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Elevating Greg’s Notion Setup for Long Term Productivity

Clarity Call Case Study: The Power of Systems and Workflows

Hi friend!

This week I want to share a case study. I hopped on a clarity call with my friend Greg recently where we talked about all things Notion and productivity.

Specifically giving him actionable tips and strategies on how to take his Notion system to the next level to boost his organisation and productivity.

💡 Today at a glance

  • Meet Greg the Travel Onist and get a sneak peak into how he uses Notion right now.

  • The 3 big benefits that Notion has unlocked for Greg.

  • Greg shares his big challenge and I give Greg 2 key suggestions to help him overcome it.

What Greg had to say about our call

Introducing Greg, the Travel Onist

I came across with Greg on X (Twitter) a while back.

We connected on our shared passions for writing, travelling and productivity. He also publishes a weekly travel newsletter called The Travel Onist where he shares his travel tips and insights (Give it a read!).

So why did Greg hop on a call with me?

He was looking for productivity and Notion tips to improve his current Notion system, and he had a 90 day goal of getting closer to his entrepreneurial dreams.

Greg already uses Notion as a productivity tool to organise and keep track of his life (e.g. making travel plans, keeping track of writing ideas and project ideas) in the form of Notion pages in his workspace.

What Has Notion Unlocked for Greg (So Far)?

Before using Notion, he really didn’t have a system for organising and keeping track of his life in any way.

Here’s what he used to do:

  • Apple Notes on his phone but didn’t find it helpful in keeping track of different aspects of his life.

  • A physical note book to jot down notes and ideas but found he never really looked at it again so it wasn’t very useful.

After dabbling in Notion, he realised he’s found a tool that could actually help him be more productive and organised in his life. He was sold.

“Notion incentivised organisation and keeping track of more stuff”

Greg

Greg really like Notion’s customisability. He could create workflows and systems within Notion that works for him just the way he likes it to help him be more productive with his time and actually chase his entrepreneurial goals.

He found that Notion Template looked great, but it didn’t really help him become more productive.

He realised that no one system is directly transferable to how he likes to work. So he needed to build a customised system from scratch in Notion. But he kept it simple and focused on what he truly wanted out of his Notion productivity system.

1. Keeping track of everything in one place was the biggest unlock

His Notion system was a place he actually opened up and referred to regularly!

It was a place where he could easy capture his ideas, to-do’s, project plans and travel plans etc.

As an aspiring entrepreneur, Notion has become a vital tool for tracking his entrepreneurial ambitions and project ideas. Before Notion, there was no easy way that he would resurface these ideas. So he never did anything about them.

As a content creator and newsletter writer, Notion helps to keep track of his writing ideas and then turn them into content he actually publishes consistently.

2. Sticking to a regular journalling practice

Notion made it possible for Greg to create and stick to a daily 5-minute journalling practice, because it was so easy to do in Notion.

3. Notes and new knowledge were no longer lost

Before Notion, Greg struggle to keep track of his notes, learning and new knowledge he gained along the way.

They were stuck in Apple Notes or physical notebooks that he never really looked at again.

Notion gave him a central place to store this and then retrieve it when he needed it. That’s been a game changer for making progress on his life, writing, project ideas and travel plans.

Greg’s Currently Challenges

Something Greg said on the call really resonated with me:

Notion is pretty intuitive and simple to get started in as a beginner—It has a simple interface, it’s visually appealing and the Notion blocks are easy to move around.

But to be really organised in Notion, to use it effectively and be a tool to enhance productivity, it does require a bit more technical know-how and investing some more time to learn the Notion deeper.

One big challenge Greg raised that we discussed in depth is that he wants to figure out how to use Notion effectively for task and project management, that he can actually stick with for the long term.

He’s dabble in using Notion to manage his to-do’s but struggled to find a workflow or system that sticks.

My Suggestions to Greg

After getting a run through from Greg on how he uses his Notion workspace, I shared my observations and suggestions with Greg.

Here are the high level pointers:

1. Store information in databases instead of pages where possible

I noticed that Greg stored a lot of information in pages. Pages are a simple and easy way to get started in Notion at the beginning.

But over time, the more pages you create in Notion, without any structure or organisation:

  • The Notion workspace starts to become messy

  • Information becomes difficult to find and time consuming access

  • The visual clutter you see when you open up the Notion app can be distracting

Now there is absolutely no right or wrong way to use Notion. If you’re not experiencing any of the above, I suggest keep doing what you’re doing in Notion. It’s working for you!

