade allows you to create as many boards as you want and add as many people to these boards. If you are building or growing into a bigger team, this upgrade may be a no-brainer.

Trello Gold gives you a total of three Power-Ups (as opposed to the lonely one in the free version), allowing you to take more advantage of the useful tools out there. In my opinion, this alone makes Gold worth the upgrade. Gold comes with a few cosmetic features. For example, these features allow you to add your own background images, use stickers, and add emojis to your cards. After upgrading to Gold, you are able to attach larger files to your cards (250MB) as opposed to the 10MB in the free version.

In comparison, the cost of upgrading to Gold isn’t much more than a Starbucks Venti Frappucino. For the non-Frappucino drinkers out there, that means the Gold upgrade costs only $5 per user per month. You can, however, opt to pay by the year (instead of monthly). In doing thi, Trello Gold is only $45 for the entire year! If you’re on the fence about upgrading, this is an cheap and easy way to get a taste of the premium features without breaking the bank.

Note: The cost for these upgrades is PER USER per month. I didn’t pay much attention to this until after I purchased and saw a cost higher than I was expecting, but personally, I think this is still worth the upgrade.

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Business Class and Enterprise

I grouped Business Class and Enterprise together since there is not a huge difference between the two options. When upgrading to Business Class or Enterprise, you get all the same features Trello Gold offers, plus additional functionality.

For instance, both Business Class and Enterprise allow for a greater control over the Automation by Butler Power-Up. Gold allows you to run more commands than the free version (Business Class: 1,000 command runs per team; Enterprise: Unlimited command runs). If you are unfamiliar with Butler or don’t quite understand how the command runs work, you can check out Automating Trello Tasks with Butler.

Additionally, you get much greater admin and security control within your boards. With the added control, you are able to manage company-wide permissions, manage team Power-Ups, and add attachment restrictions. For the full list of additional features, check out this Trello price chart.

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Which Premium Package should you Choose?

Business Class and Enterprise are not necessary unless you are working with larger teams, or if you are wanting the added automation features from Butler. Similar to going Gold, the monthly cost for both Business Class and Enterprise are per user per month. For this reason, the cost can add up quickly with larger teams.

If you are simply looking for a bit more control and some added features and functionality, Trello Gold will be perfect for most individuals and small businesses.

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How to Set Up Trello

If you already have a Google account, set-up takes a simple click of the button. If you don’t have a Google account, enter in your email to get the account started. The software is free to use, therefore, you don’t have to worry about shelling out money to begin using Trello.

Note: after you start getting into the premium add-ons, or “Power-Ups,” you will have to upgrade to the Gold or Business subscriptions. In reality, the prices are not bad for small teams.

Let’s get started signing up and starting your first Trello board!

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Signing Up for a Trello Account

How to Use Trello: Sign Up - It's Free

First thing you’ll want to do is head on over to to begin setting up your account.

Click on the big Sign Up – It’s Free! button. You can’t miss it!

Create a Trello Account

If you have a Google account, just click Sign up with Google. If you don’t have one, just enter in an email you would like to use and click Create New Account.

After the account is set up, you’ll be greeted with a welcome page to get your first Trello Board started.

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Setting Up your First Board

The Trello board is where all the magic happens. This is where you will create your Lists and Cards for tracking your tasks and to-dos. On the free account that we signed up for, you get an unlimited number personal boards and you can create up to 10 team boards. If you choose to upgrade to Business Class or Enterprise, you get as many team boards as you want!

When setting up your first Trello board, you will be prompted by this sort of “set-up wizard.” If you prefer, you can skip this set-up, but it is pretty handy if you are not familiar with all the elements of Trello. If you choose to skip this section, or if you want to make changes later on, don’t worry. You can always go back in and add, change, or remove elements.

How to Use Trello: Welcome to Trello. Name your first board.

Start by giving your first board a name.

If you’re having trouble deciding on your first board, start by thinking about the ongoing tasks, or longer projects that you repeat weekly, monthly, yearly. One example could be blog posts. I have a board dedicated strictly to my blog posts where I can track my ideas for posts, posts I’m currently writing, posts scheduled, published, ect. For this example, I named my board Projects.

Creating your first lists.

After you have decided on a name for your board, you can begin adding lists to your board. This is where I break down the individual tasks needed to complete a project. This way, I can see exactly where I am in the process of each project.

A good way to do this is by starting out with a list for projects or tasks that you need to work on or haven’t started yet (Things to do), projects or tasks you are currently working on (Doing), and projects or tasks you have completed (Done).

How to Use Trello: Creating your first Trello cards.

Next, you will add cards into the first list. When I create lists, I usually set them up as individual tasks or ideas to be accomplished or tracked.

Creating a checklist within your cards

Within each card, you can add checklists as an additional way to break down the tasks you have listed.

