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Manage Team Workflows in Notion

Devs need todos, managers need to know when devs are stuck, and execs need a high-level overview across teams. Marie Poulin teaches us to use Notion as an "operational hub" to keep all 3 in one place!

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JASON: Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of Learn With Jason. Today on the show we have Marie Poulin. I just realized I said your name like it’s French and I didn’t ask you if that’s the right pronunciation.

MARIE: Poulin is fine, yeah.

JASON: I did this once, pronounced someone’s name like it was French and they’re like, why did you do that?

MARIE: Always good to check.

JASON: Well, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for joining me. I am really excited about today, but before we talk about anything we are going to do, I want to talk a little bit about you. For folx who aren’t familiar with you, can you give us a little bit of a background?

MARIE: Yeah, I would say right now the majority of my work is centered around Notion. Most people probably know me through the Notion universe. I got so excited about this tool back in 2018. It totally changed the way I live and work. I got obsessed with it. Ran a webinar. Caught the CEO of Notion. The COO reached out and was like, hey, maybe there is room for us to do a collaboration. The first webinar I did was getting started with Notion. It was very much here is everything you can do with Notion. I was so excited about it. People were like, whoa, this is pretty crazy, but how do I actually build that stuff? So, that was kind of the beginning of starting a YouTube channel around it. At that time, I was a little nervous, like, do I want to be known for a tool? Is that something, like, do I want to hitch myself specifically and get known for one specific software? It’s always a little bit risky. Up until that point, most of my work was consulting with people who launch online courses. Launch strategy, digital strategy, web design, a little bit of web development. It wasn’t totally out of left field. But it was like, okay, this is definitely a pivot. How deep down this rabbit hole do I want to go? So, that was kind of the beginning of things back in 2018, and I had enough people say, if you make a course on this, take my money. So, I decided I’m just gonna try it. Let’s double down on Notion. Let’s make this my thing. I did and have not looked back since. So, for the last twoish years I’ve basically been teaching Notion as my fulltime thing.

JASON: That’s so cool this is the thing 

MARIE: That it’s a thing.

JASON: One of the things I love about just the modern world, like, the way that things have just progressed, I guess, is that it is now possible to make a living doing stuff like that. Like you can  you can become an expert in somebody else’s company and it can become a source of income that keeps your bills paid and lets you make that a sole source. Like I love  I love that that’s possible. That, you know, you can be selfemployed like that. That you can be a teacher full time and that you can make, you know, you can make money doing it. It’s so cool. It’s so great.

MARIE: It still blows my mind. Even I shared  I share some numbers on Twitter sometimes, too. I share with folx that in the last year I made $40,000 just in Notion templates. That was something I made once and they literally  that’s more than I made in my first salary out of school, right? So, it puts things in perspective.

JASON: Absolutely.

MARIE: That it is possible. It still blows my mind every day this is a thing you can make a living on.

JASON: That’s so wild. Yeah, the first web dev job that I ever got offered, they offered me $30,000 a year. So, to know that you can get that, like, on just a template? Oh, my goodness, that’s amazing.

MARIE: I mean, to be fair, it was a suite of templates, but still.

JASON: Sure. The idea that  I know that’s not passive income. You’ve got to maintain it. You’ve got to support it. It’s as close to passive as income ever gets.

MARIE: Pretty darn close.

JASON: Oh, boy, that’s just exciting.

MARIE: I get very excited about it.

JASON: The entrepreneurial side of me is just like, oh 

MARIE: I love that your people sometimes ask, like, is it weird to promote other people’s templates when maybe their templates do similar things as me? I’m just so stoked about other creators making a living on this thing. I’m super happy to do roundups and share other people’s templates to. I love seeing the creativity that comes out of the community. People are so supportive. I love that.

JASON: I love that, too. One of the things that is so interesting when you start thinking about, okay, so, the strength of my business is on community. Sounds like you’re in a similar boat. I’m at Netlify. Netlify works in the web development space. The strength of the web development community is the strength of Netlify. If we have a broken, fragmented community that is super siloed, Netlify doesn’t do as well, right? Notion is the same thing. Notion is a big community. If people don’t talk to each other, there’s not support and general community togetherness, the business as a whole suffers. And so, you know, I love that idea of, like, you know, you want to be the tide that lifts all ships. It feels good to promote other people’s work. It feels good to see other people succeed. Ultimately, that success, everybody’s getting stronger for that.

MARIE: Yeah, I think Notion’s done a really incredible job of community being such a big part of their software. Like I don’t see people get quite so excited about other tools in the same way.

JASON: Sure.

MARIE: You know, AirTable’s a great tool. I don’t see the same vibe or community or helpfulness. Community is such the backbone of the way the software has grown. It’s been really interesting to watch.

JASON: So, we got it looks like a lot of folx in the chat today. Thank you for the sub. Ben is spreading a little love for your background, which I got to say, great set design for video calls.

MARIE: Thank you.

JASON: I am extremely jealous right now.

MARIE: My greenhouse.

JASON: It’s so good. Like, honestly, for the entire pandemic, I’ve had this dream of getting, like, really cool shelves behind me so I can put  you know, I get these cool little, like, gifts and toys and stuff that are just kind of fun to show off. No one ever sees them because they’re under my computer right now.

MARIE: Oh, sad.

JASON: I’m like, oh, yeah, I’m going to get shelves. I start shelf shopping, and I’m like, I can’t do that. It’s too much. I’m not gonna deal with that. Thank you for the sub. Okay. So, I mean, Notion community, we talked about the potential to just kind of make a living off of teaching something. We’ve talked about. But let’s talk about Notion itself a little bit. So, I agree, Notion has a community. Like it’s a strong community of people who are really invested in it. So what is it about Notion? What’s the strength of it that you think has created this?

MARIE: I think about this a lot and I don’t necessarily have the answer, but I do think community was a big part from the very beginning of kind of how they grew. I think they’ve got an incredible ambassador community, right? So, they sort of  they sought out people who were already actively making YouTube videos and sharing their content and making these templates. So, the Reddit community has been humongous. Obviously Twitter is a pretty big channel for Notion as well. So I think they doubled down on that ambassador community. So, people trust other people sharing their products rather than the company saying here’s why you should use our product. That’s a big part of it, I think. I think there is just, like, a whimsy about the tool that is a little more unique. I think it frustrates people. Its greatest strength and weakness, right? There’s no rules. You can build whatever you imagine. You see people on Reddit sharing their wild dashboards and really whimsical stuff. I think there is a creative element that just kind of brings about more connection in a way that other tools don’t. So, it’s hard to define. It’s hard to pin down. I just think that there is something really whimsical about it.

JASON: Yeah, we’re about to get a bunch of noise because Xander just gifted five subs. Thank you so much for doing that. Thank you for regifting a subafter you got one. Y’all are showing up. Here is Chris with five more subs. It’s about to get loud in here, everybody.

MARIE: I need to learn how to do this Twitch stuff.

JASON: Maybe I can manage the audio, turn that down just a tad so it doesn’t completely overwhelm us.

MARIE: Thanks, everyone.

JASON: Thank you all so much. Let me just turn that down a tad. Yeah, there we go. There we go.

MARIE: That’s pretty great.

JASON: Wait. Wait. Quiet, you. Why are you not quieting? Oh, boy, I’ve broken everything. Okay. Just everybody pretend that I’m good at this and we’ll continue. Because now I’ve broken the overlay. Oh, my goodness. What’s going on. Okay, there it is. Overlay is working. All right. Here we go. (Laughter) All right. So, today, I want to talk about some kind of tactical stuff because, you know, you are an expert in this. I use Notion for my day job. I think a lot of us are starting to see Notion come up as a professional tool. So, actually, chat, who here is using Notion as part of your day job? And also, how are you using it? Is it your knowledge center? Do you take notes? Do you use it for everything? Do you use it for a couple things? How is Notion working into your workflow now?

MARIE: And also team size, too. It’s always good to know, you know, how big  different teams I think experience different issues at different scales. It can be hard to get buyin on a team, too. I’d actually love to hear from you. How big is your team? How many people are using Notion? Was it hard to kind of get everyone to buy in on it?

JASON: So, yeah, on my side, at Netlify, we’ve made Notion our system of record for of the whole company. So, 170ish people, we’re growing all the time, so probably more than that now. We are all using Notion. And the way that we’ve broken it down is we work in organizations, so, like, I run the Developer Experience organization, which is, oh, my goodness, there’s so many people on it now. We’re, like, 14 people. That’s so many. There’s a lot of us now, and it’s three teams. So, we’ve got the Dev Experience Engineering. We’ve got a Templates team. We’ve got our Docs team, all of which roll up to DXs of a broader organize. We use it as, like, a dashboard. We have to keep track of what projects are in flight. What everybody’s doing. People use it as their individual task list. So, we have a personal  set up based on tasks, hey, we’ve got a backlog and stuff that we need to get done. We have a team, like, request thing so when people want to put something on Twitter, for example, my team runs Twitter, so we’ve created this, like, inbox for if you want to request a tweet, you put it into this database and it shows up for us on a queue. So, we use it for all sorts of stuff. And one of the things that we’ve started to struggle with is that, like, we need different views for different things. So, I’m a VP now. I didn’t realize this when I accepted the VP role, but what a VP does is go to meetings and make slideshows. That’s, like, the entirety of the job description.

