How to plan goals in Notion + organise your life ๐Ÿ“†

Last Friday I talked about setting goals for the new year and how to actually achieve them. I gave five tips for achieving your goals and I talked about my own goals for 2021. I want to focus on tip number four: to break your goals up in smaller steps and to make a plan. Because how do you actually make a plan? Today I want to talk about how to plan goals in Notion and how to organise your life.

What is Notion?

Let’s start at the beginning: what is Notion? Notion is an application for all your productivity needs. Instead of working with a bunch of apps, you can organise all your projects, documents and to do’s in Notion.ย 

Notion works with different blocks that you can create. For example: plain text, a heading, an image, a to-do list, a database or a calendar. By simply typing a slash, you get to see all the options there are. You can move each created block around easily to create a setup that works for you.

It takes a little bit of time to get the hang of it, so in the beginning it’s best to play around. You can use the templates created by others and simply adjust them until you’re more skilled. Or, of course, you can watch all the YouTube tutorials and become a pro in no time.

How to plan goals in Notion

Each new year comes with new intentions and goals. One important tip for achieving your goals, is to break them down into smaller steps and make a plan. Today I will show you how I plan my goals – and my life in general – in Notion. I startedย my 2021 setup in Notion with this template, which I then edited to suit my needs. It’s a great way to get started, so make sure you check it out.

My 2021 planner consists of three different types of pages:

  • The overview page. On this page I can see my year at a glance: from my intentions and goals to all the monthly calendars.
  • The monthly calendar.ย These pages have all my to do’s for the month, divided into different weeks and days.ย 
  • The reflection page. This is the page that I use at the end of the month to reflect and to set intentions for the upcoming month.

For each of these pages I will show you how I set them up and how it works.ย 

2021 overview page

First off there’s theย 2021 planner, which is my overview of the year. Here I wrote down my intentions and goals for 2021. I planned my goals into more detail and also created monthly calendars.

Elements on this page and how to make them

  • I added a cover image from my library, chose an emoji that I liked and added the title ‘2021 planner’ to my page.
  • For the quote in the beginning I used the block that was already there in the template. I just changed the emoji and text. Now it reads: what the new year brings you depends a great deal on what you bring to the new year.
  • I created the titles by typing /heading 2. Then I selected my title and chose ‘mark as code’. Afterwards, I changed the colour to yellow.
  • You get the dividers by simply typing /divider.
  • You get the bulleted list by simply typing /bulleted list.
  • The list of goals is a toggle. You type /toggle list and it appears. When you click on the little triangle, you open the toggle and you can add more elements (more on that below).
  • The monthly calendars are pages. You create them by typing /page. (I’ll show you later what this page actually looks like and how to make it.)

Plan goals in Notion: my 2021 goals

On my overview page you could already see that my goals are divided into categories. Each category has various goals and above you can see an example. When you open the toggle ‘learn’, there is the goal of learning Spanish. Once you open that goal, you can see that I wrote down why I want to achieve it and what my plan is. In my post about goal setting, I explained why it is important to know why you want to achieve a specific goal

My plan is to finish the Spanish course book I have and to then revise everything. I want to complete Spanish on Duolingo and attend real life classes once that’s possible again. I would also like to write an exam for a certain level and speak more with people to practice.

You can easily open and close the toggles, so you can choose how much information you see. If I want to look through my goals, I just open the categories. Want to check again what my plan is? Simple, I open the toggle. This way there’s not an information overload on the page and I can selectively see the goals I want to look at.

Plan goals in Notion: smaller steps per month

Then there is also the monthly plan, on which I didn’t elaborate before. I looked at each of my goals and planned what I need to do each month to achieve them. For example: I want to read a book each month, so I want to keep track of that. Or: I want to complete Spanish on Duolingo, so every two months I want to reach a new checkpoint.

To keep track of this, I created an overview per month. To do so, you type /gallery inline. I created a page for each month and then, after opening the specific page, I add a to-do list by typing /to-do list. This way you can easily check off what’s done and see which goals still needs some work.

Once I set up my monthly overview, I copy paste the goals to there and remove the part from the gallery. For me, this was just a good way to plan ahead for the year, without having to make all my monthly calendars already.

Monthly overview

Next up is my monthly overview; below you see January 2021. This is how I like to plan my month and keep track of daily to-do’s. In the section ‘this month’ I paste the monthly goals that I just mentioned. I also add whatever other thing I want to get done by the end of the month. Below that, I have all the weeks with all the days, where I note down specific to do’s.

Elements on this page and how to make them

  • I added a cover image from my library, chose an emoji that I liked and added the title January 2021 to my page.
  • For the quote in the beginning I copy pasted the block from my 2021 overview. I just changed the emoji and text. Now it reads: if it scares and excites you at the same time, you should probably do it.
  • I created the titles by typing /heading 2. Then I selected my title and chose ‘mark as code’. Afterwards, I changed the colour to yellow.
  • You get the dividers by simply typing /divider.
  • The list of days is a toggle. You type /toggle list and it appears. When you click on the little triangle, you open the toggle and you can add more elements.
  • The January 2021 reflection is a page. You create it by typing /page. (I’ll show you later what this page actually looks like and how to make it.)

This is what it looks like when you open the toggle with monthly goals. Here you see the ones that I copied from my monthly plan (e.g. ‘read book’ and ‘duolingo checkpoint 4’). I also added some random ones that came to my mind, like cutting my hair and making a backup of my files and photos. It’s simple to add the to-do’s: you just type /to do list and it already appears.

Plan goals in Notion: weekly setup

Above you see what my weekly planner looks like. For each day, I can open the toggle and I see my to-do’s for the day (you add this by typing /to do list). When I set up my first weekly planner, I started by adding the to-do’s that repeat each week. This could be anything from cleaning to working out or whatever it is you do weekly. Once I had one week set up, I copy pasted it for all the other weeks in the year. This way you can save a lot of time and you don’t need to type the same to-do’s every week. Once you have the basics, you can add more specific to do’s per week. 

Monthly reflections

The last page that is part of my 2021 planner, is the monthly reflection. I haven’t actually used this one yet, as January still isn’t over, but it seems like a good way to reflect on the past month. On the top there’s a small section in which I can write some general thoughts on the month and the most important things that happened. Then there are some questions to help me reflect on the past month as well as some to set intentions for the next one. These prompts are from the template that I used.

Elements on this page and how to make them

  • I added a cover image from my library, chose an emoji that I liked and added the title January 2021 to my page.
  • For the general thoughts block in the beginning I copy pasted the block from my 2021 overview. I just changed the emoji and text.
  • I created the titles by typing /heading 2. Then I selected my title and chose ‘mark as code’. Afterwards, I changed the colour to yellow.
  • You get the dividers by simply typing /divider.
  • The lists of questions are toggles. You type /toggle list and it appears. When you click on the little triangle, you open the toggle and you can add more elements.

Next Friday โ˜พ

I hope this entry will help you to plan your goals and organise your life in Notion. For me it’s a super useful tool to keep track of many different things, of which I’ll share more in the future. But first – next Friday – I’ll talk about language learning and how to learn a new language without actually attending classes.

Have you already used Notion and if so, what do consider the best feature?

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