Using PixieBrix and Trello to help me when I'm overwhlemed

Been getting really overwhelmed with the state of the world these days, and realized I needed to implement some positive - and productive - coping mechanisms. So naturally, I used my favorite tools to do that.

I built an extension with PixieBrix that looks up cards in a Trello board (which has two lists - one of positive relaxation/self care things, and one of productive things to do, like contact congresspeople), and then returns a random one and opens a link to take action.

Here’s what it looks like in action:

You can activate this extension yourself! (You’ll just need to connect your own Trello board with ideas.)

And here’s how you can set it up yourself if you’d rather go through the steps to configure!

1. Make your Trello board

Create two lists - one called Self Care, and one called Productive. In the self care list, add a card for various activities you do to help you relax. I added go for a walk, watch an episode of parks and rec, journal, etc.

In the “productive” list, add a card for productive things you can do. For instance, congressmen you can contact and causes you can donate to, or sites to read articles and educate yourself. In each of those cards, attach a link to a site that lets you actually take that action (such as the donation site, congressperson’s website with contact form, etc)

  1. Add a Quick Bar

  2. Use the Trello Get Cards brick, and put in the board ID of the Trello board with your lists. (Hint - don’t know the board id? Just add .json to the end of the board link, and grab the string that comes right after id:

  3. Add a brick to generate a random number for one list.

You can use[1].length to grab the total number of cards in the first list.

  1. Add a brick to generate a random number for the second list.

You can use[0].length to grab the total number of cards in the first list.

  1. Add the jq JSON processor brick to parse out the name of a random card in the self care list.

Add an object for the data, and reference the trello cards and the random number. Make sure to reference the output of your selfcare list then .value for the number, and use the same number that references the self care list in your filter. Ie, if it was list 1, you’ll want to have cards[1] like I have.

  1. Add another jq JSON processor brick, and just change to reference the “productive” list as I’m calling it.

*Similar to above, you’ll reference with[0][.rand].name and make sure you’re referencing the Productive value and not the self care value.

  1. One more jq JSON processor brick! This time we need to get the link for the “productive” item in Trello.
    Looks the same as the last one, just change name to url.

  1. Add the window alert brick to display the names of the two cards.
    *Just put this in the message field - you’ll want to name them whatever is the name of the output you’ve returned in your first two jq bricks. You can tell that by looking on the brick list and see what says @`.

This shows the alert with the message of the two things to do.

  1. Now to do a little magic to make it open the link. To do this, we need to add the follow bricks:
  • Wait/sleep (set the time for about 5000 milliseconds - enough time for you to read the window alert)
  • Open a tab (use the @linkProductive, or whatever you’ve named the jq processor output that grabbed the link from the “productive” card)
  • Wait for DOM element (use this #trello-root .attachment-thumbnail-details for the selector - that’s going to look for the first item under attachments, which should be a link inside the trello card. NOTE: make sure you’re selecting target tab under the advanced settings.)
  • Simulate DOM event (use the same item under selector, and select the click event. this will simulate actually clicking on the link and opening it. NOTE: make sure you’re selecting target tab under the advanced settings.)
  • Close browser tab (just set it to target tab and that’s all you need to do! this will close the trello card so it’s out of the way).

And voila! Now you have a tool that will generate a relaxing and productive way to cope with the world, with just two keystrokes!

If you’re more of a video person, I made this video that shows you step by step how to do it.

Let me know if you want to set it up and you have any questions… i know it can be a bit tricky and took a bit of finessing to get it to work just right for me, so I’m happy to help!

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