MARIE: They didn’t tell you.

JASON: Hold on a second. But so when I’m going to, you know, to put that with a little less  a little less sarcasm, my job is effectively collecting and distributing content, right? So, I need highlevel views of things and I need to communicate those highlevel views out to other people quickly. That means I kind of need the bird’s eye view of what’s been completed. What’s in flight. Is anybody stuck on anything? I don’t need, like, the nittygritty details. I don’t need to know exactly what you’re doing every day. I try not to look at that because I don’t want to micromanage anybody.


JASON: Then the managers on the team all are looking at what are their individual reports working on? What are the things they as managers are responsible for. Things they need to keep in mind. Who should they be sharing context worth directly related to their work. The ICs are trying to directly keep track of their tasks, what’s coming up that is going to block or unblock them. Kind of individual things and then they need to surface that upward. And the managers need to surface that upward to me. Up until now, that’s been a pretty manual effort. So, the ICs have their dashboards and then they have to copypaste things out of their dashboards into the manager dashboards and the managers have to copypaste into the exec reports. It’s a lot of admin and data entry, right? So, what I  what I know is that Notion supports things like databases. We’ve used them for certain things. I know that you can pull different views of things, which is really exciting. There’s different ways to mix and match content. But what I don’t know is what clever ways people have come up with to really solve these problems, because I just don’t, you know, none of us have time to really, like, dig deep. We’ve got Ben Hong on our team is our Productivity Expert. He does things with Obsidian and Second Brain stuff, a very good Notion manager. It’s interesting to see how are different people solving these problems? So, that’s one thing I’d love to just kind of dig into today. Is that kind of problem. How do you create different information without duplicate data entry.

MARIE: I wish we could see your real data.

JASON: I know. But, okay, so, looking at the chat here, we’ve got, like, Chris is using it as the base of how he organizing all of his videos, content and courses. Using it for Twitch stream and other things. I have Notion but I’ve never spent any time to master it. Notes and task management. Solo notes. Tracking work and work hours. What else? What else? Yeah, looks like, I mean, there’s a lot of, like, a lot of different uses. I also use it, for example, for Learn With Jason. I have a board that I share. I have an assistant, Aiden, who helps me do all of the, like, getting shows on and making sure things get posted to Google Calendar. We use a board for that. That’s how we keep track of that. I have it automated which is amazing.

MARIE: Especially now with the API, it opens up so many more possibilities. I don’t know if you guys are using the API.

JASON: I haven’t had a chance. I reached out to one of the Notion devs or their dev advocate to do an episode on it. We talked about it and then both got busy. My hope is in the future we have a Notion API episode on Learn With Jason. If you want that, tweet them. I would love to make it happen. Pressure makes things happen.

MARIE: It really does. That’s funny. Yeah, I have, you know, a Jason Lengstorf entry in my people tabs that has some inspirational screenshots. When I was first look at live streamers, I loved the way you had your Learn With Jason stuff. I’d taken a whole bunch of screen caps. It’s so fun to come full circle and be here with you.

JASON: What a warm, fuzzy moment for me. That makes me feel great.

MARIE: The design was so great. I was impressed with all of it.

JASON: Thank you so much. Okay, so, I could  I could talk about this in the abstract all day, but I’d love to kind of dig in and start playing with this a little bit.

MARIE: Yeah.

JASON: So, why don’t we switch over into desktop sharing mode, and I’m going to start out by giving a quick shout to our live captioning. So, we’ve got Jordan from White Coat Captioning here today taking all sorts of  just doing a great job of making sure that this episode is more accessible to folx. So, if you want to see that, that is on the homepage. It’s for every episode. You can also find the transcripts posted below all past episodes in the episodes tab if you want to head over there. That is made possible through the support of our sponsors, Netlify, Fauna, Hasura, Auth0, all kicking in to make the show more accessible for more people. Thank you very much for that. While you’re clicking on things on the internet, make sure you go and check out Marie on Twitter. This is a wealth of information about Notion and other things. So, yeah, don’t sleep on that. And then Notion itself is what we’re going to be messing around with today. So, with that being said, I have set up nothing. I have a blank page.

MARIE: Ooh, a blank page.

JASON: I am very excited to kind of start messing around here and start learning how we can do more here. So, I’ve explained the problem. If I was giving you, like, you know, let’s say that you were coming in and this is what you’re faced with, what would be the  what would be your starting point?

MARIE: Well, I mean, a bit of a cheat code. A starting point I think teams can benefit from core databases. I would probably load up a couple of samples into my database. Project database. Notes database. I’d love to hear from you guys what are the most common databases or pages that you would use? Do you have a master task database that everyone shares? Do people manage their own tasks personally? I know you mentioned you don’t want to see too granular.

JASON: Yeah, let me look really quickly just to see if there is anything confidential right at the top here.

MARIE: Yeah, I know how that is.

JASON: Let me see. No, none of this is  let me collapse that. Okay.

MARIE: I feel like I should have added you as a user in my space as, like, a guest.

JASON: So, this is  this is our team space. And this is the dashboard. So, Ben Hong, pictured here as one of the backup dancers, is  this is, by the way, a Cassidy Williams special, and I love it more than anything in the world. Like, let me make this a little bit smaller so that it’s not  you can see everybody. Like this is just  it’s just so good. I don’t even have the words for it.

MARIE: You bring up a good point. That’s what’s so fun about Notion. You can make this a place where you already feel happy and you’re laugh when you open up your dashboards. I fricking love that.

JASON: So, the way that we’ve got this set up is every week we have a big meeting on Mondays. It’s kind of, like, our let’s make sure we all know what’s going on. So, we start by doing a, like, a checkin. How’s everybody feeling? Like a stop  we call it the stop light checkin. Green if you’re feeling 100%. Yellow if you’re a little bit stressed. Red if you are in bad shape and you need support. We do, like, our admin rotation where we basically have to take care of, like, somebody’s got to watch the Twitter stuff. Somebody’s got to watch incoming support requests and just the stuff that pops up throughout the week, right? So, we put somebody on a focus rotation for that. We have a way to flag if you need help. We have notes and reminders, which I’ve collapsed for confidentiality reasons. And then we have a way, like, if there’s something that needs to be done, you can very quickly capture a task. And then we have, like, our projects, which I’m not gonna show because some of those are not public yet. So, we have a projects database. We have a tasks database. And those are the two that we use the most. The other one that we have is a meetings database where we can connect a meeting to a project. But that one tends to be only used by me, because most of the time I’m the one setting up all the meetings.

MARIE: Yeah.

JASON: But that’s  so, that’s sort of the high level of what’s going on. I can’t show you the individual views, and I’m afraid to open the sidebar, so, I’m gonna leave it there. Yeah, so, those are, like, the two, maybe three databases that we have that we use frequently.

MARIE: Perfect. I think task management, I will say, is one of the hardest parts to wrap your brain around in Notion, because I do think it’s quite powerful and you do need to do a lot of custom building to really make it work the way your team works. But it looks like you’ve done a great job so far. You’re using these tasks and projects. I thought it was interesting how much you’re using that’s not even in the database, like those updates at the top. Is that working fine for you or do you like to be able to see almost legacy data, oh, look at my mood over time or that sort of thing?

JASON: So, we have intention ally made some of this stuff manual. What we found with some of the automated or legacy stuff is that the act of putting it into a database makes it feel less personal. So, there’s a couple, like, really human moments. And so doing a checkin with somebody and saying how are you feeling this week? I three that line. Hey, fresh page. How do you feel this week? What’s the one thing you want to get done? That helps kind of just like, all right, we’re starting with a clean slate here. You don’t have to worry about what last week was. So, for those, like, would historical data be good? Like maybe for the status, like, if somebody’s consistently yellow and red, like, we can go intervene, but the managers are, like, you know, if my managers are consistently coming in yellow and red, I’m gonna note that and go talk to them in our oneonones and they’ll be doing that for their reports as well.

MARIE: Gotcha.

JASON: So, there’s a little bit less of, like, I don’t know  there is also this risk of, like, if you create those historical records, somebody can go and find them out of context and then 

MARIE: Right.

JASON: Interpretations of data that weren’t intended. So, there’s a little bit of, like, intentional ephemeral data.

