Nothing always stays the same.
That’s the golden rule of life, and depending on your perspective – it can be either a frightening or a liberating message.

This is also true about the way you make use of your Trello boards. Trying something new can either be a sheer necessity. Or, it can be a risk, a challenge, an excitement or even a pain. Today I want to take you on a journey that is hopefully an excitement or relief for you.

If you have been a reader of this blog for some time, you might have noticed that my last posts were dedicated to the introduction of Butler for Trello and how it could be used to grow, evolve and automate the way we use Trello for organizing and running our businesses.

 

I began with laying out what Butler for Trello actually is and introducing the main parts of it – just enough to get you started.

The second article became hands-on because I wanted to provide some really good examples many Trello user could relate to as well. These 11 little hacks automate time-consuming tasks in Trello. And I am using them myself (a lot). Sometimes we need to see it black-on-white what it actually is that requires our attention. And if this article doesn’t ring a bell for you, then this tool is simply not your cup of tea, and that’s is alright, too.
And then I have taken it a step further and talked about some concrete ideas for automated project management boards that come with interlocking productivity workflows. They will be a game changer for the Trello-using freelancer community, I am sure.

PART 1

How to use Butler for Trello to increase your productivity

PART 2

11 Little genius Butler hacks that tame your Trello chaos

PART 3

A breakthrough in automating project management in Trello

PART 4

How to set up stunning productivity workflows in Trello

In today’s post, I want to do something different. From students of my free online course “How to Automate Trello your Trello Boards with Butler for Trello“, I know that many are eager to learn more about productivity workflows in Trello. And that’s something I want to help them with. And today, I want to give you a few specific examples how to set up such productivity workflows in Trello.

Now, every person uses Trello in their own way and wants to automate different things. Some make a lot of use of labels, others are more into due dates. Other folks swear on using checklists extensively, and also a lot of people prefer to use the classical board setup of “ToDo-Doing-Done”.
This is all totally fine and acceptable. The beautiful thing with Trello is that it is so very flexible, that it can satisfy the workflow needs of almost everyone – with the help of Butler for Trello.

The commands and workflows I am presenting here, may or may not need some adjustments to your board and/or list setup. My intention is to bring across some general ideas of productivity workflows in Trello. You can try them and should use your common sense to check whether they need adjustments, or not. And if they do need adjustments and you find yourself somewhat lost, you can get in touch with me via my Patreon page for smaller corrections. Or, you can enroll in my free online course to acquire a decent understanding first, on how to automate your Trello boards with professional productivity workflows.

Before I dive into showcasing some productivity workflows for your Trello boards, let me point out the seven benefits of setting up workflows in Trello.

The 7 Benefits of Setting up Workflows in Trello

If you are still wondering whether or not you should think about at all to jump on that bandwagon of setting up workflows in Trello, let me give you seven good reasons why you actually should.

 

1. EXECUTE COMPLEX ACTION SEQUENCES

With one or a few commands, complex action sequences can be executed.

 

2. PERFORM FREQUENT ACTIONS WITH ONE CLICK

Actions you are doing fairly regularly can be done with one single click (for instance with the Power-Up).

 

3. INCREASE YOUR PRODUCTIVITY AND THE PRODUCTIVITY OF YOUR TEAM

Whether you are a single user or use it for your team’s collaboration, all parties can benefit when lesser clicking and cleaning-up is required. Big win.

 

4. ENABLE STANDARD PROCESSES

Now, setting up a workflow may take some time to think it through and test it out. But once it is set up, it takes a lot of weight off your shoulders, because it’s running by itself. Your or your team’s attention is no longer required.

 

5. MINIMIZE ERRORS

Happens to the best of us. Whether we are tired, stressed or worried. Mistakes happen. That’s human. A Bot does not have this kind of issues. Whilst there is the possibility of software bugs (it happens even to the best software in the world), the occurring of errors is minimized.

 

6. PERFORM THE MOST USUAL ACTIONS (AND SEQUENCES WITH MULTIPLE ACTIONS)

Are you aware that you can do multiple actions within one command? Like adding a label, adding a due date, adding a member to a card, when …. No problem with Butler for Trello, and you don’t even have to click once.

 

7. IMPROVE THE CONSISTENCY OF SHARED WORKFLOWS

Whilst we all are more or less uncertain about how to best automate our business workflows, we all agree that consistency is a key issue for automating our processes. If there’s no consistency, automation is difficult to implement. Consistency opens the door to a work”flow”.

 

If you have ever found yourself exhausted from the millions of clicks and going back and forth between boards to achieve a certain order and consistency within your Trello Empire, I am sure you will value these benefits highly.

Productivity Workflows in Trello

Productivity Workflow #1: Converting checklist items into linked Trello cards

 

You have a checklist with a number of checklist items. Now you realize that you actually would be able to add comments to every single item or add an attachment or an URL. Basically what you need, is a card that stores all the information for this particular checklist item. And for all other checklist items in your checklist as well.
And, you want to connect these two because they inevitably belong to each other. And the best thing would be that your checklist item gets checked off when the linked card is marked as done.

Possible?
Of course.

Here’s how:

  1. Create one card that holds your checklist. Give this checklist a name.
  2. Create a new list.
  3. Invite Butler for Trello to your Trello board
  4. In the Butler list, type in the command that creates a linked card from your checklist item.

Here’s a basic command:

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when a checklist item is added to a checklist, convert the item into a linked card

 

But your command could also look like this:

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when a checklist item is added to checklist “XXX” in card “YYY”, convert the item into a linked card in list “ZZZ”

productivity workflows in trello convert checklist items to cards in Trello

What this is doing, it is creating cards from the checklist items (as in the display above), using the checklist item name as the card’s title. And, it creates a link in the card’s description back to the checklist item.

