This is the ninth entry in a series on my Notion architecture for various life management systems. To see the full series, please visit the home page, Productivity In Notion .
Task management may be my white whale. If you name an app or a system, there's a good chance I've tried it. At this point I think the reality is that I am just a procrastinator, but as with Sisyphus, I will keep trying to push that boulder up the hill!
That said, I've renovated my task management in Notion a lot since the initial Tasks Tracker 1.0 post and the subsequent Task Update: On To "Do Dates". Read those two if you want to understand my evolution on this before checking out what Task Management 3.0 looks like!
So let's dive into what I will humbly describe as a completely awesome task setup! I'll rehash some of the essentials from the previous two posts on this topic.
Tasks are powered by one main database in Notion that has only a couple inputs that are used:
- Name: the name of the task/what shows up on my task calendar and lists
- Do Date: the date that the task is planned to be done on. Left blank if there is not a specific plan
- Project: the Project the task relates to Managing Projects In Notion, which is still a cornerstone of my Notion Architecture
- Several other fields are autopopulated: the creation date I keep as a field for record purposes, and I pull in the Topic (Topic Database) that a Project relates to. This is helpful for filtering purposes as we'll get into.
So that's simple enough, but that simplicity is a feature. You need task management to be as easy as possible to get data into the system.
The magic though of Task Manager 3.0 comes with the "Task Manager Plus" page. This page brings in three different views of the Task Database to create an easy drag-and-drop interface. Let's take a look:
This may be a bit tricky to read, but don't worry too much about the actual tasks! The point is this:
- The main part of the screen is a calendar, that shows any tasks with a "Do Date" assigned. I filtered this a bit for this screenshot, but normally this would show ~5 tasks each day for the next few days, and maybe a few tasks beyond that.
- To add a task on a specific day, I just click on the "plus" that shows up over a day and type in the name - the do date is populated automatically!
- But I don't want to overschedule too much! Plans change, and filling a calendar leads to a bunch of stuff that will probably realistically have to be moved. Ideally a "Do Date" is a commitment: I WILL do something if its do date is set.
- So on the right, we have the "On Deck Tasks" section at the top. This is where the next set of things that'll be done are stored. This does rely on a "Status" column that I did not mention above, but the view filters to where the status is "On Deck". But in practice, I never have to set this status myself! By dragging a task from the calendar to the boxes or from the "Tasks to be Assigned" Section, it will update the status accordingly!
- The last box, called "Tasks to be assigned" is a view of all tasks without a Do Date and that are not "On Deck". Functionally it is a backlog of a bunch of stuff. As with the "On Deck" tasks, these can be dragged to the calendar to assign a do date, or dragged to the On Deck section to update that.
- Lastly, as tasks are completed, I can just drag them to the "Completed Task DB" to complete them! This clears them from this database, but moves them to a mirrored database that has, well, all completed tasks. Because this has the "Do Date", it can be used to refer back and see how many tasks are completed in a given day, week, month, etc. For a stat nerd like myself, this is great!
So that is it! I do have views of my tasks on my "Day Planner Plus" view which I'll cover soon, but this view I cover here is incredibly helpful. In a glance it gives me a view of everything I need and an easy way to add new tasks, rearrange/reprioritize them, and complete them. Every action is basically one-click or one drag!
One other perk is that with the Project and Topic fields, I can create filters on this task list. For example, I have a view where I can filter this to only work-related tasks during the workday, and similarly filter to only personal tasks on weekends. This again helps reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed with too many tasks, and focus the mind on figuring out what is best to do for each sphere of my life.
Want to give it a try? I've created a template that you can use, minus the project linking: Basic Task Manager Template!
Any questions? Feel free to leave a comment and I will try to address! Admittedly this would be better to see in action or in a template. I'll consider doing both if there is interest!