MARIE: That’s great.

JASON: For the sake of making sure it was taken in the context it was intended and not, like, a different view gets pulled later. Look, this person’s always stressed. Let’s get rid of them. (Laughter)

MARIE: No, I love that. You’ve got a great reason for keeping it as it is. And so is that, like, one central dashboard that all managers are working from? Do you have separate dashboards that, you know 

JASON: Each of us has our own private page. So, like, I have a view that pulls all tasks from the database that were completed within the last week so that I can just see what happened. And then I also have, like, that projects we did as a timeline. It’s not a true gant chart. Please, Notion, give us dependencies. We have it as a timeline where we can see, like, roughly how long we’ve decided something should take and roughly where we are in that process so that we can see, like, hey, we said we were going to get this thing done in a week and nobody’s started it yet. Do we need to change that deadline? So, that’s really helpful to have that view. I have that. And then for me, I just have, like, a ton of notes. Like, I saw somebody that I want to go try to hire. I’ve got a list of those. I saw this project that I want to reach out to the maintainers of and see if we can do a collaboration with. I’ve got a list of those. So, each of us has our personalized database of  not even database 

MARIE: Notes.

JASON: Just, like, dashboard where we keep miscellaneous notes that keep us functioning.

MARIE: Interesting. I’m curious is there any room to maybe centralize some team notes. Are you already kind of doing that within tasks?

JASON: We kind of do that. Like the tasks pull everything together. We’ve got some views that we used to have, like, we used to have a combined team task, but what we found it wasn’t particularly useful for anybody but me.

MARIE: Interesting.

JASON: And so what we’re  what we are trying to figure out, though, is is there a way we can get a sense of somebody’s load without  and, like, this is where things get really messy, right? Because when you start talking about load, you start talking about estimation, and then you start running into, like, oh, this is why Agile starts talking about tshirt sizing of things. Those become hard commitments instead of estimates. It gets messy in a hurry. We’re trying to find the right amount  I want to know does somebody feel like they are 50% loaded or 100% loaded? And that is a personal assessment, not, like, an X tasks means 50% loaded.

MARIE: Yeah.

JASON: So, it’s more of a, like, oh, you know, Charlie’s only got the one thing and feeling really strong about it. We’ve got this thing that came up. Let’s ask Charlie first because she’s got the lightest load. As opposed to, oh, crap, Ben’s got 15 things he’s on the hook for this week. Let’s not hit him up. Let’s give him some space.

MARIE: You made a comment that the task database was only kind of useful for you. Can you tell me a little bit more about that? Because I’m wondering if there might be better filters or better ways of viewing the same data. So, like, show me all of Jason’s tasks or show me all of different, you know, department persons tasks, right? I’m just curious a little bit more about why was it not useful for others?

JASON: So, as the team grew, what we found was that looking at, like, our task lists, what we were doing is we had a view that was like a board. Here’s the backlog. Here’s what’s in progress. Here’s what’s blocked. So on and so forth. We would filter it down to each person and then we’d kind of run through it together. What we were finding is that it was sort of a  we were, like, reading a status update and not actually discussing anything, so it wasn’t adding value that we couldn’t pull by ourselves. And so what we  what we started doing instead is people will surface, like, we have this calls for helps. If you put something in your blocked column, it will show up in that calls for help. So, we review those together. So, we’re surfacing, like, important information and we’re trying to minimize the amount of, like, statusy information because what I’ve found is that if you put 100 pieces of information on a page, people will read the first one and stop looking at the dashboard. We’re trying to think of, like, what are the three or four things that are actually important to look at? And let’s leave the rest of it out. We all know where that database is. We can go find it. We do have those views available. If you want to pull a task list and see what everybody’s working on, you can absolutely go do that. We haven’t found that to be particularly useful for anybody but the managers and me to see, like, they can see what their team is doing. I can see what the whole company is doing or the whole org is doing. But individuals only really need to know their own status, unless they’re, like, deliberately paired with somebody where it’s a little bit more of a highcontext exchange.

MARIE: Yeah, it’s almost like  obviously, you can view your projects in a number of different ways. Show me by team member. You can see, oh, this person has got stack, a whole bunch of projects. This person only has a couple. There might be a couple projectlevel views that might help you get a high level of what’s going on, but each person inside their individual dashboards can see, just show me the projects I’m on the hook for and show me my tasks. I’m a big believer that every person on the team should have a very, very tailored, you know, tailored version of these databases. So, wherever you can centralize databases and then scope them by view to just what each person kind of needs to see, the better.

JASON: Mmhmm.

MARIE: You made a comment before about a lot of copypasting with statuses. I’m curious what was being copied?

JASON: So, one example is that I have a Slack reminder set up that DMs me once a week on Thursday that says, “ask the team what they did this week with their product,” so, I would post a message and say, hey, in the thread of this, would you put up any projects you did this week that you’re proud of? They would have to go into their task list and have to copy that task out and put it in the Slack thread. And we started looking at ways to, like, maybe you can add a  I know we’re about to be buried.

MARIE: This is great.

JASON: You can always tell when Cassidy has arrived in the chat. Because it’s just  chaos erupts. She’s the best bad influence I know.

MARIE: I love it.

JASON: So, we  what we were finding is that, like, some of the ways to automate, they just weren’t catching on. So, these ideas of, like, tagging and these ideas of, like, all of these things that would be easier theoretically just weren’t sticking. And we don’t know what  like we just don’t know why.


JASON: It’s a small group. The DX Engineering team is only seven people, including me. We all agreed that’s what we were gonna do, and then it just didn’t happen. In the course of our work, so it was this exercise, okay, it’s not happening naturally. We have to create this deliberate moment, okay, your job for the next five minutes, go find these tasks and put them here because I need them for the meeting about I’m to go into.

MARIE: Interesting.

JASON: So, yeah, and I think it’s because at the end of the day, it is admin work, right? We’re trying to get stuff done and then there is this step before or after you get things done where you’re not just doing work anymore. You are now writing updates about that work in one or more places. And that part is kind of, like, you’re like, ugh, but I’m tired. I don’t want to deal with that. I’ll deal with it later and then you just don’t, right?

MARIE: Sounds like there is some room for templating in places. Here, one example is we have an actions database that actually has meetings and tasks all combined. And it’ll be, like, type equals meeting or type equals task. So, when I open up a template for a meeting, for example, I’m just gonna open one up so I can see what’s in our  we do, for example, a monthly review, a team end of week report, and so that’s just an item in the actions database. I use a template. As soon as I open that up, the end of week report says, how did you feel this week? What was your workload like? There are little columns for each team member to add their stuff. What wins did you face? What challenges? Little KPIs. It’s all baked into a template and gets done and all the people are tagged that need to add that. So, it’s become kind of part of a routine. So, sometimes it’s a little bit of workflow design. Sometimes it’s just having the right template where someone on their own dashboard can be like, oh, it’s already prefiltered. Just add my update.

JASON: Oh, yeah.

MARIE: You might have a wins database. You recommend everyone embeds on their dashboard and have a little reminder every week. Did you fill out your win this week? The Slack can remind them. It can actually link back to that database. So I think there’s ways you could build a little more whimsy and make it more of a habit. That could be your historical data. Not how people felt, but, like, what were the wins and the projects that were shining this week?

JASON: That’s a great point. I think, you know, a big challenge is building the habit.

MARIE: Big time.

JASON: Easy to make a habit is if it’s fun to do.

MARIE: Absolutely.

JASON: So I think, you know, there is a lot of fun with the emote  the emote barrage that just happened is so good. (Laughter) So, okay. So, maybe, like, I am nodding very much in agreement with everything that you’re saying, and I feel like there are huge opportunities here. So, I guess if you were gonna try to start this, right? Like if we kind of do the journalistic pyramid. Like what’s the post important thing? And we do that first. Where would you start?

MARIE: Yeah. So many places we could start.

JASON: I know. I know. I’m sorry. I wish I could have given you actual data.

MARIE: Yeah, no, it’s too bad. I know we could probably do some, even tiny things in your space that could make things more functional for you. But I guess a question I would have then. Should we add a team updates database of sorts that could have each person add their wins at the end of the week? One thing  I can share, like, one thing that we implemented. It may or may not be necessary. I know every team’s got to decide what’s overkill. What’s going to feel fun or frustrating for people. As my team was growing, too, okay, there’s six of us, seven of us, contractors, full time, as a mix of people. Having team updates everyone knows, hey, Monday morning, they click that template and it says, what’s your focus this week? What are you focused on? If people want to�@mention a project, they can do that. It’s all kind of linked together. What does success look like for you this week? Are there any challenges or blocks? Those could be database fields.

