10 Tips for Using Notion More Effectively

It’s no secret at this point that Notion is my favourite app. I use it for pretty much everything, and it has completely changed the way I organize my life. I’ve been using it regularly for quite a while now, and I’ve picked up a few tricks and dug up some underused features that I think will really help you streamline your process and make Notion that much more powerful for your workflow.

If you’ve never heard of Notion, definitely check out my list of ten reasons why you should use Notion (or why you shouldn’t) to get a better idea if this app will be the right fit for you.

1. Keep Frequently Used Links in a Synced Block

The Synced Block is one you can copy to other pages, and whatever you put inside of it will sync across every instance of it. Any changes you make to it on one page will be reflected in all of them, which makes it perfect for creating an index that you can copy to many of the pages in your workspace and easily navigate your setup.

You can also favourite pages and they will appear in the sidebar, but having the synced block means you can click and drag items into and out of the block with ease, and you can move items into other pages, like your archive for instance, without much hassle. It is particularly useful on tablets and mobile devices. where your usable space is far more limited.

2. Use Templates to Auto-Fill Database Properties

If you find you are habitually creating the same page template in your database (like a layout for a blog post or video script, for example), you can create templates within your database that will save you a lot of time.

But did you know that you can also use these templates to automatically fill certain database properties? Anything you add to the template, including properties, will be included on that template when you generate a new one.

So, for example, if you use a master database to organize your content creation, you can divide up your templates based on the type of content you are creating – podcast, blog post, Youtube video, etc. You can tag the type in their respective templates, and each time you select your podcast template, it will be tagged appropriately.

If you use a database of databases as I do (or if you use my custom Writing Dashboard), this can be particularly useful for quickly organizing notes and content that you repeatedly generate.

3. Use @ For Quick Linking and Setting Reminders

Don’t be like me and neglect the @ key. You can quickly link to other pages by entering “@” and then searching the name in the box. Notion will filter the list based on your search term and you can click the correct page and insert it into your document.

If you use Notion for task management or as a digital planner, you can tack it on at the end of your task or project and assign it a date and time. If you have Notion on your phone, it will push a notification on the selected date, which is extremely useful if you tend to set and forget.

4. Optimize Your Database Layout

Databases have received a pretty robust overhaul in terms of appearance, and there are a couple of features, in particular, that you might want to consider.

The first of these improvements is the ability to hide the database title. You can access the menu by clicking on the three dots in the upper right of the database, and clicking on Layout. Underneath the options for how you want to display your database, you will see an option that will let you hide the database title. If you have multiple instances of a large database, being able to tuck away the title will make it easier to navigate, and allow you to create unique headings for each instance.

Alternatively, you can create different instances by creating new “views”, and with the update it works even better than it did before.

At the top of any database, you can create new “views”, replicating the same information in different formats. The default is a table with all of the various properties, but you can also view it as a kanban board, a gallery, a simple list, or even a timeline. You can also create multiple tables or lists that have been filtered and sorted differently, and by creating different views at the top, you create “tabs” you can flip through to make it easier to quickly view different information in your database. This is really useful, especially when you’re using large databases and multiple instances that might slow your page load time.

5. Create a Table of Contents

If you take notes or happen to have very long documents in your Notion, you might find them easier to navigate if you create a table of contents at the top of the page. Any headings you have made will appear as clickable links in the order that they appear on the page. You can access the block with “/table of contents” and it will adjust as you add, remove, or change your headings, so your page will always be organized how you want it.

6. Use Narrow Templates for a Split-Screen Experience

A recent update allows for pages from databases to be displayed a little differently, and I found this to be quite useful for creating a split-screen experience. In the menu in the top right corner, if you look under layout you will see a property titled “Open Pages in” which allows you to change your page display to “Side Peek”, essentially allowing you to have two pages open at the same time.

While still applicable to a wide-width Notion setup, part of your page will be cut off. With a standard resolution monitor (1920 x 1080), using this feature with a narrow setup will cause pages in a database to appear to the right of your current page, and allow you to view both pages at the same time. This is extremely useful, especially when you are going through many pages at a time to collect or review information.

7. Preserve Columns with Pages

The toggle feature is excellent for tucking away information and keeping your pages clean, but under normal circumstances, you can’t organize the content inside into columns like you can outside of the toggle. While toggles are useful, this really inhibits how well they can organize your information. But there is a pretty simple workaround.

Create a page with the title you plan to give your toggle and organize the information in that page as you want it to appear in the toggle. Now simply return to the original page, navigate to the six dots on the left side of the page title, and scroll down to Turn Into > Toggle List. This will turn the page into a toggle, and preserve the columns within!

You can also use this same feature for template buttons, which leads me to my next tip:

8. Use Template Buttons for Frequently Duplicated Items

The template button is so incredibly helpful for easily generating blocks, templates or information you need on a regular basis. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated either. For example, you might have a specific way you like to format your toggles – by making a template button, you can very quickly skip those extra steps.

And if there is anything you want to duplicate while preserving columns, simply turn it into a page first. Once you turn that page into a template button, your layout will appear exactly how it did as a page.

9. Organize Large Databases with Subgroups

This particular feature is only applicable to the kanban layout, but it can be extremely useful, especially if you use Notion as a task manager.

Subgrouping essentially allows you to separate the contents of the database among two properties instead of just one. When you first create the kanban board, you choose the property you want to group things by. After that, when you click on the menu in the top right, you can add a subgroup, and add an additional property with which Notion will organize your content.

You can separate tasks among projects or team members, or organize blog posts to see where there might be any content gaps.

10. Keep Your Pages Clean with Hidden Properties

If you’re anything like me and you use a database of databases, your pages will probably have dozens of empty properties that make the page look unnecessarily cluttered and will force you to scroll to get to any of the actual page content.

Thankfully, if you click on the six dots to the left of that property, you can choose to hide it completely or hide only when that property is empty. This can be extremely useful if you have many properties that aren’t in use by some of your database entries.

If you pair this with database templates, you can auto-fill those properties, and never have to mess with them at all! And even though they are neatly tucked away, you can always open them up again to make any manual changes.

What Are Some of Your Notion Tips?

I’ve been using Notion for a long time, and it continues to impress me with each update. Do you use Notion? What are some of your favourite features? What are some tips or tricks that you’ve picked up? Let me know in the comments!

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