Notion Life Operating Systems

I have been doing a lot of research over the various software systems to use as a Personal Productivity system and I have not seen such a comprehensive solution provided in a series of free tutorials in YouTube by August Bradley using Notion.

Here is the Process Flowchart.

August has taken Notion to the next level and incorporated the best practices of many productivity concepts such as GTD, 12-Week Year, Gamification, Break the Chain and Habit Tracking.

Additionally, he made a video that shows the best use of these new types of note-taking apps like Roam Research for knowledge management
Notion + Roam Research

I am in the process of setting this up for myself. It will take a long time but should result in the “Perfect Productivity System” the Golden Grail!

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I must say, the more I see “new” wonders such as this (e.g. Zettlekesten, Roam back-links …), the more convinced that I am becoming on an underlying mantra. Buying into the software is a cheap expense, fully adopting the approach is the hard investment, and if you can’t write a book about the adventure when you are done, it may not have been worth changing over your current system.


JJW

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I mean no disrespect at all and I genuinely hope this works for you. But there is no way I would have such a complex system to organize my life and projects. Frankly, that feels more complicated than 99.9% of the projects that I actually need to accomplish. I would rather spend my time working on something than on the system to get to work on something. :slight_smile:

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Agreed on both counts: both not wishing to criticise a system that works for others, and the fact that it seems quite involved.

That said… if this is replacing the range of documents and even tools that some of us have accrued and stitched together over time, it might not be as complicated at it seems on first glance. Or, perhaps even our relatively simple set-ups are more involved than we give credit for?

I suspect the truth lies somewhere between the two… :wink:

I say this as someone who regularly tweaks and refines his own system for managing everything. Sometimes it expands as I add a new workflow to manage a case I haven’t satisfactorily accounted for; often it contracts as I abandon workflows that weren’t practical or just weren’t easy enough for me to adjust behaviour and make regular use of. Even though I make efforts to keep things as simple and usable as possible, if I had to detail my entire system from end to end… well, it makes sense to me, but I imagine it still might seem hopelessly complicated to some!

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I think that is fair and I agree. I suspect that if I sat down to flowchart my workflow it might be as complex. But, I’m sure that if I did, looking at the flowchart would stress me! I think ignorance might be bliss! :slight_smile:

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Yes, I think that is the case for most. I think if many did a flow chart for their work processes they would be amazed on how complex it is.

While from the outside it looks very complex many of the entries are automated and the major time invested is in the initial setup and I think only 5>10 minutes per day with 30 minutes for the weekly review and planning,

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The technology is not the magic bullet that you seem still inadvertently and unintentionally to want to claim. You must first fully embrace the philosophy in the video that you reference. I doubt that, absent the latter, one can set up the former in the time that you claim. Better said, I think you are white-washing the aspect of the “major time invested” as though it is a throw-away part of this whole process. I could see for example in the first few minutes of the video where the lack of “due” dates and the use of what I believe is an Eisenhower priority matrix already run counter to my own deeply embedded approaches. I know also from experience that my use of OmniFocus + Curio for my own workflow took … a few years … to evolve and mature to the stand that it is today.

No personal disrespect meant here. I just believe that the hype around some of these “change your life with this new tool” videos must often be tempered with the equivalent balance of the harsher realities.


JJW

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I’ve not tried Curio. I don’t want to waste your time but can you give a brief explanation of how you use it in relation to OF? Per my recent post, I just moved back to OF so I’m curious.

The systems are just demonstrations of the use cases of the platform.
It’s like programming - you don’t read tutorials to learn to make the thing they make in the tutorial, you read them to learn how to make what you need.

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I have posted information at these links about how I use Curio in my workflow.

Somewhere in those links is a reference to a Google Drive / DropBox folder that has example projects.

In general, Curio is my tool to manage the big picture and OmniFocus is my tool for task management.


JJW

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Thank you, I’ll check these out!

Thanks @D_Rehak I’ve been using Notion for a month or two and getting well but it was only after you suggested watching August Bradley that The system idea clicked.

I’ve not stood back and thought about this big picture and I’m just beginning to do that. Notion will play a big part in the system but it won’t be the only tool I use.

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After a few hours of play, I must say that Notion on macOS is impressive.

It is however not anything that I will consider to manage my personal workflow. The cost/benefit ratio to transition what I have to Notion is too high.

I did have high hopes that Notion might help me manage certain team projects. However, even here I most likely will decline. First, Notion requires a high up front investment … not for me to learn what to do to manage the projects properly but for me to learn how to get Notion to do the essentials AND for me to figure out how to translate that knowledge readily to my team so that they can use it effectively, immediately, and without hassling me for support issues. Also, I have discovered a limitation with Notion for my team’s workflow. Notion presents Google Drive content in a flattened map. When I cannot see a tree structure in my team’s folders, I am by analogy left lost in the forest for the leaves.

Thanks for the posting about Notion as an app to explore. I hope the transition with it to your new LOS (Life Operating System) goes well.


JJW

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Sidenote: big issue for me— I have a stock-pile of tools for collaboration that I never get to use! On the one hand, I get it— different people have their own ways of working, and aren’t necessarily inclined to adopt/learn/adjust to new tools, even those that offer obvious benefits. On the other hand, sadness… :wink:

Interesting perspective. I see the flowchart as just a description of what is actually a very simple process. Documentation of what is already being done. The picture prompted me to consider making a diagram of my own system and with all the various apps and when they get used and for what types of projects I do, plan or am considering. My quickie incomplete sketch turned out a lot more complicated than this one. Yet in actual practice the way I do it seems to work well for me and is not hindering my ability to get meaningful projects completed.

I may actually finish the sketch out just as an exercise as part of my normal quarterly review that I started this past Friday and expect to go on until the 1st of July. I think it might provide a good framework to evaluate my inputs and apps and expected outputs and outcomes to see if I need to eliminate or add anything.

Do I have any holes in my process? Is something much harder than it should be? What needs do I have now that aren’t being addressed properly? What tools do I need? What tools can I eliminate? Those are all questions I like to review on occasion even if the answer is nope, sticking with the existing system for now.

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I’d love to see what you come up with! I for one have been working to consistently simplify my workflow as much as I can. Obviously, there is a limit to how simple one can get but I want to keep things clean, simple, and as minimalist as I can. As long as I balance that appropriately I believe I can increase efficiency but more importantly, effectiveness.

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For me, these questions boil down to designing “flow” and “stasis”. “Stasis” is about having, or put it another way, “where’s my stuff”. “Flow” is about doing, or working with “my stuff” creating, storing, retrieving, modifying / deleting. The answers to the questions in the diagram depend on context: what am I doing? Personal research and note taking? Or work projects? Or personal projects?

And the activities overlap and feed into one-another.

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I don’t strive to make the answers for each context the same, since what I have and do depends on the contextual rationale. E.g., I use a lot more tools for my personal projects and research because I am not constrained by work-imposed standards and I can play as much as produce. Playing is the main driver of personal projects.

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Notion
I love it. I am also in the process of incorporation The August Bradley Life Operating System :slight_smile:)
It is great fun and has, in my opinion, a great potential for GTD.

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Nice picture that really describes the issues. And I’d expand that to include physical stuff too.

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I won’t disagree.

My current system is a hodgepodge of different tools, software and the like. It’s messy and woefully inefficient.

I’m at least open to the idea of this and feel, for me personally, that I need to dig in a bit and see if this would work.

If something like this in Notion (or Coda, or Airtable) helps me remove the need for 4 or 5 other applications and paid for subscriptions, then it could definitely be worth it.

I also think that everyone adapts any system to work for them, and this is no different.

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