I’ve been using Notion for several months now. Many people use it for notes, and some use it for setting up databases. In the notes arena, there are tons of students using Notion for advanced study, and that’s how I first heard about it. Once you start using Notion, however, if you are a tables, spreadsheets, and databases type of person, you’ll immediately see the potential of Notion for a very different kind of integrated system beyond what you can do with flat notes.
If you are on the database side of things, there’s a bit of a learning curve to thinking through how to architect your use of Notion to meet your needs. Just jumping in and setting up individual tables though is easy!
You can set up a table in a matter of seconds and start playing around with customizing fields, properties, filters, and views. For the analytical thinker, this is a total geek-out tool.
I immediately set up a habit tracker-style table so that I could track some of the things I like to track daily in a bullet journal, composition book, or planner but often fall off of doing regularly. With a digital setup, I have found it easy to check things off during the day and at the end of the day. I have a system in place now where I set up the new day’s tracking log every morning, and then fill it in as the day unfolds. It’s one of the last things I do at night… scroll through the “sheet” and check off what I did for the day.
There are lots and lots of components to a good Notion setup. Relational databases and the use of “rollups” between databases bring a lot of power and interconnectedness to your personal documentation once you get things set up and connected.
I am still fleshing out my own system, but I have found that I really, really enjoy Notion videos. I’ve learned a lot from them, and I just also (not surprisingly) enjoy listening to people talk about productivity in this way. I didn’t even know all these people were out there, so finding Notion — and I discovered it via a YouTube channel — was like finding a bonus rabbit hole filled with people who think similarly about tracking and data.
There are many parts of my Notion setup that I hope to share, and there are parts I am still building. This is a project that can be tinkered with often, and I have spent a lot of time working on the setup I have, but I continue to shape it and let it evolve to really meet my needs.
What I’ve shared in this video is specific to tracking drawing. This is something I always aim to do. I draw daily, and these drawings add up. I’m not drawing a batch of things to sell. Instead, I’m drawing every day as part of my creative life. That process, habit, and routine yields a lot of drawing. While recording these daily drawings isn’t necessary, I like doing it, and I like being able to look back and see a log.
The flexibility of Notion takes things a step further in that I have the ability to set up an endless number of data points that I can customize, configure, and enter. I can then visualize those data sets in a variety of ways based on which format I choose and what filters I employ.
For tracking projects like #the100DayProject, Inktober (or Inktoportraits), and ICAD, this system will be invaluable.
I’ll be showing more, but I encourage you to give Notion a try. There is a thriving Notion community out there and lots of templates and tutorials available.
If you have questions, let me know.
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