But if you’re starting to feel overwhelmed or experience some friction with how you’re using Notion.

Then the biggest change that will help you is storing your information into databases, instead of pages.

Why?

  1. It gives your Notion workspace more structure so things are more organised and easier to find (saving you a ton of time).

  2. Notion becomes more streamlined and intentional, you start to think in systems, workflows and processes. This is a big boost in productivity.

  3. When information is stored in databases, you can use the power of database filters, sorts and views to resurface the right information, at the right time, in the right context.

Lets talk about a specific example.

As an avid traveller, Greg uses Notion to plan his trips. Notion is fantastic for this.

Greg uses a mix of pages, simple tables and occasionally databases to plan his trips. Each trip he will take a different approach to how he plans.

The beauty of Notion is that you can be as free flowing as that!

But say you’re finding that style of planning to be a challenge and you feel some structure will reduce the resistance or friction you feel with planning your travels.

Then putting your trip plans into a database and creating a standard travel template that you can apply to your trip as a starting point will help make travel planning so much easier.

If you don’t want to start from scratch, download the free template below ⬇️ 

2. Putting tasks and projects into databases, and look at them on a weekly basis

I think task and project management and planning is one of Notion’s superpowers.

I’ve been doing this in Notion for the last 5+ years. Task and project management is part of my multi-scale planning system in Notion.

Keeping your your obligations and ambitions (tasks and project) all in one place is key to having a successful system.

You’ll feel organised, calm and productive—relieving any mental load you might have from keeping track of it all in your head.

You need a safe storage system that you trust and look at frequently as part of your daily or weekly routine. So you’ll stop wondering if you’ve forgotten something important.

You’ll know exactly what you’re working on right now and what’s on your backlog.

So how do we turn this concept into action?

Here’s a simplified run down of my Capture-Organise-Plan-Do (COPD) system for managing tasks and projects:

  1. Capture new tasks and project ideas into the respective task or project databases in Notion when an idea pops into my head

  2. I keep these organised under the relevant area of life.

  3. As part of my weekly review and planning routine I schedule the tasks and projects I plan to work on for the week. During my quarterly review and planning session, I give my projects a hard look to decide what I want to work on for that quarter.

  4. On a daily basis, I would timeblock plan my working hours, to help me find time to do the tasks I’ve planned for the week.

I think of the four COPD steps above as the workflows for my task & project management system in Notion.

Key Takeaways from the Clarity Call

Customising and making Notion a system that works for Greg was key to him sticking to it for so long.

He wasn’t interested in having a big complex system in Notion from the get-go. He prioritised having a simple system that actually helped him keep track of important areas of his life in a central place—capturing ideas, travelling planning, working on his entrepreneurial passions, content creation.

And now he’s taking his organisation and productivity to the next level:

Learning databases, putting in a bit more structure (Notion databases) and designing a planning routine for his tasks and projects.

I love his intentional and productive approach to using Notion.

I believe sustainable productivity comes from having a system that helps you be productive and feel accomplished with the time you have, and that it’s a system you enjoy using for the long term.

You’ll save so much time by not tool switching! And the benefits of consistency compounds the longer you use the system.

That’s it! Thanks for reading.

If you’re interested in your own clarity call, hit reply—I would love to examine your workspace and share specific actionable strategies that you can take to turn Notion into you a productivity engine that works for you (not the other way round)

See you next week,

Janice CK

📌 Note Worthy

A weekly roundup of interesting or noteworthy resources in the space of Slow Productivity and Notion.

Sara Loretta is one of my favourite creators. Like me she’s all about systems and processes. Simple systems (not complex systems) is what will help you move forward with less friction if you’re a coach, solopreneur or running a tiny team.

Whenever you're ready, here are 3 ways I can help you:

  1. Ultimate Guide: How to create your digital writing system in Notion under 1 hour (Free!): Ready to learn how to use Notion to create your own writing system so you can write consistently?

    Join 110+ people who have downloaded this guide to build their own Writer’s Hub OS in Notion with built-in slow productivity principles.

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    Perfect for new digital writers and solopreneurs looking for a system in Notion.

  3. Travel Hub Notion Template (Free!): All-in-one Travel Planner that helps you ideate, plan, research and organise your trip stress free using Notion.

    Join 780+ people who have already downloaded this system and upped their travel planning game.

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