After adding in your checklist items, you are ready to dive into your very first board!

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Trello Templates and Ideas

What goals are you hoping to accomplish with Trello?

The possibilities are endless. Therefore, it can be a little difficult knowing where to start when building your Trello boards. One thing to keep in mind is you can change your boards at any time. It may take some time figuring out the right format for you and your team to maximize productivity. The only way to really know is to test different options and see what is most beneficial for your team.

If you really just don’t know where to begin, here some starting points, based on Trello boards templates I have utilized in the past.

Templates: Organize Tasks by Day

If you are a “Jack of all trades,” type of do-everything type person or business, it can be difficult to keep your tasks organized. This board categorizes each day by a specific theme.

Trello Template: Organize tasks by day. Pick a theme for the day (SEO, Writing, ect).

In this board, I have my basic To-Dos. In addition, I have lists set up for each day of the week. Monday is my SEO outreach day. Tuesday is the day I do keyword research for new articles. You get the picture. With a lot of effort needing to be spent in all facets of my business, I like to block out, or designate times (or days) to focus on the different areas of my business.

Templates: Process Flow

This is another board style that I am a big fan of for tracking the process of tasks, each step of the way.

Template: Track each step of process.

This is a board that I use for tracking where I am at within the link building process. I follow a specific process when working on my link building, so this template can be very useful when tracking ongoing tasks. This set-up is very similar to our example earlier in the article (to-do, doing, done).

Pro Tip: I actually had this board (Link Building) connected to my “Blog Posts” board with a trial of the Power-Up, Sync Trello by Unito. That way, when I move my blog post card to “Done,” Trello automatically moves the card into my Link Building Board (my next step). After the trial period, I did not renew. This may be something I revisit in the future. For now, it is not necessary for me.

Templates: Scheduling

For social media, I like to schedule our posts in advance, similar to an editorial calendar. We do all our drafting of social media posts in card’s description box (click on card to open). Then, we simply copy/paste the text [in the card description] into Hootsuite.

Trello Templates: Schedule (social media) posts.

The title of the card consists of the date and time we want to schedule the posts for. In doing this, multiple members of my team can craft social media posts, to be scheduled. We also have an inspirational quotes list for creating the nice inspirational images that you can see on our Twitter and Facebook pages. Next, our “Brain Dump” list is where we can share anything social media related with the team.

Templates: Personal Trello Tasks

The final template is one that I use for individual (my own) tasks. This board is pretty much my one-stop shop for any of the individual tasks that I need to accomplish.

Templates: Personal board for tracking my individual to-dos and tasks.

Any of my tasks or ideas that need to be pursued get entered into the All Tasks list, first. To begin the week, I will move over the tasks that I plan to accomplish that week. As the week continues, I will move items to Today’s Tasks and/or In Progress (if I have an ongoing task).

You may have noticed in many of my boards, I have a Notes or Brain Dump list. I like to have these built into all of my boards as a way to capture any immediate thoughts I may have. All my boards are themed based on a given area of my business. I have Blog Posts, Link Building, Social Media, ect. Many of these “themes” have multiple steps to them. Rather than creating a board with 100 lists, I created multiple boards, instead. One for each area or theme.

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Trello is probably one of the easiest, and most fun, list making and collaborating tools I have used. To this point, I’ve tried incorporating Trello with most aspects of my businesses.

Not only does Trello act as an excellent “note-keeper,” it provides way to seamlessly share information across teams. With many small and large businesses moving in the direction of the “remote” workplace, Trello is an awesome tool to stay connected with your team.

It’s easy to set-up and get started. Most importantly, there is no wrong way to use Trello. Anyone can pick it up and start using it. If you are even a little interested, I would recommend signing up for the free account and giving it a try.

Question(s) of the Day

  • How do you use Trello?
  • How has Trello helped (or hindered) the productivity of your life or business?

Let me know in the comments below!

If you enjoyed the article, or if it made you want to give Trello a try, leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you!

Website | + posts

I am an entrepreneur and adventure enthusiast, looking to break free from the Nine-Five grind. I'll show you what has worked and is currently working for me, as well as what hasn't worked so well.


  1. Stéphanie

    I use Trello for uni and my blog. I started using it for university because our teachers recommended the app to us. As it would be easier to stay organized. And I have to agree! I still have my days of procrastination but Trello helped me a lot to stay organized even on the more stressful days.
    It especially helps me to know when I should post what on the blog as I’m having everything on the same page and not listed in hundred different notebooks!
    Thank you for this post!

    • Nick

      Thanks for sharing Stephanie! I do the same thing with my blog. I’ve been in and out of working on writing, so I also like to use it as a tool for keeping track of where I last left off. I might get two steps into a process and not look at the blog for a few days. Now, I can just hop onto Trello and see which step of the process I need to continue from.

      Thanks for reading!

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