JASON: Yeah. So, let’s set that up. I know a couple of people  at least a couple of people in the chat are brandnew to Notion. So, maybe we can start  so, if I want to create a database 

MARIE: Yeah.

JASON: I mean, maybe just at the very high level. So, what we’ve created here is a page. We’ve got a page in Notion and you get this and then we can add an icon and it just, like, grabs something random, but you can also, like, upload an image or do a link or something. We’ll do  here we go. Let’s do a fire emoji. We can add a cover like we did on the standup one. We won’t do that today. People can believe comments on these. And then each of these, you’ll note this little bit on the left, is a block. So, if I’m down here and I click this thingy, I guess I’ll click the + thingy. I just get this list of all this stuff. So, what do I want to look for if I’m  if I’m, like, we want to get started on building what you’re talking about? This tasks.

MARIE: So, you can either use this menu here and scroll down and look for the type of database or table that you want or you can type /dat. Start typing out database. There is a long list of things you can put in here. I like to search exactly what I want. Inline table is fine or board view. How many people would be using the sort of team updates?

JASON: Let’s call it 15.

MARIE: Okay. Because you could certainly use a board view, but you might be scrolling quite a bit.

JASON: Sure, yeah.

MARIE: A table might be great for this sort of thing. And I would add owner, an owner field. So, let’s add a couple fields to this. We got the name field. We got the tags field.

JASON: Is that this one here? Properties? There is a + here. So, you said a name  or an owner.

MARIE: Owner. Let’s change that from a text type. You can change the type of your property. Put it to a person. Then what that allows you to do is filter things by person or, again, each team member should probably have their team updates prefiltered to their name. We can get into that a little bit. But let’s get the most important fields in here, probably a time stamp as well. Which you can either do a date property or an automated time stamp. Up to you how you want to 

JASON: Which 

MARIE: Create a time.

JASON: Okay. Created time. We can go with created time. That sounds good. Then this will show us when this was actually created. So, if I delete this one 

MARIE: Exactly.

JASON: Let’s see. It’s 10:06. You can see that it showed up at 10:06, right? So, that’s handy.

MARIE: Perfect. So, the ones I have are this week’s focus. That way, again, you just know what people are gonna be working on this week.

JASON: Okay. So, we’ve got focus.

MARIE: That can just be a text field. I have success looks like.

JASON: Ooh. Also a text field?

MARIE: Yep, text field. Same thing with, like, challenges. You said is anything blocking you this week or challenging you? So, something like that. Then it just gives you a chance to identify that stuff really quickly. People could even tag you in there if they want. Like, Jason, I need the coffee. They can�@mention you inside of a text field and you’ll get a little notification about that. So, it gives you some flexibility there. Those are the only ones I have. It’s pretty simple.

JASON: Sure.

MARIE: We can make a template for that if you want, but that just gives people something to work with. So, I might even hide the time stamp. It’s there if you need it, but in this view, it might not be as important. So, I would right click on that property.

JASON: You can right click on it? You’ve just saved me so much time.

MARIE: Love that. You can hide. You can drag.

JASON: Nice.

MARIE: All the data’s there, but we don’t need all the default data to be there. I think that’s sometimes why people can feel overwhelmed with Notion. They don’t realize how easy it is to scope out what you don’t want to see in a single moment.

JASON: Should we get rid of these ones, too? Do you keep these in here as well?

MARIE: Name you always need. That’s sort of, like, a unique identifier. I would probably delete the tags. Delete the whole right column. We can put a test one. All right, here’s my update this week, just so people can see what it looks like to do that.

JASON: So, I can add it here or, like, open it as a page, which is also really nice.

MARIE: Exactly.

JASON: Okay.

MARIE: Ideally, you actually wouldn’t be adding it from here. We would embed this database in your own dashboard, so that way it’s already prefiltered to your name.

JASON: Oh, okay. All right. Let me do that. Okay. So, if we’re going to do that, I’m just going to create this as a subpage.

MARIE: Perfect. Yeah, this will be a great example.

JASON: And we’ll call this Jason’s dashboard. Okay.

MARIE: Perfect.

JASON: And then I assume I don’t just, like, create another database, right?

MARIE: We don’t want to create a database. We want to pull in that other database. A couple of different ways you can do this. If you type in /cr for create linked database, you can choose that one. We’re going to choose that database that you just created.

JASON: Okay. And I call this tasks 

MARIE: I think it was team updates, I think.

JASON: Oh, yeah. Team updates. There we go.

MARIE: Perfect. And by default, Notion always just brings it in as a table. It’s not super sexy. You can start hiding any columns you want. What I would do is hide owner. You don’t need to see owner. That’s actually already going to be prefiltered. We’re going to set that up for you. So, let’s add a view to this. So, right beside the name where it says team updates, you can see “add a view.” Perfect. You can just call this, like, “this week” or something like that. I’m assuming this would be an update you would do once a week.

JASON: Okay.

MARIE: Perfect. Hit enter. Okay. And so click on the name of the view this week with the little dropdown arrow. I would just drag that to the top. So, you can kind of choose what is your default view. Let’s say this week is gonna be your 

JASON: Okay.

MARIE: If you’ve ever wondered when you looked at another database, oh, how come that is defaulting to a different view than it looks on my page? That’s why. Notion defaults to the one at the top.

JASON: Learning so much.

MARIE: There are so many tiny little things that can make such a big difference. So, let’s set up some properties or a filter on this view. So, if you click on the three dots besides “new,” whenever you had a database, let’s add a filter.

JASON: Okay. So, I’m gonna add a filter.

MARIE: And we only want to have your name on this update, right? We only want to see your entries because it’s your dashboard. Now, you don’t want name. We want owner. Exactly. Perfect.

JASON: Okay.

MARIE: There we go. So, there’s no entries for you yet. So, that’s empty. We might want to add a filter to say only show me stuff within the last week, right? So, maybe you only want to show one at a time. Maybe you want to show the last month of updates. That gives you some more flexibility there. So, time is within the past week. And so that way 

JASON: That’s really nice.

MARIE: Let’s say you have some direct reports where you do want to keep a closer eye on some of the people in your team, you know, you’ve got this week, but maybe you have my whole team this week. So, your default view is you, so it allows you to rapidly add an update, but then you can quickly switch and just see, okay, where is everyone else at without having to click around and jump around to different pages.

JASON: Nice. That’s  I mean, this is wonderful. Okay. So, then this will only show me stuff  that’s just for this week. So, if I go to the table view, that filter’s not there.

MARIE: That’s gonna show you pretty much everything. Mmhmm. If you add a new entry here, you’ll see that’s automatically gonna be assigned to you, right? Because that’s the filter we put in place, so it just automatically does that. So, for anywhere you want to create something new, again, you can kind of preset a bunch of those properties through your filter. So you’re not having to manually add them every time.

JASON: Mmhmm. This is great. Okay. So, let’s see. Challenges for this. Let’s see.

MARIE: Use it consistently.

JASON: That is a good one.

MARIE: And I think it’s a lot more likely if people do have this database embedded in their own dashboard. So, it might be something you either show people a little video or encourage them, hey, you can copypaste  you can actually copypaste any database link into your dashboard and it’s gonna show up there for ya. There you go. You can add reminders in there.

JASON: Yeah, I mean, this is  this is great. Okay. And so, like, create a central location for team updates that can be filtered to the appropriate  if I can spell it. Good. I guess that’s more of my success looks like, isn’t it?

MARIE: Yeah. Yeah.

JASON: We’ll just do the thing.

MARIE: There you go.

JASON: All right. Now that I’ve created that, it shows up here. It also shows up in the general table view.

MARIE: Yep. You’ll see everybody there.

JASON: And if we go back, it shows up here as well.

MARIE: And you might want to put a filter here to say only in the last week, so that way you’re not seeing a giant list of all the updates. Maybe you want to tuck it into a toggle so it’s not totally visible that way. You can set up templates, too, so if each person wants to have a fun little emoji and cover image when they make a new thing. And usually for the name, what I like to do is say name, week of, and then time stamp. So, I have, like, Marie, week of, and I would type�@today.

JASON: Oh, so, like, here, you would go 

MARIE: I would say, like, Jason, week of,�@today.

JASON: Oh, I got you.

MARIE: That way it’s got the unique time stamp. Yeah.

JASON: That’s really nice. Okay. So, focus would be  so, this would be create the team status Db.

MARIE: Exactly. It’s a great way to see if team members are focusing on the wrong thing. I had a contractor put something in there. Oh, hey, I saw you mentioned you were focusing on X. I’d prefer if you focused on Y. It’s a great way to keep in touch. Something we try to do every morning. Everyone adds their new update. It sort of depends if you want to do an end of the week thing or beginning of the week thing or encourage people to come back to their entry and put did anything challenge you, anything you want to share? How did I feel about this week? You can even have an emoji. We can do a dropdown emoji of, like, five stars this week. Didn’t feel good. You can have some fun with that, you know?

