Posted in Notion, Techniques, Tools

Making my task list part of my notes in Notion

I’ve been focused on using Notion for the past couple of weeks and have found a specific feature has crept into my daily workflow without me even thinking about it. This feature has turned what was an organizational challenge into the proverbial “piece of cake.”

Linked Databases

Notion supports the idea of taking a database (or in their case, a list) and linking it (embedding) to another page in Notion. By doing this you can create custom views for each page while maintaining the integrity of the main database.

I’ve put this to use by creating a master task list (something you can find a number of excellent YouTube videos about) and then linking to that list on other related pages with filters that focus on the page topic. For example, I’m planning a trip in a couple of weeks and have added a tag to my Master Task list for the trip. As I think of things I need to do for the trip I add them to the task list, but at the same time I can add things that aren’t related to the trip such as household chores.

Everything on one page

Where the power comes in is on the page I created for the trip that includes destination maps, travel itinerary, and general notes for traveling. On that page I link to the Master Task database and then create a view that filters to only those tasks tagged with the travel tag. Now when I’m focused on my travel planning I know everything I need is in one place and I don’t have to do double work to keep lists up to date.

One of many features

This is just one of many, many features on this platform and combined with the smooth user experience and multiplatform support I’d have to say it’s something that will be part of my productivity arsenal for a long time coming.

Posted in Techniques, Tools

Do we need an app for everything?

Listening to This Week in Tech this morning on my way into work they were discussing how Apple is disconnecting the Apple Watch from needing a phone to be useful. Specifically they highlighted how this will be a benefit for the health care capabilities of the device. While I’m all for this type of usage (though there are roadblocks they’re not talking about) there was part of the description that didn’t sit right with me.

The conversation turned briefly to a new app coming out to help people remember to take medications. Again, all for the need of this type of solution, but does the solution need yet another app? Why can’t we accomplish this with the apps we have?

I don’t wear an Apple watch. I wear a Samsung smartwatch but the principle is the same. There are at least two different apps that come natively on the watch that can be used for this very purpose. Why this bothers me is simple. Rather than being productive with the tools we have we often waste time in search of a “quick fix” for a specific problem.

I’ll challenge you to do something today. Take any of the normal, general purpose apps you use each day and come up with three new ways you can use the app. Once you do that, share those new ways in the comments below. I’ll bet that once you do, you’ll find even more ways to put apps to use without adding clutter, security vulnerabilities, and privacy issues into your productivity ecosystem.

Posted in Chromebook, OneNote, Techniques, Tools

Living with OneNote on a Chromebook

I spend most of my non-client working time on a Chromebook. It’s turned out to be my go-to tool for creating content, managing information, and doing research. Since I also live out of OneNote, it’s important to be able to work around some of the limitations of a Chromebook when using a tool that is focused on the Microsoft suite.

Working Offline

Chromebooks thrive with an internet connection. It makes sense since it’s a browser based operating system. Unfortunately you don’t always have a connection available, so what’s there to do if you’re offline but still need to take notes or look something up? This is where I put the Android version of OneNote to use.

By running the Android app on my Chromebook, I can keep a synchronized copy of my notebooks handy and accessible. It doesn’t offer all the capabilities of the other versions, but when it comes to information access some is better than none.

The bonus of this arrangement is since I’m running on a Chromebook Pro, I can use the stylus to take handwritten notes and drawings to sync later on. It’s a great combination without pushing too far into unnecessary functionality.

Working Online

Once I get back online I can use the OneNote Online version as well as the Android application. The combination gives me a great deal of flexibility while also offering speed and interactivity. The Android application will sync it’s contents once the connection is established so any notes taken offline are safe and secure.

Once online I can also use the Chrome extensions Clip to OneNote and Send to OneNote to capture information to my notebooks for easy online, offline, and mobile access.

It’s not perfect

This setup is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination and could be duplicated by a number of other tools. For my purposes though this has turned into a productivity success for me that requires no effort to keep using day in and day out.

Posted in Techniques

Using Bullet Journaling to help my elderly mother

It’s amazing how some people can take to a solution like it’s second nature. This has proven to be my mother when it comes to using Bullet Journaling as part of her daily routine.  

Episode 32 of Being Productive is all about the motivation and application of Bullet Journaling to help her take a firmer control of her life and give her much needed confidence. 

Episode 32 – Bullet Journaling for the elderly