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How Devon uses Trello to manage marketing + her fountain pen collection


Devon Henderson is our first Trello Showcase because of how she balances her dedication to productivity with a healthy dose of whimsy. And in our opinion, that is what makes a true Trello Champion.

In Devon's Showcase, you will discover how this web services specialist uses Trello to manage marketing for a public library as well as to entertain a healthy addiction to cats, tea and coffee, stationary products, and of course, productivity tips and tricks.

**Are you interested in meeting Trello super-users like Devon in person? Check out Atlassian User Groups: Trello Edition to learn more and to discover events near you!**

How did you hear about Trello? 

It was in 2013, and in my quest for a collaborative list manager I stumbled upon the Lifehacker article sharing a blogger’s GTD setup in Trello.

At the time, we were a marketing team of me and two of my coworkers. We had been tracking our shared tasks first in Evernote and then Wunderlist. We were desperate for something more collaborative and that presented information in a more digestible way, and we were hooked from then on.

What was the first board you created?

It was called “Marketing Timeline,” and it was a board with months as lists and cards for each of the events going on at the library (for which I market and advertise). Each card had three items in a checklist inside: Press Release, Website, and Social Media.

I still use a form of this board 5 years later, though I don’t think it’s the exact same board. Sadly I’ve lost track over time. It’s kind of ballooned into something more complex, but we also hold 3x the workshops and classes we did before and we’re more active online than ever, so they grew together.

How does Trello help you in your role as a web services specialist? 

My job is to handle all of the library’s print and digital marketing and advertising, as well as our website and online catalog. So, I’ve got two main boards I use to track everything—my catch-all tasks board and my marketing board. 

Marketing has its own board because my coworkers reference it—they’re the ones holding the workshops and classes I advertise. In it, I track each workshop or event through its various stages of marketing: adding it to our internal calendars, adding it to the website, writing our press release (a local paper is our biggest form of marketing, outside of Facebook), hitting social media, etc. I set the card’s due date to the day I send the press release to the papers (which kicks off the final run of its marketing), and check it as complete once it’s been sent. I use Labels to show which library is hosting the program as well as the target age group. This way our librarians can hop in and quickly find the programs they’re responsible for, as well as learn about the programs their coworkers are prepping to host.

marketing board (1).png

All of my other tasks are on a GTD-style tasks board, with lists for each of my work contexts. I’m a big fan of David Allen’s system, and my board really adheres to the GTD methodology. Except for the marketing board and those for other committees I’m on, I track every task and project in my single task board. I really like having everything in one place. My secret to making all of this work is having a Projects list, where each active project has a parent card in that list. Each project also has a tag, and every task associated with that project gets that tag. With a quick keypress (F) and then a click, I can filter for each project and see that I’ve got a next action on context list to move that project forward. All project files and related information go in the project card, so I only have to go to one place to find everything relevant to that project.

gtd board (1) copy.png

Template version of my GTD board:

Trello’s flexibility means I can use these two boards fluidly in my task management despite their setup being wildly different. I LOVE that. 

What's your best productivity tip/trick?

Trello-related: Always assign yourself to the cards you’re responsible for that have due dates. Even on your personal board! If you do, you can see all of your deadlines at once on your Cards page. I use ButlerBot to automatically add myself to any card with a due date on my personal board, so you can easily automate that monotonous step. Trust me, it’s worth it––especially if you’re a member of many boards.

Non-Trello-related: Carry a notebook and write everything down. Especially if your job is fast-paced like mine, daily work notes have saved me from forgetting something important—said to me in passing—more than once. Get in the habit of writing as things happen throughout the day and process the day’s notes before you leave. It’ll give you the peace of mind to leave work at work and enjoy your personal time without the worry you’ve forgotten something.

What's your favorite/most quirky board/use of Trello?

I track my fountain pen collecting and hobby through Trello. It’s incredibly dorky but it’s saved me from double purchases a couple of times. I’ve got lists for pens I want, for my grail pens (the ones that are so expensive they’re practically hobby-enders), ink, paper, and accessories. 

fountain pens board (1) copy.png

Devon's fountain pen Trello board (board is set to Public)

What do you do in your free time?

I am an avid reader (working at a library, it comes as a total shocker, I know). I also collect fountain pens and stationery, journal and write letters, and enjoy brewing coffee with my Chemex or AeroPress. I am also obsessed with my cat, a 9 year-old black cat named Hildegard von Bingen that I’ve had since she was 9 months old. We’re besties.

cards page.png

Anything else?

I’ll just leave off with a quote that keeps me focused when things seem hard: 

“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” - Eric Hoffer


Erica Moss Community Manager Feb 01, 2018


Devon for president. 🇺🇸

Like # people like this
tinypants Atlassian Team Feb 01, 2018

@Erica Moss that gif 🤣

Really interested in the 🍕 "Pizza Now" card on Devon's Marketing Board!

