What's the best information to consider when it comes to optimum daily productivity and energy management? Today I'll be walking you through my Daily Dashboard Setup in Notion and sharing exactly what I track and surface to stay on top of Focus Projects and get the most out of my time and effort.
Get a walkthrough of my entire Notion system inside Pretty Productive Life here.
Visit the show notes page with links to all resources mentioned in today's episode.
Grab a copy of the Daily Productivity & Brain Dump Book
Come say hi on Instagram over @mindfulproductivityblog
You are listening to episode 181 of the Mindful Productivity Podcast. I'm your host, Sarah Steckler, and in this week's episode, I'm going to be going through how I have my daily dashboard set up in Notion. If you haven't already already listened to episode 179. I talked about how I use Notion to stay organized in my life and biz. And boy, was that episode popular. It went to the top of most downloaded episodes in the past 30 days. So definitely go check that one out. But if you're ready to geek out not only about Notion, but about daily productivity and things to track and how stay organized with your tasks and your projects, then you will definitely want to keep on listening. Let's go ahead and dive into today's episode. Welcome to the Mindful Productivity Podcast. I'm your host, Sarah Steckler and this is the place to be to live a more mindful and productive life. If you're ready to turn daily chaos into calm and start your days with intention, then get ready to join me as we dive deep into mindful living and personal productivity. It's time to connect with your true self so you can live the life you want to live. And it all starts now. Welcome back to the podcast, friends. So excited to geek out with you today about daily productivity, specifically within the realm of Notion. If you're new to Notion and you have no idea what I'm talking about, definitely go listen to episode 179 just a couple back. It is going to walk you through all that's possible with Notion. And I'll also give you a bigger bird's eye view of how I have my main pretty productive life dash organized with everything I use with mindful productivity, business life, organization, personal stuff, everything. So definitely go check out that episode. But because that episode was so popular and because I just want to keep talking about Notion, I thought it would be fun this week to continue this series if you will keep it going and talk a little bit more about daily planning and specifically my daily dash. So before we even jump into what I have in this daily dash, I think it's important to kind of talk a little bit about what it means to create a daily plan. What does it mean to have an area in your life where you're focusing specifically on daily planning and what does that actually look like? Because I know a lot of times we talk about monthly check ins, quarterly planning, annual goals, and then our daily stuff. And some people love to do lists, other people find them really overwhelming. And we talk about the differences between brain dumps and to do lists and which one you're actually working from. But I think when it comes to actually taking action throughout the day, a dashboard can provide a place that really gives you all of this information at your fingertips and allows you to actually take action on all of your actions. So here's a little bit more about what I mean when I say that whatever you do during the day, whether you're working from a planner or a project management system or another productivity tool, essentially you're looking at information that you've curated or you've decided on beforehand, and you're looking at something that's telling you what to do on that specific day in that specific time frame. That's essentially what we're doing when we make lists, we're making decisions, and we're telling our future selves. Here are the things that I would like you to take action on, and here's the order or here's the priority. And I think that a lot of times when we get into daily planning, some of the mistakes we can make that can lead to lots of overwhelm or frustration or not actually moving the needle towards our goals and plans can be when we don't actually make decisions ahead of time. It's why doing a weekly wrap up or a weekly pulse point check in as I talk about. And I also talk about that on the podcast, too. Let me get you that episode number. Yes. If you go back to episode 174, that is where I talk about weekly pulse point check ins. And those can be really helpful because you're not only looking at what you accomplished and did or didn't do during the week, but you're also checking in with your mental, emotional and energy levels. And you're giving yourself an opportunity to say what was possible this week. And what are some of the things that I want to make possible next week. Now if we don't take time to put in these pauses between things, which is one of the elements, the core elements of mindful productivity. Right. Pausing in between and not feeling like a work robot or machine, if we don't do that, then it can be really difficult to make some of these decisions ahead of time. And one thing I really want to note that really has changed my productivity. And what I'm able to actually accomplish is making like a distinct time or difference between when I'm making decisions about what I'm going to do and then when I'm actually doing the thing. It's kind of like if you're out at the grocery store and you haven't made a list and you're also very hungry, then you're battling with decisions. So before you can even actually stick to your budget or decide what you're going to have for dinner, if you're already in the grocery store and you're already in that state, it can be really hard. And you can find it really draining because you're using all of your