Daily Notes in Notion?

Repeated Structure 🤝 Daily Notes

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I love daily notes. I love the idea of looking back and seeing what I was doing on this day in the past, what I was feeling, thinking, doing, who I was interacting with, what food I was making.

I call this capturing the “essence of the every day”.

Using the daily note feature of the apps I use every day is a great way to do this. But of the three apps I use religiously, Logseq, Capacities, and Notion, I actually take the most daily notes in the app without a built-in daily note function: Notion.

I chose Notion because its databases are currently unbeatable.

With Notion, I have developed BethOS, a LifeOS that runs off a handful of key databases. The aim here is to have as few databases as possible that show up in as many different pages as I need.

As you can see, the time databases (day, week, month, quarter, year) are first. These run my life and my Notion workspace.

Read on to see how it works.

If something is not in front of me, I will forget it exists, and the information I have bothered to save and organise will be unused. So, my BethOS homepage is built off the same idea: put things in front of me so I don’t forget.

I have a view of the day database, filtered to today’s date, yesterday’s date and tomorrow’s date for easy access. This is how I access my Notion daily note.

You can see from the screenshot above that the day database has 30+ properties. To to avoid having a great long list of them, I have linked several views of the same database in the blocks of the page (as a template), which gives me something more visually appealing every day to interact with.

Let’s break it down section by section.

Today at a glance

each day (left) is related to the week it belongs to (right)

  • I try to choose an emoji everyday to represent my mood or the weather.

  • Every day is related to the week it belongs to which makes my weekly reviews a breeze

  • I think it’s very important to work with your body to better understand how you work, hence why I track my cycle daily and what’s going on with me at that time. There are some properties under the hood helping me out here, and a relation to my cycle tracking database

  • I choose one thing to focus on each day, otherwise I’ll get overwhelmed and do nothing!

Mood, habits, health

As part of being in tune with my body, I track my mood, any health concerns and my habits. I’ve had a rough year with my health and I’m trying to take control and be more conscious of what’s going on.

Part of this is maintaining healthy habits, so I have a formula property that reads how many habits I’ve ticked off, and tells me to keep going until I hit 100%. This is working well for me!

Rotating inspiration and throwback

I used to have a very unproductive habit of saving outfit inspiration pictures or links to a shopping list that I never review again. I developed two databases to help me there, and then using Mattias Frank’s Notion tutorial, I managed to get one example of an outfit and one thing I’d like to buy randomly showing up in my daily page, reminding me of what I’m working towards, and also reminding me to mindfully spend money.

I get this reminder every day and it’s been very efficient.

shopping and outfits on the left, throwback in media database on the right

Then, as part of my essence crusade, I almost squealed with joy at Jill Metcalfe’s throwback tweet. She gave Twitter a formula that I could tweak to match the week number of the current day, to find out what I was consuming in that week in previous years. It’s a view of my media database, which has been going for a couple of years now, so I really enjoy this. I feel like I’m interacting with my past self, and I get a lot of joy out of that.

What did you do today

The final section is what I did today.

The properties here are relations to other databases. In order: my food database, my people database, my places database, my goals and projects database, and my media database.

As I mentioned above, I want to use the information I save. If I have a property to fill in asking which recipe I made from my recipe database, I’m more likely to scroll through the recipes for inspiration and cook something from it. Same with my places database. It also reminds me to work on my goals and projects daily as much as possible.

Filling in these fields, such as the ‘I watched’ property is also useful to future Beth, who in Week 15 of 2024 will see that I was watching the Righteous Gemstones in Week 15 of 2023.

Personal Journalling

You’ll notice there’s no room for the kind of brain-dump/personal journalling that you might expect in daily notes. This is because I use Logseq for this.

Logseq’s default page is the daily note, and before I built BethOS, Logseq was my daily driver for about a year, meaning I journalled every day in there. I’ve carried on putting personal thoughts in there, which I wrote about in this blogpost. If you just want to write down your thoughts, Logseq is perfect.

But I’ve learned that I need structure in order to maintain my systems and workflows, and Notion is the way for me to do the more structured tracking. I like complimenting it with the free-flowing journal thoughts in Logseq.

Summary

So whilst Notion does not have daily notes by default, I have used their wonderful database functions to create a system where I have a daily driver, a central hub where all my key databases come together to meet two of my PKM System needs: record the essence of the every day, and use the information I save. Logseq helps me with the more personal journalling too.

The joy I feel working with these daily notes makes me want to come back every day, and that’s how you find a system that works for you :)

Do you use Notion every day? Do you use daily notes?

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