Friday, June 24, 2016

Trello - Organizing Genealogy

I have a natural tendency to be unorganized. Not on purpose mind you. I work hard to get organized, but it usually doesn't last long. One area of great concern to my organization has always been the numerous lists found about my home and office. I make a list for EVERYTHING! My office was always filled with sticky notes, or scraps of paper. These would get lost or accidentally thrown away. It made staying organized almost impossible. I had been using Excel for my genealogical research, so I thought I would try it for organizing my tasks, but it wasn't a nice fit for me. I have recently discovered another online tool that works for me, and I want to share it with you. A  few weeks ago, I read about Trello on The Cousin Detective's blog. It looked easy enough, so I decided to check it out for myself.

I wasn't prepared for the ease of creating the boards and lists! There's only so many hours a day and if you are like me, you look for quick and easy ways to get you through.

How to Use Trello in Just Four Easy Steps

1) Create a FREE account. 
  • What do you have to lose? Click here to go to the Trello site.
2) Create your first board.
  • They were so easy to do, that I actually created 3 - Genealogy, work, and home, in just a matter of minutes. Create and name your board or boards - and don't worry - if you want to change the name later, it's easy to do.
  • The Welcome Board helps to explain everything you need to know and for now, I have decided to leave it up to remind me of all the wonderful tools Trello has available.
3) Create lists

  • I had a ton of things to list, but I needed it to be in an easy to understand, cohesive format. I used these list headings, but you can choose any format that works for you.
    • Someday - these were things I knew I wanted to do in the future, but they weren't top priorities. They were there to help me remember them - like keeping it on a calendar. 
    • Next week - these were jobs that were higher priority and must get done soon.  
    • Weekly - These are for the tasks I do each week. I may at some point go back and add a Daily List, but for now this works. 
    • Tomorrow - I try not to give myself more than 2-3 jobs to do in order to ensure I have time to do them.
    • Today - Again, I list no more than 2-3 jobs. When I am working in genealogy, I am focusing on quality of work, not quantity of items done that day. 
    • Done - For completed tasks.

4) Fill in the lists with cards
  • Now that you have created lists, start adding your cards (tasks to be completed).
  • In order for this work, you don't want to carry anything over to the next day. Keep all tasks short and sweet. 
    • For example, I am checking and re-writing citations if needed, so my goal is to only do small batches of 10 each time I work on them. I have over 4,000 citations, so just saying "Re-do citations" can be too daunting and take much more than one day.
  • I use the "Someday" list as a catch-all. Whenever I think of a task that needs to be done, I place it here and move it to the today or tomorrow list when I am ready to work on it. You may name your lists differently, but find a way that works for you.
  • The Done list -That's my favorite one! You simply DRAG AND DROP the completed item over to the done board! What could be easier? :-)

Okay, now you have your boards set up, your lists created, and you have some cards put in your lists. 

Now let me show you some other cool things Trello can do!

Here are a couple of things I have found to be invaluable to me:

Color-Coding Labels
 Trello offers color-coded labels to help you organize. You may edit each color and assign it a description. I have only edited and used the green and yellow for the moment. You can change what the colors mean at any time.               

Assigning Due Dates

If you have a task that needs to be done by a certain date, Trello makes it easy to set that up. Just click on the due date button on the right, and a calendar pops up. As you see in this screenshot, you can also add descriptions and attachments. I included the URL for the Google+ Hangout I attend each month.

Check out Trello now to discover even more great features like:

  • Adding members to work on group projects
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Adding a calendar
Sign up today and give it a try! This could be tool that gets you organized and ready to tackle those to-do tasks today!