Productivity

Staying organized with Trello

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In this blog post, I wanted to focus on productivity tools to help make our digital lives easier. Most of us have multiple devices: laptop, smartphone and possibly a tablet. We work across multiple projects: supporting our clients, collaborating with co-workers. We also have to manage our home and work life. Here is where Trello comes into play. https://trello.com

Advertised as “the fastest, easiest way to organize anything…” Highly recommended and here is why:

1. Managing multiple projects: The old way is not a match for the mobile user.

I’ve found that most written to do lists are static and hard to track. Let’s face it most of us are visual, and we are juggling lots of projects and activities. I’ve moved from carrying a small notebook to this foam board, and very similar to a Kanban board for you supply chain folks. Looks great – easy to step back and see the big picture.

Foam Board
Foam Board

The downside to this is the ability to generate checklists per each entry. Adding attachments is difficult. Most importantly it’s at home and I’m on the road, and it is hard for my colleagues to keep up with any changes.

2. Maintain multiple projects anywhere, anytime.

Trello works on my Smartphone,

iPhone 5s
iPhone 5s
Inside Trello on my iPhone
Inside Trello on my iPhone

tablet, and

Trello on my tablet
Trello on my tablet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Same screen as on my smartphone
Same screen as on my smartphone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

laptop. (I use a PC for work and an Apple Mac Book Air for personal use).

Trello start screen on the MacBook Air
Trello start screen on the MacBook Air

 

Notice the similarities
Notice the similarities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Trello is easy to support.

Using their “Welcome Board” you can easily learn a use this product, and have your work projects and personal activities organized quickly. You can manage board colors, labels, and move through a progression of activities starting with a To Do list – Doing list – and a Done list. Want to make your own set of lists – Trello is easily modified.

My next steps are to test this next week when I’m traveling, and in meetings. I will be collaborating with my colleagues on key activities. I make extensive use of the checklists and attachments to help progress these projects.

If you do use this let me know how this works out for you?

Thanks,

Jim

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Now that you bought that new iPad…

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Like many folks I recently purchased my first tablet. So the purpose of this blog post is to understand where these devices can help, and how best to use them. I wrote a blog post back on February 14, 2011 entitled “Managing my data…” in which I described that we are far from being able to easily manage and support our personal health records. Enter the tablet and with the use of cloud computing we can easily manage our data across multiple devices, and yet this blog post is intended to focus on how the tablet will ‘improve’ the way we process and manage new data.

I would like to focus on three areas where the use of my new Apple iPad device is changing the way we process data. This includes:

  • Improved Productivity
  • Ability to apply new applications to fit our lifestyle
  • Mobility

Improved Productivity

The tablet is the logical next step in the evolution of the computer, and will soon replace my laptop. In the article “What does the Future Hold for Tablet Devices?” the author highlights the key areas of technological improvements around the devices. I’ve been around long enough to see how technology has rapidly evolved – from the early personal computers to the laptop to the tablet.

Smaller, faster and with a better display – so much for the ‘wow’ factor. What can I do with this device? The first areas I find appealing is around the replacement of paper notebooks. Most of us carry around a 5 by 7 lined notebook (or something similar) and with our favorite pen we ‘write’ down key thoughts and ideas for work – or for a new blog post. Since I am not a very fast typist I never got use to using my laptop to ‘write down’ for work or pleasure. Call my old fashion I still enjoy writing notes with a fountain pen (if you can believe that…). I’m now using my new device to replace my trusty notebook as the media for writing down these ideas.

Ability to apply new applications to fit our lifestyle

The tablet will only improve your productivity if you can find the right applications (apps) to help with specific tasks. I am using the following apps for ‘taking notes:’

  • Memo from MyScript – offers a notepad user interface to allow you to write notes. This program does a great job of character recognition and converting your handwriting into text. You can then email your text or image as well as post this to Evernote, Facebook or Twitter. The cost is $2.99 and highly recommended.
  • 7notesHD – is an app with other capabilities to organize your ‘notebook’ pages with ‘cabinets’ (I think of these as folders) and tags. You can mix typed text with handwritten notes and for $8.99 will convert your handwritten notes into text. You can also send your note in either text or pdf formats as an email or to Twitter, Facebook, Evernote or to an application, and if you have the right kind of ‘air’ printer – you can print our your work, and recommended.

Another great use of the iPad is around the ability to gather and read articles across the Internet. The tablet is a great vehicle for presenting news (including the WSJ, FoxNews, Mashable, Flipboard, Business Insider, Readability, Drudge Free, and iHealthBeat) which are apps that can be found for free in iTunes. I am also using the tablet to read books from Apple’s iBook and an app that connect me to my local library called OverDrive. Library’s are moving to digital and providing both eBooks and Audio books that can be downloaded (or checked out) using this app. Finally if magazines are to stay viable in this new digital market they have to become more interactive. One magazine that I do enjoy reading is Wired. The subscription includes both a print and iPad version. I prefer the iPad version since the articles are ‘interactive’ including movie clips of the topic, product or data.

Mobility

This translates into several areas for using the tablet device.

  1. I believe it will be a matter of time before we ditch the laptop for the tablet.
  2. Better ‘learning’ experience since you can ‘easily’ use this device anywhere. The battery on my new device goes for about ten to twelve hours before it needs recharging!
  3. More and more ‘sales’ activity is happening on the tablet. Since I’m involved in IT services the hottest area is around customer relationship management (CRM). Where sales reps are using tablets as an extension of the backend ERP systems. In Service management – field engineers are using tablets to log repair orders and gather pertinent product information.

In the article “It’s the Experience That Sells” the tablet provides a more ‘personal’ dialog around that area that you are presenting. In working with my clients there is a different approach using the iPad which give a more intimate way of presenting your product or service. I am still going through different ways of using my new iPad. I will plan to revisit how personal health record data fits in with this device, so in the meantime I am having fun with my new iPad. Feel free to offer a comment or update on any of the apps I’ve described.

Thanks,

Jim