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Trello is a list lover’s delight. Its Kanban-style approach was not meant just for project management. Don’t believe us? Maybe you’ll believe what the guy behind Trello had to say about the software’s intended uses.

Some people saw Trello and said, “oh, it’s Kanban boards. For developing software the agile way.” Yeah, it’s that, but it’s also for planning a wedding, for making a list of potential vacation spots to share with your family, for keeping track of applicants to open job positions, and for a billion other things. In fact Trello is for anything where you want to maintain a list of lists with a group of people.

~ Joel Spolsky, How Trello is different

Here’s a compilation of some unusual uses for Trello.

As a Learning Aid

Imagine you’re working on your graphic design skills. You could use a Trello board with a card to list some of the basic design principles 5 Basic Principles Of Graphic Design You Take For Granted Everyday 5 Basic Principles Of Graphic Design You Take For Granted Everyday In the visual age of the Internet it's relatively easy to create your own graphic designs, but they don't have to look homemade. Read More you come across. A second card could hold some neat Photoshop or Illustrator tricks that you’ll need. The third could contain a list of typography terminology that you keep forgetting, and so on. As this board fills up, you’ll have a graphic design primer on your hands.

An approach like this can be useful no matter what you’re studying. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by what you have learned or need a recap of the basics, return to this organized board for revision.

As a Job Hunt Helper

Job searches are not easy. There’s a lot to keep up with. You have to look out for the right listings, research companies you’re applying to, follow up on old listings, etc. All information like this can go on a “job hunt board”.

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Wondering if this approach will be any good? See how Trello user Lauren Moon adopted it with great results. Here’s the Trello board template she integrated into her job search. And guess where she landed a job. At Trello. How cool is that?

As an Idea Book

We all need a “mind dump” Capture Your Creative Ideas Instantly with the Simplicity of IFTTT Capture Your Creative Ideas Instantly with the Simplicity of IFTTT Setting up a central system to track your ideas is worth the time and effort it requires. Your creativity and productivity will thank you for it. Here is a simple way. Read More sooner or later, preferably before our brain explodes under the weight of the ideas and the information bombarding it. Trello’s visual approach makes it the perfect place to clean out your mind. Then you’re free to rearrange its contents in ways that make sense to you.

Create one mammoth board with an endless number of cards and treat it as your personal idea notebook. From potential locations for your wedding to publications that you want to write for — anything can go on this board. If you want something more organized, have different boards for different kinds of ideas.

By the way, have you considered using Trello as a vision board How to Create a Vision Board and Meet Your Big Goals How to Create a Vision Board and Meet Your Big Goals You can call them as big rocks or big, hairy, audacious goals. Some call it a bucket list. Emptying that bucket calls for action. This is where a visual tool like Trello proves useful. Read More  for goal setting?

As a List of Bucket Lists

We all have mental lists of adventures we want to go on, books we want to read, and movies we want to watch. How do you keep track of them without going crazy? With Trello cards, of course.

Create a board just for bucket lists of every kind 100 Things to Do Before I Die: 6 Sites To Create Your Own List 100 Things to Do Before I Die: 6 Sites To Create Your Own List Read More . Don’t stop there. Use it as visual inspiration to work on accomplishing what’s on your list.

trello-bucket-list

As a Money Tracker

Trello boards make a neat solution to track where your money goes every month. Create one to use as a money tracker. Add cards to list debt payments, recurring bills, one-time expenses, and budgets. You could even add a list of sites that help you save money The 3 Best Online Coupon Sites to Save You Money The 3 Best Online Coupon Sites to Save You Money Coupon sites are one of the best and easiest ways to save when shopping online. From quick deals to guides on how to control your budget, here are the best coupon resources on the Web. Read More .

Looking to cut down on unnecessary spending? Use colorful labels to highlight expenses that you can avoid, postpone, or find a way around. Try this Financial Plan template for some inspiration.

