How Marie Poulin Uses Notion

How Marie Poulin Uses Notion


Hello everyone and welcome back to the Keep Productive YouTube channel on today’s feature We are very lucky to be joined by Marie Poulin. Marie, it’s so good to have you I’m honored and excited. It’s gonna be super fun For those who don’t know Marie, she has one of the best notion setups out there Not only that she has some fantastic notion content through the notion YouTube channel You can now watch tons of her setups and workshops that are really great And also she does her in YouTube channel, but she alongside all of that obviously She runs a creative digital agency called we are okie-dokie, which I think is my favorite name for a company, right? That’s like I always say you could argue all the time. So that’s perfect We heard a lot Yeah, that’s it. And Before we jump into your notion set up Murray, maybe you could tell us a little bit more about yourself that maybe I missed Yeah. Yeah, I run a small agency with my husband. He handles more of the technical side of things I’m more on the design and marketing side of things. We work with a lot of people who are launching online courses Scaling up their digital offers. And so I do a lot of systems work on the sort of front-facing Client facing side things are the client sees websites as well a lot of nations But these days now that I’m using notion I’m starting to do a little bit more of the behind the scenes Systems and workflow so that’s been kind of cool too that a lot of the clients I would help on the website side of things now in helping them kind of get their own productivity systems together Which is kind of been a fun shifts and seizing notion. Oh, that’s that’s great news Cuz yeah, I think there’s a fair amount of people out there here. They’re definitely looking for notion Consultants because they want to set these workflows up. So that’s good to know that your guys offer that because I didn’t know that And it’s it’s interesting. Like that’s something I’ve been doing on my own through my own brand you know through conversations with people they were like Oh you need to do that under your brand because I think of you and I think of notion I was like, okay That’s that’s good to know. So I’ve been doing that under Personal brand that is great news Maybe to set the scene for everyone. When did you go about finding notion because obviously we all found it in different ways, but Whether that journey started for you Yeah, it was a bit of a rocky start because somebody somebody recommended it to me two years ago so I kind of dabbled in it and we were there was three of us doing a Mastermind and that’s where we were keeping our mastermind notes, and it was cool But then once our mastermind kind of fiddle fizzled, I didn’t really have a reason To use it again, and I was already using Evernote and I already had a son I didn’t really have a reason to kind of go all-in on it yet Anyway, it wasn’t till about a year later when I was doing my permaculture diploma I needed a place to keep messy notes You know things that weren’t necessarily to do’s but it was just places I needed to brain dump collect images and many different types of information and Evernote can do that but to me ever don’t feels more like a stack of paper and sometimes stuff would go into Evernote and then never be surfaced again. And so it that just didn’t feel like the right place I knew I needed something a bit more visual and I remembered notion. I was like, why don’t I try it again? Maybe I could just use notion just for that and once I dove in I was like then I Think we need to move from asana and it took a while to convince him because we were pretty entrenched in asana I think we’ve been using it for like at least five years and all of our Software bug tracking and you know priority features and client work. Everything was in there So if we were gonna do the move it was going to be a really really big move. So I Kind of went pretty deep on it to kind of mimic Here’s how this would look at notion and it took a while to figure out how are we gonna make our tasks in? Notion kind of mimic what we were doing in asana so it was a little bit of a process and then reluctantly it gave it a shot and I think it took maybe a month or two of like really using a day-to-day before we like yeah, okay We’re all in on this. Yeah. Well, that’s it It’s a really big move, especially if you’ve been using asana for that long, but yeah well, at least you’ve made the move and I guess it sort of worked really really well for you guys and How has been been a because curious because obviously once he’s I gone for that mindset of finally moved out of the sauna How is he with it now? Oh he like he loves It for her You know has its own limitations. So there’s things that You know notion can’t necessarily do that other tools might be able to do but the things that it can do I think it’s worth Those sacrifices to us and it’s just allowed us to collaborate a lot more easily. So Yeah, he loves it. I love it. We’re we’re all in Fantastic. Well Murray I think one of the things that you’re most known for as well through all of the content and you put out is Your set up your own workflows and I think it’s gonna be a great opportunity for people to Maybe pinch a few things from you and it in a really nice way Not stealing Maybe you could give us a little bit of a tour of your notion account. Absolutely. Let’s do this Okay, so some of this might look pretty familiar If you’ve seen any of my videos that I will say that my dashboard is probably changing all the time And in fact, I don’t really use my dashboard a ton anymore So where I spend the majority of my time is actually in my weekly planner So some of I know a lot of people have used my weekly agenda, but I’ve actually moved it into A database now. So now I can track a lot more things with my weekly planner I have gotten a lot of questions about those people are like I saw your template, but I don’t see What’s all this going on so this really allows me to connect? You know what? I’m doing on a weekly basis with my bigger longer-term goals So I’ve got a lot of relational databases in here. You can see where I’m pulling in from outcomes I’m pulling in what I’m reading