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Erica Moss Community Manager Feb 01, 2018

@tinypants SAME.

Like Viktoriya Borisova likes this
cassieACE Community Manager Feb 01, 2018

Go Devon! I'm here for your fountain pen board. ;) No one likes a double purchase. Yay for Trello!

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Angela Smith Atlassian Team Feb 01, 2018

So impressive! Thanks Devon!

Like Viktoriya Borisova likes this

@Erica Moss I've progressed from problem child to presidential contender in less than a day. Talk about moving up in the world! (or is it down... 🤔 )

@tinypants Ha! It's a fast and tasty pizza making workshop for teens. Teens get our tastiest programs, I'm jealous!

@cassieACE @Angela Smith Thank you both!

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Awesome showcase,@Devon Henderson - I like that. Hope to meet you someday in person 😀

Like Viktoriya Borisova likes this

@tinypants Same! I noticed the Pizza Now card too! :D

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I am also really digging at the fountain pen board. Creative!

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Alice Rising Star Feb 03, 2018

Yay! Devon is always inspiring me. I should create a fountain pen board too :)

Like Viktoriya Borisova likes this

Thank you very much, @Thomas Schlegel and @arunsathiya! <3

@Alice you totally should. It'd fit right in with your other awesome boards!

Like Viktoriya Borisova likes this

Hi Devon, we met through the Trello slack channel last year! I love your work and how super organized you are with your trello board layouts - your colleagues must be so grateful that you introduced them to Trello. I also love your collection of fountain pens, I only have three but use them To write letters for the @moreloveletters initiative. My friend’s husband makes fountain pens (he made me the one in this photo using acrylic). Looking forward to more of your articles and posts, thanks for sharing ✒️💕60982913-439B-4A6D-9665-B3C0945205BD.jpeg

Like Viktoriya Borisova likes this

Thanks for sharing!

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Linette Atlassian Team Mar 15, 2018

I love these boards, thanks so much for sharing them @Devon Henderson. As a GTD and fountain pen fan, I am delighted!

I must confess I'd not even thought about getting a grey ink, but you've set my mind racing! My next planned purchase was going to be brown (Robert Oster Caffe Crema to be precise) but I'm having second thoughts now!

Like Viktoriya Borisova likes this

@Jodi LeBlanc Hi again! Yes, we’ve had some great convos in that Slack group! Thanks for the compliments. I love that letter initiative! The world needs more letters - they’re so personal and valuable. That pen is gorgeous, too! 

@Linette Twinsies! And I scoffed at grey ink for SO long... and then I tried Fuyu-syogun and fell head over heels. I also got Diamine Earl Grey but found it lacking, so it really depends on the grey. Pilot nailed it, IMHO. Caffe Crema is GORGEOUS. It reminds me of my bottle of Pelikan Edelstein Smoky Quartz... but like, 1/3 the price 😑 KWZ Honey is also stunning, but I don’t like the way he scents his inks... they give me a headache :( I also should mention I did this recently: Did I have time to do this? No. Did I do it anyway? Yes.

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Linette Atlassian Team Mar 27, 2018

Oh! That board is a thing of beauty @Devon Henderson!!

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Thanks so much for sharing! I’m totally a noob (today!) and was afraid of “board- block lol. 

I really needed to see other boards- many thanks!

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GlennP Atlassian Team Jun 10, 2018

really inspiring, thanks for sharing

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Deleted user Nov 29, 2018

Seems very interesting seeing people use Trello for many different things these days. 

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Hi Devon Henderson I have these lists in one board:

  • Today
  • This week
  • Focus
  • Done
  • ... and then list for every client

Every client has a color tag so I can recognize the card when I move it to This week, Today, and Done. 

This way I must review my client lists daily and prioritize manualy. 

Is there a better way of handling clients in Trello? What do you suggest how to tag cards beside color?

Thanks in advance!

Like Viktoriya Borisova likes this

Hey @Nebojsa Damjanovich! I love the way you're currently doing it, especially if it works for you! Some may suggest breaking out each client into their own board, but I'm not a fan of that method. I personally find it way easier to only have a few boards you have to check each morning, you know?

If it doesn't work for you or if you feel friction in your process, maybe figure out exactly what's going wrong and see if that correlates to a weak point in the process. Then you can fix that weak spot without having to redo the entire method.

Hope this helps!

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Hi @Devon Henderson really like your setup with the GTD board.

How do you handle completed projects on your GTD board?

Do you delete the label? Or keep adding labels per project?

The list will be ever growing if you keep adding. But if you delete the label for an completed project you cannot filter afterwards for all the cards related to that specific completed project.


Looking forward to your reply!

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Thanks for sharing the board of fountain pen. I like fountain pens.

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Great post, thanks! Inspired me to create a board for my pen collection:

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