As an Editorial Calendar

If you’re responsible for a blog or a magazine, Trello is just the app you need to host your editorial calendar. Put your current article ideas, deadlines, on-hold ideas on separate cards on a single board. Add a list of tasks you want to delegate to other writers on your team.

Here’s the top advantage of this approach. You can ditch complicated email threads altogether. Instead, you can have follow-up conversations with fellow contributors right from Trello. This puts everybody on the same page with minimal effort. We at MakeUseOf can vouch for that.

Draw inspiration from this public editorial calendar on Trello. Here’s a snapshot of it.

trello-editorial-calendar

As an Appointment Tracker

If your job (or life) is an endless stream of meetings or appointments, there are various ways to organize them on a Trello board. You could split them up by days of the week, months of the year, meeting agenda, etc. Use color codes to distinguish them by time and location. You might even end up noticing that a couple of appointments fall on the same route on separate days or that there’s a time overlap.

Monitoring your time with a Trello board gives you a clear idea of what your days looks like. This makes it easier to schedule/reschedule appointments to your convenience.

Tracking your time on individual tasks could offer clues to lost productivity. Trello doesn’t have time tracking built in, but an ecosystem of third-party time tracking solutions offers many choices.

As an Event or Trip Planner

Are you in charge of planning a party or a wedding? You need the power of a Trello board to plan your strategy. Use cards to track theme ideas, manage the guest list, decide the menu, delegate tasks to the right people, etc. Here’s a sample wedding planning board you can borrow ideas from.

trello-wedding-planner

Now replace “event” with “trip” and the same strategy works. Create cards for the travel arrangements you have to take care of, tasks you have to wrap up before you leave, the stuff you need to pack, and so on. If you’re a frequent traveler, keep such a board ready to use as a template. Every time you plan a new trip, just open the board’s sidebar menu and click on Copy Board to clone it.

As a Pick-me-up List

Sometimes you need a dose of inspiration to fire you up, sometimes you need a dash of optimism to help you feel good. Keep a pick-me-up board ready for such times.

Add a card with quotes from people you admire. Add a second one with some pics of your loved ones. Maybe throw in a third one with tips from various websites to handle bad days at work. You get the drift. Keep a well-stocked list of words and images to help you cope with the ups and downs of life.

As an example, if you’re trying to counter an erratic lifestyle with a calming daily ritual 8 Daily Rituals You Can Create To Boost Your Geeky Productivity 8 Daily Rituals You Can Create To Boost Your Geeky Productivity Habits are hard to hack. Daily rituals are way easier. You keep at something (good or bad) for several days in a row and it turns into a habit. Read More , keep a card with a checklist of tasks to go through. It could read something like this:

  • Drink eight glasses of water
  • Meditate
  • Do a 30-minute workout
  • Get 30 minutes of sunlight
  • Write a journal entry

A few days of checking things off a list Finetune 6 Vital Digital Routines with Simple Checklists Finetune 6 Vital Digital Routines with Simple Checklists A good checklist breaks down the complex into a series of logical steps. If you don't use this tool more in your daily life, it's time you started. Read More like this will help you integrate the new routine into your life.

As a Poll Taker

Buying new furniture for your office? Planning a team vacation? First, wrap up the required research on brands/destinations. Then bring it all together on a Trello board. Create separate cards outlining the pros and cons of each option. Follow it up with a poll card to list the potential choices and invite your team members to take a vote them.

Does that sound too geeky? Yes, it is, but it’s also more effective than getting into loud and baseless arguments over why X is a much better choice than Y.

What’s Your Creative Approach to Trello?

The good thing about Trello is that you can reuse cards, lists, and boards at the click of a button. If you find a cool public board, don’t hesitate to make a copy of it for yourself. You can even pair Trello with IFTTT and Slack to automate and streamline things. When it comes to using Trello, you’re limited only by your own imagination. That’s how versatile Trello is.

trello-board-sidebar-menu

Now that we have shown you several ways in which you can put Trello to good use, it’s time to act on that information. We want you get inspired by these ideas and repurpose Trello for your own needs. It’s time to get creative, folks!