JASON: Okay. So, I don’t know that we would do  just for the reasons I said about not tracking the  somebody’s mood. Let’s say, like, we wanted to create that. If I want to create a current status, and this is gonna be our stop light checkin. How would I set that up?

MARIE: I would probably set that up as a single select property. So, I would change that from text 

JASON: To single select, okay.

MARIE: Single select. Yeah, let’s add  either configure the options here or you can click into an empty property.

JASON: Oh, nice.

MARIE: It will prompt you to 

JASON: We can put in our stop light.

MARIE: Exactly.

JASON: We create it. Okay. Good. And then I can add the other ones. We’ll go yellow circle. Okay. Create that. And then we could say red circle. Create that. Okay. So, now when I click, I just choose the one that makes the most sense for me. All right. I’m yellow.

MARIE: Exactly.

JASON: I’m green. Oh, dang. A banana level for scale. (Laughter) Oh, this is great. I love it. No, I mean, this is  I mean, and this is wonderful. Like look how fast we were able to do that, right? This is something that’s so cool about these tables, is, like, they’re super flexible. And then if we wanted to add a view, like, okay, so, let’s just say we want to create another one that’s, like, who needs support? So, for me, if I’m  if I’m, like, hey, I just want to do a quick mental health check on the team, I’m gonna do a who needs support. My filter could be show me anybody who whose status is red, right?

MARIE: Yeah.

JASON: So, I can just glance at this. Does anybody need help? Should I be reaching out to anybody?

MARIE: Exactly.

JASON: That’s cool.

MARIE: I would add that secondary filter within the past week, just so you’re not seeing everything from, you know, months and months past.

JASON: True. True, true. Yeah, so, filter, at another filter, and we can say time is within the last week.

MARIE: And maybe is not Jason, too? That might be something that in your own view  obviously this is the default view. So, maybe you keep them more generic. On your own dashboard, that’s where you might want to add a different view so that you’re not seeing your own entries.

JASON: Right. So, this clears out, like, not my stuff.

MARIE: Exactly.

JASON: So, this is  and, like, you can see a few different ways this would work. If I cleared this, it would be anybody’s work within the last week. And so if I go back out here, let’s just create one real quick for somebody else. So, I know that Marisa’s in here. We’ll say week of today. And that’s gonna be Marisa. She’s gonna be so confused when she gets this notification. And we’ll say, like, be a great example for people. And then success looks like: Just be yourself. And challenges are: None. But current status, let’s say she’s stressed out this week. Then if I go back to my view, I would see Marisa. And, you know, I could even, like 

MARIE: You could hide and just show the challenges if you want. It really depends.

JASON: Just the challenges. So, now I know what  now I get a little view of this. If nobody needs support, I can go back to the default view and take a look at things and clean out our empty entries.

MARIE: And another tip. So, where you’ve got default view. Let’s say you go to the new one that you made. So, open up default view. Who needs support? Let’s say you want to make something similar to this, we can duplicate this view because sometimes that’s faster if you’ve already got a number of those filters in place. So, let’s duplicate that, the three dots to the right. Yeah, so, we can duplicate this view.

JASON: Oh, if I just, like, give it another name. Oh, wait, that’s not right, is it? I had to scroll down. (Laughter)

MARIE: Perfect.

JASON: Got it.

MARIE: I’m pretty sure this is how it works. Great. So, now you’ve got copy of. At least those filters are there. Then you can rename it. We could create a board view, for example.

JASON: Yeah, let’s do that.

MARIE: A board view by team member.

JASON: Okay. So, team tasks, right? Okay. So, now we’ve got  oh, that’s cool.

MARIE: So, let’s switch it up in the properties to do  instead of showing by red, yellow, green, let’s show by team member instead.

JASON: Okay.

MARIE: So, go to the three dots beside “new.”

JASON: Beside “new?”

MARIE: There we go. And say “group by.” And let’s choose owner. That way, again, you can see updates by person or by status.


MARIE: Right? So, you can create six different views if you want. Show me by mood. Show me by person. You can just get a different snapshot of folx.

JASON: I mean, this is pretty  that’s pretty powerful. I didn’t realize you could do this kind of grouping.

MARIE: Yeah.

JASON: So, the way that we’ve done it in the past, so we’ve got the default view, right? And we would create, like, I don’t know, I already did one called status. Maybe I should change this one to be called, like, mood or something.

MARIE: Check box property for needs support or something like that, too. Lots of different ways you could do it.

JASON: What we’ve done for these, we ended up with a “select,” and then it would be, like, in progress or you can put it as blocked. And maybe instead of in progress, you want it to be complete. And then if we wanted to create  this is, like, the board that we do is, like, active tasks, right? So, we end up with one of these. And then we would do our group by status, right? And then here’s the part that’s really cool about this. Once we’re here, tada! And we can  and we can go in here and look at the properties. We know what the status is based on the thing, so we can hide it there.

MARIE: Perfect. Yep.

JASON: How cool is that? You get to throw all these things in here and it’s really nice. We could say get rid of what success looks like and challenges and just see what somebody’s focus is. That is powerful.

MARIE: So, doing that at even the project level, the task level, and then having these team updates, the team updates are meant to be a little bit more ephemeral. Okay, what’s happening this week? If you wanted to create a relationship between projects and team updates, you could do that. It gives you a lot of flexibility. Once you get comfortable with filters and people understand their own dashboard can really be a perfectly tailored view of everything you need to see right now, that’s when it becomes a lot easier to manager and you’re not seeing every fricking task on your list, you’re just seeing the stuff that’s most important for you.

JASON: Yeah, and you can, like, tailor what goes in here. I’m just checking boxes, right? So, this is really powerful. Yeah, I love it.

MARIE: Sometimes I’ll hide the no owner, the little three dots to the righthand side. You can hide that if you want. You can always show it later if you want to. Yeah, it should only show the team members that are pretty active. Yeah. So, again, something to keep in mind is we’ve been editing the original, the source database. But those views will not show up on your Jason’s dashboard, right? So, you will need to build the views on a per instance basis. If that makes sense.

JASON: I can’t copypaste this with all the views over to another place? I need to bring those views in individually wherever I put them?

MARIE: Exactly. And, in fact, what I would normally do is  let’s show this little tip here. Because I pretty much never add any views on to the original databases for this reason. So, I almost always, always am working off of a linked instance of the database. So, let me show you how to do this. Again, it’s for this reason. That if you make a bunch of views you like, you can then duplicate that and move it on to someone’s dashboard without having to make all the views again which can be very, very tedious. So, I’ll save you some time. If you go to the button beside new, the three dots, and copy the link. Again, you can copy the link to any block in Notion. And then let’s paste it just below the team updates. So, add another + below. Yeah, exactly. And paste it here. And it’ll choose create linked database. That’s another way to create a linked database. Great. There it is. Now, I would turn that top one, team updates, the original source database, I’d go back to those three dots, and I would turn that into page.

JASON: Okay.

MARIE: So, that’s the source of it. I would even tuck that into a toggle at the bottom of your page and just be like source or database, or whatever you want to call it. I always hide the originals. That way no one can accidentally delete it. We don’t have to worry about all the original views. So, you notice that little arrow beside team updates, right? You always want to be working from the arrow. So, again, unfortunately, you’re going to have to make these views again. But as a tip, I almost never put them on the original, I do them in the linked instance.

JASON: Gotcha. Okay. Okay. That’s easy enough to do. So, you know, we can do, like, a team status. And once we get in here, we can  we can flip it over to filter by owner. Does not contain: Me. And 

MARIE: Dates within the last week.

JASON: Date is within the last week.

MARIE: And depending how you feel about time stamping, you might want to change that to a date property. That way if people didn’t get to it until Tuesday, they can still stamp it for Monday. That sort of thing. It really sort of depends. Let’s say you liked this one. Okay, these are the views that I want. Now you can actually duplicate this database. So, click on the  yeah, you can do command D, duplicate. Right? So, you can duplicate linked databases, but you can’t duplicate a source because that will create a new instance. Now you can just drag this into your dashboard.

JASON: Oh! So, that  okay. All right. So I think  climate designers is very excited in the chat because this is  this was the pain, right?

MARIE: Mmhmm.

JASON: So, that’s powerful stuff. That’s really powerful stuff.

MARIE: Yep. So, right off the bat, I usually do  I collapse all the originals into one little toggle, I hide them away and I create linked instances. Again, if you create one awesome team dashboard that’s pretty close to what most of the managers need, then you can duplicate that whole page and just change their name and kind of change the filters to be their name. It saves you a lot of work.

JASON: You just changed a lot of lives.

