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How I use Notion as a developer

itzami profile image Rui Sousa Originally published at itzami.com ・4 min read

Notion is an amazing tool that helps you organize your work and you can pretty much adjust to all of your needs. Also, there are a lot of templates to choose from made by incredibly creative people.

My Overall Setup

My Overall Setup

I use Notion for a lot of stuff (activity tracker, money manager, diary) but it all started when I realized that I had way too many development blog posts saved in my browser's bookmarks. Once I took a clear look at them I said to myself

There's no way I would ever find here, even if I wanted

So, something had to be done about it and that's when I started using Notion! My first database was Reading List.

Reading List

Reading List

The Reading List serves as my organized collection where I put the articles or tutorials that I find interesting for stuff that will surely be useful for my career. More than being a collection of stuff that I haven't read before, it's a collection of stuff that I know will always be useful for me and that I should always take into consideration.

Yes, a Google search might serve the same purpose but here I'm capable to organize the info as I want

And that's what I do. Since Notion allows you to add tags and filters, it's the perfect way to only what you actually want to see, which facilitates search. I also ended up using Gallery mode because, for me, having a list of links isn't particularly interesting and I want something that is eye-popping and I can find easily. I would say that the images do the trick!

However, I ended up realizing that not everything belongs to the Reading List and they are just stuff that I find around the internet that seems interesting but I don't really have time to read them right when I find them so that's where Quick Links appear!

Quick Links

Quick Links

Quick Links pretty much represents what I don't want my Reading List to look like but when you're on your phone you don't have time to make an incredible-looking database. Instead, you just copy & paste the link and title and you're all set for when you actually have time to study whatever you've found.
It basically serves as a triage for whatever comes into my Notion. The material does the check-in here and then they are properly dropped in their own place! I try to have this page as clean as possible since I don't want to repeat my mistake with the bookmarks!

Task List

Task List

I don't like to program my day or even week but, sometimes, when you actually want to have side-projects, you need to organize your life! If you don't, you'll never find the time to work on them so that's why this Task List exists. I mostly use pen and paper for work but for my side projects, considering that I only have the weekends to work on them, it's a great tool and helps me assess the project's progression.

Blog

Blog

I think this one is self-descriptive but I write all my content on Notion before assessing if it's good enough to be published. It's also where I take note of topics that I might want to cover or links to other blog posts that I may want to expand upon.

Note Taking

Note Taking

Here stands the important notes that I take (well, duh!) from my Reading List or books. Some things aren't worth taking notes on and some others deserve a special place to which I can quickly refer to. For example, Rework and The Opinionated Guide to React are two books that I read, enjoyed, and took some notes along the way and I want to preserve them without having to get to the original material again!

App Ideas

App Ideas

I guess that we all have this section on a paper, note app on the phone, or a word document but here stands my quirky ideas for apps, including with technologies that I have no idea on how to work with. Some are supposed to be personal projects, others might turn into actual products. The important part for me here is that I classify these projects on their type (personal or product) and degree of execution ("As of now, how easily can I build it and how motivated am I to do so?"). For me, the degree of execution plays a huge part in it because while all ideas are great, I may just not feel incline to elaborate on them... but I don't want to lose them as well.

Learning X

Learning X

This is basically a sub-division of Note Taking but I also insert here resources for these specific technologies. I'm still starting to build a system for this section but at least I have a visible section for something that I'm currently learning and that's the important part!

That's pretty much it!

If you read this far, thank you so much for it! Hopefully, this post ends up helping something that might need some organization in their life!
I usually ramble a lot on Twitter so you can find me there!

Discussion (26)

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joaofbantunes profile image
João Antunes

Nice ideas!

I'm also using Notion, in many ways similar to you, like for note taking, knowledge base, plus project and blog ideas.

I still use Trello for task management though, as the last time I tried it, using Notion's kanban felt clunky in comparison.

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ericjbible profile image
Eric Bible 🙋🏻‍♂️

I agree! It was a nice article and Notion is a powerful tool for my notes and blog posts but I like Trello for my task management. 🤘🏻🤓🤘🏻

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itzami profile image
Rui Sousa Author

Notion's kanban is indeed a bit clunky but it's good enough for me 😅
It's pretty cool to learn that there's people using Notion with the same purpose, tho 🤘

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g3nark0 profile image
Joel Rivera-Pintado

I started using it this week for work task and will eventually use it for other lists! It's a great tool!

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thursdaydan profile image
thursdaydan

Good luck on your journey, I have recently started on mine too, and in my own experience I've found it to be lacking a certain je ne sais quoi for task management.

