I generally try to avoid the term “new year’s resolutions”. To me, new year’s resolutions are half-assed goals you set on the 1st of January and forget by the end of the week. Instead, every year I make an annual plan using Notion. How I organise this plan is an ever-evolving thing, I’m always changing and optimising it. In today’s post, I look back at how I organised things in 2020 and how I’ve improved my approach for 2021.

How it started

About 5 years ago, I started to make an effort towards taking my life into my own hands. In 2019, I discovered a tool called Notion and I immediately fell in love with it. It allowed me to keep track of just about everything in my life. I actually made a blog post about how I first organised my Notion pages here. That was the first year I made an annual plan.

Since then, the overall structure of my Notion workspace has been fairly unchanged. However, I’ve made several improvements to the individual pages over the past couple of years.

2020, the good

Ah, 2020. I don’t think anything could have prepared us for last year. Still, I was determined to get most of what I had planned for the year done. For the most part actually, it was a pretty productive year for me. In 2019, I had goals for the year, but no shorter deadlines. I found this to be a bad idea for me personally as I ended up completing a lot of my goals only in December. As a bit of a procrastinator, I need the motivation of shorter deadlines and more bite-sized goals.

In 2020, this worked wonders for me. My new strategy of quarterly goals helped me achieve more than I did the year before and frequent reasons for celebrating progress kept me motivated all year round.

2020, the bad

With that being said, the annual plan wasn’t always easy to stick to, and not just because of everything going on in the world. I actually use two apps to plan and track my goals. The other app I use is TickTick, a to-do list app. On Notion, I plan out my goals for the four quarters of the year as well as for each month. I use TickTick to plan out my tasks for each day. In 2020, I found out the hard way that I wasn’t keeping these two aligned well enough.

While managing my daily tasks, I often lost sight of what was important to complete for the month. This would lead to me realizing way too late into the month that I’d forgotten about a couple of tasks!

Looking ahead

That brings me to 2021. I’d like to share a new screen with you that I’ve created for Notion that will hopefully fix the above-mentioned problem.

A "now" page in Notion. Which I use to keep track of my annual plan.

This is my “Now” page. I’ve embedded TickTick directly on the page and placed it alongside my monthly goals so I always have sight of my current priorities. I’ve also added some more elements to the page to help keep me motivated and productive, including a Pomodoro timer I built in React. I’ll write some more about that next month!

In conclusion

I’ve made my “Now” page in Notion act as my new tab in Chrome so I look at it quite often. So far, it is working wonders for keeping my daily tasks aligned with my monthly goals. As the year goes on, I might find some parts of my Notion & TickTick setup that might require improvements, but for now, I’m quite happy with it and ready to tackle 2021.

Do you plan your own goals in a different way? Reach out to me on Twitter, I’d love to hear what works for you.