Notion Life Operating Systems

I’m running Hodgepodge 13.7 as my Life Operating System.
Looking forward to watching the videos.


How is everyone’s LOS implementation going?

I watched all the videos through once, without taking notes, to get a lay-of-the-land. Now I’m starting over and implementing the parts that are useful to me. (i.e. instead of business-related things, I have PhD/research related things.)

As you set up and transition, remember the two acronyms from the opening to the book that you recently referenced on programming (Practical Programming).

ETC (easy to change)
DRY (don’t repeat yourself)

My first impression was and remains that the video presentation should be viewed to be less about changing the tools that you use and more about buying into one or another religion / philosophy on how to manage a LOS.

That Notion appears to be sold in the videos as “everything and the kitchen sink too” should not distract you from asking first whether the tools that you already know how to use can do just as well for you.

In some respects, for where you are now, your PhD and research are your business.


1 Like

Thanks, @DrJJWMac. Sage advice as usual.
In this particular case, the philosophy doesn’t seem too radical. I can see traces of GTD, the 12 Week Year, OKR, etc.
What is different about this system, and what is working for me, is that everything is interconnected in one system. When I complete action items (tasks), I see how they move my projects forward, how those projects are linked to goals, the goals support values, and the values support pillars. Each level represents an increase in abstraction, with my guiding principles sitting at the top.
In addition to the action items, my habits and routines also support goals, etc. so I can see that when I work out each day (now), it bubbles up to my guiding principles.
Another thing that keeps me coming back is collecting data and entering that into my system. Distance and time rowed, weight, checkboxes for daily routine items, etc.
I’ve been using his/my system for about 11 days now, and so far it’s the best fit for me by far. I’m working out and getting research done.

I could probably cobble this together in another system, say, MS Access, or SQLite and something I code myself in Ruby, etc. But it wouldn’t be as intuitive, plastic, and interconnected as using Notion.

As with anything, it’s not for everyone. I recommend people kick the tires, invest some time, and give it some thought to see if it would work for them.

Certainly this is the significant benefit. Looking across the views of project management from the big picture to the task levels, everyone yearns for one well-structured tool to rule them all (borrowing liberally here).

Would that my summer breaks allowed me more time to play with a new tool, I’d likely hack around to see whether I truly could adapt Notion to my own LOS.

Enjoy your expedition!


1 Like

@anon41602260 Yes your Venn diagram about wraps it up as I find myself spending more and more timing mining my own data content. This coupled with how much you can gather represents a formidable task in itself.

So yesterday, I embarked on setting up DevonThink 3 and began with trying to setup Twitter feeds as this seems to be the only communication channel of many software developers to there end customers besides forums.

After dicking around for one hour looking at various tutorials, I seemed to have the lucky pick of trying to implement functionally just cut-off in June 2020 by Twitter after reading this on DT forum.

DT Forum

It appears that we need to take a step backwards and just frequent the developers own forum community to escape the increasingly restrictive practices being put into place by the big networks such as Twitter and YouTube


Trying to get into Notion and use it for homeschooling…here are my thoughts so far.

  1. It’s busy work/tedious (but then again any system when first starting out feels that way)
  2. Not sure if I am doing it correctly

For example, one of the Teacher Manuals for my child…has things broken down by week, day, and then activity. I open page 5 of the manual…I see a table for Week 1, and I say each Day with its assignments and activities.

Am I re-creating all this digitally in Notion?
How much detail am I doing?

This is the part where I struggle with.

For my own personal workflows (in case anyone is wondering)
Omnifocus - task management
DevonThink - digital file cabinet/archive
Ulysses - writing
GoodNotes - writing up meeting notes
Drafts - quick short thoughts, ideas, etc

Is the teacher manual paper? Just check it off there.
Is it a pdf? Use GoodNotes to check it off on the pdf.
Either medium you can add dates as needed.

Since you already have this document, it’s seems like wasted effort just to be able to check it off in a database.

If you think having in a Notion dashboard will be motivational or more helpful, then that’s a different story.

I might have some ideas to help, is the manual paper or a pdf?

Manuals are paper. I was shipped 2 large 3 ring binders with material for the year broken down by weeks and days.

The reasons I was considering Notion was:

  1. to have that overview dashboard look to review for myself at night.
  2. Easy to communicate with my wife when we change up the schedule or review our calendars
  3. wild idea of keeping the manual “clean copy” for future use with the other kids when they come of age.

But I feel like I would be doing a lot of repetition

1 Like

Yeah, having it on paper really hamstrings you, and unless you can scan, you’re talking a lot of work (well, even if you can scan).

Maybe a clear plastic pouch on the fridge, mark things off with a dry erase marker, next day/week change the page.

I think I if I want to use Notion for this. To avoid too much tedious work. Possibly a simply check mark box to make sure we covered the days subjects? (Completed or Needs Review)

I still need to think about a calendar overview taking into account holidays, activity days, etc

As well as attendance, grades, maybe a progress report of sorts.

Side note - I’m currently taking classes for a 2nd Masters. Last semester I just put all my assignments into Omnifocus, my notes/articles into DEVONthink. I’m wondering if at the least for my own classes, I can bridge the gap and have Notion link and talk to OF and DTPO.

IMHO There is a fine line between ease of use and customization ability.

To use the Lego analogy.

Notion basically gives you a bunch of Legos and you can build anything you want how you want.

But not even with any plans except they provide templates that I would consider plans to build from.

There are many free YouTube training videos out there with people showing their workflows. I like August Bradley’s videos and workflows but that I consider on the high end of complexity.

Notion’s key feature is also it Achilles heel with providing so much options like the various views.

The calendar and Kanban view are some of the best.

Notion is very good for scheduling content

Some might argue that this itself is an indistinct gray area, where the boundaries vary by person, time of day, and how many cups of coffee or your favorite beverage you have consumed before / are consuming during the process.

Otherwise, when this really is a fine line, this thread also might not now be beyond 30 some replies.

I do like the Lego analogy. It is why I have stayed steadfastly away from Notion. I can’t play with organizing blocks anymore when my biggest priorities are to get large buildings built on time.



Fair point. I guess it’s a question of whether a user can afford to sink the time required to learn the app and shape it to their needs, versus the time taken to find a workable alternative that already offers the functions they require.

I started with Notion in its early beta days, and I was excited about the possibilities from the get-go, but it took me a while to fully understand it and make it work in a meaningful way for my use-cases. Right now, it’s one of the preferred tools in my toolkit (alongside Trello and Miro)— I work with small teams of different people on a project-by-project basis, and I often have to balance what the work requires with the level of tech the people I’m working with might be comfortable taking on (and how much support or hand-holding I’m willing to offer…).


Just as an aside, those teachers manuals tend to be totally uninspired. As a teacher, I rarely used them. Don’t hesitate to use outside supplemental materials and activities that will inspire your child (eg field trips, projects, literature). There is a wealth of creativity out there waiting to be discovered!


I would use this as my motivation: