Motivation Top Tip: Use visually appealing Trello boards

Have you heard of the term ‘visual learner’? It describes someone who prefers visual cues to process new ideas and keep their motivation high. I believe that we are all visual learners to some extent. And yet many software tools, including Trello, present us with bland, text-heavy interfaces. We’re going to change that! Read on for our tips on how to make your Trello boards more visually appealing. Add that spark to keep your motivation levels high while working towards your goals!

Motivation Tip 1: Background Colours

Motivation needs engagement – and the overall look and feel of your Trello board plays an important role. Trello comes in blue from the outset. You can easily change the background colour to suit your needs:

Show Menu > Change Background > Pick your background colour

Just a few clicks can turn your Trello board from this:

Motivation - original blue Trello board
The original Trello blue

into this:

Change Trello board background colour

Perfect for that gardening project, don’t you think?

And when you’re staring at blue Trello boards all day, that special background colour is a great switch to get focused and keep your motivation high.

Colours have super-powers anyway, as explained in great detail in this lovely article about the meaning of colours.

Motivation Tip 2: Images

A picture says 1000 words (I bet you’ve never heard that before!). What’s more, a picture really grabs your attention and focuses the mind. What a great way to stay motivated!

Attach an image to a Trello card and it becomes what Trello calls a ‘cover image’.

Easier to see than write about – which one of these boards do you find more inspirational?

This one:


Unmotivational Trello board

Or this one:

Motivational Trello gardening board

Here are our top tips for attaching images to Trello cards:

  • Use pictures sparingly – otherwise, they lose their power. A single motivational image at the start of the board works wonders!
  • Matching the board’s background colour to the image creates a strong overall feel to the Trello board. The visual tie-in keeps your motivation high and keeps you focused on the task at hand.
  • You can’t control the size of the cover images. Trello resizes them automatically.

Motivation Tip 3: Use labels to stick to your goals

When you still feel that your motivation is flagging, even with custom background colours and image attachments, then it might help to add labels to the mix.

When you get that feeling that you’re overwhelmed by tasks and don’t feel motivated to keep working on your goals, a simple coloured label can really make the difference.

The following board combines all three techniques (and finally moves away from gardening!):

Motivation Trello board with goal labels
Purple is the colour of ambition

Motivational Trello labels in detail

  1. The key cover image reminds you of your overall goal (who wouldn’t want to own such a lovely yacht!).
  2. The purple tint on the image ties in with the overall background colour for that constant reminder of your goals.
  3. The board’s background is set to purple – apparently the colour of luxury and ambition.
  4. Trello cards directly related to achieving your goal were given a purple label. This trick is a super-easy visual reminder of how much you are doing each day to move towards your goal.

And there you have it. I hope you enjoyed these tips on how to keep motivation high on your Trello boards and can put them to good use.

Some final thoughts before I go:

  1. You can add custom background images to your Trello boards by upgrading to Trello Gold (free if you invite others to Trello, otherwise you will need to pay – but may still be worth it!).
  2. There are a few Chrome browser extensions that allow you to create coloured cards or change the Trello board background. We thought these would feature heavily in the post. In practice, they seemed clunky and unreliable when we put them through their paces, so we decided not to include them here.

A special shout out goes to Clean Language practitioner Judy Rees, who asked us about maintaining motivation with more visually appealing Trello boards in a recent Skype call.

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