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Increase your productivity with Notion

charly3pins
By day I’m a Software Engineer. By night I’m open sourcing, learning, reading, listening and blogging. In love with Go and willing to learn new things every day. Posts in English and Spanish.
Originally published at charly3pins.dev on ・6 min read

Following my last post about increasing productivity with The Pomodoro Technique, I will show you how I organized my life regarding my side projects, my readings and the posts that I publish on this blog.

First I was using Google Keep's notes to keep track of all of those subjects, but as you can imagine it turned out to be impossible to manage that amount of information and more important, do it properly. For taking quick notes regarding ideas that pop up in my head or some comment about a book/video or just a summary of a chat it's fantastic. The problem is when those notes started to become a kind of tasks list instead of a notes list, adding to them a lot of details, a few links, some nested lists and a lot of parenthesis to help my future self understand what I wrote there. After long time using that method and some attempts to change the way of doing it (because at the end let's be honest here it was a mess)... a good friend of mine, @MCanhizares, recommended me to give a try to the Notion app.

At the beginning I started with an empty view simply adding the notes that I had on Keep in there and creating separate pages for different topics but I felt that I wasn't squeezing all the potential that the app was offering to me. So one day I started playing with the templates the application offers and I discovered the To-do one. In order to use it is as easy as click on the link and the duplicate to your workspace. If you wanna create it by your own the other way is to just create a new empty page and then click on board as the following images show:

start
create kanban
kanban default

After that, the board is in place and now it's the turn of tuning and tweaking it as you want. I will show here basic tricks for that in order to facilitate your first steps as much as possible, but again the sky's the limit in terms of customization.

For create a list of properties for a task you just need to go inside a task and change the type of the property as a list like the Status and Type:
task properties

And then write down the value of that property and click on create your_property below:
task add list property

If you wanna add the Last edited time property you can create a new one with the name you want but the time must be that one:
task add last edited property

In order to modify the appearance of the board adding the properties you've created in the steps before, you can modify the view options following the following. First go to properties of the board:
board properties

And then select the properties you wanna display for the cards and change the preview and size:
board properties
Also you can order the properties and add new ones as you decide.

That was a quick intro to the To-do template that I use a lot as a Kanban boards for my stuff. I will show you my main Kanbans in order to inspire you.

Tech Reading Kanban: here I organize all the technical books (or articles) that I want to read:
tech reading kanban

Videogames Kanban: here I organize all the videogames that I want to play:
videogames kanban

Manga Kanban: here I organize all the manga that I want to read:
manga kanban

As you can see with just this simple template you can do a lot of things... so it's up to you and your imagination. But that's not all. Until here I showed you a simple way to start increasing your productivity using the Notion app and its To-do template. But now it's time to go a step forward, a level up.

You are thinking "Okay all of that sounds good but I don't want to have tons of pages with different templates and all spread out across my workspace, so how I can manage all of them in a single view?" Today is your lucky day because it's what I'm gonna explain right now!

There are a lot of shortcuts provided by the app but the one that we're interested on now is the linked databases. As it says in the documentation:

Linked databases let you show, filter, and sort the same database in multiple places (elsewhere on the same page and/or elsewhere in your workspace) as many times as you want.

With that, we can organize all our boards in a single page as the main one linking the ones we want and as detailed as we need. We can create different views or just add the link to that page or a mix of both depending on the case. Once again Notion provides a list of templates to facilitate our lives and the one that I used as a base is the Life wiki one. If you go to the link and click Duplicate the template will be added in your own workspace and from there you can start playing with it. Mine currently looks like the screenshot below:
life wiki

Maybe in a future post I will detail exactly how the internal pages and views look like or if you wanna see it, you can comment me here or in any social media and I will do it sooner than later!

That's it for a personal management system. I hope you enjoyed the reading and it will help you to take your goals to the next level with that tips of organization and management.

But... THAT'S NOT ALL FOLKS!
that's all

If you consider this a great tool for your personal stuff but you are wondering what about using it for professional projects, for example replacing the JIRA in my job, don't worry, there is another template that can help you doing that transition and it's this one. As you can see it is pretty much the same as JIRA, having the views for epics, current sprint, future sprints and the backlog. Also in the top before the epics, there is a section with a few links to other pages like the tickets, labels, fix versions and so on. So as you can see there is almost a copy of JIRA's views but without the pain of JIRA's views (you know what I mean).

You can also investigate the Notion Template Gallery to get some inspiration and duplicate one from there or also share your own one. Here you have another inspirational website made by fans of Notion.

As you can see Notion is the present and in my opinion the future of the management/organization applications and a though candidate to lead all the rankings so play with it, try all the templates, discover all the features that offers and as I always say feel free to comment here or contact me on my social media for any comments, questions or suggestions.

Discussion (2)

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asquare14 profile image
Atibhi Agrawal

This is a very detailed and well written post. Well said that Notion is the future of management.😄
I've written a post on my personal favourite templates in Notion 💜 , do check it out ✅
dev.to/asquare14/top-5-notion-temp...

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charly3pins profile image
charly3pins Author

I'm glad you like it! The most I use Notion the most I like it, so let's see how the future looks like for them but it's a really great tool. Also, when they (if someday) release finally their API the integrations with their system will benefit a lot of people and they will grow a lot.
I will check your post about the templates. Thank you

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