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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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?”

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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:

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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:

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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).

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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!

Meal Planning With Trello – Part 2

Or How I Use Trello To Be A Grocery Store Superstar

Last week I shared with you my meal planning board as well as tips on how to get started creating a meal planning board of your own. This week I will go into setting up your grocery list, ruling the grocery store, and I’ll share some additional tips and tricks that you might want to use with your board.

Grocery Shopping

The Grocery “List”

At this point you have a few weeks or a month of meals planned out, you are organized, you are motivated, your future is so bright that you gotta wear shades.  You open up your fridge and… oh right, you haven’t cooked since you got that food processor for your birthday last year.  The cupboards are looking equally bare, and maybe it is time to toss that expired ramen, as you think to yourself, “Wait, ramen expires?!”  Luckily, Trello makes creating grocery lists a cinch.

The first thing I did was to make a new list on my board called “Grocery Lists.”  For each week of meals that I have planned out I added a new card.  Breaking up your shopping into weeks makes grocery lists more manageable and I want to spend as little time shopping as possible.

GroceryListsList

Now we are going to create our grocery list for the first week by adding a checklist to the card.  Checklists in Trello have a few great features that the old pen and paper grocery list of yesteryear don’t have. To add a checklist, click the card to open it and select “Checklist” from back of the card in the Add section, name your checklist whatever you like, (I went with the very original “Grocery List”) and then click “Add”.

The quickest way to add items to your checklist is to copy and paste the ingredients from each recipe into a checklist item.  Trello will automatically create a new checklist item for every line separated item in your recipe’s ingredient list.  To do this, open the card of one of the recipes you are going to make this week, highlight the list of ingredients, copy the text, then open your grocery list card for the week and under the checklist click “Add an item.”  Now paste your copied text into the field, press add, and watch the magic unfold as each item in your list becomes a separate checklist item.  I am going to give you a minute to go through and add the rest of your ingredients for each meal into your checklist.

 

Once you have all of your ingredients for your week’s worth of recipes added to your checklist, it’s time to do a little organization and clean-up.  First, there are probably some items on the checklist that you already have and don’t need to buy.  Remove these from the checklist by clicking the checklist item and then selecting “Delete.”  Organize your list by dragging and dropping checklist items into whatever order makes most sense to you.  I like to organize my list by produce, meat/dairy, and dry goods (aka all of the stuff in the center of the store that you can never easily find).

 

If you have a few redundant items, like 2 checklist items that each call for a yellow onion, feel free to consolidate these items by clicking the first checklist item to enable edit mode, change the item to say 2 yellow onions, and then delete the second onion checklist item from your list.

I should note that you are not limited to one checklist on a card, so if you want to make more checklists for your grocery list, feel free to do so! Also, encourage other members of your household that are on your Trello board to add any items to your grocery list for any snacks that they want, like those coveted seaweed snacks.

Supermarket Sweep

Where my partner, Jess, and I live in Brooklyn, we have four different markets that we like to shop at all within a two block radius: the produce stand, the local baker, the organic foods market, and the supermarket. In order to get our shopping done fast we like to split up, divide and conquer style.  This also makes shopping in one mega supermarket way more sane.

Trello is available on both iOS and Android devices and it syncs in real time so we can leave the apartment at the same time, go to different stores and know exactly what has already been added to each other’s shopping carts by checking off checklist items as we go.   If I am going to the bakery and Jess suddenly has a craving for some babka she can add it to the grocery list and I will be able to see the update in real time.  Never had babka? Go do yourself a favor and get some.

 

Bonus Tips

Trello has a lot of other great features that you might find useful on your meal planning journey, and I want to touch on a few them really quick.

Labels – Labels are a great way to make information more visual on your board.  Consider adding labels to your recipe cards to make certain features about those cards stand out more, perhaps labels for dietary restrictions, the style of food, for cooking time, or for the season the dish tastes best. To learn more about labels check out this article.

Calendar iCal feed – The calendar for your board has a unique iCal feed that you can import into a third party calendar, such as Google or Apple’s calendar.  If you are someone that schedules your life in an online calendar, you might find this useful.  To learn more check out this article.

