How to Build a System for Your Personal Life in Notion

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2024/06/15 10:43
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In the realm of productivity, particularly on social media, Notion has become a significant trend. Its popularity can be attributed to its flexibility, versatility, and the provision of an all-in-one solution. However, you might find yourself spending more time creating a system in Notion than actually using it. This article aims to guide you on how to efficiently build a system in Notion, specifically for personal life management.
table of content

 Identify: what is the goal and purpose of the system

The first step is to identify the goal and purpose of the system. For instance, if we were creating a weekly planner, the goal would be to stay structured, organized, and maintain motivation throughout the week. This system would require a location to record and store weekly logs for reference over time, a way to manage weekly tasks, track completed ones, and highlight priority tasks, and a place for a weekly reflection.

 Store: create a layout and find a way to reuse it

The second step involves creating a structured layout that you can reuse and store. Having a fixed layout saves time and brings consistency to your planning process. Once you've designed the layout, the next goal is to make sure you can use it multiple times. Here are some ways you can do this:
Stay on the same page and delete the task entries (blocks) at the beginning of each week.
Create a layout in the sidebar and duplicate the page for weekly use.
Nest the layout within the page. Create a new page on the sidebar and nest this layout page inside. You can then duplicate this page every week.
Place the layout in a button. Copy the layout, create the button, and then paste the layout within the button.
Finally, database (highly recommended). A database allows you to import a page template, eliminating the repetitive task of setting up pages every week.
We strongly recommend using a database. This blog post will proceed under the assumption that you have set up a database. However, if you've decided against it, that's alright too. Whatever works for you is honestly the best.

 Store: choose an appropriate view

In Notion, a database is essentially a collection of pages. Choosing appropriate views for your database is crucial. You could use an inline view for managing large sets of items, a board view to visualize progress, a gallery view for a visual component, timeline and calendar views to visualize project durations and deadlines, and a list view for a simple look.
How to edit and add the database view
To add a new view to the database
To change the view of the database, click on ••• at the top-right corner of the database → Layout → Choose your desired view.

 Manipulate: add properties, filter & sort

Properties essentially add context to the stored entries. This is helpful for tracking and organization. Returning to the weekly log example, we could add a Date property to input the start and end dates for each log. A Text property could be created to record the top three key focuses of the week. We could also add a File & Media property to add photos representing each week visually, and use Checkbox property to track recurring tasks or weekly goals.
. It is so very important to carefully consider what to track. Think about what is the purpose of adding certain properties and how they are beneficial to your productivity. Tracking everything does not boost productivity.
We can then add a filter and sorting feature to the database, allowing us to organize and access items more easily. The choice of the right filter and sort largely depends on your system. In our weekly log example, perhaps displaying the entry with the most recent date first would be helpful for future reference and retrieval. Therefore, click on 'sort' and sort the 'date' property in descending order.

 Manipulate: Add Relation & Rollup for progress tracking

We can also create relations and rollups for more advanced organisation and progress tracking.
In Notion, Relation refers to a property type that allows you to create connections between databases. This feature can be extremely useful when you want to relate entries from one database to another. On the other hand, Rollup is another property type that works in conjunction with Relations. A Rollup property pulls in property values from related entries and optionally performs calculations on them.
The concept is straightforward. We can link or group entries from our established database to an entry in a new database. This is better illustrated with an example. On the same page where we supposedly set up the weekly log database, we can create a monthly database. We can then create a relation between these two databases, and in the monthly database, we can link the weekly log entries corresponding to each month to their respective entries.
Then, using Rollup, we can extract properties of referenced items. For example, let's start with the property "weekly rating." This extracts a list of weekly rating values from the weekly logs. To get an overall sense of your month, we can compute the mean value of these ratings.
You're free to create as many Rollups as you want. Another example would be Rollup that values of checkbox properties in the referenced logs. Select the checkbox field, and you'll see a list of all checkboxes. Now, calculate the number of times it's checked within the month. This count can be visualized as a progress bar or ring for clearer understanding.

 Automate: buttons and repeat

Finally, we can automate the system by creating a button that creates a new entry with properties pre-filled out or automate the weekly log database to create a new entry every Sunday by using Repeat.


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