Organize everything.

There are plenty of productivity tools available, and each one has its own strengths. Using a productivity tool is key to staying organized and on top of everything in your personal and professional life. Without one, you will likely end up using your email inbox as your main organizational tool, which—as we covered earlier—will cause your overall productivity to take a big hit.

Fundamentally, the two features you need from a productivity tool are:

  • Task organization and workflow

  • Note taking

There are hundreds of other features, but these are the two that lay the foundation for being as productive as you want to be. Of course, you can simply keep track of tasks and notes in a spreadsheet, document, or even on paper. Nothing wrong with that. But a productivity tool takes things to a new level by adding structure and hierarchy. This is important not only in terms of keeping organized, but also because it allows you to make progress with as little friction as possible, by putting the right information at your fingertips just when you need it.

My favourite productivity tool is Notion. Other tools such as Asana, Monday, Basecamp, and Trello are more popular, but Notion strikes a unique balance between simplicity and power that none of the others achieve.

Notion has a bit of a learning curve, because it gives you the ability to structure it just as you like. Rather than trying to fit you into an existing structure, it’s really up to you. At the same time, there are plenty of templates you can use as a starting point, so you need not start from scratch. My message is, be patient when figuring Notion out—it will be worth it.

At its core, Notion is a minimalistic writing application combined with a database. Think of a cross between Microsoft Word and Excel (or, more accurately, Access). This means you can create pages that contain text, as well as any number of other fields, and you can link pages and fields together. In reality, this means you can create pages that are connected to other pages in limitless combinations.

Notion then allows you to display everything in different ways: as a table, a Kanban board, a timeline, a calendar, a simple list, or even a gallery of cards. You can create limitless numbers of views for any of your pages, including sorting and filtering. This combination of ultimately flexible content creation and linking with the ability to create any number of views is where the power of Notion lies.

If all of that sounds too confusing, don’t worry, you can keep it super simple to start, and build some fanciness once you get comfortable. Ideas for what to add and how to structure your workspace will come to you as you start working with it.

Before I write more about Notion, I’ll give you a chance to give it a try. There are videos and tutorials on their website as well, to help get you started. Next time, I’ll give you a glimpse into how I’m using Notion, and the way I’ve organized everything. Stay tuned.