Do you use Trello in an unusual way? Was it your idea or did you borrow it from someone? Give us some juicy Trello tricks to feast on.

  1. Umme Kulsum
    June 28, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    Hi,

    We run our project in agile fashion and I would like to know if we can use trello for our tracking our sprint retrospectives?

    Suggest me if that would be possible with Trello?

  2. John Kennedy
    May 25, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    I know I am a year late to the party but...Being the geek I am, I play Dungeons and Dragons. I have used Trello as a DM to keep track of encounters, NPC's, and PC's. It has replaced a bunch of scraps of paper that I used to use to track things. As a player I use it to track my character, keep track of stats and possessions, and interactions with other characters. It is a great way to organize the game.

    • Akshata Shanbhag
      May 27, 2016 at 12:51 am

      Creative!

  3. Aaron Connell
    April 8, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    Are there any sites or paid services that can help you design Trello most effectively. The hard part is not the tools, but how you use the tools to fit your brain. Any thoughts on where I could get assistance with that?

    • Akshata Shanbhag
      April 11, 2016 at 4:05 am

      Not that I know of, Aaron. I'd suggest approaching things in reverse. Ignore the tools, make a list of the ways in which you'd like to customize Trello to fit your brain, and then search sites like ProductHunt for apps/integrations that can make the customizations possible.

  4. Tristan M
    March 4, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    When I ran the Beta Test Program for my current employer, I got rid of the cumbersome & hard-to-learn Beta Management Platform we were using and switched to Trello, using a method my successor and I developed. It's been going really well, and has taken off within the company.

    • Akshata Shanbhag
      March 6, 2016 at 6:15 am

      It's really nice to see all the unusual ways Trello gets put to use, Tristan. Thank you for sharing your workflow!

  5. Ann Braginsky
    August 14, 2015 at 7:32 am

    Yeah, it's very comfortable to use the same tool for project management at office and for lots of private tasks at home. We use Worksection at office instead of Trello and I'm used to plan half of my life with its help from shopping to vacations so I'm sure that Trello can do it also :)

    • Akshata Shanbhag
      August 14, 2015 at 9:01 am

      That's the first time I have heard of Worksection. Thanks for pointing it out, Ann!

      • Ann Braginsky
        August 18, 2015 at 5:59 am

        Not at all :)

  6. Glen Payne
    July 27, 2015 at 3:00 am

    Can we please have swimlanes??? Trello would be the end-all be all, but without swimlanes, there are apps better than it.

    • Akshata Shanbhag
      July 27, 2015 at 4:07 am

      How about submitting that as a feature request, Glen? Here's a Trello article on submitting feature requests.

      • Glen Payne
        July 27, 2015 at 5:03 am

        I have submitted requests many times, and they still don't' have swimlanes. I guess it's just not very important, but swimlanes would totally transform Trello into a full fledged Kanban board. With all the other capabilities that Trello has, along with community development, Trello would very much so be the killer app, but without swimlanes, it's just so-so...and like I said, there are apps better than it currently.

        • Akshata Shanbhag
          July 27, 2015 at 6:18 am

          Ah, too bad. I guess not many people see it as a must-have feature to warrant its addition. By the way, which apps would you recommend over Trello?

        • Glen Payne
          July 27, 2015 at 3:03 pm

          That's because they don't understand what swimlanes will do for them- it will keep all the cards from becoming jumbled when they are moved from list to list. Without swimlanes, you have no way, automatically, of keeping things organized - i.e, try having multiple client projects or task lists in one Trello board - you can never keep things organized without a lot of manual movement = wasiting time

          Well right now, anything with swimlanes: I have used Symphonical.com, Kanbantool.com (and maybe Kanbanpad).

          Try one of those tools, and you'll see the power of swimlanes.