mental energy and your mental capacity to not only maybe fight your hunger and your urge to buy a bunch of cookies or whatever it is, but you're also trying to make all these decisions while you're in the grocery store. Right. Because the grocery store is not where you go typically to do meal planning, right? It's where you go to actually make the decision. It's where you go to buy the food and get the food and pay for the food. And planning can be similar if you look at daily planning as a grocery store of your tasks. It's a lot easier to take action during the day and get things done. If you've already made your decisions ahead of time, right? Like you already know what you're doing and you already know how those tasks line up. With your given focus project, it gets a lot easier to take action. It's why I love doing weekly planning like ahead of time, and why creating a focus project can also be incredibly helpful because then you know what you need to do and you're not getting stuck in the minutiae of trying to make those decisions when you're in a very micro stage of your time management. As a side note, I will make sure to have a link below this podcast with there's quite a few different episodes I feel like I'm going to mention today, including so I had weekly let me write this down weekly pulse point check in and then focus project. So I will make sure to have links below this because I do touch on those more indepth in those specific episodes and those are definitely worth listening to. But now that you know that pretty productive life. The best form of daily productivity means not necessarily making decisions. When you're in the zone of trying to work or trying to get things done, that opens up a whole other door for how you can be most productive during the day. It's also really great because what this also does is allows you when you make those decisions ahead of time. It also then allows you to create a system and a routine for surfacing only the information that you want, right? It's why when we Cook meals it can be so helpful to do Misan place, which is where you're taking your ingredients and you're taking different bowls and you're putting all your ingredients and measuring them out ahead of time before you even get started cooking. This is something that I've started doing only recently, to be completely honest, I would kind of dabble with it here and then, but I actually asked my mom for Christmas for some clear glass bowls specifically for me some place and she was so wonderful, she got some for me. And so now when I make more complicated recipes that have different seasoning and spices and different amounts of even liquids or whatever, I now actually take the time and it usually only takes me ten or 15 minutes to put all of the ingredients in those bowls ahead of time and measure everything out. And I used to think, oh that's a waste of time because I could just get started cooking and just start measuring things out of the seasoning things as I go. But I found that it's not so much about the possible time savings. It's really about the mental capacity and the energy efficiency that that allows me. Because when I take time to measure out those ingredients ahead of time, then when I actually get to the cooking part, all of those things, all of those possible decisions or possible extra steps have already been completed for me. So I don't have to think about Where's my measuring cup or how much almond milk needs to go in here I can specifically cater my attention to, Ah, now we've sauteed the onions and blah, blah, blah, and we've put in the flour, and now we can put in the almond milk at this perfect time so that the recipe is going to come together, and then that sauce is really going to thicken just how I want it. Right. Versus having to pause and possibly let the vegetables get a little mushy or burnt and then add the almond milk as I'm trying to measure it at the same time. Right. I know you get this point, but I bring this home because it's the same way with daily planning. If you're trying to find where your list of tasks are for a specific project at the beginning of your day, or you're trying to sort through all these other tasks that you've listed out that maybe don't have anything to do with the deadline that you so urgently need to reach first thing in the morning, you're going to find yourself frustrated, burnt out, and very disorganized. And the heart of productivity really, truly is organization. Being able to understand what you need to do when you need to accomplish it by and how to surface that information effectively so that you don't have to sort through things right. You can easily find what you're looking for and hit that check box and get started taking action as quickly as possible. So we're about to get into the details of what my daily dashboard looks like in Notion, and I want to let you know this is just one way to do it right. So this is what works best for my brain, and there's definitely ways to customize this or alter this. But before we do that, I also want to give a throwback shout out, if you will, to paper planning and how this process can be very simple. It is a very simple process surfacing information within your brain. And I think that sometimes we can get caught up in wanting to have all these systems look a certain way or all these aesthetics when it comes to our productivity. But if you're just starting out and you're learning how your brain works best and you're tapping into energy management and kind of really getting a feel for that self awareness within yourself, then one of the best places to start is simply by doing a daily brain dump and then from there making a Todo list, because one of the biggest mistakes that all of us tend to make is we will make a brain dump, and then we'll just get started working from that space where a brain dump is