that week You know three words that represent the week, you know I’ve got a lot of these sort of pre-made and in there and then when I go down you can see that traditional You know template that you might have seen before and so a lot of people also ask, you know Why do you have these tasks below here? And you’ve got the use this area above here? I personally like to keep my Meetings and just really quick thoughts or quick notes Separate, I don’t want to kind of gum up my tasks with meetings. That’s a personal preference So often I’ll just have my little exercise things up here or like my focus for the day or for the week Is at the top here and even this focus is something that I don’t really do anymore because now I’m using this outcomes Area here which I can show you in a little bit more detail If you have a couple of videos about that And then I’ve got this Tasks here where I can view this in a number of different ways so I can view it by week. I can view it by List, I know everyone has a different preference for kind of how they like to see that information So I like to and that’s built into my template. So anytime I make a new week These are all embedded in here and I can I can see these different views. What I love too is just the ability to You know, let’s say I have a quick note But then I know this is actually becoming a bigger thing I can drag that in here Right, and then I can add more detail to it and it becomes a more substantial task, which is fun Fantastic, I just had a question So yeah at the top of that so you go you’ve started the week and you’ve created this new Obviously the title of the week this week’s October 7th to the 13th So you start filling this out as a form, right? Based on all of the different interactions you have so to use a database template then to create all this inside there Yes, I’ll go let’s create a new one just for fun. So I’ve got this New week here. And if I if I have some changes that I know I want to make at the template level I’ll go in and edit them here, right? So I know that this is this is what it looks like And it’s shrunken view, but if I open it as page, this is the template so I can adjust the template So let’s say I don’t really do this focus here anymore because I actually do that here But I can elaborate on that. But yeah, I can I can make these changes in here or If I go back to my weekly, let’s actually set up a new week So, let’s do a talk to My gosh time is flying it’s almost Christmas October 14th to 20th and I often will open that as a page kind of dive in here And I’ll start to to fill in some of these details like October here. I want to connect that to the month any of my specific project focus here, so I’ve got at my notion course that I’m working on any learning events that stuff will kind of come as we go and same as I’m learning I will add those in there and then the outcomes I can also kind of pull from Like YouTube, you know publish weekly YouTube videos move the things on to the blogs I can pull right from those outcomes that we can jump into that and I can show you What that looks like but the biggest change that I made here I used to I used to just say q3 or q4 Which didn’t really tell me a lot, right? So now every week Those things that I’ve said were my quarterly goal are surfaced right there always kind of front of mind and to me that is I think one of The number-one like most magical thing about notion for me personally. Is that ability to connect my long term goals to my short term day-to-day actions So they’re just always kind of front of mind and I think it just helps me keep a lot more focused It’s like at some point I said this was a priority. So here we are. Let’s make that happen So, yeah, that’s kind of what the process will look like and then usually every Friday afternoon or Sunday? I’ll go through and I’ll add all of my work events And I just kind of drag those in you know call with Cindy whatever and I can add person the personal events are blue. I Really like that. That’s it’s a simple thing. Right? But yet even like focus meet. I have those as yellow whatever things that you know You do weekly you could kind of have those pre-made and ready to go and then drag them in and make your adjustments so that’s that’s kind of the workflow as I try to at least get all the the meetings and such in there and then any tasks that I know I need to do I start to kind of fill in the gaps and And then I’ll definitely put my project focus in there to you. So any of the the major client projects or just Obligations that I have I’ll put in there so really the weekly planner is where I spend the majority of my day and then of course in resources as well and then if you want I can kind of show you I did have a YouTube video about this, but I basically I stole Its from Alex Sherwood. He had this okay ours You know objectives and key results which you know, it’s it’s a little technical for me I know a lot of people are like I like that sounds really nerdy and like annoying and I’m like I don’t want to get that granular on my goals So I think like use language that makes sense for you Right like big initiatives and big goals and objectives and outcomes instead of key results. So I think you just got a You know, you could take these ideas and make them your own and kind of run with them So I can look at objectives just this quarter I can look at all objectives or things I didn’t complete And then these are kind of pulled from here and again, like I didn’t build I I sort of adapted this from Alex’s original one And then I also adapted it so that the tasks are actually related to the objectives So it’s not like the separate goals that are separate from my projects and tasks. Everything is kind of connected so for example, if I open up one of these I Can see which weeks it’s connected to I can see the outcomes it’s connected to you and I can see that I have a website Revamp project. And so this objective is connected to that revamp project. So it starts like it’s still imperfect I want to Still kind of hone in on this But at least it starts to help me connect the dots a little bit and I can see which of those weeks I was kind of pulling in those two dues and Yeah, so that’s one. That’s kind of been a