MARIE: Yes! I love it. There are so many little things in Notion, I swear. It’s just a tiny little detail. But as soon as you know it, oh, my God, that saved me eight hours of time. This is so frustrating. I know the pain. Yeah.

JASON: Yeah, I mean, this is great. Like this, honestly, that tip is gonna change  that saves so much time.

MARIE: And another tip for dashboards, too. I do tend to make them full width, because whenever you’re dealing with databases, they can sometimes be a little bit longer. So, top righthand of your pages, I would go full width. I like to do small text, too. But it’ll make a big difference if you’ve got sort of columns and things beside each other. Maybe at the top you want your active projects, maybe a snapshot, and your team updates. So, there is a lot you can do to design this page to be a little bit more functional for each person so it doesn’t feel overwhelming.

JASON: Absolutely. That’s super helpful. If we wanted to do multiple views, right, we can throw these side by side, right?

MARIE: So, I’m glad you brought this up. It’s one of these annoying things in Notion. You have to make your columns first and drag your databases inside of them. So, you have to make two blank columns. It’s such a goofy  a goofy thing. It’s actually  it’s easier to drag to the left typically, otherwise you’re kind of having to go all the way over to the right of your screen.

JASON: Oh, okay. Good call. Good call.

MARIE: Now you can drag those into your columns. Perfect. You can be like my updates, team updates. You can give them a title. Sometimes it’s nice to throw things into a callout. That’s actually a new feature you can drag databases inside of a callout. It gives it a nice little emoji in the top lefthand side.

JASON: Can you say that one more time?

MARIE: In one of these columns, let’s add a + beside the  and time in /cal, and choose the callout. Type “team updates” or something like that or “active” or something like that. You can actually drag the team updates just below that title.

JASON: What?

MARIE: It’s just a nice little block. It just looks kind of nice, right?

JASON: Oh, that  I didn’t realize that the callouts could have stuff in them. That’s a gamechanger! Oh, boy. All right. So, that’s huge. Let’s do that one more time. And we can say, like, callout  nope.

MARIE: That way it might be, like, in progress, you know? Or mood is not great, right? There’s so much you can do with that to 

JASON: Oh, boy. Gamechanger. Gamechanger, everybody. And then, like, you know, also think about it from the standpoint of, you know, if we had another one down here, we go with, like, we’re gonna do a callout.

MARIE: I’m a big fan of the callouts.

JASON: This would be  let’s make this one full width. And we can say, like, what everyone is doing. And then I can, like, duplicate this somehow.

MARIE: Yeah, lefthand side.

JASON: Duplicate.

MARIE: Mmhmm.

JASON: And then I bring this down here. And then this one, we can add a new view. That would be, like, the board. And we’d call this by updates by team member or something. I clicked out. Oops. Updates by team member. And this one’s gonna be a board. So, switch it over to a board.

MARIE: Make sure you’re updating the right one. Updates by team member. Three dots. Perfect.

JASON: There it is. And then I can drag this to the top so that it’s the default.


JASON: And then I can group by owner. Hide that.


JASON: Bada Bing, Bada Boom. Look at that. Groups of people. Here, everyone is doing  this one is eyeballs. And now I have this very quick dashboard. Oh, that’s so  just so dang handy.

MARIE: So, on my dashboards, I would have the team updates, the projects, and my task list, right? So, those are, like, highlevel view. Then you can start getting crazy with my goals or, you know, other things like that, but it’s, like, what is the most important stuff for you to see right now? Just scope it all to be all the stuff that’s tailored to you.

JASON: Yeah.

MARIE: Then if you like this and you’re like, oh, this is a cool default dashboard, you can actually duplicate this entire page because there is no source databases in here. So, you’ll have a copy of this. You can go change the filters to Marisa’s name or somebody else’s name. You’ve already done the bulk of the work in the layout. You can share it with other team members.

JASON: This is amazing, too, because now that we know we can duplicate these views without having to, like, create a new linked database in every one. I think that’s what slowed us down with some of this. We couldn’t just give somebody a mostly functional prefiltered database. We were manually recreating these every time.

MARIE: Ah, yes.

JASON: So that is, I think, a serious pro tip for folx that’s gonna make a big, big difference. Dang. It’s amazing.

MARIE: I love it. Awesome. Yeah, I mean, for me, the team updates  it’s more of what are we working on this week, but the projects is really where things happen. Should I show this on the roadmap? What is the status of the project? How big is the project? And all that stuff. Obviously there is more complexity and moving parts. There’s more relations happening there. Projects related to tasks.

JASON: Can we throw one of those in?

MARIE: Look at you putting it in the toggle already. I love it. You’re a pro.

JASON: I learned fast. Okay. So, we’ll call this one active projects. I need to, like, prefix these with  I’m never going to be able to find them. Okay. So, we’ve got a project. I’m gonna rename this one too real quick just so that I  this  no.

MARIE: Yeah, just put your curser beside team. To the left of team. Above that.

JASON: Oh, this one?

MARIE: Yeah, yeah.

JASON: Got it. Okay.

MARIE: Certainly emojis do help, too, when you’re looking for databases if you have some that are similar. I try to give it a distinctive emoji, at least while you’re building. But, yeah, no, that’s great.

JASON: I’ll keep it collapsed here.

MARIE: You can copy the link to it if you want. You can do it from either side, the left or right.

JASON: Tada. All right.

MARIE: I might even turn that into a page again if you want to. Then, yeah, go to your  there you go.

JASON: So cool. Okay. So, then in the projects, we could say, like, um, yeah, we’ll update team Notion workflow. That’s a big project with a lot of things going on. And then we can say, you know, like, 2022 planning. That’s a thing that’s happening right now.

MARIE: Mmhmm.

JASON: And we’ll do, like, company conference prep. Or I guess we’ll just call it conference because that’s the whole thing, right? Those are  so, those are three big projects that we could be working on.

MARIE: Perfect.

JASON: How do you  how do you I guess start about  how do you build this database?

MARIE: Yeah, most projects I think generally would have an owner property. So, again, let’s add a person property. You can assign that to people. That’s what allows people to get those reminders and all that good stuff. That allows people, of course, to filter the projects to just stuff they’re assigned to. Depending on how your projects go, you might have supporting collaborators, too. So, you might want to have a secondary person property that might be like, yeah, team members. Same thing, use a person property.

JASON: Okay.

MARIE: It will ask you to tag people. So, some of the ones that I have are priority, status, right, might be active, on hold, complete, archived.

JASON: Okay. And do you, like, priority, is it a select?

MARIE: I do priority as a select and status as a single select as well.

JASON: Okay.

MARIE: And I use emojis like fire and whatever, but you can  you can 

JASON: I like that. I like that as a way to do it.

MARIE: Front burner I like to call it.

JASON: On fire. Wait. Did I not make that? Okay.

MARIE: You have to click it after you’ve done it. It’s a little 

JASON: And then our medium  what do you use as your medium priority?

MARIE: I actually don’t have a medium. I have front burner, back burner and idle.

JASON: Okay. So, fire I’m assuming is front burner. What’s back burner?

MARIE: So, it’s the blue swirl that looks like a burner. I don’t know if that’s actually anything. I don’t even know what it’s called. Oh there you go.

JASON: Okay. We got that one. For idle.

MARIE: I have the snooze. The three is it zeds? Z’s. I forget how Americans say Zed or Zee. It’s all the same.

JASON: I love it. Status is 

MARIE: Active, upcoming, completed, and archive/hold. But it might be in review. It obviously depends on your team, but  I have archive, in review. Archive/hold. Maybe something kind of goes into hiding for a bit and it’s on your backlog. Then, of course, you can make dashboards even as part of your, hey, every quarter, let’s go and review our backlog projects so you can filter it to show everything that went into hold status. That way it’s not kind of taking up space.

JASON: Got it. Got it. Okay. So, we’ve got 

MARIE: I would have  yeah. Lots of relations in mind, too. I have a relation to the task database, which we haven’t made yet. So, we can do that.

JASON: Oh, nice.

MARIE: Categories sometimes. So, if it’s, like, marketing, operations, community, that sort of thing, you can  you might want to have a category.

JASON: And so to do this somebody 

MARIE: We need to make a task database first, and then we can relate the two. That would be a great one to kind of show folx.

JASON: Okay. Yeah, let’s do that. So, we’ll do another database here. We’ll call this one “tasks,” and for this one, we can have just, like, an owner and maybe, like, a status or?

MARIE: I would have a date property. So, is there a due date or when’s it gonna be worked on? Owner. Time. Depends. I have little tomato  how long do I think this task will take?

JASON: Okay, we can do, like 

MARIE: A done check box.

JASON: Nice. I like a check box. So, let’s go done is a check box. And we’re gonna move that one to the front because I like it.

