5/9/2021 – How I organise my life with Notion [templates included]

If you haven’t heard about Notion, it is an all-in one workspace. It builds on the foundation of basic online notebooks like Evernote or OneNote by adding a database design that creates an inter-connected web of your information and if you’re using it in a team, your team’s information.

Why I use Notion:

  1. Everything is in one spot but doesn’t feel overwhelming because of its clean design.
  2. Its easy to use. The interface and interactions are intuitive. Things are where you expect them to be.
  3. Customisation. I’m able to customise things to the way I want.
  4. Interface design. Notion uses a hierarchical (one-to-many) relationship that enables a clean design regardless of having everything in one spot.
  5. Potential for scale. Currently I only use Notion for personal use but the in-built project management functions allow for seamless collaboration and knowledge sharing.
  6. Templates. Once things are set-up, the added feature of ‘template’ enables consistency from week-to-week.

How I set-up my Notion:

A screenshot of Richard’s Notion

There are 2 sections: Favorites and Private. I treat the private section like a book shelf, where you take a book out and put it in the ‘favorites’ section to read. The favorites section will include what I usually have top of mind.

The icons on the left is a small but great touch. It enables me to find exactly the folder I’m looking for at a glance.

How I categorise my life:

  1. Projects I’m currently working on – writing a book, building a website and YouTube
  2. Books I’m reading with reviews and notes about them
  3. My career and my job – to-do’s to manage my day-to-day at work and potential positions I might be interested in the future and why
  4. Learning and development – courses, datacamp, informational stuff, etc.
  5. Thoughts and Journal – when I stumble across a new idea, I usually do some research and form an opinion on it. That is stored here so I can reference it later.
  6. Life admin – basics like chores, personal finance management, personal fitness and health management, all go in here

Folder set-up:

The first page of the folder always directs to pages within that folder. Similar to a contents page in a book. You can see they’re underlined and they link to that specific section of the folder.

Using In-built project management tools (tables, KanBan boards etc.)

Tables:

Screenshot of House Setup using a Table

As mentioned before, you can customise things the way you want it. I’ve created virtual rooms in my setup folder that allows me to have an idea of what exists in each room, this will be helpful when moving out. Also keeping track of things that haven’t arrived yet and where I got them from just in case I need to claim warranties, etc.

Kanban boards:

For personal projects, I like to have a one-pager of things that I have done, will do and might do. This makes Kanban boards extremely useful. I’ve created a pipeline of content and defined them at each stage of the process from just a thought to published.

Screenshot of Kanban board example

I plan for my week on Sunday night and adjust weekly objectives on Wednesday night.

LINK: https://www.notion.so/Weekly-Agenda-Template-9188a69ac9754bf58a8e48da622ea6f1 [duplicate the page and add to your notion]

Screenshot of Weekly Agenda Template from Richard’s Notion

Sections:

  • Daily To-do List – a daily checklist that includes what habits I’m to build or maintain and any other things I need to do.
  • Weekly Objectives (Sunday) – example of last week’s objectives below. It usually includes what I’m currently to upskill (data camp), personal projects (Word Press and YouTube) and anything outstanding. Usually it would include whatever outings with friends but we are in lockdown so there really isn’t any.
  • Weekly Objectives (added after Sunday) – I split the objectives into 2 sections because there’s usually new things I want to do based on things I read or stumble across.
  • Habits Daily – Usually combines the daily core activities I need to do to keep my energy levels and fit. These are usually knocked out in the morning in preparation for the rest of the day so there are not any excuses of not doing them after work due to tiredness etc.
  • Adjustments based on last week – During my planning on Sunday night, I reflect on the previous week and add anything adjustments I need to make. An example: Due to lockdown, I’m burning less energy throughout the day which means I need to adjust my calorie intake to reduce the energy I have remaining at the end of the day because it is causing my sleep schedule to be later and later which is then causing me to watch content in bed and that reduce the quality of sleep I’m getting.
  • Notes – Just a place for me to put down any misc items I found interesting. Usually includes, facts, quotes, people, links to articles I found interesting, things I want to do but can’t do that week.

General tips:

  • Short-cuts to allow for keyboard navigation. If you have used excel for any period of time, navigating around with a keyboard is way faster than using a mouse and usually more accurate as well. This is the same concept. The most frequent short-cuts I use (replace CMD with CTRL if using PC):
    • CMD + [ or CMD + ] – shortcut for navigating forward or backwards on a page
    • CMD + n (Creates a new page) —> CMD + Enter (Maximises the page)
    • ESC – moves the navigation away from in line text and using the arrow keys to enable navigation around the current page. You then have the ability to delete entire rows or press enter to edit the highlighted section.
    • CMD + \ – Minimises/Maximises the directory bar
    • CMD + P – Quick find, similar to using spotlight on Mac.
  • Navigation arrows that are hot-keyed to allow ‘browser-like’ navigation. Normally this would require finding the folder you were in and finding the page you were on before. Simple but adds to ease-of-use.

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