Notion: Digital Organization for your Personal and Professional Life

Finding the perfect digital organization system is an ongoing challenge. Having everything online is supposed to make our lives easier, but instead, everything is disjointed. If only there was a way to keep your personal and professional life organized in one place.

It turns out that there is. It is an app called Notion.

There are so many apps and programs to keep track of, and tasks, media, and data can get to be all over the place and out of control. Work today is changing, and as more of us work from home, or become contractors, the line between professional and personal becomes blurred. As we seek balanced lives we need some help to organize all the ridiculous amounts of information we are bombarded with every day.

If you are like me and have many pots boiling on the stove at the same time, you may make efforts at digital organization, using tools like Google Drive or Excel spreadsheets. You end up with little pockets of data here and there, but there is no one place where you can access everything.

The great thing about the Notion app is that it provides one place for you to store all of your information. It is like having your own “second brain” or personal wiki. Your own personalized digital organization system that you can color code and customize with images and icons.

What is Notion?

Notion is a powerful free app that you can use to organize all aspects of your digital life. It gives you the power to share with contributors or team members, but also to keep things personal. Finding an app that lets you organize your personal life and your work life all in one place is invaluable.

According to a 2018 New York Times article, Notion is – The Only App you Need for Work-Life Balance . I strongly agree with this statement.

According to Wikipedia:

Notion is an application that provides components such as databases, kanban boards, wikis, calendars, and reminders. Users can connect these components to create their own systems for knowledge management, note-taking, data management, project management, among others.

A customizable digital organization system that works with your brain

Finding the perfect organizational tool is a challenge. It is difficult to find one that fits the flow of your thoughts and brain exactly. This is one of the major advantages of Notion. It is fully customizable, and you can add things whenever you think of them.

Need a place to keep track of random tasks? Make a new page.

Need a place to keep track of work? Make a new page.

Want to keep track of books you want to read? Make a new page.

You can link everything together in a way that makes sense to your thought patterns.

Using Notion as a Freelancer to track pitches and jobs

Using Notion to track all of your freelance jobs is simple and easy. Because the databases are so customizable and easy to set up, you can make your records work for you.

With Notion, tracking pitches that you have sent, follow-ups, and what quote you gave becomes much easier.

As a freelance writer, I keep track of:

  • articles I’ve written along with any sources used;
  • publisher;
  • how long they took me to write;
  • any deadlines;
  • status (drafting, awaiting approval, complete)
  • how much and when I was paid (and if I received payment); and
  • pitches sent, to whom, and price quotes.

I also can easily keep track of any extra information in regards to each job, for example, if I enjoyed it or not, or if I would like to pursue work from that publisher again.

My Notion database allows me to see at a glance which work is worth my time, and which work I might want to avoid in the future.

Using Notion to Keep Focused

Having a plan is essential to being productive. By setting up a Notion dashboard you can keep all your work and personal to-do items front and center.

How does this help? Did you know that if you set up your list of tasks for the next day at night your brain will start to plan out the best way to get everything done while you are sleeping at night?

Every evening I set out the list of things I want to accomplish the next day in my main Notion dashboard. Because of this, a beautiful, electronic and color-coded list of what I need to get done that day is waiting for me each morning.

Do I get everything done? Not always. But quite often I have all tasks completed by noon and then have free time to relax.

Notion - digital organization dashboard
This is a screenshot of the top part of my Notion dash. You can add to and customize your dashboard as much as you like.

Using Notion to track random tasks

I am into planning in a big way and, like most writers, love notebooks. The problem is, there started to be too many notebooks. I was starting to forget what was in each one, and the information could not be connected.

Enter Notion. To-do lists can now all be connected to a dashboard created that works for me. It is completely customized to how my brain wants to access information.

You can do this as well. After watching a couple of Youtube videos, anyone can set up their own dashboard and see their productivity rise. The Notion Template Gallery contains many templates to help you get started. A visit to the Gallery will also let you see what is possible with Notion.

Using Notion to schedule your time

There is a calendar view available in Notion. You can also set up a page for your “ideal schedule”. Planning out how you will use your time each day, blocking time off according to your routine or meetings.

One of the great features of Notion calendars is that you can link your class or meeting notes to a date. This allows you to easily search out your notes from a specific event without having to remember where you put them.

Using Notion to keep notes

Keeping notes and researching is more important than people give it credit for. That is why it is listed at number one in the article “Tips to Get Better at Anything“.

Digital organization of your notes, plans, lists, and research is great for helping you find and remember information. But, when working with others, it is even more important. Being able to grant someone access to your notes, or to collaborate makes Notion even more powerful.

Because each item in Notion is a “page”, data can be refined as much as you like, adding notes everywhere. Your information then becomes easy to access in an intuitive way.

Using Notion as a Kanban board

Being able to change the view of your data with the click of a button is one of the best features of Notion. Looking for an electronic version of a Kanban board that will work as well as a physical bulletin board has been difficult. There are many “Kanban” apps available, but none of them seem to really hit the same feeling as the big bulletin board up on the wall.

Notion changes that. It can take a table of data and transform it to Kanban style with one click. By using filters, you can adjust the display so only those tasks from a certain period will be visible. Categories can also be customized so your tasks can be immediately sorted as you wish. For example, if you want to use “status” as your filter, you can organize tasks by “not started” “in progress” “complete”.

Using Notion as a Personal Wiki

Because everything in Notion is a page, everything can be linked together. This makes Notion a fantastic place to make a personal wiki. As you may already be aware, a wiki is another term for an encyclopedia of all your own information. This can include research, notes, lists, links, images, and anything else you are interested in and need to keep track of.

Notion is exciting because it is so flexible. The possibilities of what you can do with Notion, and its ability to act as a “second brain” are limitless.

I use Notion to organize my time and as a personal wiki. The purpose of this article is to present Notion as one option for digital organization. Notion is free, so they have no affiliate program. There is no affiliation or benefit to the writer in writing this article other than sharing information with others.

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