I don’t know about you, but a common characteristic I see in authors (and professionals, and busy people in general) is that they’re not quite as organized as they could be.
It’s not that they’re incapable of being organized (for the most part), but that there are so many little details they’re trying to keep track of, that things tend to fall through the cracks. It’s not intentional. It just happens.
Even when I’m doing a repetitive project, like formatting a book interior or creating a website, having a checklist of things to do so that I don’t forget anything is extremely helpful. I can focus on the “doing” instead of the “remembering what I’d intended to do” part.
Whenever I run into a consistent problem area in my life, rather than letting it remain an issue, I look for a solution. And, in this case, I found Trello.
Have you ever heard of it?
Not only does it solve my own organizational issues, but it also is a great collaboration tool!
For each project you’re working on, you create a board. (Picture this like a bulletin board hanging on your wall.)
Each board contains, by default, 3 lists: To Do, Doing and Done. (You can customize the names of the lists, remove lists and add new ones, however you choose.)
When I have a project I’m working on, I add every activity I have to do in the To Do list on what’s called a “card.” As I start working on a card’s recorded activity, I move the card to the Doing, and eventually the Done, lists by using drag-and-drop motions.
I can grant other people access to my project board so that we can each see what needs to be done.
Here’s where the collaboration part comes in really handy. If every card reflects a specific activity, I can go in and assign a card to a specific member or team of people, so that they know it’s their job to do. I can even set a due date for the activity or attach files, take polls and create a checklist for it.
Trello allows me to subscribe to cards, lists or boards so that I receive notifications when changes are made. Depending on the settings you use, the notification may even trigger an e-mail so that you instantly know when someone is working on your project.
When I create a new board, if there’s one I created earlier that’s similar, I can simply copy that board with all its cards and use that as the starting point for my new board (with all the cards appearing in the To Do list, even if they’re in the Done list in the source board).
Sounds pretty useful, right?
Well, how about this? Trello is available online, and has apps for the iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle and Windows 8. Everything that’s done within Trello, no matter where you access it, is instantaneously synced and saved to the cloud so that everyone has the most current information.
It works great whether you’re using it to organize your own work or research, manage work across a project team (like with your cover designer or publisher) or for making household chores easier to keep track of within the family. (Did Mark pick up his shirts from the cleaner? Nope! It’s still in the To Do column… Guess I’ll swing by and pick them up while I’m at the bank.)
Certain settings even allow you to publish cards that have assigned due dates to your calendar, so that everything is in one place. And the development team at Trello is always coming up with new and useful ideas to improve the product.
So, if you’re looking for a way to become just a bit more organized and to manage team collaborations, I highly recommend checking out Trello. And say “hello” to Taco for me. He’s the Trello mascot (a Siberian husky).
How to you stay organized? Share in the comments below.
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