The Countdown Has Begun: Holiday Shopping With Trello

Or how to use Trello to maintain your title as “The Cool Relative”

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 5.42.35 PM

This is your year. This is finally the year that you start shopping before December 22. This is the year you don’t overpay for expedited shipping. This is also the year that you don’t meander around the “As Seen On TV” section of menswear, contemplating whether your dad would actually use an electric wine bottle opener. This is your year because this year you’re going to be a holiday gift power player, equipped with a tool many other frantic shoppers might not have in their toolbelt. This is the year you holiday shop with the help of Trello.

Trello is the equivalent of taking your best friend shopping, if your best friend is an extremely organized, auto-synced mobile app that keeps track of everyone on your holiday list. On second thought, just book your friends for a post-shopping happy hour and take Trello with you instead.

Just like the holidays, the most important part of this Trello board is the people that make it all worth it. That, and if you don’t get your niece the latest Elsa accessory you are in danger of losing your status as the Cool Aunt/Uncle. The basic board structure can include the lists “People,” “Ideas,” “Ordered,” “Bought In Store/Delivered,” and “Wrapped.” Distribute your cards through these categories as they move through the process.

Start by making a card for each person that you want to give a gift. Any person for whom you already have a gift in mind, move their card to the “Ideas” list. Add the gift idea to either the title or the back of the card.

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 5.53.47 PM

Next you need to channel your inner Santa and start thinking of some gifts. If you’ve learned anything from Santa, you know that this process is most effective with the use of a list. Oh, and thanks to the Trello for mobile app, you can even check it twice. Add links, pictures, or just jot down notes on each person’s card, then easily reference your ideas while you’re out shopping.

Pro tip: Did you know you can take a photo straight from a card? This is awesome if you spot a gift idea but want to run it by someone else before buying:

The image you take is automatically uploaded to the card:

IMG_4933

There’s always a few people on your list that you need to collaborate on, whether you haven’t met them yet (your in-laws), they’re picky (your in-laws), or you just want to impress them (your in-laws). Add other people on cards so they can give their input, or maybe, if you’re lucky, they’ve agreed to go in on a gift with you together.

candles_discussion

Once you have acquired all of this year’s equivalents of the Tickle Me Elmo, move the cards from “Ideas” to “Bought/Ordered.” For items you ordered online, think about attaching the shipping link as a reference, instead of digging through your email each time for that darn tracking number. Also add a due date to the card with the estimated arrival time. That way if it doesn’t come on time you can harass the already beleaguered mail service people. Just kidding: you used Trello to plan ahead so efficiently that all your packages will arrive way in advance (you’re welcome, FedEx).

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 5.30.44 PM

Wrapping presents is often the icing on top of a stressful, holiday season cake. If you’re not careful, you might start wrapping presents and then forget who got what, or what is where. No more. Once wrapped, move the cards to the “Wrapped” list. This move is purely for your sanity. If you desire even more transparency, use the picture-to-card tip above to take a picture of the wrapped present so you can remember later, when you finally bother to pick up more labels.

These are just a few ways to use Trello to reduce some of your holiday season stress. The truth is, there’s nothing to be done about parking spaces at the mall, but once you find one it’s all smooth sailing with Trello.

We created a sample board with the shopping list workflow described above for you to copy: Copy me!

Introducing Unlimited Labels

Labels are pretty, but looks aren’t everything, right? We’re excited to announce that labels now allow for much more robust filtering and organization.

Categorize To Your Heart’s Content

Many of you use labels as a way to filter cards. You are now able to add an unlimited number of labels to a card. This way, it’s easy to do advanced searches, filter, and finely categorize cards just the way you like them.

Watch Taco filter his task board for only cards with the “Pet Friendly” label.

Now labels do not need to always be assigned to a color; they can also function like a tagged search term. You can put as many of these labels as you want on a card. As projects scale, tagged search terms can help with grouping cards and accessing different views better than just lists alone.

dog_party_card

Brand New Colors

For our visually minded folks, we didn’t forget about you. We also added 5 new label colors to the palette. So if you like using colored labels, you now have a few more swatches from which to choose.

new_colors

Your labels can now be as colorful and imaginative as your uses of Trello.

Be sure to refresh your browser to access the magic. 

Food, Friends & Fun. It’s Time For Friendsgiving!

Or How To Be The Host With The Most This Holiday Season

TooManyCooks2

Friendsgiving is a magical Thanksgiving feast where friends come together to share a meal, imbibe some drink, and talk about all those taboo topics that shouldn’t be discussed in mixed company. Perhaps you’ve heard mention of it before, like a whisper in the breeze as you walked down the tarmac to board your ridiculously overpriced flight home for a long weekend of overeating and midnight shopping with the fam.  There you are, sitting on Grandma’s couch slowly digesting some dry turkey. You’re lethargically thumbing through Instagram when you catch a glimpse of your friends drinking fancy cocktails and eating food that looks like it came from a Smitten Kitchen post. The smiles on their faces resonate through every bone in your body and suddenly the lyrics to Roy Orbison’s “Only The Lonely” takes on a whole new meaning.