One thing I'd love is repeatable tasks, has anyone done this without using a workaround?

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itzami profile image
Rui Sousa Author

It's a really amazing tool and will surely boost your work and studies!
At the start, I was a bit reticent about using it but now I see its true power! 🤘

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himariolopez profile image
Mario Lopez Martinez (he/him)

[...] it all started when I realized that I had way too many development blog posts
saved in my browser's bookmarks. Once I took a clear look at them I said to myself

There's no way I would ever find here, even if I wanted

Me, as of 5 minutes ago.

Thanks for introducing me to Notion! Had started the migration from random bookmarks to OneNote a few moments ago but I just do not enjoy the UI, and it also seems to lack a lot of neat features like creating (relatively) searchable databases. Cheers! 🍻

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itzami profile image
Rui Sousa Author

It's pretty cool that I introduced you to Notion! Give it a try and I'm sure you won't be disappointed

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kumaraditya03 profile image
Kumar Aditya

I was using it the same way for a while, until I got an idea of storing my learning on a repository on GitHub. Now, I'm able to track what I have learnt with good querying support thanks to GitHub. But this idea is also equally effective I would say.

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loebkes profile image
Ludwig Göbkes

You mentioned that you copy and paste the links into quick link. I do the exact same thing with blogs and stuff that I currently can't read but want to later on but I use the share functionality of chrome (android) and use notion as target app. This allows me to choose into which database I want to send the link to. As a bonus notion copies the content of the blog into notion itself and maintains the link. Same goes with working at my laptop. I installed the notion chrome add on which allows the same share functionality.

Maybe I'll write a blog about how I organize these links and use them inside topic pages cause that has been the main benefit of notion for me.

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itzami profile image
Rui Sousa Author

That sounds pretty useful, actually, and it would be great to see how you organize your stuff with it 👍

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jakkc profile image
Jakkc

The irony that this is going into my long list of web dev related bookmarks until I get around to implementing the ideas. :D

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itzami profile image
Rui Sousa Author

Ah, the dreadful postponed list 😅

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mrdulin profile image
official_dulin • Edited
  • Quick links => Microsoft Edge Bookmarks. Use file catalog to classify, use search to find quickly, cloud sync for all platforms.
  • Task List => GitHub Project, Trello web version.
  • Blog => Evernote markdown, tag, cloud sync for all platforms.
  • App Ideas => Evernote.
  • Emails => Send important emails to Evernote, delete unimportant ones, and keep the mailbox clean.
  • RSS => Share valuable content to evernote

etc.

The core principle, the browser is my centralized work platform. Open a VSCode editor, there are only 2 desktop programs: browser and VSCode(sometimes use Evernote desktop version), because I don’t want to open a bunch of desktop programs and switch between them.

Workflow and tools depend on personal choice, there is no right or wrong, the best for you is the best

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sairoko12 profile image
Cristian Benavides Jimenez

These tips are very awesome!

Before start using Notion, my preferred tool was Trello, but with these ideas will discard Trello forever hehehe

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itzami profile image
Rui Sousa Author

Yes! Notion's Kanban is a bit clunky but I'm sure you will have no problems with it!

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andrewbaisden profile image
Andrew Baisden

Awesome I like reading all of these Notion articles it gives me ideas on how I can improve my own workflow.

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lonestargeek profile image
LonestarGEEK

This is so helpful. I have been using Trello, Pocket (reading list), OneNote, etc. it's nice to have it all in one place. Kudos!!

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itzami profile image
Rui Sousa Author

Notion is a great tool! Give it a go and you'll see it pretty much has everything you need

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iammohitsakhuja profile image
Mohit Sakhuja

This is great! I’ve always wondered if and how other developers use Notion, for non work-related tasks. Thanks for sharing this.

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shaijut profile image
Shaiju T

Nice, is it free ?

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itzami profile image
Rui Sousa Author

Yes, Shaiju, Notion is absolutely free. It's only paid if you want to have multiple people on the same space

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mrrcollins profile image
Ryan Collins

I wish Notion had a way to create new notes from an email. That's the one feature that is holding me back from using it. (And using some kludge doesn't scratch that itch. 😁)

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adham_benhawy profile image
Adham El Banhawy

I love this. I've been trying to organize my Notion setup and settled on the Engineering Wiki template with some customizations similar to yours.

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itzami profile image
Rui Sousa Author

Nice! It's great to know that my setup is somewhat similar to yours. It tells me that we pretty much have the same barriers that we want to jump over! 😁

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bl1133 profile image
BL1133

I don't understand why so many products use ugly emojis. Default emojis are awful.