How To Create Your Own Medium Content Schedule Using Trello
7 simple steps to managing all your drafts, articles, and submissions
I’ve written about my obsessive organizational techniques before. A lot. It helps me navigate many parts of my life. But when I started writing full-time, I needed to develop a new system to stay organized.
I used Trello in the past as a real estate coach for my clients. I also used it as a real estate team leader, to both keep track of what was happening with the team and as an onboarding protocol. Suffice to say, Trello and I were in a relationship.
I expanded my use of Trello to my personal life, where I built boards for:
- Entertainment (TV shows I’m watching, movies I want to see, books I’ve read or am reading)
- My podcasts (Intro and outro text, show ideas, guests and their accompanying pre-call notes, hopeful guests, standard questions)
- Curating a meaningful life (Self, experiences, growth, contribution, love, environment, intellectual life, health & fitness, skills, spirituality, creative life, community life, my vision for friends, people I want to meet)
- Life Organizer (To do, doing, done, focus on just this, today, tomorrow, this week, reminders)
- Reading Notes (For books where I add highlighted passages from all of the books I read)
And then I built one for Medium specifically. I know I’m a psycho, but you’ll thank me later. I’m going to show you how to do it by using a Medium sample board, full of fake stuff.
Step 1: Create a Board
Go to your homepage on Trello and find the link for creating a board. Give it a name.
Use the show menu on the top right to get access to Change Background. Click on Photos, and just like on Medium, you’ll have access to Unsplash as your background library.
Type in “writing” and grab an appropriate background for your board.
Note: Your lists and cards will end up taking over most of the photo, but you’ll see it between the cards.
Step 2: Create All of Your Lists
See where it says Add a list above? Upper left. Start typing all of the things on Medium you want to keep organized. These are the things I keep organized as a list on my Medium Trello board, in order from left to right:
- Medium Post Ideas
- In Production
- Publications You Contribute To (create a different list for each publication you contribute to, including your own, as well as one for No Publication)
- Writers for Publication(s) That You Created (I actually moved these lists to their own board now, but if this is your first Trello board, it still works to add it in here)
- Titles — sometimes I have a great title for something and if I don’t log it somewhere, I will forget it. These go here.
- Publication Ideas
- Series Ideas (I don’t know if anyone even uses this anymore on Medium, but I used to)
It should look like this now:
Step 3: Start Adding Cards to Your Lists
Inside each of these lists is where you’ll put your ideas and stories. Once you create a card for each one, you can easily slide that card from one list to another. So an idea will move from Medium Post Ideas to In Production to a Publication.
Note: You’ll also be able to add labels later to show the status of each story.
Start by finding your list of ideas to write about and start typing them in, separately, as cards under Medium Post Ideas.
Now, when you start writing one of your ideas, you just slide the card to In Production.
P.S. — you can do all of this using the app on your phone, too.
And when you submit something to a publication, you slide it over there. See below:
Pro tip: Do you see those numbers on the upper right of each list? Those don’t come with Trello. But you can download a Chrome Extension called Original Card Counter for Trello.
Step 4: Go Deeper
Click in on one of your Medium Post Ideas. Sometimes you have some notes about the idea you want to jot down. Do it.
Below, you’ll find the inside of a card, where you can add a deeper description (i.e., notes), as well as attachments and comments. You can also build a checklist for your stories (advanced) and add a due date.
It takes a certain personality to want this level of organization. It won’t work for everyone, but it would benefit anyone who used this system. With that said, I know just looking at this will make some people want to jump off a bridge. I suggest you just shut it off and go meditate for ten minutes instead.
Step 5: Create Status Labels
Status labels create a colored note on each card so you can track progress, as well as make for easier identification. These are the status labels I use for my Medium board:
- Published — For when a story is published in a publication or on your own, or for when a writer in your publication has been published for the first time.
- Pending —For when a story has been submitted to a publication, but not published yet, or when you have invited a writer to your publication but don’t have a response.
- In Production — For when you’re working on the story. Duplicitous with the In Production list, but see Complete below.
- Removed —For when you remove a story from Medium or a writer has been removed from your publication.
- Complete —For when a story is complete, but not yet submitted or published. This is where you can have a complete label on a card under In Production, but the story is not in production any longer.
- Added — For when a writer is first added to your publication.
- Ripe — For when your Medium Post Idea is better than others.
- Members Only — For when you’ve submitted your story using the Medium Partner Program.
You can access labels by clicking on a card. On the right menu, you’ll see Labels. Click that, and then get to work.
So when you start using the color-coding, you can easily visually identify where you are in the process with each story or writer (for your publications). Here’s what your stories will look like:
Note: You can also slide cards up and down within the list. So if you want to keep your favorites at the top, just slide them up. I know, so much fun, right?
Pro tip: Do you see how the color bars have words in them? On regular Trello, they don’t. But you can do this with the Chrome Extension, Card Color Tiles for Trello. Organizational freaks, you’re welcome.
And here is what your publication board could look like:
Note: The numbers you see are how many of that writer’s stories you’ve published in the publication. I slide the highest numbers to the top to make sure all writers are given equal opportunity and exposure.
Step 6: Use the Mobile App for Keeping Track of Ideas on the Fly
Ideas come when they do. Since I know you have your phone attached to you at all times, even in the bathroom, you can access the Trello app anytime. This is how I’m always adding to my ideas.
Pro tip: If you’re driving, use Siri (or whatever Android users use) to record a reminder.
“Hey Siri, remind me to write about Coming Home Early and Pretending I Didn’t in 30 minutes.”
You can also use IFTTT to automate this to your Trello board, but I don’t like the way it works personally.
The mobile app is super fly and easy to use, by the way. Just click Add card and fill your idea bin.
Step 7: Get to Work
There are more advanced levels to get to. There are tons of power-ups available on Trello that work with other programs, but I don’t use them. Even I have a limit. I want something like this to work to make me more efficient, not as a time suck.
So if you’re technologically averse, cyber scared, or generally unkempt, maybe just try the basic list to see if it helps. Or, just tell me you hate me in the comments and that you have better things to do. Like forgetting your ideas. Or losing all the scraps of paper with your best ideas.