How do you organize your life? Everyone has their own little quirks about how they like to plan their to do lists or manage their finances, and not every system works for every person.
I’m a huge fan of productivity hacks and life management tools, with planner pics being some of my favorites to scroll through on Instagram. I work in digital marketing and I manage my own blog and freelance writing clients, so I need something to help keep me on track.
And that’s where Notion, my personal obsession, comes in.
When I found Notion, I was initially looking for a project management tool for us to use in my last job, but I wanted to give it a test run on my own first so we’d know how to set it up.
Since then, Notion has come to be a huge help in many areas of my life – managing my freelance articles, building an editorial calendar for my blog, keeping track of my finances, creating Christmas lists, putting together grocery lists, and more.
If you’re looking for a way to get more organized in your life, let me walk you through how you can use Notion to get started.
How to Organize Your Life With Notion
If there’s one thing that everyone can agree on when it comes to project management and organizing your daily tasks, it’s that there isn’t one single system that fits everyone.
This is why Notion is such a great platform. You’re given the tools and resources to build your own project management dashboards that fit you and how you work and manage tasks.
And one of my favorite things about the platform, too, is that they have a library of templates created both by their team and by community members to help get you started. So in case you get overwhelmed looking at a blank canvas, you can find a starting point, then adapt it to fit your life.
Take a look at my Notion dashboard, that I customized based off of a Notion template:
I’ve separated it into three sections – personal, freelance, and Visme (my main squeeze/full time job). Each category then has its own subsections that dive into areas of my life that I use Notion for, like my goals/resolutions, personal finance, holidays, and more.
Let’s dive into each of the ways I use Notion in my life to give you a few ideas of how you can use it too.
This is my second full year using Notion, so I’ve set up subpages inside the Resolutions page for each of the last couple of years.
Inside my 2020 page, I’ve typed in my Word of the Year, then created pages for each of my resolutions/goals for 2020.
Each specific resolution page includes a table that is set up for that goal. Some of these include monthly trackers to help keep me on track while others have daily habit trackers, like the one below for reducing screen time.
You can create monthly or daily habit trackers by adding an inline table to your Notion page. You can also configure templates so that when each month ends, you simply need to click a button on the page to load a new month’s habit tracker.
While some people might enjoy drawing out their habit tracker in a bullet journal, this allows those of us with less free time for art to quickly pull up a new month’s spreadsheet and start again.
The biggest thing I use Notion for is keeping track of my finances. I have pages for bills, debt, freelance income, and my money diary to help me plan out expenditures and stick to my budget.
You can also use this to track investments, savings, monthly subscriptions, and more.
I am big on paying my bills manually. Automatic payments make me nervous, and I like to know exactly when each of my bills are coming out of my account.
I’ve set up my bills page to include each item I have to pay, the amount I’m paying that month, a checkbox once it’s gone through, and the date it was paid.
My debt page helps me to have a clear idea of how much I have left to pay off, and I update it each month to watch the numbers continually go down.
My freelance page includes the client, the date they paid, and the amount. I have the table calculate the total I received from all clients so I can keep track of how my side income has grown over time.
Notion was a godsend during this past holiday season. I have a bad habit of going way overboard on gifts and racking up a ton of credit card debt each Christmas, and I was determined not to let that happen this year.
I used Notion to plan out all of my Christmas gifts and how much I would be spending on everyone so that I could keep my gift buying under control and not go on any unbudgeted for Target trips.
I also used an inline calendar to plan out Elf on the Shelf activities for my son, as well as for planning his upcoming 7th birthday party.
This is probably one of the most useful sections for me. I’m terrible at meal planning, so I found a Notion template to help me find a process that would work for me.
It includes a table for me to plan my meals throughout the week (I typically only use the Dinner column because I keep things around the house for the other meals and they don’t require as much planning) as well as a pop-up grocery list.
I also store my most-used recipes in a little recipe gallery for easy access. I’ll add new ones as I plan new meals as well, as long as they turned out well and were successful.
I always link to the recipe online, but many of them I adapt as I go.
This is a page I just started to help plan upcoming trips, as I have a lot more planned in 2020 than I did in 2019.
If I click into one of the pages, you’ll see I created dropdown sections to help me through the planning process – a checklist to ensure I don’t miss any parts of the planning, a budget table, and a list of plans.
Once it gets closer to the trip, I’ll add a Packing checklist as well so I don’t forget any essentials.
To Do List
For my freelance articles, I’ve set up a Kanban board, very similar to what you would do in Trello or JIRA.
When I receive assignments, I create a new card and input the article title, client and due date and leave it in the No Status column.
When it’s upcoming, I’ll move it over to This Week. As I move through my process of writing, I’ll move it to each different column so I know where it’s at, either in my writing or with my editors. Once it’s complete, I move it to an Invoice column, and once I’ve been paid, I move it to Done.
Kanban boards are useful for many different types of project management, and you can customize one to fit your tasks right inside Notion.
I also use Notion to keep track of professional contacts, whether they’re writing clients, people I’ve worked with at Visme, etc.
It’s so easy to create a table or spreadsheet in Notion to house all of that information, as well as include a Notes column so that you can keep track of your correspondence or previous history with each contact for future reference.
I am big on performance reviews and talking salary, and that’s why I keep an Accomplishments page with everything that I think I’ve done well at Visme.
This way, I’m able to reference this anytime I’m talking about my performance with my boss, and use it when I’m ready to start negotiating a salary increase.
I’ve broken it down into years and quarters so that I can also easily keep track of the time frame that each task, project, or accomplishment occurred.
I highly recommend you create your own Accomplishments list somewhere, whether it’s your day planner or your own Notion page.
Ready to get started organizing your own life? Notion is the perfect DIY online software to help you create any type of project management process you want.
And if you’re an old-fashioned pen and paper kind of girl, I get it. I still use my trusty Day Designer for my day-to-day tasks and meetings. But an online tool like Notion helps me to keep track of even more and organize my processes in a way that’s even more robust.