really an opportunity to declutter your mind and make some decisions. And then on the daily productivity page, which I'm specifically talking about, my daily productivity and brain dump book on that page. And you Canva do this with two blank pieces of paper too, or one paper and use both sides. But you do a brain dump, and then on that second page, in that second area, that's where you're saying what are my main two focuses for the day, and how can I break those things down into those target tasks that are typically about a Pomodoro each? So that's one way to get started and that allows you to declutter your brain and surface important decision information that you might need to make. So if the idea of creating a dashboard for your day feels like too much, that is definitely where I would recommend starting. I will have links below this episode as well that go into more of those options for you. So what is a daily dashboard? What's a dashboard in notion? Well, I like to think of a dashboard as an area in notion where you're pulling in multiple reference items, information, notes, and various databases. So again, back in episode 179, we talk a little bit more about what's possible with databases. But essentially in a dashboard, you're linking a database. So you're creating a linked database, and that is where you can pull in information from a database and then filter and sort it so that you're only seeing what you need to see. So for example, in my daily dashboard, I have a place that says Today's Tasks, and within that I have a linked database to my Master Tasks database. This is every single task that I may do in my life or business, just one master list, and that is where I pull in that information. And then I have this linked database under Today's Tasks, filtered and sorted. So I have it filtered where I'm showing that my done check box is empty. Right. And I'm also filtering it so that any of my due dates are on or before today or where my due date is empty. So in case I've forgotten to put in a due date, then those tasks are still going to show up. Now when I say due date, in this instance, I'm actually talking about a due date. So when am I actually doing things that is the due date that I tend to work off of? I don't necessarily have due due dates for all of my tasks because typically the date that I'm taking action on them is also the date that they would need to get done, if that makes sense. But I do have a space for due dates, like the final due date, they could possibly be done as well. And that can be helpful in case I don't get to a specific task within that day, then I can know like, hey, you really need to get this done on that specific day. Like you can't push it out any further. So I have this today's tasks area and this is really, really helpful because what I do is throughout my business week, month, quarter year, right. When I'm populating focused projects and ongoing projects like creating and recording the podcast episodes, writing blog posts, updating curriculum in both of my main programs, right. Those tasks then get dates. And one thing that can be really helpful is mapping out a focus project and then going in and assigning those dates within when you're going to actually take action on them and do them. And what's cool is that you can do that ahead of time depending on how far out you can get your schedule. And then you can create those due dates for your tasks and then you can just go through your daily dash every day and this daily dash is going to populate with today's tasks. So because today's date is currently January 30 when I'm recording this podcast, it's only showing me tasks for January 30 or before that haven't been completed yet. So it will not even show me what's going on tomorrow yet. And that can be really helpful because then you can focus, right. And you don't have to worry about what's coming now. I do also have a drop down toggle that does have tomorrow's tasks. So if I want to see if for some reason I am totally awesome and I get a lot done, I could start working on some of tomorrow's tasks and then I can always change filters, right? So I can always change other views and I can always go into my master task database as well and look at any of the tasks I have available to me. So it's not like this limits me or prevents me from viewing specific tasks. It just shows me what I need to see when I need to see it. And that creates a very distraction free workplace and allows me to better focus my energy and minimizes task switching. Right. So I'm not jumping around worrying about what's due next Thursday and having to filter through that or ignore it. I can just see what I need to work on today. I basically have two main columns in my daily dash. And so today's task is at the very front, the very top. I will have a photo screenshot of this daily dashboard in the show Notes. If you go over Mindful Productivity Podcast and you go to podcasts and you look up episode 181, you can find that. There's also a link below my episodes to take you directly there. But I will have an image so you can see what I'm talking about. And you can also view a tour of my Notion dashboard by going to the link below this episode as well. So these are the two columns I have. And on the left, I also have a couple of links. So under my daily dash, I also have links that take me to my business base camp, which is something I can get into in a later episode. We definitely touch on that more inside of pretty productive life, like how to really start mapping out projects within your business and your content creation, all of that. And then I also have a link to a To Do page. And this page is really cool because what this has is a place to do a bunch of task dumps. So sometimes when you are on the go. And one thing I love about Notion too, is you can use it on your phone, you can use it on your