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Leaving tasks for “someday” is a surefire way to leave them undone.
To-do list items are easier to work on and tick off your list if you schedule them into your calendar. That’s why we recommend assigning due dates to your tasks and then tracking deadlines using the calendar feature in Trello. In this article we’ll show you how to do both.
We’ll also take a look at some creative ways in which you can use a Trello calendar to keep your day-to-day life running like clockwork.
How to Set a Deadline for a Task in Trello
Assigning a due date for each task’s card is easy to do. First hover on a card and click on the pencil icon that appears. This opens the card’s options menu. Click on Change Due Date within it to set a date and time via the calendar that pops up.
You know, you can even bring up the calendar option directly by pressing the “d” key when you have a card selected.
How to Access a Trello Calendar
Now, once you have assigned due dates, how do you get a bird’s eye view of all the deadlines coming up? That’s where Trello’s calendar feature will help you out. You’ll need to activate it on a board-by-board basis, and here’s how to do that.
Begin by opening any board for which you’d like to enable the calendar feature. Next, click on the Show Menu link at the extreme right of the board, near the top. This opens a fly-out sidebar right there. Click on Power-Ups in the sidebar and then on the Enable button next to Calendar in the subsequent menu.
Close the sidebar and look next to Show Menu for the Calendar link. Click on it to see at a glance all the upcoming deadlines month by month. Click on the Week button in the top right section of the calendar if you want to zone in on deadlines for a particular week.
Now let’s see what you can do with this calendar feature.
1. Track Money and Pay Bills
It’s best to maintain a dedicated board for budgeting and for tracking cash flow. Enable the Trello calendar on this board and schedule recurring bill payments into it, so that you’ll remember to pay them on time.
Also, set aside a specific date and time each month to take stock of where your money is coming from and where it’s going, how you can invest it better, how you can cut down on expenses, etc. This is far less stressful than scrambling to get your finances organized when tax season nears. It’ll even help you pinpoint discrepancies if there are any.
2. Plan Meals, Workouts, or Anything Else
Doing things on a whim can be interesting and rut-busting, but certain aspects of your life, such as nutrition, fitness, and money management, benefit more if you put them on a strict schedule.
With easy scheduling and timely reminders, a Trello calendar can help you cultivate discipline in your life — the kind of discipline that successful people swear by. Use it to plan your meals, keep up with fitness routines, and form new habits.
Of course, you can also use a Trello calendar to plan fun activities like road trips and parties or work-related stuff like meetings and editorial calendars. That’s the beauty of a Trello calendar — you can use it to plan and implement anything.
3. Schedule Health Checkups
Routine health checkups get forgotten or relegated to the “low priority” category when you have other pressing concerns to deal with.
You do know the importance of medical examinations, but as usual your schedule reads “busy”. Or maybe it’s the fear of how the checkup will go that’s holding you back from getting one. What’s a person to do? I say deadline (yes, I’m making it a verb) your health checkups. If anything comes up, don’t reschedule the checkup. Fit everything else around it.
4. Get Serious about Your Learning
Picking up a new skill can be daunting and requires some serious dedication, focus, and regular practice. That’s why it’s important to treat it like any other deadline-driven project.
Let’s say that you’re learning to code. You can learn a few concepts here, a few techniques there whenever you find a little time. But learning, like reading, is one of those things that you have to make time for by cutting out the distractions from your life.
— ProductHunt Games (@ProductHuntGame) March 4, 2016
It doesn’t matter whether you’re focusing on a single source of information or on a mix of sources including books, videos, and interactive tutorials. Starting off with a timetable-based approach as opposed to a haphazard one can give you better results.
Even if an ad-hoc approach works better for you, scheduling a small portion of your day to work on the skill of your choice will keep your momentum going.
5. Sneak in Some “Me” Time
It’s unfortunate that we have to schedule time for ourselves in this busy world, but it’s much better than having absolutely no “me” time at all. Be proactive and use a time block for rest and recreation too.