MARIE: Yeah.

JASON: Okay.

MARIE: Perfect. So, now let’s make a relation between your projects and tasks.

JASON: Yeah, so I guess let’s create one here. Update the Notion workflow. So, we’re going to say create tasks DB. I’m also gonna create projects DB. Those are done. And then I need to create relationships.

MARIE: I saw someone in the chat was mentioning the upstream/downstream properties, too. There’s lots of stuff you can do to get pretty interesting with your properties.

JASON: Okay. And then, yeah, we’ll say the due date for all of these is today. That seems fine.

MARIE: Perfect.

JASON: That’s how long we’ve got to work on it. And then estimated time to complete, we’ll say 90 minutes. Because that’s how long the show is. (Laughter)

MARIE: Now, you may want to consider making this a number property because if you wanted to, for example, you can do a sum that’s, like, show how many hours there are today, and then, again, for yourself, you can be like how much did I put on my plate today? So, it gives you some options there.

JASON: Then we could do, like, 1. oops. 1.5. 1.5. 1.5. Okay. So, now we have estimated hours to complete. And then up here, we can start 

MARIE: Relate those tasks.

JASON: Doing some relations. I created a “related tasks” column, but it’s just text right now. I assume I need.

MARIE: If you scroll down to the advanced properties.

JASON: Relation. I am doing a relation. These are the only ones I’ve set. We did active projects.

MARIE: I think you named it tasks.

JASON: Dang it. At least it showed up.

MARIE: Perfect. Perfect.

JASON: So, we’ve got our tasks. So, I can now simplify. We’ve got related tasks. And so I can  all of these.

MARIE: Click the + if you need to add multiple at the same time. When you click inside the field again, you could, for example, click + + and add a whole bunch at once.

JASON: Nice. Okay.

MARIE: You can wrap this if you want. Maybe those are hidden. I don’t like that. I want to be able to see all the tasks stacked. In the database properties, the three dots beside “new.” And you can say “properties,” and there’s a little  there you go, wrap cells. If you scroll to the bottom of that. Sorry. Back to that view again.

JASON: Wrap cells.

MARIE: Wrap cells. And then you can kind of drag and move things around.

JASON: Oh, okay! I’m feeling this. This is so nice.

MARIE: You can start getting crazy and say show me the status of all the related tasks, and do rollups, you can get a feel for what is the whole project status. That gets a little  we don’t have enough time to do that today. Lots we can do to give you a better sense of how to lay this out.

JASON: This is definitely, like, I feel like this is one of those things, I mean, obviously you have effectively built this stage of your career out of optimizing Notion, right? So, this is just the tip of the iceberg here.

MARIE: Yes. It’s like the exciting  we’re just beginning.

JASON: Yeah. I am very, very pleasantly surprised by how quickly this all starts to feel like it fits together.

MARIE: Yeah, some other things we could do, for example, with active projects is if you have a lot of notes and stuff in the body of your projects, you can even view projects as a board view where you have a preview of the content of the project itself. So, there’s a lot of, again, creative things you can do to kind of see what you want to see. So, we can play around with some of these project views?

JASON: Oh, dang it. I do that every time. So, we’re gonna do project previews. Then I have to hit enter. There we go. All right. So, you said let’s probably group by status, right?

MARIE: Perfect.

JASON: Then I can go to my properties. And 

MARIE: Card review. Where it says “none”  again, it really depends on your project. Just to show you what’s possible, I would say “page content,” that way, for example, even if you had some check boxes at the top of the project that need to be done every time, you can actually see which ones are undone. Let’s open up team Notion workflow updates and just put some stuff in the body of this, for example. Like maybe there’s a couple of check boxes there.

JASON: Yeah.

MARIE: Send invoice or, you know, set up the thing. You can even have some links here, things you would do every time. Of course I want to recommend doing a template. At least you could be like, okay, we’re getting a pulse on what’s happening, right?

JASON: Oh, my goodness. Yeah. We can clean this up a little bit and say, all right, we’re not gonna show related tasks. We don’t need to show status because that’s the column name. Maybe we will simplify and just show the owner. So, now we’ve got what project is happening. This is so cool.

MARIE: And you can start to see then how on each person’s dashboard it’s like what you’re gonna see can be totally different. You don’t have to be distracted by all the projects that are on the go. You can see your own projects by status. Your own tasks by status.

JASON: Dang. This is cool. Like, I mean, I’m  yeah, this is amazing. Because and, like, you can see here I’m just messing around with the settings. And these are, like, if you had a lot of content that needed to be visible, you can drop that in. If you don’t have that much content, you can make it teenytiny. I think teenytiny works for us.

MARIE: Let’s do sort of an advanced thing that will help you if you do decide to use this to make more projects. One of the first things I would do is make a project template. So any time you add a new project, we’re going to make this a lot easier. Beside the blue button, the little blue dropdown arrow. Let’s say new template. We can be like “basic project template” or whatever you want to call it.

JASON: I like this. I’m very happy about this.

MARIE: That’s what I love about this work is the little Sparks that go off and people are like, oh, my God, this is going to change everything. It’s very nerdy but it’s very exciting.

JASON: Especially when you get into this stage of, like, everybody being, like, we’re all working on somewhat related stuff. We all need most of the same information, but we just need different views of that information, right?


JASON: And part of the hard part, here’s my experience with project management. It’s not that we’re not good at project management. It’s that when you are trying to accomplish a task, having to stop what you’re doing to have to think about what information is required to track that task and then having to think about how that information should be tracked and, like, trying to collect that, it just becomes this admin cognitive overload where it’s, like 

MARIE: Absolutely.

JASON: I mostly know what I’m doing. I’m just gonna do it, right? You skip all the organizational stuff. Then you get locked into this problem where you haven’t gotten anything out of your head. All the context is locked up in your head. You can’t share it. You can’t explain it. It becomes so much more difficult to delegate, to ask for help, to hand it off later. So, these templates can take some of that cognitive overhead out of the way. So I don’t need to think about how to present data. I don’t need to think about what data needs to be tracked. We know. And we can make it, like, there is also some rigor here. We have to be willing to make tradeoffs and say you don’t have to track 95 pieces of information.


JASON: Three or four things that we need to know.

MARIE: Absolutely.

JASON: Okay. So, yeah, let’s do this. What do I 

MARIE: So, I would just name this “basic project template” or something like that.

JASON: Okay.

MARIE: Great. And you can default to a priority, if you want to. You can choose any of those defaults. Cool. So, now in the body of this  scroll down. We want to pull in the database. /cr. Let’s pull in that tasks database.

JASON: It’s called tasks. There.

MARIE: Perfect. Okay. Now we want to filter these tasks to the template. So, let’s add a filter here.

JASON: Hold up.

MARIE: Yep. This is gonna blow your mind, Jason.

JASON: I’m about to get upset, aren’t I?

MARIE: So, yeah, choose the “related to”

JASON: Contains.

MARIE: Where you select page, we’re gonna select the template. Hopefully it loads. There you go. Basic project template. Now, because there are no tasks associated, that’s gonna be empty, right? So, this is step one. Now, above the tasks database, I would say let’s assume there are things that you do need to have happen for every project. I would put them here. So, in todos, bullets, whatever you want it to look like, but I would almost prelist a list of some task templates. Perfect. This is great for projects that have, you know, multiple phases and steps. I’ll show you what I mean in a second. Okay, great. So, we’ve got this. Now let’s close out of this project. This is a very rudimentary template.

JASON: Okay.

MARIE: Now let’s make a project with this new template.

JASON: Okay.

MARIE: So, you can either click on your board view, like, under “active” or just click the new blue button. Whatever is  whatever you want.

JASON: Click here?

MARIE: Mmhmm. So, let’s create a new imaginary project.

JASON: Got it. I have done so.

MARIE: Just type in a name. Test project or something like that. Great. Now let’s open up that entry. We’re gonna apply the new template that you made. So, scroll down to the bottom. Basic project template. Okay, great.

JASON: Wait. Did this auto filter to this?

MARIE: It did.

JASON: Oh, come on.

MARIE: Now drag those three items into your task database. You can highlight all of them, drag them in, if you want.

JASON: Get out.

MARIE: You might have dragged it inside your 

JASON: Oh, whoops. I did.

MARIE: So, undo. Just to remember for folx, yeah, make sure that there is that thin horizontal line. Perfect. Okay.

JASON: Wait. Is it smart enough to, like 


JASON: I don’t want to finish them all. Let me just do one. Come on. So, now it did create an extra column of checked.

MARIE: Interesting. Okay.

JASON: Okay. That’s fine. Because 

MARIE: I think if you hadn’t checked it, it wouldn’t do that, yeah.

JASON: Oh, I think now it’s created the thing. Let me uncreate it.

MARIE: Right.

