I am an organizational nerd. Digital tools that boost my productivity, efficiency, and ultimately the quality of my life appeal immensely to me.
Researching and testing the latest productivity tools (such as note-taking, to-do, or project management platforms) is a real pleasure for me. Every one of them represents an opportunity to enhance my efficiency and productivity.
I know many of you also struggle with the same challenges: you read a lot, work on many projects both personally and professionally, and generally accumulate a huge amount of useful information that you want to store in a convenient way that is simple to use and intuitive to manage.
I spent countless hours experimenting with well-known apps and platforms in the hope of being able to organize my data better: Evernote, OneNote, Bear, Agenda, Todoist, Things, Walling, Trello, just to name a few. When one wasn’t enough, I combined them with another. I’m sure you’re familiar with that scenario.
Finally, I came across Notion. Is that drumroll playing in the background right now?
Two things swept me off my feet right away:
- The ease of use – Using Notion felt so natural to me. It was effortless. I was able to hit the ground running, right from the get-go.
- Flexibility – This was a revelation to me. The ability to combine multiple components made it feel like I was designing my own application.
I spent days with my face glued to the screen, trying countless different organization systems, just for fun. It was great. I was like a kid at the playground.
Just before the weekend, I came to a decision. The big ol’ ugly migration was upon me.
Migration is that jarring experience when you have to move your entire digital house to a different platform. It is both mentally and physically exhausting.
It wouldn’t surprise me if some “Digital Moving” companies emerge in the near future. I’d happily pay for that service!
Once everything was in Notion, I was super happy with the new look of my knowledge base.
My exercise logs, favorite quotes, useful links, and financial projections looked better than ever. Even the archives – the graveyard of old notes that might be useful someday – were easier to browse.
However, the REAL test was yet to come! Mount Everest of all organizational geeks out there. His royal highness – Yearly plan.
For starters, let’s look at ancient wisdom and centuries of evolution to dig out the most scientifically correct definition of a yearly plan.
Here it goes: A good yearly plan is one that you can stick with!
That’s all there is folks. We don’t have to look any further than that.
I fully understand and believe that Kanban is a proven methodology that helps us work effectively. The GTD method is also used by hundreds of thousands of individuals worldwide.
Productivity methodologies inspire and interest me profoundly. All these facts, however, do not guarantee that we can apply them successfully.
Having said all that, I’ve been well prepared when it comes to creating my individual annual plan.
Years of failed and half-successful plans were behind me. I have evolved through pen and paper, OKR tools, to-do lists, note-taking, and project management tools.
Therefore, I knew precisely what kind of plan I wanted to try this year. It was only a matter of figuring out whether it would be possible to do it with Notion?
Not only was it possible, but Notion leveraged my experience and knowledge so effectively that my new, yearly agenda was more inspirational than ever to me. Fast forward to the end of the first year planned with the help of Notion — The most productive year I’ve ever had.
My belief is that Notion’s core capability of combining various productivity methods and organizational systems (through its component structure) was the key to my successful yearly plan.
How does that work in practice? Here is the quick rundown:
- I used the table view to list my main goals, define key results and metrics.
Take it a step further and add life segments tags to make visual scanning easier and voila – simple and clear overview of all my goals, along with all the segments of my life I am striving to improve.
- I love having my monthly and weekly goals in the Kanban board. It gives me a good general overview of what I need to do and why I need to do it. Tags on tasks help me see how they contribute to the big picture, and ratings help me gauge their priority.
- I do weekly reviews as well. These reflections are highly useful in realizing challenges, identifying opportunities, and determining next steps towards achievement of my goals.
That’s the core of my system! That’s how it works.
As I sit in my home office every Sunday evening, listening to my favorite jazz mix, I dive deep and get super focused on my plan for the next week.
Everything begins by weekly progress review. Looking into accomplishments, challenges, positive and negative things. These lessons become action steps for addressing challenges and making improvements.
I then review my quarterly and monthly goals, to see what actually happened and make any necessary changes. At this point I’m all set to plan my upcoming week.
By the end of this planning, I’m feeling pretty excited about the future, and can’t wait for Monday to come, so I can begin implementing my plan.
If you aren’t excited about your weekly plan, you’re doing it wrong!
The only thing I failed to complete in the last year was travel. Well, we all know that happened because of “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”, so I don’t feel guilt about it. On the bright side, I am looking forward to a lot more traveling next year, right?!
All other goals in my Yearly Plan were accomplished.
- Good sleep routine, more meditation, regular workouts and implemented mobility improved my health from 5 to 7.
- Also, my finances improved by 2 points due to the new digital products I launched, the seminars I attended, the online courses I took, as well as the fact that I decreased my expenses and created a new, improved overview of my finances.
- I improved my relationships by introducing new routines based on books and courses I studied. Planned events and activities brought us closer together and created some lasting memories.
What is the most important is that I have made a few steps closer to the person I’m striving to become. Having executed the plan got me closer to the life I consider ideal, and that makes me damn happy.
The most valuable thing I learned from using Notion is to be more flexible and creative.
To trust my experience, follow gut feeling, and build the system that’s unique to me. System that inspires me to work at my best. As a result, I have emerged as my most productive self to date.
I’ll use the holiday break to plan for the next year. Even more adapted, so it taps into my strengths, and minimizes my flaws. Almost like a nutrition plan given by a doctor after he looks at the bloodwork. Custom built for you. Eat this, avoid this, and do this – to be at your best.
I hope you all will be at your best in the new 2021.