Make space in your Trello calendar for solitude. Schedule in at least 30 minutes a day to be by yourself, to relax, to daydream, or to do anything else that you enjoy doing.
Similarly, set aside longer durations of time for weekly and monthly sessions of solitude and put them on your calendar. Treat these times as sacred. Consider them appointments that you have to be present for. If they were work appointments, you’d show up for them, right?
6. Schedule Specific Discussions
Let’s say that you want to talk to a friend about this collaborative project idea that you have on your mind. Every time you meet him, you never manage to bring up the idea because you have so many other things to talk about. Once again, you leave it for another day and another conversation.
Now imagine this: you tell your friend that you have an important idea to discuss with him. Both of you decide on a date, time, and a place to have that conversation.
In this case, you’re two potential collaborators meeting up to discuss a clear-cut topic. That makes it so much easier to keep your conversation on track. You can always slip back into “friend mode” after you have finished discussing what you came to discuss. Use a checklist in the card you set up to catch all the points you plan to discuss.
Adopt a similar strategy if you’re fed up with inefficient meetings.
7. Track Your Subscriptions and Purchases
Every time pay for a subscription or buy a product that has a limited shelf life, make a note of the purchase in a Trello card. Now note the date on which the subscription will be up for renewal or when the product needs to get disposed of. Assign that date as the due date for that card.
You’ll get a reminder for it 24 hours before the card is due — just in time for you to take action. This way you no longer have to worry about shelling out cash as late fees, losing a service because you forgot to pay up, or accidentally using products past their use-by dates.
Okay. The "calendar" power-up on Trello is GENIUS! Assign due dates to items on your board and view them all in calendar view ?????? @trello
— Stephanie Oh (@SostephOh) March 9, 2016
8. “Eat That Frog”
If you dread making a certain phone call or working on a certain task and keep putting it off for “when you’ll feel like doing it”, but you know that you won’t, try this. Give the task a deadline with a decent buffer. Then procrastinate all you want.
— Slalom New York (@SlalomNYC) March 10, 2016
When you get a reminder from Trello about that unpleasant task, dive headfirst into it without giving yourself time to think. Yes, it will be painful, but you’ll emerge feeling satisfied because you finally buckled down and got that task done. The deadline is the key here, because it allows you to procrastinate, but keeps the sense of urgency alive.
9. Schedule Digital Checkups and Backups
If you don’t remember to tighten the security and privacy of your digital devices, let Trello serve up timely reminders to help you out.
Create a dedicated board to keep your digital life fine-tuned. Tasks, like checking which apps have access to your Google account, deleting sensitive data that you no longer need, and changing important passwords regularly can turn into cards on that board.
Change Password Reminder is the Snooze button of my e-mail inbox.
— Ben Lloyd (@TypicalLloyd) January 30, 2015
You can also put all those tasks into a checklist within a single card instead. Choose a convenient date and time as a deadline and finish checking and backing up your digital data when you get the reminder for it.
Turn this into a weekly or monthly practice by setting up an IFTTT recipe to schedule a recurring task, which is keeping tabs on your digital data in this case.
10. Avoid Overscheduling
The Calendar view in Trello is an easy way to avoid taking on more than you can handle. If you can see that you have several tasks lined up for a particular week or month, say no to any more requests that come your way. If there’s no way to dodge them, see if you can push some non-urgent tasks to a week or month when your calendar looks less busy.
May or may not die this week due to overscheduling
— Ariana Engles (@arianaengles) January 19, 2016
Also, check your Trello calendars without fail before you set up a meeting or an appointment, to ensure that you don’t end up saying yes to being in two places at once.
Trello to the Rescue Once More
The calendar display is just one of Trello’s awesome features. As you can see, Trello’s useful for more than project management. You can use it as a visualization tool for big picture goals too. And if you combine it with IFTTT, you can manage everything with Trello.
Do you use Trello calendars in your workflow? Which part of your work or life do you track with them? Share your own creative uses of a Trello calendar in the comments!
Image Credits:Calendar With Diary At Desk by Andrey_Popov via Shutterstock