My Boring + Unglamorous Way to Use Notion
image credit| quickanddirtytips.com
So you've downloaded those ❝nice looking❞ glamorously exciting templates, you've created pages, and databases galore... now what do you do with it? Where does it all fit in?
Most "normal" people when they start on their journey using Notion, start by looking up every video and website devoted to providing templates and explanations on how to use Notion, which is awesome!
But this presents some very significant challenges... because this isn't where you start. Doesn't make much sense does it?
Think about this... almost anyone can learn how to use Notion because the concept isn't that complex. Yes, Notion can be used in a complex manner but the actual concept of Notion isn't complex. You start with a page and then you add content... you can:
- Start typing... 💥 you just created a note.
- Start a to-do list... 💥 you just created a task manager.
- Start a table... 💥 you just created a database.
This in itself isn't complex. But this will lead you down the path of wanting to add complexity to your space because you see how powerful this software is! So you start creating more pages, more tables... oh then you see a beautiful template... downloaded... oh that dashboard... downloaded...
Now what do you have?
You have an unstructured workspace with cracks in the foundation.
I want to teach you the most boring + unglamorous way to start using Notion BUT what I teach will save you time and energy in the long-term and help you release the full potential of your Notion workspace.
It starts with a systems approach to using Notion.
system | ˈsɪstəm |
- a set of things working together as parts of a mechanism or an interconnecting network
- a set of principles or procedures according to which something is done; an organized framework or method
The Boring + Unglamorous System—Start Here
The starting point is with the most boring + unglamorous page you could ever create and it looks something like this... keep in mind that my system extracts principles from the Bulletproof method by William Nutt, PARA by Tiago Forte, GTD by David Allen, and PPV by August Bradley.
You will notice that I have:
- A page for the AREAS in my life or business. Areas are a sphere of activity with a standard to be maintained over time. These pages contain databases.
- Professional Development
- A page for everything that requires me to-do something which is my ACTIONS page. These are all databases.
- Habit tracker
- Task list
- A page for all of my support documents on my REFERENCES page. These are all databases with some pages that contain a variety of elements.
- You will notice I also have a page called "KTiL-HQ", "Rich", "Rich & Jess". These are dashboards but were created based upon the databases I set up in my AREAS, ACTIONS, and REFERENCES pages. This comes later... a dashboard isn't your starting point.
Starting your workspace out this way, is boring + unglamorous and isn't something that you can post on reddit and share with the world because they won't care and will think it's boring BUT long-term this is providing the structure and foundation that you will need to build out a more elaborate workspace that can be flexible and expand as you grow and as you grow in your understanding of how Notion works.
Once you have set-up the structure and foundations to your workspace, the next step is to start adding databases to those pages that you set-up.
Keep in mind that it's best to set up pages as databases instead of setting them up with a variety of content types (there are exceptions to this rule though). The reason for this is because you will use your dashboards to do this. Your AREAS, ACTIONS, REFERENCES pages and the pages contained within them are built to provide the information that you will then populate onto your dashboards. Your dashboards are the workspaces that you can dress up, and make to look "glamorous" and "exciting" but this will come after you have built the structure and foundations to your workspace.
Be careful with your perspective towards dashboards and wanting to make them abnormally complex. Every dashboard you see in the Notion space isn't practical. A dashboard is a workspace and should be functional ❶st and glamorous ❷nd. A dashboards primary purpose is to bring everything together and NOT to be a show piece.
👉🏾 Here is an example of the dashboard that I have developed to bring my entire system together. I developed this dashboard to be useful even on my mobile phone. Some dashboard builds are un-usable on a smaller screen size than a laptop or desktop screen. My system is optimized to be used on all devices.
Building your workspace in a boring + unglamorous manner in the beginning helps you to have a designated place to put everything that you create, or need to do your work and produce what you do. If you have an idea, you have a place to put it, a project you have a page for that, need to create a new database... you have a page for that. This structure helps you to build out a space that provides connections and relationships to every aspect of your life, instead of having pages, templates, and databases populated in your workspace in a manner that is disjointed and un-relatable.
My perspective is you need to have a system ❶st before you download a template of any kind. The benefit of downloading something to create your workspace is a short-term solution. If the template provides a framework for a systematic approach to building out your Notion workspace then great but you need to create a "home" first before you start "decorating". A systems approach to Notion is boring but in the end leads to you looking GLAMOROUS!
❶ What I have discussed here are the 'basics' to the system that I use in Notion. Subsequent blog posts will address the principles and methods to my system. So keep up to date and check back every Wednesday for updates OR better yet follow me on Twitter because I will be posting snapshots of my system and my thought processes around it. [click here 👈🏾 follow me on Twitter]
❷ Also, why not sign up for my newsletter where I include highlights from my blog and other outstanding happenings in the Notion space❗
Published: Sep 15, 2021
I am a Notion Consultant, Coach, Problem Solver with expertise in the use of Notion, a variety of organized systems, and productive workflows. My goal is to teach you how to utilize and implement Notion into your organized systems and workflow by teaching guided steps in the principles of this robust application.
☝🏾 Notion is: The all-in-one workspace for your notes, tasks, wikis, and databases. click me to see 👈🏾
In Development: ✪ 🔴 The Convergence Zone ✪
✪ Have you ever looked at Notion and thought... ❝what do I do with this?❞ Or are you using Notion but don't know how to actually utilize all the templates you've downloaded or pages you have created? You need a SYSTEM to bring everything together... So I am developing: 🔴 Convergence Zone. A high-level system to help you put it all together❗👈🏾 click me to see more!
🔴 Try me out‼️ Convergence Zone Actions (Tasks) Database 👈🏾 Click me to download!