Using Notion to Manage My Business, Life and Career

If you’ve been to this blog before you may know how much I love planners! Typically I go for a physical paper one (or several), and occasionally I use a digital bullet journal. This year I’m all about Notion for planning Big Picture tasks.

Notion on iPad

I first used Notion in late 2019 or early 2020, as a way to create a centralised knowledge-base. But when I started working on Pretty Content projects while furloughed during lockdown #1, I initially did all of my planning and project tracking on Asana.

I liked Asana but it is very clearly a piece of software for Project Management, and as a one person team that wasn’t really what I needed after all! What I needed was basically a glorified Notes app – something I could have on my phone and various devices, but with a bit more flexibility than the actual Apple Notes app.

Notion ticked these boxes for me, allowing me to make casual lists and brain dumps, but also letting me dive deeper and put data into tables, organise larger project process on Kanban boards, etc. Soon, I was using 2 Notion accounts for 3 distinctive purposes.

Managing my business

This is what I mostly use it for. And by “this” I also mean this website you’re reading. I have everything packed into my Notion – content ideas, social media stats, website improvement ideas, marketing and lead generation notes.

I’m currently in the process of moving most of my processes into Dubsado to add a bit of structure to my projects and allow me to use my limited time to focus on design rather than admin. There’s a lot of work that goes into setting up a system like that and most of it is being worked out in my Notion.

One of my favourite pages I’ve made is just a bog standard list titled “Notes to Turn Into Actions.” This is just a place to dump a thought, or an idea from a podcast, on the fly and return to it later. Much better than scribbling it down on a scrap of paper – and easy to access from any of my devices.

Managing my life

Okay so saying I’m using it to manage “my life” is a bit much. What I mean is that I have a section in my main account that is also for Personal stuff. It has a list of my goals for the year. And it’s also a nice place to just jot a few things down every once in a while. Especially since I no longer write a personal blog!

Managing my career

In addition to Pretty Content (my brand and web business, as well as this blog), and my life, I also have a 9-5 career. So I have a separate Notion account for everything related to it.

In it, I’ve outlined my professional goals for the year. I’ve then broken them down into smaller goals for the current quarter. I track the progress of each goal using a Kanban board. It’s an easy way to have concrete visibility of my professional developments – something that can sometimes be pushed aside and forgotten when focusing on output for a client.

I also have been trying to build the habit of documenting the projects I have been working on. I pop into here to type out some quick notes throughout the project. Then, when I have spare time, I come back and work it into readable copy. I also gather feedback from my clients, peers and management to store alongside the case study. In the future, I hope to also look back at each project and write about areas where I could improve.

Overall, I’m super impressed by the flexibility that Notion brings to the table. The only things I wish it also accounted is more formatting options in bog standard pages. It would be nice to be able to insert a table that is purely for layout purposes. Sometimes I like to roughly wireframe a layout when I’m writing content, or view two lists side-by-side!

Hi, I'm Aisling!

I’ve spent over a decade working in agencies and startups, designing for different mediums; coding responsive, user-friendly web experiences; and converting customers into loyal audiences. Now, I am so excited to bring those years of experience to your project, and to share some of my insights on this blog!

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