Blog Tech Revisited

Over two years ago, I wrote a post about Blogging – Geek Style, where I talked about Evernote and Trello. Two years is a long time, and it turns out, two apps are too many. While both apps are still on my phone, and my iPad, and my desktop (yes, I am still a geek and I still do geeky stuff for a living), only one is actively involved with my blogging. Evernote fought a good fight, but Trello wore it down like a rock in a river.

Both apps let you store, sort and otherwise organize notes. Both let you include links to other notes, to documents, photos and both let you associate due dates with notes that you’re trying to manage through a process. Trello simply does a better job of that last task. It’s easy. It’s intuitive and quite frankly, it’s fun to use. It’s also free, and the free version has just enough utility to be truly useful to a geeky blogger.

Trello lets you organize things in a hierarchy of Boards, Lists and Cards. I have about 30 boards in Trello. Most of those boards are work related. Some boards are for projects around our house, but the one I am going to focus on is the recently created board for No Facilities. Prior to having a board for my entire blog, I had one for Thursday Doors.

Within each board, you create lists. In the Thursday Doors board, I had lists for:

  • Doors to shoot
  • Photo’d but need betterResearch
  • Required
  • Ready to write

Those categories worked, but my doorscurrsions caused me to move through them very quickly, so the project management aspects were lost. Still, I liked the way Trello worked, so I decided to merge my Thursday Doors lists into a broader board for all the blogging ideas, artifacts and drafts.

My No Facilities board is simpler, it has two main lists, “Ideas” and “Drafts in Progress” and a few ancillary lists that I’ll explain if I don’t wear out my word count.

My No Facilities Board

Trello includes several visual features to indicate things that would otherwise require more words. For example, I use color-coded labels to indicate whether the ideas I have are Thursday Doors ideas, One-Liner Wednesday ideas, If We Were Having a Beer, etc. I can also add a label to indicate that there is a Word Document draft in my Box (cloud-based storage) account, or an old draft sitting in Evernote. More importantly, I can easily link to those drafts so I can work out of Trello. Since Trello, Box and Word are all available as mobile apps, I can work off my laptop, my iPad or my phone. OK, I can’t work off my phone, unless I want to dramatically increase the workload of my editor.

Assigning labels

The fun part of Trello comes from being able to drag and drop the cards within and between lists. If I decide to move what was considered a distant opportunity up to a near-future post, I can drag the card up in a list. If an ‘idea’ starts to become a post, I can drag it into the ‘Drafts’ list and slot it in the pecking order where it belongs. Looking at the drafts list, I can look ahead, usually at least a week, to remind me of what I need to be working on.

I mentioned that I use Box for storage, but if you aren’t running from home to hotel(s), you can link local files to Trello just as easily. What I like about Box is that Trello has an “power-up” add-on specifically for Box, and although power-ups are part of the premium (paid) version of Trello, you can use one with each board in the free version.

Another feature I like is the ability to send an email to a Trello board. When you set up that feature, you specify which list incoming email items land in. To keep my life simple, I created a list called “Landing Pad” for all incoming items. Because it’s so easy to move the items between lists, I can send an idea in and organize it later.

I also have lists for published posts. Since I had one in the Thursday Doors board, I just moved it into the No Facilities board. That process was extremely easy. Then I created an additional list for all other published posts. The published lists are a great way of quickly checking to see if I already wrote about a subject before. It’s faster, and easier to search Trello than it is to search my blog.

The gallery has a few more screen shots that help illustrate the features I’ve mentioned. There are also a few short videos that help illustrate the ease of moving the cards around. Please excuse the poor quality of the videos, it’s not my forte.

The videos are all less than 40 seconds long. They show some housekeeping tasks, organizing cards and using labels and power-ups:

66 thoughts on “Blog Tech Revisited

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    1. Thanks. I used blogging as a project most people here could relate to, but I have over 30 boards, and I use it for all kinds of projects. I use it for woodworking and construction projects (like those doors that I made). Being able to move the cards around helps me react to design changes and also not to forget to do small steps at the right time (like make a connection before other material will make the parts harder to get to).

      I also use it a lot at work, but I’m sure no one wants to read about “compliance with cybersecurity laws”

      Like

    1. Ha, thanks Joanne. I’m not normally an organized person. I have to have tools (paper, computer, etc,) to help. Most tools that I try, come and go – I get bored, or they just don’t help that much. This is really useful and I find myself using it more and more.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Wow, that’s certainly working for you. I don’t need this, but I can see how it’s useful. It reminds me a bit of Scrivener, which I do need, and use for writing fiction.
    The other day, John Holton recommended Evernote to me, adding, “I forget to check it.” LOL
    I do use Notes in my phone now and again. But more as a check and toss.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I still use Evernote for a lot of notes, but when a project is in motion, I use Trello. It’s so much more intuitive. As I said above, I used blogging as an example, because I figure everyone could relate, but I have way more non-blogging boards. I used it to manage the project for those garage access doors. When I’m only working on something on weekends, it helps to know where I’m going.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Informative post Dan. I’ve been using Evernote for a few years now and kinda shudder at the thought of starting over and relearning with another app. I will give Trello a look though. Perhaps there are things it does better than Evernote that would be useful to me as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Norm. I still use Evernote, and I like it for a lot of things. I really feel that Trello is better when I’m trying to manage a process that flows between stages. I use it a lot for woodworking and I use it a lot for technology projects at work. I could have given a great example of that, but it involves becoming compliant with the New York Cybersecurity regulation.