        • Mark Johnson
          August 11, 2015 at 12:53 pm

          Swimlanes are a must!

  7. cmtagg
    July 25, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    I use it to track our wine collection inventory. Lists are: Incoming, On the Rack, Chilling, Open, and Finished. I like attaching photos of the bottle, and I use labels to categorize the varietals (e.g., merlot, cabernet, shiraz, moscato, etc.). The comments feature comes in handy to make notes about where it was acquired, the purchase price, and of course - tasting notes!

    • Akshata Shanbhag
      July 26, 2015 at 4:38 am

      I would never have thought of that - using Trello as an inventory. I lean toward the to-do list type uses. That's a good one, cmtagg.

    • Brian Cervino
      July 29, 2015 at 2:53 pm

      Hi! This is Brian from the Trello team. Would love to hear more about your wine collection inventory board. Can you email me at social@trello.com? Thanks!

  8. Stephanos Ioannou
    July 25, 2015 at 8:10 am

    I used it as a point-based game for healing myself and for personal development :)

    • Akshata Shanbhag
      July 25, 2015 at 3:05 pm

      The first one is definitely an unusual take, Stephanos :) Keep it up!

    • Squalle
      November 29, 2015 at 6:45 am

      Can you expand on this? This sounds very interesting to me. Thanks!

  9. Matthew Ellis
    July 24, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    The Friends Game is the most creative way I've seen to use Trello. I've started it using it and it's really allowed me to increase my networking contacts. Details: http://riskology.co/the-friends-game/

    • Akshata Shanbhag
      July 28, 2015 at 7:35 am

      That is a really cool and creative use of Trello, Matthew. I’m an introvert and I can totally see myself benefitting from such a game-based approach to keeping in touch with people, especially those beyond my immediate circle of friends and family – the ones I always mean to call/write/meet (but end up overwhelmed by how much socialising it will lead to).

  10. Phillip Crane
    July 23, 2015 at 11:22 pm

    I help a colleague run an on demand manufacturing company with lots of client customizations. After looking at software in the industry that was both expensive and overrated, we looked at trello. So glad we did!

    We set up a system where :

    1) client POs land in a board (on a specific list) as new orders/quotes.
    2) POs then go to another list for production along with special requests and comments
    3) They get to another list when they're made and ready to ship
    4) Go to a shipped / finished list where we attach tracking details, etc.

    We've since used it for more menial tasks such as

    Product creation ideas
    Marketing Ideas
    Business operation check lists etc

    Great stuff!

    • Akshata Shanbhag
      July 24, 2015 at 2:01 am

      Trello for business just has so many possibilities. It's really nice to see the various ways in which people are making use of it, Philip :)

    • Brian Cervino
      July 29, 2015 at 2:55 pm

      Hi Phillip, this is Brian from the Trello team. Would love to hear more about how you are using Trello for your on demand manufacturing company. Could you email me at social@trello.com? Thanks!

  11. Zack McCauley
    July 23, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    I use it as many different things.
    1. I use it with a few clients (elderly) to help them visually make documentation of issues with their machines. There are three lists: Issues, Resolved and Closed. They "submit" a new card in the issues list, when I am done fixing it I move it to Resolved, and then when payment and both parties agree that it is completed, I move it to closed as an Archive of sorts. Yes I know we can use the Archive function, but with my elderly clientele it works better to scroll through the old issues incase they need to duplicate it and make a new issue off of it.
    2. Trip planner (obvious one here). I use it with my friends when we plan a trip. We all can contribute to the cards and lists etc.
    3. Grocery lists.
    4. Recurring tasks via sunrise calendar/IFTTT ( I use both for different types likes dates with sunrise, workout routines with IFTTT [Time based reminder for the Cards to be created.], etc).

    • Akshata Shanbhag
      July 24, 2015 at 1:56 am

      No.1 sounds like is such a great way to use Trello, Zack. I'm sure it goes a long way in keeping things organized and reducing miscommunication. Thanks for sharing that list.

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