Remote Workers June 22, 2020

Found My New Favourite Digital Workspace

Juan Ramirez @Juan_Ramirez

The work-from-home transition has not been easy for people new to the remote working world, especially with all the distractions that it comes with. However, after hours of searching the internet looking for ways to solve this, I want to share possibly my most significant find in terms of boosting productivity…
Some of the most popular apps used by remote workers to balance work and personal life are the ones you have probably heard before:

  • Microsoft To-Do
  • Microsoft OneNote
  • UpHabit
  • Slack
  • Google Calendar
    However, I have successfully transitioned into Notion which is the “The All-In-One Workspace”.

Notion is an extremely customizable tool that allows you to build your workspace from scratch, or import templates made by the community to include everything from simple to-do lists, to powerful databases. Be it for personal or professional use, Notion is an absolute game-changer in the way people approach remote working.

The best thing about Notion is that it is extremely user friendly and there are hundreds of resources online that will teach you how to optimize your experience. Here is an example of the workspace, I created for myself where I keep track of all things personal and professional.

Setting Up Notion
Notion makes a great job of streamlining the set-up process. When you open your first Notion channel, it will automatically set up pages for each template available with tutorials showing you how to use and edit each of those templates. Here is a quick crash-course on how to create new pages from scratch, how to edit page templates, and how to create a database, which are the 3 things you will do the most in Notion.

Creating a New Page
Creating a new page is as easy as clicking on the “+ Add Page” button on the left-hand sidebar of your channel. Each new page is a blank canvas where you can add whatever content you like from simple text boxes to powerful databases. After creating a new page, Notion will show you a menu of page types where you can choose to create your page from scratch or to start with a template. Regardless of what you choose as your starting point, both options have the same types of content available for you. To see a list of the multiple types of content you can add to your page just type “ / ”. This will pull up the command menu, which shows you all of the available types of content available for you.

Start With a Template
One of Notion’s best features is the multiple types of templates readily at your disposal. You can choose a featured template from Notion’s template list, which is already separated into multiple sections that will help you navigate it better. For example, as a student, I relied heavily on using page templates on the “Student” section which had useful pages that helped me keep track of my course schedule, derivatives, and rent! When you finally decide on a template to use, all you need to do is click on “Use this template” on the top-right of your screen. Where Notion excels is that it will add your template to your workspace with all of the sub-pages it comes with. However, all of the placeholder content you saw on the template picker will be deleted, so you can start creating content right away! If you wish to add or delete any of the sub-pages, it is as easy as selecting it and pressing your “delete” key on your keyboard. You can continue to add more and more pages to your channel, even alternating from the different template sections available for you to make the best possible workspace that suits your needs. If for any reason none of the templates you see suit your needs, you can always search for templated created by other Notion users! For instance, I use an Investment Tracker page created by a group of other Notion users that allows me to better analyze and organize my investments.

The Power of Databases
Databases in Notion are more advanced types of pages you can use to structure any kind of information you want. Think of them as a more optimal and easier to use kind of spreadsheet. When creating a new page in Notion, you can choose one of the following types of databases:
-Tables
-Boards
-Lists
-Calendars
-Galleries
You can use these databases to store and organize information regarding team meetings and keeping track of member contribution, product development timelines, user research information, and any other information you and your team may need. What adds value to Notion’s databases is the multiple properties and tags available. For instance, as a digital marketer, my team and I need to have a clear and concise content calendar to effectively satisfy our client’s needs. Notion’s calendar option allows us to effectively store and schedule all of the upcoming posts for the week while adding multiple tags to keep track of the client we are serving and the social media platform we intend to use.

The Best 3 Templates To Improve Your Remote Working Experience
Out of the hundreds of templates available for you in Notion, I wanted to share what I believe to be the top 3 templates everyone in Notion should use to optimize their experience.

1.- The Life Wiki Template
This template functions as the homepage for your channel where you can find all of the other sub-pages available in your workspace. It is a great way to easily navigate through your workspace while also having everything available in one main page. Moreover, by adding banners and background images, you can give your workspace a more unique personality!

2.- The Personal Home Template
There are actually 3 variations of this template in Notion: Personal Home in the personal section of the template list, Club Homepage in the education section, and Company home in the Human Resources section. Besides slight design and outline differences, all of these templates do virtually the same thing. They serve a similar function as the personal wiki section, however, these homepages can be used for specific projects. It comes with powerful databases and tables that help teams keep track of multiple aspects of a project like timelines and upcoming meetings.

3.- The Engineering Wiki Template
Don’t be fooled by its name, this template found in the engineering section of the template list is, in my opinion, one of the best templates for everyone in Notion. What makes it so powerful is the multiple databases and sub-pages it brings to the table. The main template page comes with 4 main sections: Guides and Processes, Codebase, Testing, and Infrastructure. However, these sections can be easily modified to host a powerful product homepage! I recommend editing all of the tables and calendars in the Guides and Processes section to host all of the information regarding your product and its utilization as well as any other relevant information. The Testing section comes with a database that allows you to store any market research you and your team performed. Finally, you can find sub-pages in both the Infrastructure and the Codebase sections that allow you to keep track of any upcoming meetings, job interviews, and a professional CRM! Overall, this template is equipped with some of the most useful databases available.

Be it for personal or professional use, Notion is a powerful tool that every remote worker should use. It combines the best aspects from every other digital workspace like Slack, UpHabit, and OneNote into a one-stop workspace for you and your team. It is a great tool that will improve the way you approach remote working by keeping track of your thoughts and deliverables, having all of your tools in one place, and improving your productivity in the process.