iPad, you can access it anywhere, right? It's in the cloud. So it's really great and easy to find anywhere. And sometimes I'll be like waiting in line at the grocery store and I'll be like, oh, there's a thing I need to do. It's a totally random one off task. I need to do it. I can add it anywhere, right? But I can click on this To Do page. And I love this because I've created all these different areas with all these different views of my task database. And what's really cool about Notion is that if you create a line of text or a to do list item or whatever, you can drag that item into a linked view of a database and it will then adopt whatever filter you already have on that linked database. So, for example, in this to do page, I have linked databases that are one off tasks, micro tasks, tasks for next week, urgent, next month and tomorrow. And then I have a task dump area. So sometimes I'll come in here and just really quickly write down like, I need to pick up this medication for Bella, or I told my mom I need to return her Tupperware or whatever it is. So I can quickly write those things down, type them into Notion, and then I can drag and drop those items into these linked databases. So maybe some of these things don't need to happen until next week. I can just drag them in there and that's automatically going to filter that, add them with basically, it's going to automatically make it so that those tasks adopt those properties where they're filtered for next week or they're filtered as a micro task, you name it. So that becomes really easy. And that's one of the things I love so much about Notion is that when you're working on a project, for example, we have project templates inside of this Notion system where you Canva dump out all of your tasks and then you can drag them into your project page. And all of those tasks are going to adopt that same filter. They're all going to be labeled under that specific project for that specific time frame. So instead of having to go into individual tasks and be like, this task has this date and this project and this priority, and it's related to this part of my business or this outcome I'm wanting to achieve, or this KPI. Instead of doing that, you can just drag those tasks into something you've already filtered and they will all adopt those properties. I just love that so much. So coming back to the links I have. So I have those two links under Daily Dash, the Business Base Camp and the Todo's area. And then I always have these main weekly steps that I want to do. And these are just some check boxes. So I will kind of like check these off as I complete them for the week. And then because this Daily Dash is something I'm coming back into every day, if these have already been checked and it's like Wednesday, then I know I've already completed these weekly steps for that given week. And then I will just Uncheck these specific ones when I start a new week. So my Daily Dash is something that's a static page, meaning I'm not creating a duplicate copy or template of it every single day. It's a static page within my business, and it works that way because of these link databases. So because there's these linked databases that show specific information for the day that I'm currently in, those things populate and change accordingly. So I don't have to change anything. I also have a field here that's kind of just like the weekly reminder. Currently I have something that says you are way more amazing than you give yourself credit for. But this could be anything, right? This may change to like an event that's going on or a really important deadline, or maybe even just like a mindset that I need to embody if I'm doing a big launch or I'm doing something outside of my comfort zone. So that's really helpful. And then I also have a place for my main three weekly intentions. And again, you could make multiples of these. But right now I have eat three servings of Greens this week daily walk before work and in bed by 09:00 p.m. Each night. Now these are intentions, right? If I wanted to actually make sure they happen, then I would also create these as habits that I'm tracking inside of my daily Journal, which I'll get to in a second. So again, kind of giving you an overview. We're looking at my daily dashboard. You can see a photo of this on my website. We've got these two main columns. The left column so far has weekly steps. With those action steps, a reminder my weekly intentions. And then below that, I also have a link database from my reading library. So I have like a reading garden inside of Notion. And this is essentially where I'm keeping track of specifically library books that I'm checking out because I have been horrible in the past and I'm still working on it where I will check out like five or six books and then completely forget about them. And so this allows me to not only keep this top of mind like here's what I'm currently reading. Right now I'm kind of in between two books I'm reading how to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell, which is fantastic and phenomenal. If you haven't checked it out yet, please do. I also am thinking about possibly doing some more book reviews on my blog, so let me know if you'd be interested in that. And then I also just started Emotional Agility by Susan David. Very good. Those are both non fiction reads. So one of the things I'm working on this year is reading more for fun. So I would say that these are not fun reads. They're definitely more intellectual and they make me think and they're psychology based and all that, but I've really been enjoying them. So anyway, that brings those get brought up. And then I also have some formulas tied to these. So if the due date of the library book is approaching, a red flag will appear. And then if a book is overdue, this other emoji will pop up on the image of the book so that