I am using this setup for my Course Development Boards.

When I create online courses, I am using a basic framework of checklists to lay out the modules and lessons for each module. Upon adding checklist items to the various checklists in this card “COURSE OUTLINE”, new cards are added to the lists (=modules). Before a card actually gets checked off (and then also the corresponding linked checklist item), there are also a bunch of other workflows taking place.

This procedure sets up a standard process so that my product later looks as professional as possible. And it also minimizes possible errors and gives me a good feeling, because there is a certain degree of consistency that assures me everything is right and in place.

productivity workflows in Trello course outline

Productivity Workflow #2: Copying cards from one board to a “Master” board

 

 

That’s been a request of many. Having some sort of “central” board that holds cards/tasks from other boards … to make sure to not miss a deadline.

There is actually a system I created I called Master-Client board setup that comes with a bunch of great features to manage (as) many client boards (as you want). Whether that’s really a board from your client, or simply a board with tasks from differing projects, the idea is the same: you want this one board that stores all your different tasks.

productivity workflows in Trello with linked cards

Let me show you a few ways how to copy cards between boards.
I am going to give you a few options here, honoring the fact that my readers may require different approaches.

 

The most simple option:

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when a new card is created, copy the card to list “XXX” on board “YYY”

 

The same as above, but linking the two cards to each other so that you can switch back and forth between them:

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when a card is added to list “To Do”, copy it to list “XXX” on board “YYY” and link the two cards

 

This links the two cards in the description part of the Trello card. Alternatively, you can link cards in the attachments to each other, but this would have to be specified, like that:

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For each card in list “XXX”, copy the card to list “YYY” on board “ZZZ”, and link the cards in the attachments

Now, let’s take it one step further:
When you have such a linked card setup, you want to start thinking about how to make it even easier to deal with these card copies.

 

For instance, you could set up another command that deals with adding due dates:

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When a due date is added to a card in list “XXX”, find the linked card and set due on that date

 

Or, you may want to copy the comments made on the original card, like this:

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When a comment is posted to a card, find the card mentioned in the description and post comment “{commenttext}”

 

Do you see how adding these pieces can create awesome productivity workflows in Trello that alleviate you from your most tedious tasks and worries of missing a deadline?
If you would like to have more consistent inspiration like that or want to be able to pick my brain for an individual solution, you can jump over to my Patreon page and become part of the community where I help people to set up workflows in Trello.

 

If you want to learn how to create workflows in Trello yourself by using the Butler Power-Up, this online course is perfect for you!

I will guide you through all the features that the Butler Power-Up comes with. In a workshop module, I created a safe space for you where you can learn to create commands yourself and build workflows that will spice up your Trello boards and take work load off your shoulders.

 

Workshop & Online Course for the Butler Power-Up in Trello

Productivity Workflow #3: Urgent tasks in a classic board setup

 

 

productivity workflows in trello Classic Board setup

Let’s assume you have a bunch of regular tasks each week. And you are looking for a way to create a workflow here.
Remember when I talked about pain, relief, and excitement at the beginning?

Creating a workflow for your weekly chores will help you to be more relaxed about your workload. Yes, your workload is still there. But you no longer need to worry not to forget a step. And in order to get that workflow up and running, you can set up a bunch of commands like this:

 

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Every Monday at 8 am create a card named “My Weekly Tasks” in list “To Do” and add a due date of Friday and add the “Steps” checklist

 

This commands creates a new card each Monday morning in your list “To Do”. Then, it adds a pre-created checklist to this card that holds all your weekly chores. This checklist is to be added to the command card itself. Later, when the command runs, it finds this checklist and adds it to the card “My Weekly Tasks”.

 

Alternative command ideas:

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when the “Steps” checklist is complete, move the card to “Done”

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when a card is moved to “Done”, remove the “Steps” checklist

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when a card is moved out of “Done”, reset the “Final check” item in the checklist

 

This last one is more of a housekeeping workflow than a productivity workflow, as it removes the checklist added to the card.

 

The reason for mentioning housekeeping workflows here is that Trello commands also run on archived cards (yes, also on archived checklists). If there is “unfinished business” in your Trello archive, Butler runs its commands and eats up your weekly operations budget without you even noticing it. (If you don’t know about weekly operation limits, jump over to this article to understand why it’s important.) When your operations limit is used up in such unnoticeable way, one day you’ll find yourself wondering why the commands on your important boards aren’t being executed. This can cause you miss deadlines. Or, important board updates won’t be executed.

Just saying. Some housekeeping is necessary.

Over to You

So, what’s your overall experience with reading this article? Are you feeling rather excited about the possibilities opening up for you? Or, is there more confusion than enlightenment in your mind right now?

There is an excellent opportunity to create stunning and useful productivity workflows in your Trello boards that I don’t want to hold back from you. In this newly launched workshop & online course, you will learn the art of workflow creation.

It is the only online course on the web, that teaches you how to create workflows in Trello with the Butler Power-Up! The course is designed for Trello users who are eager to learn how to create commands and build workflows that spice up their Trello boards and take significant workload off their shoulders.

 

PART 1

How to use Butler for Trello to increase your productivity

PART 2

11 Little genius Butler hacks that tame your Trello chaos

PART 3

A breakthrough in automating project management in Trello

PART 4

How to set up stunning productivity workflows in Trello

productivity workflows in Trello

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