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Managing My Reading List with Trello

I can't believe it's actually taken me this long to do this, but today I finally decided to move my reading list over from Goodreads to Trello and I'M SO EXCITED. 

I'm still working on getting it all set up, but here's a template, and below I'll describe the main premise and how it works. (I've also got all of these listed on the first list in the board so when you copy over all the steps are right there for you!)

1) If you already have a list of your books, get them in a spreadsheet or format where you can copy and paste them. 

If you copy and paste a list into trello, it will give you to the option to turn each item into a card. A real game changer! My biggest problem with this step was that i had 800 books on my list in Goodreads 😬. So... that was quite honestly a bit too much for Trello to handle. I got them all in there, but I ended up taking them out because Trello was moving kinda slow and I felt like I was just putting too much strain on the poor guy when there are really only about 100 books I'm thinking about reading in the semi-near future.

So instead I've just started by adding some of my favorite from Goodreads, and over time I'll make it through adding more on there. 

I added a list for "To Read", "Currenltly Reading", and "Read".

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2) Use the Bulk Edits Power-Up to edit in ... well.. bulk.

It's like it sounds. This helps you edit multiple cards at once... since 90% of my books are non-fiction, it was easier to edit all of them this way (specifically I was editing the labels...)

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3) Use labels to categorize your books.

One of the biggest flaws on Goodreads was that all of my books were there... but it was so hard to filter through the types of books. If I was in the mood for fiction, I'd have to scroll and find those. Not anymore! Now I'm using labels for fiction vs non-fiction so I can easily find the type of book I want. I'm also adding labels for types, like business or personal development or marketing, etc.

(see above screenshot for some of my examples... and yes I'm obsessed with books about Danish culture so that's why that's one of the labels 😁If you know any good Hygge books, let me know!)

4) Add the time-in-list power-up to see how long you take!

Yes this is a paid power-up, but it's $3/mo... and I think I'm going to use it. One of the things I did like about Goodreads was being able to see how long it took me to read a book. And now I can easily do that! I can also see how long it sat in my "to read" list (looking at you books that I added back in 2016 and still haven't "gotten around to"). 

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5) Count how many books you've read

Someone correct me if there's a better way to do this, but I found a quick hack for counting how many cards are in a list.  I used the filter to filter by something that all cards had in common... in my case it was "no member". From there, you can see how many cards are in each list!

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This is a cool way to track how many books I'm reading. I'll probably have a "Read 2020" list and create a new one each year to track how many books I'm reading each year.

6) Use Custom Fields to rate your books.

Another thing I liked about Goodreads was being able to leave ratings on books. Now I can do that with Custom Fields! I can even make a drop down with emojis, so it looks like stars. How cool. 

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I'm also adding a custom field for name of person who recommended it (as it's nice to follow up with people afterwards and be like "hey i actually did read that book!"), and also a number field for how many times it's recommended. Usually if multiple people recommend it, that bumps it up on my reading list.

7) Keep track of notes and summery right in the card description. 

I read a lot of books... and I promptly forget everything they're about because I don't have a great way to organize my notes. Now that's changing, thanks to Trello. I can add my book notes in the card description and keep track of them there. Then when I want to reference a book, I can just search for it and find all my notes, or easily share them with others!

Anyone else ever tried doing this? Or have any ideas for improving? Let me know - I'm pitching this to the Trello blog team and if you have an idea for how to make this better, I'll feature you if my post is accepted!

2 comments

Brittany Joiner Community Leader Jun 08, 2020

Update! This has been upgraded to a full-blown blog post on the Trello blog

I have to admit that using Trello for my reading lists is one of the first things I tried besides organizing my tasks, but I never ventured myself in Custom Fields and with the last update I bet the cover images would look even better. Thank you for the inspiration, Brittany!

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