Now we understand that you love your family, and spending the holidays with them is great – you don’t have to tell us that. But we also know you are the kind of person that wants to have it all, Thanksgiving with the family and Friendsgiving with your friends. We don’t blame you! So this year it’s time to take the turkey by the gizzard and host your own Friendsgiving celebration. Of course your friends here at Trello are ready to make it the most organized event ever, because holidays should be a breeze.  Goodbye infinite email chains! See you later spreadsheets! Bring on that board!

FriendsgivingBoard

Setting up a Trello board to host an event like Friendsgiving is a cinch and it is really easy to get all your buddies on board (pun most definitely intended). Whether they are browser based folks or the kind of people that live out of their mobile devices, Trello syncs across browsers and devices instantly so your friends can collaborate on the medium of their choice.

Before inviting all your friends to the party, however, it is best to get that board set up and ready to go. (Or you can just copy this sample board if that’s your thing.)For my event and party boards I always like to start with a “General Info” list that provides some insight on how to use the board as well as some basic Trello tips, because even though Trello is simple to use, some friends still haven’t tried it yet. (Crazy I know, but then again some people still have landlines, so what can I say?)

GeneralInfoList

The next list I set up is my RSVP list with cards that my guests can add themselves.  This is a great way to keep track of who is coming, who is bringing a date, and who is totally boring and quite possibly not worthy of my friendship… I mean busy.  I always add a due date to the “Yes” cards so that my friends get a reminder 24-hours before the party, as if they weren’t already counting down the seconds until the festivities.

Friendsgiving is best when it is done potluck style, because then your guests get to outdo each other’s tasty dishes, and you basically just reap all the benefits. Sure, things can get a little off the hook (is homemade swan pâté even legal? In some states, yes!) but you’re a budding gourmand and there’s nothing you want less than some boxed mashed potatoes.

I set up two lists, one for the food and one for the drinks, because in my mind good food and good drinks are both equal parts in the equation for an excellent night.  Other lists include “Other Things I’m Bringing” because, you know, Twister. Also I made a list for suggestions, since I am not the type to let people down.  Of course, you make the lists that work best for you. After all, you’re the host! Friends can add cards to the appropriate list for whatever they plan on bringing and add their avatar to the card.  This way everyone can easily see what everyone else is bringing and you’re not hunting through 27 email replies to see if someone’s making stuffing.

Finally, as someone who likes to keep things organized I also set up labels for my board – Apps, Mains, Sides, Desserts, Boozy, Non-Boozy.  When guests add cards for what they are bringing they can label their cards accordingly.  This way I can easily filter the cards by label to keep track of dishes and get all like “There’s not enough pie! I shall make 5 more!”

Now that your board is ready, it is time to invite some friends, because it wouldn’t be Friendsgiving without them.  Inviting someone to your board is easy: in the Members section just click “Add Members…” and enter their email address.  If they have a Trello account already then they will be notified that they were added to your board.  If not, they will receive an email that they were invited to your board and once they sign up they will be able to participate in all of the fun. Simple, as all great holidays should be!

Hosting a Friendsgiving or Thanksgiving feast of your own or planning on attending one? We want to know your Friendsgiving food and drink must-haves! Share them with us @trello on Twitter or Facebook.

Using Trello For A Job Search: Less Stress, More Process

Or how I used Trello to subsequently get a job at Trello.

board_overview

The job hunt, like any hunt, is not for the faint of heart. Sure, there are periods of fast paced exhilaration. You get excited as you start to envision your fictional life in your amazing new career. But there’s also the stress of tracking down your elusive prey: gainful employment. It can render you discouraged, unsure, and terribly disorganized.

I know because I have been there. I recently went through an arduous, months-long job search. I found, however, that the process really streamlined after I adopted Trello into my workflow. Now that I’m gainfully employed, I wanted to share some useful tips on how to use Trello to organize a job search. In the interest of full disclosure, I inevitably got a job at Trello. Instead of just meta-blogging, I enlisted the help of a few other folks who used Trello for a job search. We compared notes and compiled some suggestions to get you going.

Starting off with a blank Trello board and a vague end goal can be overwhelming. When Jesse Lamb, former Project Manager at Meetup, set out for a new opportunity he dedicated his first Trello list solely to preparation.

“Prep contains things I need to do to get ready for job hunting, like updating LinkedIn and my resume, and people to catch up with,” Jesse explains. This is a great way to give yourself a nudge in the right direction. You will want to put your best digital face forward to prospective employers, and staying organized behind the scenes is an easy way to build upon small victories.

prep3

Give yourself a high-five! You just made your first list. Corner office here you come.

On the “Prep” card, a simple checklist might help you remember all of the little things you wanted to get together before applying: print your resume, get a haircut, delete retweet requests you sent to celebrities on your birthday. But there’s also room to expand. To take a card from Jesse’s board, “I also like that if something on a checklist becomes more involved I can easily convert it to a card.”

Over time, a list like Prep can be archived as you move further into the application process. Or, if you’re like me and really enjoy scrolling down a long list of “Done” cards, just throw them in a finished list to revisit in a time of emotional need.

