Self Organisation

I use Trello to keep track of things I need to do. Everything I need to do, which isn’t captured elsewhere (like in a github issue), goes on the Trello board.

I’ve found Trello works better for me for this than org-mode did: the latter is very powerful, which makes it hard to use consistently; Trello is much more limited, so consistency is easy.

Task States

%3 Normal tasks Normal tasks Has Prerequisites Has Prerequisites Normal tasks->Has Prerequisites Backlog Backlog Normal tasks->Backlog Upcoming Upcoming Normal tasks->Upcoming Urgent tasks Urgent tasks Doing Doing Urgent tasks->Doing Recurring tasks Recurring tasks Routines Routines Recurring tasks->Routines Routines->Doing Has Prerequisites->Backlog Has Prerequisites->Upcoming This Sprint This Sprint Backlog->This Sprint Upcoming->This Sprint This Sprint->Doing Waiting / Blocked Waiting / Blocked Doing->Waiting / Blocked Done Done Doing->Done Waiting / Blocked->Doing Waiting / Blocked->Done

There are three types of state a task can be in: not yet done, being worked on, and done. I break those three broad types into a few different more specific states:

  • Routines—regular, time-based, tasks.

  • Has Prerequisites—things I can’t do until I do something else (which is also on the board, and linked from this thing).

  • Backlog—things which would be nice to do, but aren’t particularly important or urgent.

  • Upcoming—important, but non-urgent, things.

  • This Sprint—a mixture of tasks from Backlog and Upcoming I’ve decided to do this sprint (see below).

  • Doing—things I’m actively doing at the moment (this list is very small). Urgent tasks come straight here.

  • Waiting / Blocked—things where I’ve done my part, and need to wait on something or someone else.

  • Done - things I’ve done (there’s a new done list every month).

I’ve decided to take a concept from software development planning and use “sprints” to prioritise tasks. Every fortnight I move some tasks from Backlog and Upcoming into This Sprint, and when picking up a new task I look at This Sprint first.

If I get through all the sprint tasks, great; if not, no big deal, they can either remain for the following sprint, or move back into a different list.


Every task has at least one tag. The tags are:

  • Career
  • Finance
  • Home
  • Kitchen
  • Memo
  • Miscellaneous
  • Programming & Tech
  • Self
  • a few tags for games I’m in


I have a bunch of regular tasks which I collected together into a few different routines:

  • Weekly—household maintenance (cleaning, laundry, etc) and writing weeknotes.

  • Monthly—more intense household maintenance (cleaning the oven, emptying the hoover, etc), updating computers, reviewing the tasks, etc.

  • Quarterly—updating my CV and website.

  • Annual—reviewing my financial habits.

Each routine is a single card on the board with a checklist of tasks to complete and a deadline (end of last Sunday in the time period it’s for).