I’ve been through the ringer when it comes to finding a project management system that works for my inbound marketing consulting or HubSpot CMS development clients.

Because not every project or client is the same, there’s always little adjustments that need to be made, whether it’s the specific tasks to be done, the frequency of when we meet or the number of team members I collaborate with.

In the past I used Todoist, then Trello, then Teamwork, then nothing at all, and now I’m back to Trello.

While for my personal task and time management, the answer has been my bullet journal for years, what a notebook can’t solve is the back and forth discussions with clients, the sharing of documents or files and the insight into the status of various tasks.

A couple of benefits to collaborating with my clients in Trello:

  • It’s simple yet flexible, I have the same lists in every board for backlogs, in progress and done. We just add lists as needed
  • Kanban method lets clients see asynchronously where things stand
  • It’s automatically the agenda for the weekly or biweekly calls I have with clients. We move from right to left, tackling each Trello card as needed, handling any blockers and chat about anything they’ve added to the list

Now, Trello works for me because I’m a lean, mean, inbound machine. If I had a team of designers, developers and content writers, then I’d be using another platform like Asana or Teamwork.

Right now, I have a board for my intern, and a board for other tasks I’ve delegated to my virtual assistant team, but for those I just copy the cards from the client’s board. The rest of my boards are shared with my clients and anyone on their team as needed.

A quick summary of using Trello and using my system:

  • Trello card = actionable task, with sometimes a checklist for sub-tasks or processes
  • Trello List = the progress of the task
  • Backlog List = what you have in your someday or future lists. Or just all the to-dos you have in your head
  • This Week List = what you plan on doing this week. This lets you quickly see what’s on your plate. I sit down on Sundays and plan out this list with estimated times and roughly what day a task gets done. You could simply say you’ll work on 25 things this week, and add that many to the This Week List
  • WIP or Work in Progress List = the tasks you’re actively working on that day. I suggest at the end of each day to do a wrap up and move tasks from this list back to This Week, or to Blocked/Needs Review if you’re waiting on someone else
  • Blocked/Needs Review List = this is for anything that’s been delegated or is held up because of someone else. This is the first list I talk to clients about on our regular calls, because often these tasks are so close to being done, but I just need an errant image file, or their quick glance on a scheduled email blast
  • Done List = self-explanatory. If there’s continuing conversation happening in a done task, then I either move it out of done, or create a new card

My system is pretty simple, but I thought I’d share a Trello template you can use anytime you start a new project. You can check that out here: