Notion Foundations: Build Your Own Dashboard

In this lesson, we’ll create a personal dashboard for running your day-to-day life. My aim is to help you put together a basic structure and empower you to take the page and run with it.

It’s a personal dashboard, so have fun and make it your own. You can include your goals, habits, timetable, or to-dos. Notion is your oyster!

Final personal dashboard

This will be a fairly simple page and build on the tools explained in the Notion Foundations series. The aim of this page is to help you organize your life in a single place. Interested?

Great, then let’s get this show on the road!

What To Include In A Personal Dashboard

When I think of a personal dashboard, there are three key areas I would like to see on it:

  • Goals – I like to set annual goals and break them down into monthly and quarterly sprints. Having these on my dashboard helps me keep it front and center. It helps me think about whether or not a task is helping me progress toward my goals.
  • To-do list – This can be a simple checklist (what we’ll include) or a complex task manager that you can slice and dice your tasks into priorities and due dates.
  • Knowledge hub – a resource where I can store all my notes and interesting tidbits that I collect along the way

As I mentioned at the start, you should customize this dashboard “skeleton” to suit your lifestyle. If you’re a student, you may want to include a calendar view, or if you’re a solopreneur, you want to have a list of your live projects on the dashboard.

Notion has a templates page here where you can buy ready-made designs from other Notion users.

Here’s a video walkthrough of the first dashboard I ever made in Notion. There’s also a step-by-step guide on building a similar dashboard.

How To Build A Personal Dashboard In Notion

The dashboard we’re about to build is a great starting point if you’re looking for multiple pages for different areas of your life. We will include these three categories – Work, Home, and Side Hustle.

Add A New Page

Create a new page, then add an icon and cover image.

New dashboard

What Are Your Goals?

Next, we’ll add a goals section. I like to break mine down into monthly, quarterly, and annual goals, so I’ll start by adding three columns (/3c). Add a /callout block in each blank column and populate with a numbered list block.

Callout block

Here is an example of what you can start with.

Goals section

Simple Task Manager

Next, we’ll add a simple task manager. Start by adding a /template button.

Template button

Change the button name to “Add Tasks”. The default setting for the template block already includes a checkbox, so no need to change anything. Next, click on Close.

To Do List

When you need to add a new task, click “+Tasks” and update the checkbox as appropriate.

Check out our guide on building out a minimalistic to-do list here.

Your dashboard might look something like this:

Checkpoint dashboard

Embedded Content

Notion isn’t just for text. It has robust support for embedding a wide variety of content, enriching the depth and interactivity of your pages.

  • Video: You can embed videos directly into a Notion page from platforms like YouTube or Vimeo. This is useful for tutorials, mood boards, or any project that benefits from visual aids.
  • Maps: If you’re planning an event, trip, or simply want to provide geographical context, you can embed maps from Google Maps directly.
  • Tweets: You can embed the tweet directly into your Notion page by pasting a Twitter link. This can be valuable for social media campaigns, tracking testimonials, or curating content.
  • Other Tools: Notion supports embeds from various tools and platforms like Figma, CodePen, Whimsical, and many others. This ensures you can centralize various content in one place without constantly switching between tabs or apps.
  • Files: You can embed PDFs, audio clips, and other files directly into a Notion page. When clicked, these can be viewed within Notion itself, making it an all-in-one workspace for many. If you’re on the free plan, you can only upload a max file size of 5 MB. You can remove the limit with a Pro Plan.

To use embeds effectively in Notion, view your page as a dynamic workspace that integrates various media and tools, not just a digital notebook.

Knowledge Hub

The last item we can add to the dashboard is a knowledge hub section. This is where you can store and organize all your notes and thoughts.

In this day and age, we’re bombarded with useful information all the time. Why not create a simple system to capture and access it only when we need it?

Create three new columns next to the to-do list. Label them as Work, Home, Side Hustle (or whatever helps you). Reminder – The faint lines are dividers, and the shortcut to add them is three hyphens.

You can make the columns stand out more by adding vertical dividers.

Knowledge hub setup

Under each of the three headings, add subpages with /page. These will act as note pages for each of your categories.

Knowledge hub

A Personal Dashboard In Notion

There you have it – your very own personal dashboard!

Final personal dashboard

I have turned this walkthrough into a free template for you to duplicate. As I mentioned, this is just a starting point, and you will no doubt make this your dashboard over time.

Additional Tips and Tricks

  • Keyboard Shortcuts: As you gain confidence in Notion, familiarize yourself with the shortcuts for quick navigation and productivity. For instance, using “/” to bring up the block menu or “Cmd/Ctrl + P” for quick page jumps.
  • Page Linking: Ever had an idea that connected to another? In Notion, you can link directly to another page. This is useful for creating an interconnected ecosystem of notes and ideas.
  • Templates: Stumbled upon a layout that just works? Once a specific layout or structure is found beneficial, it can be saved as a template for future use. Check out this guide on how to save a page as a template.
  • Content Sync: Have a piece of information that fits snugly in two places? Sync Notion blocks to multiple pages. This is useful when the same information is relevant in multiple places.

Use Case Examples

So you’re now dabbling with your own dashboard and short on possible ideas? Here are additional examples of what you can include depending on your use case!

Student’s Dashboard

  • Course Overview: Create a section dedicated to each course or subject, with subpages for lecture notes, assignments, readings, and exam dates.
  • Study Planner: A table or calendar layout to help with study schedules, highlighting priority subjects.
  • Project Collaboration: Get more people onto Notion! Share pages where group members can brainstorm, assign tasks, and track project progress.

Freelancer’s Dashboard

  • Meeting Notes: A repository of all past and upcoming client meetings, with detailed agendas and follow-up actions.
  • Client Database: A space to manage client details, meeting schedules, project statuses, and relevant documents.
  • Task Prioritizer: A dynamic to-do list that ranks tasks based on deadlines and importance.

Writer’s Dashboard

  • Story Ideas & Brainstorming: A space to jot down sudden ideas, character sketches, and potential plot points.
  • Publication Tracker: Keep yourself on track with a table to track submissions to publishers or magazines, including response status and feedback.
  • Writing Resources: Sections for research, references, and a collection of inspiring articles or writing prompts. Store all your ChatGPT notes here!

If you need more ideas for a Writer’s Dashboard, check out this writer’s guide.

That’s it for this one. In the next lesson, we’ll cover an introduction to databases which are the crown jewel of Notion!

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