Photo by Roman Mager on Unsplash

📓 Using Trello as a living notebook

Who knew that comments could compete with Outliners, for keeping notes, structuring ideas and findings? Let’s see how “Comment Editor by AJ” can power-up your productivity!

I can’t help it: I can’t stop working on multiple projects simultaneously.
I need this diversity. It makes me learn faster, and feeds my creativity.

Why Trello is awesome to keep track of your projects

When working on any project, there are several types of information that need to be specified and maintained over time:

  • Status: know what’s been done and what’s still to do, at all times;
  • Notes: traces of the decisions, successes, failed experiments, and findings you’ve made while working on the projet.
  • One card per project, with tasks listed in a checklist → practical setup to keep a bird’s view dashboard of all the projects you’re working on.
The Trello board that is the heart of my productivity system: one card per project.

The importance of notes

In the previous section, we saw that three types of information must be maintained, in projects: tasks, status and notes. And we showed that Trello was an awesome tool to manage tasks and status of those tasks.

  • to document your project and its development process;
  • to keep ideas you may have had and not explored while working on the project, but would be interested in exploring later;
  • or for reference, if you decide later to write and/or share about your findings.

Yes and no.

In Trello, notes can easily be kept in three forms:

  • in a card’s description;
  • and/or as comments of a card.
  • In Trello, card descriptions and comments both support Markdown, meaning that you can add richer formatting to your notes.
Trello comments allow Markdown formatting, emoji, rich hyperlinks, and multi-level bullet-point lists.

What’s missing in Trello comments

Now that we realised how awesome are Trello comments for keeping and finding notes, let’s discuss a not-so-great aspect: the editing experience.

Standard Trello experience when editing card comments
  • hyperlinks become hard to differentiate from the rest of the content.
  • it’s too easy to lose your changes by accidentally clicking anywhere outside that box, or pressing the ESC key;
  • and re-organising bullet-point items involves copy-pasting, and padding sub-bullet-point manually by adding spaces in front of them!
Demo of a well-done Outliner: Workflowy. (source)

“Comment Editor by AJ” to the rescue! 💪

Frustrated by the standard comment editing experience offered by Trello, I created a Power-up: “Comment Editor by AJ.” (previously announced under the code name “Trello Outliner”)

Adding formatting with Comment Editor by AJ
Adding structure with Comment Editor by AJ

Install it today, it’s free!

I’m thrilled to announce that Trello integrated “Comment Editor by AJ” in their list of Power-ups, today!

Comment Editor by AJ is now available on Trello’s official list of Power-ups

Web software development × personal development. 🚀