I first heard of Notion through productivity guru Ali Abdaal’s video. Seeing how Ali used one app for every task, note, and list made my inner productivity geek very happy. Once I learned that Notion was free, I decided to give it a go.
At first, it was a little intimidating. When I first started using this all-in-one workspace, templates were my best friend. I would duplicate all of the templates I could find, then adapt them. Now that I’ve got my system down, I thought I’d share how I use this power tool for planning out my week.
But first, a quick overview. At the top of the page is a thoughtful reminder, which is very dependent on my mood.
Below that are my Weekly and Monthly Goals, a snapshot of my GTD database, the days of the week, and an Outstanding section.
Weekly and Monthly Goals
Under my weekly goals, I list down my focus, areas for improvement, concrete output, learning goals, personal goals, and a reward. My monthly goals are fairly basic, which to me, is really key to getting them done. The more detailed my goals are, the more intimidating and ambitious they become.
For anything that comes up during the day, I’ll add it here. I have a major GTD Database that I use to manage and contextualize my tasks and events. One of Notion’s best features is creating linked databases. On my weekly spread, I linked my GTD database so that the things I need to get done each day automatically appear on my weekly spread.
Days of the Week
As with many, I don’t like being overwhelmed by my to do list. To keep things organized, I categorize each task by project, then house each of them under a labeled toggle.
I also loosely time block each toggle by morning, afternoon, and evening. Sometimes, detailed schedules make me feel anxious. I find that my mind is also much clearer when I work at my own pace.
At the end of each week, I transfer all of the incomplete tasks and postponed events to the Outstanding section. I also add anything that needs following up, like calls or dates.
The Planning Process
Every Sunday morning, I make myself an iced Americano and light a candle to set the mood. Before I actually start planning my week, I go through my two-part process: a mental clear out and digital clean up. I usually have a lot of leftover thoughts that typically cloud my judgment and affect my outlook. To free my mind, the first thing I do is reflect: How did I feel about this week? What do I want to improve on? What do I hope for the next week? What am I grateful for?
Once I’ve mulled those questions over, I move on to my digital clean up. Aside from organizing my desktop and downloads, I also review my Notion. I take a look at each section of my spread; taking note of any tasks, events, or unaddressed ideas that came up during the week. After, I renew my weekly goals.
I use the same page for all of my weekly spreads. So, when I’m done with my mental and digital clean up, I duplicate the spread and move the duplicate to my Archive. I then delete all the remnants of last week, change the dates, update my weekly goals, and plug in my tasks from my GTD on the original page.
Now, I’m ready to face the week!
This is a constant work in progress. It took me a while to configure my system. Before, I only had my weekly goals and the days of the week. Now, I can’t imagine not seeing my monthly goals every day. At the moment, I’m developing my knowledge base and refining my homepage (more on those in the future).
Since switching over to Notion, I’ve converted my family to being devout users too. It’s fun to compare setups and share tips with each other. My brother uses it to manage his clothing brand and music, while my sister uses it to keep track of her schoolwork and journal. How do you use Notion? I’d love to hear from you!