JASON: Get out of here. Okay. So, that’s fine. This is amazing.

MARIE: Now, scroll up. You’ll notice that the relation is there, right? Those are already there.

JASON: Mmhmm.

MARIE: So, those are already tied together. So now, again, you’ve got a template that whenever you need to spin up 20 tasks. This is where, again, if your views are ready to go. Let’s say different team members have a different task, you can have three columns of task. These are Jason’s task. There’s ten of Marisa’s tasks. Just really speedy. You can set up a whole project and assign everybody their tasks with some different views kind of ready to go.

JASON: That is extremely cool.

MARIE: And you can apply the same template to your other projects that you have in there. Those are empty as well. You can oneclick apply  I would probably highlight those, delete them, apply the template, and paste them back in. It’s just some goofy Notion stuff. There you go. And then you can paste them back in.

JASON: Take those, drop them in.

MARIE: Now we’ll just want to check the relation on this, because we want to make sure we’re only dealing with the correct 

JASON: It does want to create that check box every time.

MARIE: I might even do those as bullets instead of checked boxes.

JASON: Oh, okay.

MARIE: Or even lines of text that are kind of ready to go. You can filter out just show me the stuff that’s not done. Just show me the stuff that’s, you know 

JASON: And we can, like, sort it, too, right? So, we can say, like, sort by, done, ascending. And make sure the undone stuff shows at the top.

MARIE: Let’s make sure this relation is correct. This is showing from your other project which we don’t want. We only want to see this current project, right? Which project are we on right now?

JASON: It looks like I did  I think this is right.

MARIE: Okay. Update 

JASON: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I just created some tasks manually on the other one. Then, okay, so, now I need to edit this template, though. If I want to edit my template, I go into templates here and edit, right?

MARIE: Exactly. Then if you’ve got something close, you can duplicate it. Make a new one.

JASON: Turn into bulleted list. Okay. Now let’s try it on this one. I’m going to basic project template. I broke it. No, there it goes. Okay. And then I’m gonna drag these in. And no extra column this time. That is glorious. Like what a fantastic thing. And, like, the cool thing about this, too, is  so, if I’m here and I go out and create a new thingy, and I say, like, this is a project to do something awesome. Right? Then that synopsis shows up here.

MARIE: You can have templates to ask the owner, put your weekly status update here. You could have a callout button. The first thing you see is where is the project at, is anything blocked? Something like that. Lots of options in terms of what you show and kind of how you show it.

JASON: Mmhmm. Yeah, I mean, and this is, like, I’m thinking, you know, my head’s kind of spinning with things that you need, right? Like so every project, you need, like, a TLDR, right? So, we could take this and add in an H2 and, like  what’s the TLDR for this project?

MARIE: Exactly.

JASON: And then down here you could say, you know  oh, you know what we could show? Somebody asked about gant charts. I’m kind of interested in this as well. Like these are projects. How do we show the progression of these projects?

MARIE: Yeah.

JASON: We’ve got, like, six minutes. So, we can do the very, very, very fast version of this.

MARIE: Yeah, so, a couple of different things. There is obviously the project gant chart. Then you’ve got the tasks gant chart. You can show the specific tasks for update team Notion workflow, if you want to. You can either on this page show your tasks in a gant chart. I would have it inside of every project, you can see just that project’s tasks in a gant chart.

JASON: Okay. I definitely want to see that. I think we have time to, like, show the projects on a gant chart.

MARIE: Sure. Let’s make a new view of 

JASON: Okay. New view. Timeline, right?

MARIE: Mmhmm.

JASON: Project timeline.

MARIE: You’ll have to assume that each project has a date property. We can definitely adjust those.

JASON: We’ll need to create those, right? If I go in here and add a property 

MARIE: We have a date property at the top already.

JASON: So, would I want to do, like, kickoff date and, like, deadline? Because can’t you set, like, a start date/end date sort of thing?

MARIE: You can. In the date property, you can set a start and end date. Also, some teams have more of  there is more necessity for specific dates like that. So, some people might be like, yeah, kickoff date is X. Or there is a specific deliverable. So, some teams will have more than one date property. If you just want to do a basic one. I would update the date property you’ve already added in there, and just give it that start and end date.

JASON: Okay. Let’s do that. We’re gonna do start and end date. Format date.

MARIE: You can click in the field to the right of it. There you go.

JASON: Okay. So, we’ll set this to be for  we’ll say this started on the 20th and it ends today. And then for the other ones, let’s add this one. Date can be  it started a couple of days ago. It’s going to go until October 8th.

MARIE: Make sure you add that end date, because otherwise you changed the date property without the range. You actually have to enable.

JASON: Oops. I thought it was. Okay. We’ve got this one and this one here. Okay. So, I need to go back into this one.

MARIE: Then of course you can drag that, too. Once it’s on the timeline view, you’ll be able to shift it around and, like, drag out those dates.

JASON: Oh, that’s right. So, you can kind of just change 

MARIE: Exactly. Handydandy. Then we can turn on the owner as well. So, you’ll see a nice little face of the person that’s kind of leading that project as well.

JASON: Properties. Owner.

MARIE: And I think you  I forget what I did last time. I think you have to hide it  there’s, like, a funny thing we had to do last time so it would just show up on the righthand side but not collapsed. There you go. There’s another thing, too. If you’ve got two date properties, you can set the beginning date to one and the second to another. So, you’ve got some options there.

JASON: Okay. So, let’s see. If I hide, it doesn’t show faces. Can I click on these? Edit property.

MARIE: I had this happen last time. I can’t remember what we did. I might have to follow up with you on this. I know there’s, like, a 

JASON: That is  okay. I feel like we got a huge amount of information there. So, let me unhide. I have a theory. I’m gonna unhide owner. And then I’m going to collapse. Didn’t do what I thought it was going to do. That’s okay.

MARIE: Now try turning on the properties again with it collapsed. Turn on the owner. There you go. You can turn on the status. The priority. And then, I mean, this is where you get crazy, but if your tasks are related, you can actually show related tasks on here. It gets pretty intense. You’ve got a lot of flexibility here.

JASON: This is really, really powerful stuff. I feel like there are huge things we can do here that make a big difference, right? Let’s see, if I turn on the team, do I get everybody’s face? I do. Look at that. I mean, like, that’s so dang cool. I love that so much. And, again, this is, like, a very  let’s go quarterly, right? Then we can see sort of what’s going on in broader strokes. You can see when you overflow the date, it still shows it. If we realize  like this one was here, oh, we’re overloaded. Let’s move this back and we can pull it back a little ways and say, nope, we’re not going to start that until this one’s done. Well, that is, I mean, that’s all the time we have. So, how about this 


JASON: Where should someone go if they want to take further steps? Are there any resources you recommend? I imagine you’ve got a few.

MARIE: Yeah, definitely. I teach this tough. if you want to check that out. I’m partnering up with Notion to do hot seats for businesses. Startups can submit a use case and we will actually live workshop it. We do that every other Wednesday. If you’re curious about that and want to watch more of these team hot seats, you’ll probably find that on Twitter.

JASON: On Twitter?

MARIE: Yeah, Notion announced that on Twitter. Keep an eye out for those. Follow me on Twitter as well.

JASON: The NotionHQ Twitter would be the one to follow. Go check that out. Anywhere else you want people to look at?

MARIE: YouTube’s great. Got lots of videos on YouTube with some walkthroughs and tutorials. Twitter is the place where I kind of keep things most up to date. Notion Mastery if you want to go down the deep rabbit hole. My partner and I are going to be working on Notion for teams.

JASON: Oh, cool.

MARIE: So many more nuances when you’re sharing. It’s complex. We want to get Teams up and running quickly. There’s more pain there, right?

JASON: Absolutely. Well, this has been so much fun. I had an absolute blast.

MARIE: Yay. You were a great sport.

JASON: Let’s give another quick shoutout to the captioning. Thank you Jordan from White Coat Captioning for being here today. That is made possible by our sponsors, Netlify, Fauna, Hasura, and Auth0. That is on the homepage of the site, and you can click each of these sponsors to go check them out. While you’re on the homepage, go ahead and head over to the schedule because we’ve got an absolutely incredible schedule coming up. We are going to do Next and Contentful. We’re going to do personalization. Composable text editors and just so much good stuff is coming up. Go give this a scroll. Go add all of this to Google Calendar. I am just so thrilled for what’s coming up. Make sure you click this button and give us a follow on Twitch if you don’t already. With that, we are out of time. Marie, thank you so much for spending some time with us today.

MARIE: It was a blast.

JASON: So much fun. I wish we had, like, three more hours. I could keep going forever. Chat, stay tuned. We’re going to go find somebody to raid. Marie, thank you again. We will see you all next time.

MARIE: Thanks so much.

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