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Organize Your Life in Categories with 📦 Areas & Resources

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Introduction

In our daily lives, we’re constantly faced with tasks, responsibilities, interests, and near information overload. The sheer volume can be overwhelming, making it important to find effective ways to organize and manage these various aspects.

Categorizing these elements into broader, manageable groups is not only beneficial but is almost required to maintain clarity and efficiency in today’s world.

This article explores the fundamental concepts behind organizing your life in Notion using Areas and Resources and offers practical steps to implement this strategy in your life.

Key Insights

Throughout your life there are various broad categories that you can group your interests and activities under.

With the near infinite combination of things that can enter your life, you undoubtedly already group related information together so that it’s all in the same place.

Imagine if every time you wanted a glass of orange juice you had to go to your bedroom closet to get a cup, then to the garage to get the juice, to ultimately end up at the kitchen table reading the news like you originally planned. Don’t forget to put everything away when you’re done!

The process would be so wildly cumbersome that you would probably never drink orange juice again unless someone got it for you.

The same thing happens with any interest or responsibility you have.

Notion Areas & Resources Explained

As a general rule of thumb, the more interest you have, the harder it is to keep up with all of them. As the old saying goes “A jack of all trades is a master of none” and the often unsaid rest “but oftentimes better than a master of one.”

Why limit yourself to one interest when you now have the ability to neatly organize anything you want into a single place that grows with you?

Areas explained

In Notion, an 🗄 Area is a central topic in your life that serves as an overarching category. Sometimes called ‘life buckets’, areas serve as a top-level organizer under which multiple projects, tasks, goals, and resources can be grouped around a common theme.

For example, in your unique line of work, you most likely complete several different groups of related tasks throughout the year; you may have administrative tasks near the end of the year and active operations in the summer.

Both responsibilities fall under the area of your work, but they consist of different projects to accomplish various goals throughout the year.

It sure would be nice to neatly separate those things you do at different times of the year, huh?

But what about all the tools and support documents you have to help you do those duties?

That’s where 📁 Resources come into play.

Resources explained

A 📁 Resource is a collection of related information within an area of your life.

If you have notes, docs, or tools that you use to help accomplish those tasks or projects, such as a collection of administrative checklists, you would consider those resources and file them away for future use.

Most people are familiar with a file system like OneDrive or Google Drive, or the standard file system. A resource is pretty much the same thing, just more accessible with what can be stored and used.

A key distinction to make between areas and resources is that resources do not contain actionable items and only offer the necessary information to accomplish objectives.

By dedicating Areas to actionable items and Resources to reference material you streamline your organization and information recall exponentially.

Getting Started

Now that you know the fundamental concept of organize your life into broad categories, let’s get you started in Notion.

The following section heads into the slightly more technical aspects of using Areas & Resources in Notion. Once you understand this relationship, you’ll achieve a much deeper level of organization and efficiency in your life.

Before you move on, there is a slight disclaimer I like to give before getting technical. If you prefer to skip to the action steps, feel free to skip this section.

Action Steps

Starting off, the Areas & Resources Hub is a completely blank canvas ready for you to organize and interests you have.

To effectively use Areas & Resources in Notion, use the following steps:

  1. Define your areas
  2. Create your resources
  3. Add relations to other database
  4. Add linked views to display information

Simple enough.

Here’s a more detailed explanation:

  1. Define your areas

Start by deciding what the highest level of organization is that you want to group your activities and interests.

Depending on how much information you need to organize, it may not make sense to get detailed with your organization yet.

Instead, start off with broad Areas like “Work”, “Home”, or “Life Admin” to capture most of what comes into your life. The broader the classification, the more information that will be contained in it. 2. Create Your Resources

Once your area is defined, you can create individual resources to group notes, docs, and other information under.

Starting off the most common resources are “Work – Notes” and “Life – Notes”, but you can be as detailed or as specific as needed. 3. Add relations to other databases

Once your areas and resources are created, use a relation property to connect the Areas & Resources database any other database.

You will then be able to link pages from each database together for easy reference. 4. Add linked views to display information

If you only want a simple link, you may skip this step.

To view the information related to a specific page on the page itself, create a linked view of the desired database.

Once created, use a self-referential filter to show only pages related to the current page.

As a final step not described, it’s important to continuously adjust and refine your system.

With how easy it is to move information around with nearly zero consequences, there’s always the opportunity to save more time by adjusting the way information is shown.

The key is to figure out how to show only relevant information at any given moment. Once you figure out that, you can scale infinitely.

Advanced Considerations

Disclaimer:

While this concept isn’t essential complex, it is the most abstract by nature and therefore sometimes the hardest to understand. It may take some time to understand, but once it clicks, it will likely become the only way you organize your information from hereon. Just keep in mind that 🗄 Areas and 📁 Resources are very similar to the normal file system used in most computers, just more accessible and flexible.

At the most basic concept, an area is similar to the highest level folder used to organize your files in OneDrive, and a resource would be all subfolders contained inside it.

The main benefit introduced with Notion, though, is the flexibility and accessibility to reference a page from anywhere in your workspace. Due to this flexibility, a new challenge arises of having to intentionally think of where something best belongs.

Notion Technical

As for as actual workflow in Notion, there are some compromises that are made to eliminate the need for multiple properties and reduce the bloat. The main one being that Areas & Resources are contained in the same database and separated by a category type of Resource or Area.

Remember, an Area is for actionable items like projects and goals, a Resource is to contain the information necessary to accomplish those action items.

And since the actions you will do with each are fundamentally the same—link an area to a project to relate the contents; link a project to a resource to relate the contents—it’s ultimately best to use the previous definition to display the different actionable and reference items so that only relevant information is called at the right time.

As a final example, consider an area like your work that often has projects that don’t require half of the tools at your disposal. It would be a pretty big waste of space to bring your entire toolset if you only needed to replace a tire. Similarly, if you have 8 binders and only use 1 at a time, why not reference something only when we need to display the relevant information?

So, by separating the pages based on the way you want to view information, you’re able to organize your interest and activities into separate resources that can be called upon directly from project page when needed.

A key distinction if you want to maximize your ability to reference information is to use a consistent naming convention. The naming convention that

Challenges and Resolutions

Since Notion is essentially a sandbox organization tool, there are a lot of things you can do to automate most of the process.

One thing you can’t automate at this moment, as far as I’m aware, is the ability to automatically add a prefix to the title property based on a related property.

Due to an Area being the highest level of organization, the most reliable way to name the related activities and interests is to use that area as a prefix. Whether that be for a project, resource, goal, or any other related information. When you add the prefix “Work – “ or “Life – “ to a project or resource, all you have to do is search for the area and it will list what you’re looking for. You can then call that information in the fewest amount of steps.

Moving Forward with Confidence

Armed with the insights and strategies shared, you are now ready to enhance your organizational system in Notion.

Start with small and wide, define your Areas and Resources, then refine your approach as you become more attuned to the nuances of your workflow and life’s demands.

Remember, the ultimate goal isn’t to perfect a system, it’s to create one that’s perfectly suited to you and brings joy into managing your life.

As you continue to build, let your system be a living reflection of your priorities, aspirations, and the balance you seek to achieve.

Take this knowledge, apply it with intention, and watch as the pieces of your life align into a coherent, navigable whole. Here’s to your success on your productive path!

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