Last month I wrote a few articles about Notion, a powerful personal productivity database. I explained how I use it on a daily basis and included some tips and tricks.
Since then, I have received quite a few questions from readers. Some of the most common questions include “how do I create a new project?” and “what else can I do with Notion?”
In today’s article, I’ll answer both of these questions by showing how to create a Notion project that’s part of my daily management kit.
Statement of the problem
I work with a lot of different companies and teams within those companies. Although I have a strong email trail for all of my contacts, it’s often difficult to determine who is who and where they fit into the overall organization.
Managers have long had the org chart tool to understand the staff of an organization. We are going to recreate the flowchart functionality in Notion.
There will be a difference. Most org charts are tree structures, with management at the top and subordinates at the bottom. Notion does not have this ability (although it should). But what Notion has is a Toggle List data type. We will use it to build our tree.
Creation of a new Notion page
Let’s start by creating a new Notion page. This is my demo dashboard, a page I set up in Notion that will allow me to create demo pages for articles like this.
To create a new flowchart page, simply press the / key and select Page.
You will immediately be dropped off on a new page. The main thing here is to give it a name. For our purposes, let’s name it Org Chart (NCC-1701). Notion allows you to put header images on your pages. To do this, hover your cursor over the title and click Add Cover.
A random cover image will be added. Move your cursor over the image and select Change Cover.
When you do, you will be presented with an image browser. Here you can choose, download, add link or search Unsplash. I went into Unsplash and searched for Star Trek because of our demo sample; I am building a flowchart of the ASU Enterprise under the command of Captain Christopher Pike. Now my flowchart has a proper banner.
I am now ready to choose my page type. I like to start with a blank page. So I just pressed the little white page icon.
Build the flowchart
We’ll be using the Toggle List feature, so hit the slash and type “T” or scroll down to Toggle List.
Now we just add our team members. Hitting Return gets an even-level toggle. Hitting Tab moves the toggle inward. And Shift-Tab pulls the toggle out. You can also drag and drop rows to move entries.
As you can see, the toggles allow us to nest groups and display the hierarchy, which is how Sam Kirk is represented as Spock’s subordinate.
I’m sure you’ve figured this out already, but it’s the crew of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701 in the new series Star Trek: Strange New Worlds on Paramount+. You’re missing out on a treat if you haven’t checked out this series. SNW gets everything every other recent Star Trek series got wrong. That’s pretty close to a home run.
Expand Flowchart Concept
You can extend the org chart concept to manage multiple clients or companies. In this example, you can see how various organizations can be managed on one page.
Simply close the toggle to hide the underlying information. Note that you can also add supporting notes, like how I showed how command of the USS Discovery was a revolving door of management issues.
Recommendation for Notion people
As early as 1986, Living Videotext’s MORE product was able to convert a plan into a flowchart graphic or a slideshow graphic. Indeed, the outline data structure easily represents both models of graphical presentation.
I recommend that Notion add an option to represent a toggle list like these two chart types. This would greatly increase the potential of the product.
So what about you? Have you built any interesting projects with Notion? Do you plan to follow the organizational structure of the clients or organizations you work with? Did you use MORE at the time? Let us know in the comments below.
You can follow updates of my day-to-day projects on social networks. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @DavidGewirtzon Facebook at Facebook.com/DavidGewirtzon Instagram at Instagram.com/DavidGewirtzand on YouTube at YouTube.com/DavidGewirtzTV.
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