Markdown formatting – On my recipe cards I like to get fancy with my formatting by using bullet points for ingredient lists, as well as bold and italicized fonts.  Trello incorporates Markdown syntax to do this and you can learn more about adding Markdown to your cards here this article.

Collaboration – Just like sharing a meal, Trello makes it easy to share your recipes with others.  Got some friends and family that love to cook? Add them to your board.  I added my sister and my parents to my meal planning board so that they can get ideas for things to make, and they have added me to theirs.  Now if my sister adds a great new recipe to her board, I can copy the card and add it to my board in a few clicks.  To learn more about copying cards, lists, and boards check out this article.

Board backgrounds – My mother always says that she considers the plate a canvas, ready to be filled with not only exquisite flavors, but also visual delights.  With Trello Gold you can make your board background your canvas for culinary delights by adding a custom board background.  To learn more about custom board backgrounds, check out this article.

Well, that sums up my experience so far into using Trello as a meal planning tool.  It has been great getting back into the kitchen more, developing my cooking skills, and sharing one of the greatest gifts with my family and friends, a nice home cooked meal.

Do you have any favorite recipes? Share them with the rest of the Trello community by adding them to this card  or by sharing them with us on Twitter by tweeting @trello

Managing Your Move With Trello

Or How Newlyweds Managed A Move Without Killing Each Other

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I moved to a new place. It was our first time moving as newlyweds, and I was really dreading the whole thing.

There were so many details! Like when do the movers come, remembering to label all the boxes correctly, and of course changing our address everywhere. It made my head spin just thinking about all the little things we had to remember. Before I got too stressed, I started jotting tasks down on a Trello board. I made sure to ask friends on Twitter what they recommended as another resource for moving:

Twitter Re: Moving

After folks on Twitter reminded me to call my bank to change my address (duh!) and to make a list of places where payment was done automatically, I started dividing and conquering all the tasks we had to do.  I wrote each task on a card and easily assigned some of them to my husband. This prevented potential confusion on who was doing what (OK let’s be real, it prevented my husband not knowing what he was supposed to do). We could comment on the different options right on the card, and get things done quickly.  It was great to have an overall visual snapshot of the move, highlighting different stages of the process. I’ve made my board public so you can take a look.

The Garbers Big Move

Having our process documented meant that we could track the progress of each task.  Every card moved to Done meant a high five and a rewarding feeling (I swear it’s real).

Since I’m on my computer most of the day, and my husband is mobile, having Trello on his iPhone gave him the ability to check in during lunch and do things like cancel our cable. I got real time updates every time he moved a card to Done, so it motivated me to do more. Situations like moves can be stressful because of diffusion of responsibility- when one person thinks the other person is doing something he isn’t. Trello helped solve this problem and motivated us to work as a team.

 Having Trello on my phone was also a lifesaver when it came to things like connecting documents to tasks. For example, People’s Gas needed me to wait 2 days before calling them to confirm my identity by giving them some code on a receipt (yeah, I don’t get it either). There is about a 95% probability that receipt would have been lost. Instead, I just snapped a picture of it and added it right to the People’s Gas Trello card. I also added a due date to remind me to call and confirm. With all the moving pieces (no pun intended) it was great not to rely on my (terrible) memory to ensure the move was a success.

Trello on iPhone We also discovered a bit of a productivity hack: the FancyHands and Trello integration. FancyHands is a virtual assistant service that can help with things like scheduling and research.  Their Trello integration allowed us to tag FancyHands right on a card with a detailed description of a task and it would get done by a virtual assistant. For example, I tagged FancyHands in a card regarding research on cable providers in our new neighborhood. They were able to narrow down the list of providers, outline our package options, and patch me into a phone call with customer service to set up our plan. That meant making quick choices for me, and not sitting on hold for hours. My husband was also able to see the FancyHands’ research and we could discuss the task right on the card. See a snapshot of a card with FancyHands added below.

FancyHands

Trello took the stress out of my move. Since making my board, I’ve seen how other people use Trello to move. Some categorize each new room as a list, then number moving boxes to correspond to each list. Whoa- that gets major organizational props. If we had done that, we probably would’ve saved at least 2 hours of moving time shlepping boxes from room to room.

Now that we’re settled into our new home with gas, electricity, and cable, I can relax knowing everything has been managed and the move is over. Now I just have to make a Weekly Chores Board….