Have you heard of notion?

"Databases for dummies" is what I like to call it, because I know nothing about new-age coding, but notion makes me think I do. After months of playing around with the program, watching youtube videos, and duplicating free templates provided by the productivity gurus of the internet, I've finally created a space to dump all my thoughts, ideas, worries, goals, lessons, tips, and task items.

I spent the last few days of 2020 getting my life together in on this app, and wow. It's so much easier (and fun, and more aesthetically pleasing) than using a physical planner or bullet journal.

Here are some screenshots from my setup.

My dashboard is home base. It's where I can see my life at a glance. If I scroll down a bit, there's a list of projects and a calendar so I can see everything quickly and easily. The weekly reset is laid out for when I do my weekly planning (usually for an hour or so on Saturday or Sunday), and the monthly reset is laid out for when I do my monthly planning (usually whichever day the 1st falls on).

I keep a meal planner full of meal ideas for the week. I don't plan to stick to them as strictly as it looks, but if the ideas are there it makes mealtime and grocery shopping that much easier. I also have a link to my "eating" page which is where I keep all the online recipes I've clipped recently. Notion has a web clipper tool, and it's easier to keep everything all in here than having to scroll through a never-ending Pinterest board.

The clipper also makes it easy to add to my reading and wish list pages. That way I don't have 85 tabs open all at once on any given day. I just clip the page and close out.

I wasn't concerned with having a board for household chores, but Hannah made this template and it's too perfect not to add it to my setup.

I'm still working on setting up my work page since it's a new year and I'm starting a new position, but it'll be so nice to have everything in one place instead of having separate notebooks for different pursuits.

The biggest draw, for me, is that I can access notion from all my devices. It's a seamless experience. If I update something on my computer, I can see it instantly on my iPad. If I'm on-the-go wondering if a bill was paid or not, I can quickly check my finances page on my phone. The mobile version isn't nearly as robust, but it gets the job done. With the free plan, you share pages with up to 5 people, so J can view/contribute/adjust the home and budget pages if he'd like as well. Spoiler: he doesn't.

The platform definitely isn’t perfect. It doesn’t have offline mode, there’s no easy way to integrate my iCal, and simple note taking is anything but. However, it’s the most comprehensive (and free), planning software I’ve found. For this reason, I had to share it here. 

If 2020 has taught me anything, it's that all the planning in the world can and might go out the window at a moment's notice. As much as we'd like to think we're in complete control of our lives, we are not. Still, I firmly believe that if you don't make a plan for your future, you'll wake up one way wondering where the past went. And life is much easier for me when all those small decisions we make on a regular basis are already mapped out ahead of time. Is my Type A showing?


main photo source »»
Hannah Cao's dashboard template
Muchelle B on YouTube