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My favorite ways to overplan with Notion

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My favorite ways to overplan with Notion

How to keep your work and life organized using Notion

By Ellie Huizenga · May 27, 2021
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If you're a Type A personality who likes to pretend they're Type B (hi), Notion lets you get all of your super intense organizing out of the way so you can show up at the brewery and be *super chill*. 

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Because Notion allows you to create pages that you can organize in basically any way you want—kanban boards, wikis, calendars, notes, databases, you name it—it gives you all the control you crave. Here's how I use Notion to organize all the minuscule tidbits of my work and life. Don't judge me.

Outline work tasks

If I didn't have a solid to-do list and an organized calendar, I'm pretty sure my whole life would be pure chaos. I've gone through a slew of to-do list apps, and I've learned that my to-do list needs to be 100 percent right for me, or it's hard for me to follow through on my tasks. Notion has been a great solution because I can view my to-do list in multiple ways. 

For example, I use the kanban view to move tasks back and forth, but when I want an overarching view of everything, I can easily switch to the list view by clicking at the top of the block.

Switching from Kanban to list view GIF

Plus, I'm able to keep work and life tasks both organized in Notion.

Showing different sections for life and work

I've also created a few automated workflows that make it easy for me to manage my to-do list. Every day, I use my Zap (what we call our automatic workflows) that turns a Slack message into a to-do item in Notion.

Zapier lets you automatically send information from one app to another, helping you reduce manual tasks. Learn more about how Zapier works.

Dump things to come back to

I'm constantly being pinged by things that I want to come back to—whether it's a text from a friend, an email, or a perfectly marketed ad. If I don't put those things on a list somewhere, they're inevitably gone forever. To help mitigate my forgetful and easily distracted mind, Notion acts as both a list tool and a notes tool. 

I created different pages within Notion for the many things I want to circle back on. As someone who makes lists of the lists I need to make, this organized system of subpages is huge. For example, I have specific pages to keep track of podcasts, books, and music that I want to remember. 

Showing Ellie's spot to dump things in Notion

I also have a place to easily dump websites that catch my eye so I can dig deeper when I find the time. I connected my Pushed from the web list to my Zapier chrome extension, so I can automatically send links to Notion without having to jump back and forth between apps. 

Create a reading list

As a kid, I was obsessed with making lists of what I wanted to read. Back then, I wrote my reading list in a diary covered in national park stickers. With Notion, I've brought my reading list into the 21st century.

I use tables to jot down book recommendations (for work and for fun). Within each table, I include the title, author, and type of book. And of course, I use the checkbox tool because I find a true sense of joy when checking off a book that I just finished. It keeps me motivated and makes me feel super impressive—getting to check off Atlas Shrugged (took me weeks) felt so good.

Ellie's book list

In the past, I used spreadsheets as my reading list tool, but that was less mobile-friendly—and now my reading list is in the same tool as the rest of my life.

Set up monthly goals

With that Type A personality, I operate well when I have monthly goals, so I can hold myself accountable. I'm not going to pretend I always hit those goals, but having them written down gets me so much further.

In Notion, I created a separate page where I write down my monthly goals (in the checklist format to chase that lovely checkbox feeling again).

Ellie's monthly goals

I also set up a reminder within Notion to prompt me to write my next month's goals, so I'm sure to set time aside to think about what I want to accomplish next. 


So that's my overplanning—really, just the tip of the iceberg. If you're looking for one tool to organize every minuscule thing, Notion is a great choice. But whatever you decide, remember: don't be embarrassed by a system that works for you.

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Ellie Huizenga picture

Ellie Huizenga

Ellie Huizenga is a content specialist at Zapier based in Phoenix, AZ. When she's not working, you'll find her in the mountains either downhill skiing or on a new hike.

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