Lists of Listings

Next, you’re going to need some job postings, or else this board will be about as effective as bringing a six pack to an interview. If you’re anything like I was, you treat job hunting like online shopping: you’re constantly reading the listings, but not necessarily ready to apply at that second. Before you know it you have five browser windows up with so many tabs open you can only distinguish sites by their favicons.

tab_sea2

Luckily Jesse also had a nice fix for this. First make a card for each job listing, with the title being the company name and available position. Next, move the cards into easily distinguishable lists titled “Interesting Positions,” “Wish List Companies,” “Current Opportunities,” and “Cold Opportunities.” This workflow provides a seamless way to move job posts from list to list as the process becomes more in depth.

Imagine the sheer elation you will feel when a job listing transforms from a “Wish List Company” to a “Current Opportunity.” It reminds me of the time I Riverdanced around my apartment after my phone interview with Trello. Plus, now you’re no longer drowning in a sea of browser tabs.

Record Your Progress

You will also need a way to keep track of all these great cards you just made. When you’re really in the thick of it, things can get crazy. Writer, podcaster, speaker, and generally well rounded career hustler Josh Medeski had job prospects so diverse in nature that he needed to maintain a detailed log of all his activity. He used the comments section on the back of a card as a way to document each detail: how many times he followed up, who at the company he talked to, and what they talked about. He used the timestamp on each comment to keep track of when each of these interactions occurred.

“To be able to be that articulate with your details [when following up with a company], I give full credit to Trello,” he explains, “I used the commenting system as a sort of personal activity log.”

activitylog

One time I had a morning phone interview and a late afternoon in person with two different companies. In between, I was feverishly checking the notes on my cards to make sure I had all the correct times.

And for my final trick… The Label Enable!

Now that you have successfully cultivated a solid list of job prospects, take a moment to marvel at your own ingenuity. You just might find a position with decent stock options, after all! You have ample lists and cards, complete with notes, but you might start feeling overwhelmed again. It’s not surprising if you begin to wonder to yourself, “How can I better distinguish all of this information?”

labels_two_3

Enter the labels feature: another way to filter and categorize your cards. Above are multiple examples of how to label your different listings; it all depends on your workflow. For Renaissance Man Josh (left), labels help distinguish the type of job. For Project Manager Jesse (right), it’s all about directing job listing traffic: green means “Now,” yellow means “Next,” and red means “Later.” He also uses “Blocked” to indicate he is waiting on another person in order to move forward.

My labels are broken down by job title:

lauren_labels

As I like to say, “career opportunities are like shoes: you can never have too many.”

We also went ahead and made a sample board that you can copy. We set it up the way we have outlined in this article, but feel free to customize any way that suits you!

Job Search Sample Board <– copy me!

So there you have it: a few ways to use Trello to ease your job search stress. We know that job hunting isn’t exactly a favorite pastime, but it can certainly get smoother with an organized Trello board and a shiny, new pair of interview shoes. Good luck!

Special thanks to Jesse Lamb (@jesselamb) and Josh Medeski (@joshmedeski) for their input.

It’s Trelloween! Contests, Treats, and More

Halloween is no longer one day or one weekend of celebration. It has become more of a month long mindset. As soon as there is a hint of chill in the morning air, everyone begins to question whether they can dress up as any seemingly innocuous event that happens to them. So much so that I’ve got $20 in my office pool on Pumpkin Spice Lattes as this year’s most popular costume (but in all fairness, it was a quiet year for Miley Cyrus).

The key to really crushing Halloween is planning ahead. Great Halloween costumes, like Rome, weren’t built in a day. Between finding the right wig to ordering custom contact lenses with enough time for delivery, it’s important to remember these things take time.

Luckily for you, here at Trello we already got the Halloween ball rolling. Our excitement for all things Halloween is palpable, as demonstrated by our office decor:

office_collage

But our Halloween spirit extends well beyond the halls of our office. That’s why we are excited to announce our Trelloween Costume Contest! We set up a public Trello board complete with our own costumes, pets’ costumes, and even a few kids dressed as gnomes (you’re welcome).

trelloweeen

All we need is you! Tweet us pictures of your Halloween costumes, past and present, and include #Trelloween to add to our board and we’ll give you one month of free Trello Gold. You can also share pictures on Facebook by uploading your photo and tagging Trello.

Did you know that Trello has a Power Up to enable voting? Well now is your chance to see it in action! Vote for your favorite costume right on our Trelloween board: the submissions with the most votes will receive an entire year of Trello Gold.

To vote for your favorite costume simply open the card and click the “Vote” button on the right side under Actions. You can also use the vote shortcut: mouse over a card to highlight it and press “v”. Read more on voting here.

 

Last but certainly not least, we’ve made some extra spooky custom stickers you can download straight from the Trelloween board to swag out in seasonal fashion.

So don’t let Halloween sneak up on you, or you’ll be stuck with an old costume (and Breaking Bad is so last year). Happy Trelloween!

Note on receiving your Trello Gold: Be sure to follow us on Twitter in order for us to contact you. Also, since we don’t use robots (nor are we dressing up as them) please allow 24-48 hours for us to send you Gold. Thanks!