I know like hey, Whoa, you need to return the book to the library. So one of my goals in the upcoming weeks is to actually go through my actual library at home and populate my reading library in Notion with all the books that I own and really start making a plan for tackling those books and reading them. Because I have so many books at home that I have bought over the years and just not read yet. And I remember when the pandemic started I was like, now you can read all those books and it still didn't happen. I just found myself watching TV endlessly because I didn't seem to have the mental capacity to read. But anyway, so this library is currently reading place shows me the book that I'm currently reading. And this is another linked database that again is filtered specifically where it's only showing the books that are tagged as currently reading. So that's really cool too, because right now I think I have like ten or eleven books I've uploaded into my library will not have uploaded the book, but I've added them as properties or items. And so not all of them are tagged right with currently reading like I have Up Next and TBR lists. And so this only shows me the current books I'm reading. And then I also have in the same column I have places for daily habits, gratitude, mood and energy level. So those are things that on a daily basis I also like to check. So I have a couple of different items that I'm currently tracking for daily habits. One thing I always tell people if you're new to habit tracking is try not to get yourself to do like 20 or 25 things every day, especially if they're brand new things. Sometimes it can be more helpful to use a habit tracker as a source of kind of looking more at what you're doing in terms of data. I do have two different habit tracker resources for you, so I will have a link below to my energy driver habit tracker that's actually inside of a Google sheet and it populates. It not only capture helps you identify your energy drivers, which essentially are like fancy habits, but it also shows you like, which day of the week you're doing things the best. Like Thursday is just like when you're on it for every single habit. And it also shows you other data which is really cool in meta if you're into that. But I do also have a free printable habit tracker and those can also be great for tracking your mood or anything like that. But I like to track mood and I like to write down something I'm grateful for every day. And I also like to track my energy level because I can notice different trends. Right. And one thing I'll say as an aside is my goal with productivity is not to create, not to feel like everything in my life has to be a metric or that I have to track everything data item in my life. But I will say that it does become very helpful. These daily check ins can take less than a couple of minutes to do, and it does allow me to see like, wow, when you were doing a launch, your energy level was low and your mood, you were kind of grumpy and it was harder for you to do daily gratitude and some of your habits slipped. Then it can be helpful to know, hey, next time you do a launch, how can you structure it differently so that those things aren't suffering because of that? Or I can also make other notes, like when you're on your period, you're doing these things, you're having these cravings, or your energy is higher or lower, right? You can start to see all these things and stuff like that can also be really helpful because then the next time you're doing a launch or next time you're a part of a summit, whatever it is, you can start to see trends in how your body and your mind reacts or just what you're able to produce or not produce. And then you can kind of find that baseline. And that becomes really nice because I've done so many launches now that I know that usually towards the end of the launch, I start kind of getting Moody and I start kind of questioning my business. It doesn't matter if I'm hitting my goals or not. That's just how I am. And now that I know that based on mood tracking and habit tracking and all that, I know that that's part of my launch process. And so I don't beat myself up for feeling that way. And I can just chill and let myself have some ice cream and relax at night, you know what I'm saying? So those are some of the items I have there. And that first column in my daily dashboard. And then again, coming back to the second column here, we've got today's tasks, a toggle to show tomorrow's tasks if I want to see them. And then this is one thing I'm really excited about. I like to have focused projects in my business. And sometimes those focus projects will span more than one week, right? Like, sometimes they're 60 days or more. And so I have an area here where it shows me the current kind of like four weeks that are in front of me. And then it also shows me there's a table view here, and it shows me which focus projects are on the docket for this current week. I'm in. It's going to show me which focus project I'm working on. So if I was batch recording a bunch of podcasts for the next two weeks, it would say that, like, this is your focus project, batching podcast. And then that's cool, because then I can see, okay, two weeks out. That's when we switch gears and we start working on your summit. Right. So it can just be helpful to see that at a glance as well. The other thing I have on my daily dashboard is I have an area for current projects and content. So I have both a database for projects I'm working on. And in this daily dashboard view, I can see what those current focus projects are, and I can also see the status of them. So I have a couple of examples here that I have. I'm actually in my pretty productive life dashboard areas. This is the template I've created. So I've got some dummy data in here that I'm looking at right now. But this first project