How to Manage Your Physical, Mental, and Creative Space With Trello

19 August

If you’ve ever had to manage a household or just try to accomplish all your personal to-do items, you know how hard it is to get them out of your head, figure out how to track everything in a simple way, find a balanced way to prioritize all the things you have to do, and actually get them done.

I have found an awesome way to make this easier.  It takes two steps:

First, sort your personal to-do’s into three spaces: physical, mental, and creative/emotional/spiritual.

Second, use Trello.

In the video above, I show you how to use Trello to manage your personal to-do items in a very simple and balanced way.

To use Trello, you don’t need any technical expertise.  All you need is a computer, internet connection, and an email address.

Read about it in this blog post, watch the video, or both.  It’s your choice.  But for full effect, don’t miss out on the video.  The visual nature of Trello is awesome.  Trust me, you’ll be hooked.


What is Trello?

Trello is a free web application that you can use to track pretty much anything you want.  It’s a kanban board of sorts.  Just go to and log in using your email address.

Trello’s three main building blocks are cards, lists, and boards.  Cards are things you’re working on, lists are collections of cards, and boards are collections of lists.  You can put all kinds of things on the back of cards: comments, color-coded labels, checklists, file attachments, due dates, voting, and more.

Use Trello on your own, or collaborate with others by adding members.

Here are 6 reasons why I like Trello:

1.  Simple – It has just the right amount of features to be approachable, yet powerful.  It’s naturally intuitive and just easy to use.  Add a card, add a list, rename a board – easy.
2.  Visual – The visual layout just works.  Seeing all your lists in one place is so nice.  And the drag and drop functionality makes it actually fun to use.  I love the visual display of priority: the card on top is simply the highest priority.  Dragging members to cards is delegation made fun.
3.  Accessible – You access your boards via your web browser on your computer or tablet, or from the Trello app on your smart phone.  Changes are instantly updated on all devices.  Very cool.
4.  Flexible – You can choose what you want to display on your board layout.  Don’t want to see a sidebar widget?  Hide it.  Just click Options, then Layout.  You can choose to hide the entire sidebar, or just individual parts.  Adding it back is easy, too.  Same goes for features.  You get to decide which features you want to use.  Love the color-coded labels, but the voting and due dates not so much?  That’s fine – it works how you want.  For this personal board, I keep it super simple and don’t use a lot of features.  But for my blog board, they sure come in handy!
5.  Actionable – Before Trello, I mostly used Evernote.  But it seemed like stuff I was saving was being just kind of lost into a sea of notebooks, with no plan for action.  Now, for example, when I want to save a web page, I add its link to the back of a card, so it’s directly related to something I need to do.
6.  Helpful – Whenever the Trello team tweaks or implements a feature or wants to share some helpful tips, they post a little red notification at the top of the screen.  The Trello Blog has some nice tips that help out a ton.  Also, the search bar is uber-helpful in finding any card you’re seeking.


Remember the physical, mental, and creative spaces?

These are three perfect personal to-do lists in Trello!

Balancing your focus among your physical, mental, and creative space is a simple and effective way to make you feel more accomplished, satisfied, and just happy.

I learned about this concept from Jeff Goins in his blog post The Most Important Part of the Creative Life.  Here’s how Jeff describes the spaces:

  • Physical space – if your space is cluttered, you will feel anxious
  • Mental space – if your mind is consumed with worries and concerns, you won’t be thinking clearly
  • Spiritual/emotional space – creativity is a spiritual act, a work of the heart

Does this resonate with you, like it does for me?  If so, here’s what to do:

  1. If you haven’t already, sign up with Trello.
  2. Create a new board.
  3. Add five lists to your board:
    • Physical Space
    • Mental Space
    • Creative/Emotional/Spiritual Space
    • Doing/Waiting
    • Done
  4. Add cards to each of the first three lists, for to-do items in your physical, mental, and creative spaces.  Add stuff to the back of each card, as you see fit.  Assign simple priorities by moving cards that you want to get done first to the top of the list.
  5. Choose which cards to work on, balancing your choices from each of the three spaces.
  6. As you’re working on your to-do’s, move them to the Doing/Waiting list.  Consider integrating these into your day planner.  Personally, I use Trello to compile and prioritize my tasks, then when I’m ready to accomplish them, I bring them into my my Comp Book Day Planner.
  7. As you complete your to-do’s, drag them over to the Done list.  It feels really good to see your Done list expand over time.  Take some time to relish what you’ve accomplished!


And there you have it, now you know how to manage your physical, mental, and creative space with the super-cool online tool, Trello!  Pretty neat, huh?

Like what you see?  Pass along the link to this post.  If you’d like to embed the screencast in your blog, go for it!  You can find the video on YouTube.

Do you use Trello?  Does the idea of physical/mental/creative space resonate with you?


6 Responses to “How to Manage Your Physical, Mental, and Creative Space With Trello”

  1. Bernadette Kennedy 09/03/2012 at 12:50 pm #

    Great ScreenFlow video!! I believe I landed on your blog from the ScreenFlow blog (can’t remember). But, I wanted to check out your video. You did an excellent job. I’ve never heard of Trello before, but your explanation helped a lot!

    I’ve been working with ScreenFlow for less than a year, and have slowly got the hang of it. (Of course, I always have room for improvement).

    Thanks a bunch!

    • Angela 09/03/2012 at 6:56 pm #

      Thanks Bernadette! I really enjoy using ScreenFlow. And Trello, too!

  2. Kim 09/04/2012 at 9:32 pm #

    Hi, Angela. I just wanted to pop over to your blog after our #talknt . Thanks for introducing me to trello. It looks like something I am definitely going to have to try. I appreciate the information and your well-done you tube video! Great job.

    • Angela 09/05/2012 at 8:48 am #

      Thanks, Kim!

  3. Hua 12/02/2012 at 9:52 pm #

    After using Trello for a while, I start to confuse how to manage my work & spiritual life with Trello. So I search on Youtube and found your video. It’s Great!! And very helpful!! Thank you very much for your video. Good job indeed!

    • Angela 12/03/2012 at 7:23 am #

      Thank you Hua!

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