      Like

  3. I absolutely love anything to do with making lists, colour-coding or organizing in general. If I wasn’t such a terribly old fashioned girl, I can see that I would be all over Trello in a heart beat. But digital organization just doesn’t hold the same appeal to me as my jars of coloured pens, my fancy paper, and my beloved planner do. Someday if, heaven forbid, the world decides we don’t need paper anymore (a pox on anyone who thinks that would be a good thing!), I’ll be that old woman on the edge of town who everyone thinks is a witch because I creep around the woods collecting roots and berries and birch bark. In reality, I’ll simply be finding material to make my own paper and ink!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t even have to check with her, Wendy. I’m certain you just scored my wife’s comment of the month award, perhaps comment of the year. When you’re out there searching for paper, she’ll be inside writing notes with her pencil.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. This looks fantastic, Dan. I remember that post from two years ago — glad you got a chance to revisit it and tell us what works for you. Because, let’s face it, you’ve become Mr. Johnny on the Spot with your regular posts, and there’s no way to do that without some form of organization. You can’t blog on a near-daily basis without some kind of system, and for those of us who aspire to do more and do better, it helps to know what system helps you stay on track. I’m a bit too old-school to ever go completely digital, but I’ll download Trello and give it a try. I mean, hey, Rod Serling found that dictating scripts worked best for him, not typing them. We all have to experiment to see what works best. I appreciate the videos as well — very helpful!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks Paul. Part of the organization kudos have to be given to Norm and Linda. One-liner Wednesday is always on the table for me, as is Thursday Doors. If I get jammed-up, I turn to Linda’s SoCS prompt.

      With working a day-job, I don’t always have time to write. If I get a chance, I can push a few drafts farther along in the process, and then have something to fall back on when I get too busy. Trello just helps me keep track of all those ideas and drafts better. I have a lot of this in Evernote, but it’s not as visible.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Well, well, well – Aren’t you just a great big bag of information today! I just checked out Trello. I currently use Wonderlist, but I think you just sold me, because I like the idea of seeing everything at once. And the photos from Unsplash are a bonus! Thanks again! ~ Lynn

    Liked by 2 people

  6. You just made my head hurt. Here’s my system: get idea, think about idea (usually at about 3 am when I can’t sleep), start to write about idea, get involved in something else and put idea aside, start to write again (trying to remember what my original point was), post, husband finds errors, edit, update post.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I would imagine you could find a use for Trello with gardening and other hobbies. I use it for woodworking projects and things like my “winter prep” list. It works like a to-do list, but I can add notes and photos.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Whoa! After reading your post I feel as if I’m still in the stone ages. I use … are you ready? … a yellow legal pad and pen. That is for my short prose. For my longer posts I just sit down and start typing and the words just well, let’s just say my fingers do the typing. I dunno. Yes I have lots of edits in some of my longer pieces. I feel like a wee babe compared to all you go to. YOU are a serious writer. I on the other hand, seem to be a dabbler. Huh. *shakes head* You are so much like hubby … very thorough while I on the other hand seem to flow. I’m just not ready to go all high tech. I just like that pad and pen. So there you have it. 😜

    Liked by 3 people

    1. If I could carry the legal pads around with me, I’d use them, Amy. I grew up with them and I still keep lots of paper notes. these days, I do some work at home at night and on weekends, sometimes I do a little writing at lunch, sometimes in a hotel room. I’d lose my place in a heartbeat if I didn’t have something holding it all together.

      Whatever works for you, works!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. WOW! That’s organized. I’m lucky to get a draft or two started and saved for publishing a week or two out, but that’s about it.

    I’ll check out the videos you included and see how it works.

    Thanks for the tutorial and for opening my eyes to this tool.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Deborah. I mentioned earlier that I just used my blog board as an example because I figure everyone could relate. I use it at work and for woodworking projects much more than blogging. Any project that will be completed over time or involves multiple resources or steps, is a good candidate for Trello.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Dan,

    I’m a big Trello fan. We UAE the calendar power up to manage our marketing events calendar with traffic light label colours to indicate planned, needs work, ready to go.
    I use my homework board to get Tamara to plan and prioritise my weekend DIY projects. And we use it to balance and give the kids a vote on weekend activities.
    I use the Google drive function to build presentations for our weekly marketing showcase (here’s what we did this week).

    A very cool too. Thanks for sharing your process. It’s given me some thoughts for my blog board. I also RSS finished posts into a retrospective column to add notes on what worked and didn’t.

    Nick

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for adding this, Nick. I never thought about adding the follow-up thoughts on published posts. That’s a good idea.

      I haven’t played with the calendar power-up. That could be useful at work.

      Like

  10. I think this is amazing and am so excited there are people who use these. That being said, I use a notebook like Amy 🌹. Thanks for showing us how they work and including tutorials! Wow, I forgot to say, I think doors may say enough, without history or research from time to time. 😉 I am a door “winger” or “fly by the seat” of my pants person. Now, if I were paid to do my door posts, that would be different! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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