shows me that I'm 80% of the way, and the second one shows me that I'm 50% of the way. And it also will show me at a glance, like the days, the dates that I'm working on it. So how long that focus project spans. So, like, this one started December 21, and it's supposed to wrap up mid February. So that shows you that at a glance and kind of shows you your progress. Right. Then I also have a master content list that's showing me what content I'm currently in the process of creating, what content channel it's related to. So is it related to the podcast or my blog or my YouTube channel that is sadly not getting any attention lately, right. Or my newsletter or a social media post. And so that allows me to see what I'm working on. It also allows me to see what are the overlaps that you can create. How can you repurpose content if you create a really awesome podcast? Is there a way to make that a YouTube video? Or should you just make a YouTube video and then turn that into a podcast and that to a blog post and that into social media? Right. So that allows me to see all of that at a glance as well. And then I also have an area here where I have notes and ideas. So I have a quick capture place where I can quickly capture basically any note or idea. And what's so cool about notion and the databases is I can capture a note in here. And for example, I have gardening planner. I would probably never make one because I know nothing about gardening, but I can actually take this one item I've created inside of this linked database for notes and ideas. I can actually drag this into my master content list that's right above it. So I can actually drag it into a completely different database. And then that could suddenly become content or that could suddenly become a future planner. Right. So it just becomes really cool how you can move things about. And then at the bottom of my daily dash, I have what I call a daily check ins. This shows me at a glance every day of the month that I've tracked so far. It shows me the date, the day of the week. And it also shows me really quickly my energy level. All my gratitude if I've done the habit or not in my mood and everything. And so that allows me to see this whole week, Monday through Sunday. Oh, look, my energy level was pretty baseline the first few days. Thursday, I had a ton of energy and I took advantage of that. But, oh, no, it looks like I maybe did too much because then Friday my energy level was completely exhausted. Right. So that allows me to kind of see that at a glance. And it also shows me, like, which habits I did or didn't do on a given day. And again, all that information is right at a glance. It's also cool because then you can start to see different correlations. Right? Like, oh, I'm more likely to drink all of my water if I do my reading in the morning. And maybe that's because I'm sitting right next to my water bottle. Right. So you start to see all these different ways and all these things that connect together so that's my daily dash, those are the things that I have in front of me at my fingertips. And again, what that really does is that allows me to see at a glance what are the things I want to be reminded of, what are my intentions, what are the tasks I need to accomplish. What's my weekly focus project for today and what's my progress on that project? Oh, yeah. This is the book I'm reading. Oh, yeah. It's due to the library soon, so maybe read a little bit extra tonight. Here's the content you're working on. Here's where you can check in with your habits and here's how you can see how you're doing for the week. So this is not the only place that I'm working from on a given day, right? I'm also checking in to my weekly area. I'm also going into my project area, and today I'm in my podcast database and dashboard and I'm creating this podcast. But the daily dash is typically where I start my day, and it allows me to quickly check into my daily Journal And make those updates and make sure that I'm touching base with myself in all these different areas in my life and business. So creating dashboards and notion is so, so powerful, and I haven't seen another productivity tool that allows you to do this in that specific way. I also love that notion allows you to make it really aesthetic and beautiful. So I have an image I really like. It's my banner. But you can also add gifs or videos. Sometimes I'll include, like, YouTube playlists in a certain area notion that I really like so that I can listen to music while I'm doing certain projects. You just get to really play around with it and create it. And again, it can be as simple or as complicated as you make it. So if you're interested in learning more about notion and you want all of these templates I've been talking about and you want everything synced and connected and you want to learn more from me about using mindful productivity, specifically within notion and getting your life and business organized in notion and Google workspace, then make sure you go to the notion dashboard. I've got a video firstname.lastname@example.org ppl that's for pretty productive life. I'll leave a link below as well, but that's going to really walk you through what all this looks like, how it's connected, and it'll show you a little bit more about what's really possible with notion and everything I have set up. So thank you so much for listening. If you've been enjoying these super nerdy, geeky notion podcast episodes, Let me know and I'll keep doing them. My hope is to also start making YouTube videos Where I'm giving you more of a visual, but it's been really easy for me to kind of walk through and talk about this. So let me know what medium or format you would prefer, but I will definitely do more of these episodes if the interest is there. Have a wonderful week ahead and I'll see you back here next Monday with a brand new episode.