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How I use the Notion app to organize my life

To say that Notion is a life changer for me is an understatement! My life is a bit busy. I don’t want it to be, but the fact of the matter is that it is. Being a CEO of a small business, working long hours, having two jobs, being a father, husband, a ministry pastor, among other things has definitely put a time constraint in my life.

As much as I wanted to respond to those text messages, phone calls, and emails, I just couldn’t. I had to let some of my co-ministry partners know that I wasn’t going to be able to meet their expectations on areas they needed help. I had to “call out” on my jobs just to catch my breath. I had to ask for forgiveness on other people that expected me to do something. I was just unable to meet a lot of commitments I had.

I am just not as available as I was before.

I am a number two in the Enneagram (take the test here) – a Helper.

I always say yes to things. I want to help. I can’t say no.

Being a busy person in the first place and the continuous “yes” responses I was giving my peers and others asking for favors from me just brought me down.

I went on vacation and even on vacation I was unable to concentrate, to focus. I was a nervous man. A derailed individual. Unhealthy.

When I came back from my vacation, I decided to change my way of doing things. I knew I needed to change.

I knew that was going to take a lot of work since my mind and life was all over the place and it was a mess.

I didn’t even know where to start.

What I needed to do first was to get organized.

To be able to get organized, I needed to see my life.

But every time I would close my eyes to see my life, it was dark. Maybe because when you close your eyes, it gets a bit dark.

So, I figured I would just write everything about my life down the best way I could and then figure out a way to organize it from there.

And that is what I did. I wrote every single aspect of my life down in a piece of paper.

Then I set on my way to find something that could help me organize this little life of mine.

I had been using Notion to organize my business. So I figured I would try something similar for my personal life (here is an article I wrote on what Notion is).

I put things down in Trello, but that didn’t work. I actually hated it.

I put things down in ToDoist, and pretty much every single ToDo app on the App Store. None of them work.

It was just … not for me.

So, it hit me, since I am already familiar with Notion and the amazing things it can do to organize my business, I just might as well try to use it for my personal life and thoughts.

After 3 days of work, it finally came together!

My workspace

My current Notion’s workspace

I’ll be honest, this setup didn’t really change my busy life. How can it? It’s just a piece of software. But what it did was that it allowed me to see the things that were important, the things that were not that important, and how to prioritize them.

Guillermo, just shut up and give me the details!

Okay…

Here I will show you how all these pieces come together for me. This is my attempt to have a 360° view of my mind and life. And in the end, you will see a video of me explaining each part.

There are several things in this space and all of them are briefly described below:

The Icon

Just as it sounds… an icon.

I did not know what to put here, so I chose to put a house icon which signifies “home”. This is where it all starts. It’s all about home.

As one of my mentors said, “Home is the garden of identity “.

Home is the garden of identity

Jason A.

Here is where I get nearly all my icons. The majority of them are free.

The Title & Subtitle

I honestly didn’t know what to call this page. All I knew was that I needed a space where I can see my life in a 360° view. So, I just called it “Guillermo’s Mind & Life”.

A friend of mine (Cody) calls it his “Mission Control” space. I guess you can also call it “Workspace”. Whatevers.

Honestly, as long as you can understand it, name it whatever you want.

The Pinned Items

This section is my most visited pages. So, I decided to pin them to the top of the page so that I don’t have to scroll down the page and find them. And they are also kind of in priority of what I visit the most from within the pinned items:

  1. 2019 Goals – I visit this page almost every day, but it’s at the top because often review my goals. The number 1 reason why many people don’t accomplish their goals is that of perseverance, and something that contributes to a lack of perseverance is the lack of visibility. They write their goals down, and never go back to them. I bet you anything you may not even remember where you wrote your goals down. Anyway, this post is not about Goal Setting (hmm… I should probably write about this too ?)
  2. Daily Pages – by far the most important daily page. Here I access my created workflow of the day. Kind of like my personal planner. It’s awesome! I should probably write more about this one too. You will see a small example of this in my YouTube video.
  3. Knowledge – by far the most fun page I have in my workspace. This is a page with several databases where I maintain, keep track, and notate everything “knowledge” related. More in my video.
  4. Notes Database – this page is part of my Knowledge page, and it’s basically a database where I keep track of all my personal notes.
  5. Book Database – also part of my Knowledge page, and it’s a database where I keep track of all the books I am reading and my reading schedules, plans, upcoming books, etc.
  6. Book Notes Database – also part of my Knowledge page, and it’s a database where I keep all my Book highlights, notes, thoughts, etc.
  7. Articles Database – this one is part of a page called The Radic, and this is a database where I keep track of all my articles in this website.
  8. Encouragement File – this is my personal encouragement file. I wrote about it here. Check it out.

The Photo

Ugh! I knew you would ask.

The photo serves only two purposes:

  1. It reminds me that this is me. And that I have to be okay with who God is creating in me. That it’s an exciting journey and that God is with me. I know it sounds selfish, but sometimes you have to remember that if you are well, you can serve the world well.
  2. It looks cool

The Different Sections

These sections are basically the different sections of my life currently. Think of them like buckets. You have several categories or buckets in your life and in them there are several things. Well, these are mine for right now (they may change in the future, but for right now this is how they look).

  1. Life – this is pretty simple, just personal stuff.
  2. WP Help – my startup business.
  3. Knowledge Base – this may need to be part of my Life page, but I chose to separate it because there is so much in here that it needed it’s own little space. Here I basically add anything “learning” related. Like my books database, personal notes, book notes, online learning, articles, self-education, etc.
  4. The Radic – Anything about this website here.
  5. Church – I am a discipleship leader in my church. Here I create curriculum, class structures, syllabuses, etc.
  6. Other – Anything else I may not feel it fits into the categories above.

Other

In the screenshots above, you will notice that I have several sections and within each section there are pages, and the pages have an arrow before the actual title. This is because technically speaking these are all links to pages on my sidebar:

Notion’s Sidebar

Notion and its possibilities

I am a geek by nature. I love software, apps that can better your life. But you have to be able to make them work for you, and not you work for them. This is why I like Notion. It’s pretty adaptable to what I need it to do. It does have a learning curve, but once you understand it, you will see the potential.

I will continue to write more articles about specifics on how to use Notion and how to properly use it. Let me know in the comments section if you would like to see me talk about anything specific as this helps me narrow down the focus of the endless of possible topics we can bring from Notion.

Signup for Notion for free here.

Also, to make it easier on you, I have shared my Workspace as a template. I’ll send it to you via email if you signup to my newsletter.

Check out my YouTube video on me explaining this: