How Trello Saved My (Blogging) Sanity

September 20, 2016 miscellaneous 33

how-trello-saved-my-sanity

When you have a reading list like mine, it’s easy to get buried under it. Particularly when said reading list spans scheduled reviews, blog tours, and assigned reviews for magazines. Not to mention the additional posts like Top Ten Tuesdays and discussions like this one.

I tried planners and those are awesome but I needed something I could have with me no matter where in the house I was – or have access to outside the house. And sometimes I need to be able to look at a glance and tell whether I’ve received a book for review yet or not. Or, if I have, what format is that book in – print? netgalley? pdf? As my review commitments grew, the planner was no longer enough.

Then I tried a spreadsheet…. but that quickly exacerbated allllll of my OCD tendencies and became quite overwhelming. And even then, things were falling through the cracks.

I’d heard of this nifty (free!) website called Trello.com and started playing around with it but couldn’t seem to figure out a way to make it work efficiently for me. To be honest, it seemed like more trouble than it was worth.ย  And then I read a post on SERIESous Book Reviews on how she organizes her ARCs and requests.ย  Seeing another book blogger use it finally helped it click with me and – especially as things got extra special crazy leading up to my Nashville trip and CFRR/ACFW – has kept me from going completely insane and saved me oodles of time ever since.

Because I use Trello a little bit differently than SERIESous does and because I’ve had a lot of people ask me to do a post on how I do use Trello, I shall proceed to provide a brief tutorial ๐Ÿ™‚

trello-boards

Boards: Boards on Trello are basically the “big picture” of your to-do list. This is actually an older version of my boards; since I took this screenshot I’ve also started using Trello to keep track of future Top Ten Tuesday posts and created a new board for that as well as a couple of other categories.

Let’s open up my Scheduled Reviews board and explore it a bit further, shall we? ๐Ÿ™‚

trello-scheduled-reviews

Lists: Lists are like subcategories within the larger board. Each of my boards looks a bit different on the inside. For scheduled reviews and RT reviews, my lists are mostly months. For my Top Ten Tuesday board, my lists are post ideas. Lots of flexibility and customization available here – whatever meets your needs… and it can change from board to board.

Cards: Cards are like bullet points within the lists. But they are super flexible as well – to the point of being able to be moved from list to list, or from board to board, or even just up and down within a list.ย  They also have a wealth of information just waiting to be at your fingertips. Let’s see what I mean ๐Ÿ™‚

trello-card-example

Board: Scheduled Reviews

List: September 2016

This is the card for God Bless Us Every One which I reviewed on September 15th.ย  The checklist, labels, and date due are the features I use most often for card to card.

Labels: I get on average a book a day from publishers, authors, etc. Despite my best attempts at organization, I am ashamed to admit how many times I used to frantically search for a book I needed for a blog tour or magazine review …only to find out later that I hadn’t actually received it yet. How did I find this out, you may ask? Well… because it finally arrived in the mail <sheepish grin> Or I spent a good deal of time searching for a print book only to discover belatedly that my review copy was digital. Sigh. Enter the labels feature on Trello and a large part of the reason my sanity has stayed intact lately ๐Ÿ˜€

trello-labels

This shows the labels I personally use most often. (I use PDF to cover anything that I receive a digital file for via email, not a website like Netgalley)

trello-scheduled-reviews

If we look at this picture of my Scheduled Reviews Board again, I can tell with a glance (so important to me with my busy schedule!) that I’ve received all the books I need for upcoming tours in September.ย  Which means less following up I have to do – yay! If I start looking for Jesus and the Beanstalk or Be Frank With Me, I know to look in my September print stack. For all the other upcoming September books showing up in this screenshot, I just need to grab my Kindle! I seriously cannot begin to explain how much panic and brain time this has saved me lol.

Checklists: Checklists help me keep up with the actions I do for nearly every book review. I have a standard checklist for normal reviews, one for reviews that are part of a blog tour, and one for interviews. That’s just for the Scheduled Reviews board. My checklist I use for my RT Reviews board is a lot shorter and has very different steps.

trello-copy-checklist

One of the most time saving things about checklists is that you can copy them from one card to another.ย  That way, if you do the same actions with just about every book you don’t have to keep typing them in every time you make a new card.ย  I must confess I did a thousand happy dances when I first discovered this handy little trick.

When I’ve finished a card – i.e., when I’ve completed the checklist ๐Ÿ˜€ – I click on “move” (which you can’t see in the above screenshot) and move it to my Completed Reviews board.

There! Easy peasy! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I hope this has helped you figure out some ways to use Trello for your blogging or reviewing needs. But honestly? How I use may be way too complicated for you. Or not complicated enough. SERIESous has her system set up pretty differently from my own. That’s another great part of Trello – it can be manipulated so it works for YOU. And it’s available in the app store so you can always have your boards at your fingertips ๐Ÿ™‚

Author friends, I also think this would be a great plotting and character-keeping-track-of resource! (Don’t you love my technical terms? lol)ย  It’s not too spreadsheety so maybe you wouldn’t feel too boxed-in <cough, cough> Pepper Basham <cough, cough> ๐Ÿ˜‰

What about you? What are some questions you have about using Trello?

Carrie

33 Responses to “How Trello Saved My (Blogging) Sanity”

  1. Rachel Dixon

    Oh so glad you posted this! I am doing almost the same thing as you with trello! Checklist items and labels a little different. I LOVE Trello tho. Seriously saves my sanity too!

  2. Carolyn Astfalk

    As far as general to-dos, I think Wunderlist fills my needs, but using this for organizing writing – that may have some possibilities! Right now I use Evernote, Word, and Notes for writing and Google sheets and docs for marketing tasks. This could allow me to combine some of that.

  3. Winnie Thomas

    Yes, I have a question(s) about it! Could you do a private tutoring session to this EC person? Do you have it on your phone? Is it compatible with a Kindle Fire or on a laptop? I’m pretty sure it would drive me nuts trying to use it on a phone.

    • Carrie

      I do have it on my phone but I prefer using it on my laptop ๐Ÿ˜€ And YES I will gladly do a private session for you, my dear friend ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Winnie Thomas

        You’re a sweetie, Carrie! I think I’d prefer my laptop, so I’ll see if I can get it installed and working, then get back with you later. Do you know if it would sync between my laptop and Kindle Fire if I download the Kindle app for Trello, also? (I’m so pathetically EC)! I’m just glad I don’t have as many irons in the fire as you do, dear Carrie! I’d be a total basket case!

  4. Lis K

    Could I use this to keep track of all my books (Kindle, print, read, TBR, part of a series etc…)? Currently, I use a spreadsheet but it’s getting unwieldy ๐Ÿ™ I’ve never heard of Trello but it piques my interest so thanks for sharing!

  5. Beth Erin

    Trello has saved my blogger sanity, too! Thank you for telling me about it!

    I’m all on one board right now. I have a list for TBR (titles I own and haven’t read, this really helps me keep track of those kindle titles I’ve had forever and need to read!), date specific reviews, currently reading, review only, blog, feature posts, and send feedback (for those influencer and pre-release posts)… then I just archive each card when I’m completely done.

    I’ve activated the Calendar power up but haven’t taken the time to add dates to every card… it’s just so easy to move them around on Google calendar (AND compare other events), we’ll see if I make the transition to all trello.

    Great post, Carrie! I’ll probably come back to analyze and reanalyze ๐Ÿ˜‰

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