How I've Started Using Notion to Track My Life

| 932 Words | 5 minutes to read | productivty

I first found Notion by searching Product Hunt by the most upvoted productivity products. I was immediately impressed by how many boxes it checked for me as a productivity tool. It’s an incredibly flexible piece of software that can be used in so many different ways. Here’s a few things I started using it for

  1. A daily journal
  2. A workout calendar
  3. My writing repository
  4. A habit tracker, that connects to the first 3!

Journaling

Notion Journal Image

I wanted to start writing more this year so I decided the best way to do that is by journaling every day. I chose to do it on a computer because I’m a much faster typer, my handwriting is terrible, and I wanted it easily categorized and searchable.

I do my best to write a daily entry, and I recently started doing a weekly entry. Daily entries start with a simple prompt “Tell me about your day”, and consist of paragraphs and pictures. After deleting my Facebook earlier this year I stopped taking pictures, unless they’re of my dog or cat. Now I make it a goal to include a photo in all of my daily entries. It can be something simple like dinner I made or a selfie of me at the park.

Weekly entries are list based and serve to summarize my weeks. My prompts for these entries are “What did you do this week”, “What are you grateful for”, and “What do you want to do next week”. Each week I’ll go back and write down how well I did in accomplishing my weekly goals. I think this level of weekly accountability will help keep me on track.

Workout Calendar

Notion Workout Image

After I started working from home full-time I decided to pick back up my workouts. It’s a great reason to get out of the house for an hour and I feel great afterwards. After going for a month or two consistently I would forget what muscle groups I did the previous few workouts. I built this simple calendar to show what muscle groups I hit on what days.

I plan to expand this to be more templatized for each muscle group. So on Chest days I have all of my Chest workouts pre-programmed in, so I can record all of my reps and sets to track progress on my lifts.

Writing Repository

I bounced around a lot of different writing apps before I got to Notion. I never liked that all my work was stored locally on my computer, vulnerable to all the issues that a single localized storage presents. I wanted something that persisted online across multiple devices.

The best writing tool is one that inspires you to write as often as possible, and gets out of your way so you can just write. Notion does that for me.

My setup is nothing fancy at all, but I surprisingly bounce between multiple computers each day so I really like how they all automatically sync with each other. I can start a post on my work laptop in the morning or at lunch, and then finish it on my personal laptop that night as I’m watching sports.

I don’t have a hard goal of writing X blog posts each day or week. I just want to write. So my repository is filled with half written articles, ideas for future articles, and (a few) completed pieces.

Notion Writing Image

This is what ties everything together. It’s also my most recent project in Notion and has already evolved a few times since I created it.

My goal was to start tracking my habits each day, both good and bad. I purposely decided to start this before New Years to get a head start on my new years resolutions.

In 2020 I want to continue some of the good habits I’ve developed, like writing every day and working out. I also want to minimize some of my bad habits, like eating out and using my phone too much.

Notion makes this super easy because I can reference all of my workspaces within the habit tracker itself. My “Write in your journal” habit is more than just a checkbox, it’s a link to the journal entry I wrote that day. Same for my workout habit, it’s a link to the specific workouts and muscle groups I did that day.

Notion Habit Tracker

The last sections are the habits I want to cut down on. For me it’s eating out, with a separate column for the dollar amount, and how much time I spent on my phone that day.

The eating out column is easy to add if I keep up with it every day. I can also check my credit card statement if I forget.

Phone time I pull from my phone’s Digital Wellbeing app. My goal is to stay under an hour every day, including when I’m at the gym.

I’ve already noticed a big dip in phone usage since I uninstalled the Reddit app. I’ve purposely made my phone as boring as possible. No social media. No reddit. I took the Email icon off my homescreen. I already catch myself being a lot more bored while using my phone, which is a sign that my strategy is working.

Wrapping Up

Notion is great. I’ve been super impressed with how flexible it is. This blog post was written with Notion. I’ve probably spent over an hour in the app today, between all the writing and tracking I’ve done. I love it’s role in helping me achieve my goals and I’m excited to watch how it continues to evolve.