Trello + Things 3 + A Clear Purpose For Each = Task Management Peace...Finally

Summary: After trying lots and lots of approaches and apps for task management, I have settled on

  1. Using Trello for Brainstorming and Large Project tracking and
  2. Using Things 3 for individual (non-project) actions and knowing the status and next actions for larger Trello projects

Like many of you I have tried all the apps. Started with Things 2, then OmiFocus 1, then 2, then back to Things 3, all the while dabbling with Trello for “other stuff”.

Then, Trello surprised me.

I love the “card” instead of “task” approach. I love being able to dump ideas in and move them around to make sense of them. I love seeing finished cards right next to what is next. I love being able to have different boards. I had no plans to leave Things 3 but really loved the open feel of Trello boards.

I always thought everything should be in one system, and that you should only use one system. But I noticed that I was wrong. There is nothing wrong with having one tool for brainstorming and larger project planning and another one for “what do I have to do next in this area” tasks.

Separating these two worlds has had tremendous benefits. Instead of putting everything in Things, I took all larger project out of Things and only left one or two tasks per Trello board. The most important one or two tasks. Now Things truly became a task manager and not a task dumping ground. I see a tiny list of what I need to do, and the small list makes me want to do it since it is so close to being “done”. At least it feels that way.

Trello, for whatever reason, doesn’t give me task claustrophobia. It invites me to play, to move to reflect. This really surprised me. I love being able to have various boards that have nothing to do with each other visually, but can easily move lists between. For whatever reason, I can put lots of stuff in Trello and it doesn’t feel overwhelming. It is a status board, not a task list, and that distinction, for whatever reason really works for me.

So if you are like me who spent too much time managing your mountains of tasks instead of working on them, try these out. Whatever the tool, I have discovered that multiple systems are ok if you have a very clear purpose for each.

Anyone else do something similar?


Trello never really grabbed me as a task management solution. However, I can definitely see building a task management system that relies on multiple apps. Like a lot of people, I use Due for tasks that have to be done at a particular time with OmniFocus for the rest of my task management. I use OmniFocus to feed an analog system of bullet journaling to time block and list out my most important tasks on a daily basis.

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Hey Chris!

Thanks for the response. For whatever reason, I love learning about how others get work done. Like you, I use Due, but mostly just for weekly recurring simple stuff (laundry, trash, etc). I also use a daily hit list of a few items to attach. I use Day One combined with the Pomodoro Technique and TextExpander to punch out 30min blocks of work. Then I use Trello or Things to keep myself on track.

No matter what tools you use, if it helps you produce, rejoice!

I’m a firm believer of using different apps/tools to fulfill different parts works best. I also use Due for recurring items with nagging. I have Agenda for my project reports and to create a narrative that can be easily followed by others. OmniFocus is my cold storage for tasks and feeds my Bullet Journal daily for today’s work plan. I use iThoughts for project planning to get things rolling.

I do like the Trello card interface and have thought of using it for Big Rock projects as well.

Each app has a different way of viewing my work. It’s like a toolbox. I have hammers, screwdrivers, drills, saws, and other tools that complement each other and are focused for different use cases.

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