Working on multiple projects is a part of Ph.D. life, and soon we can get overwhelmed by the amount of work that we have to manage. In the past, I had tried to manage my work with multiple tools, but now I manage everything in NOTION. For those of you who have not heard about NOTION, it is an awesome productivity tool that helps you manage different aspects of your digital life. The best part is that it is free to use for students and is immensly customizable. In this post I just want to jot down my process of managing a project in NOTION for future reference, and, maybe someday it might help other fellow researchers also.

I wish to achieve the following with my new system

  • I should be able to plan my weekly tasks on sundayโ€™s and then every day it will show me what to do next.
  • I should be able to reschedule my pending tasks to next days
  • The system should force me to not make significant changes in the middle of the week.

To achieve the above goals I have made the following mind-map.

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The project is divided into 4 distinct parts.

  • Introduction. The intenition of this part is to always remind me about the goals of the project and to have a short overview.
  • Notes. This one is the most important part of the project. I should not go into the notes section, but rather make notes in their respective Actions.
  • Tasks. Tasks are the major goals that we have to achieve to complete the project. These should be planned at the starting of the project. These are not actionable items, but rather milestones that we must achive. They should usually take more than a week worth of time to get completed. e.g. Complete the literature review.
  • Actions. These are the daily actions that we should perform to achieve our goal. They should be written as if you are giving command to your future self to work on. These should take less than a day to complete. e.g. Open the repository in Sublime and add the test module to test mesh_function. They should also have a particular day assigned to them so that you can view them in the calendar view.

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The homepage should be used throughout the week. That is why there is no timeline view or any other kind of view for tasks and actions. Just work on what is planned.

Now once I have all these sections on a daily basis, I have to do the following.

  • Start. List down all the major tasks that you have to perform for the completion of the project.

  • Sundays. Do a weekly review of the past week and plan your work for the coming week. This weekly review should be on a physical notebook and not in this system. For planning you should go to the page for Tasks so that you can use the different views. Do not add views to the homepage.

  • Weekdays. Live on the homepage. Open it and check for the actions that you have decided to work on in the calendar veiw. Open the action and start working on it.