Little more grabbing a little bit. More of my attention is just doing this goal planning I try to do it quarterly, right so kind of plan out my quarterly goals and plot out What are some of those tasks that are gonna? Be needed to make it happen and that I can start pulling those into my weekly planners on a weekly basis fantastic, one of the things there that I see that you focus a lot on relational databases and I quite like that because I mean I mean i’m now i’m naff at it but if you do a couple of videos on it, am I right that we can think if people were curious about how to do Relational databases I haven’t got barely any videos on it’s a be great to sort of fill that gap Yeah, absolutely You know, the resources is a place that I also make really heavy use of relations as well and the resources database too is something i’m Every area of this i’m always still tweaking as as I as New information becomes available or new workflows and like a dive so feels a bit clunky How can I refine that but in this notes database for example, if I open up? How to write an about page You know, I can see that that’s actually link to my website revamp project So I needed something to kind of help me write my about page so now I’ve got this thing saved and I try to make a little summary of it as well as part of like the building a second brain progressive summarization if you’ve if you’re familiar with that and so I’ve got You know copy down below but then I try to just summarize it above But you’ll see I’ve also got like insights and swipe file and studies and so sometimes if I’m taking a course for example on like copywriting, you know, I can pull from These data beans and Connect them all up and I’m in puppy school You know I can see which other notes are connected to that as well And again, that’s that’s the beauty that I didn’t find as easy in Evernote like I know that Evernote you can have table of contents and stacks and links and whatever but there’s something really visual and really Easy about connecting data in notion that makes it a lot easier to surface the stuff that you’re collecting so it doesn’t get buried Yeah, I know I 100% agree. It’s a bit. It’s very much clunky inside of avenue and and What you’re doing here, it’s just it’s just intuitive much further and yeah, and on that sort of on these resources that you’ve got these different databases do you have the the Web Clipper connected to that or Absolutely, I I do but then there’s there are times where it makes sense to add Like let me see if I can Reading and listen well, so my calendar, for example, I Can use the Clipper to send something to the calendar, but I can also do this right like I’ve got podcast template client milestone let’s say I need to do you know, and it’s simple, but it Changes the icon and changes the type and I could do other fields as well, right? you know this video and let’s do one for Wednesday And then that’s kind of placeholder that’s in there and I can have more detail to you right It’s like decide on the title would go through your notes. Like I could add all of those right as I as I go So sometimes I use the Clipper. Sometimes it’s actually easier to start from An area like this because I like that it already kind of puts in some of that information right off the bat So that’s one way that I would do that One of my favorite use cases is the swipe file. I know a lot of people have a swipe file But so as I’m going through using the Clipper and just kind of dumping that into the swipe file I’m usually saving examples of like awesome online courses or landing pages sales pages I’m sure your notion made simple is probably in here too. And you know anyone who’s doing something similar with notion, right? So yeah Like there you go notion made simple, right? So getting pretty meta here and I might not notes there and be like a price point is cool or you know whatever details and If I want to include things like the price here – I could also yeah it’ll always save the same amount of information every time but one thing that I will do is I use the It’s called full-page screen capture so if I’m on a site that I that I want to really save the look and feel of it I will click on Full page screen capture copy that image and then click the actual page and just paste the image right in there Yeah, yeah, so that kind of gives me a good and that I can connect these swipe files So when I’m working on a client project and I oh I really want to reference that. Awesome sales page. Someone had over here I can connect those swipe files so that it one click in that client’s workspace. I can surface these great examples Yeah, I really like the way that you SAP the resources area because that’s something that I don’t think a lot of people think About doing is making this sort of This backlog of all this information And it’s something that I think will be useful when it comes to future insights So I think people going to take away a lot from that I definitely myself going to take away not from that cuz I I store a lot just in Evernote right now so I was trying to work out what like Information is a filing cabinet and which is you know notion relevant if you’re not interesting Yeah, and I’m always trying to get better with my digital hoarding habits, right? Like I I used to clip every single article and every single thing I was reading and you add that to the reading database Like is that is that actually helpful and you know in building a second brain? There’s this idea like not every note gets the same amount of attention So now instead of just clipping every single thing I’m reading I will say is this is this something that I need to remember? I want to remember or want to connect to something that I’m doing So with digital minimalism, for example It’s just like a simple quote here digital clutter is costly and then I also found someone’s summary of the book, too So I jumped in there And so I you know can tag it and I can see it’s a philosophy of technology You know, I book cover and then the book in one sentence five big ideas So if I ever want to go back and remember that it’s not a database of like books I’ve read Checkmark, you know check box. That’s not super helpful But to come back and be like, well, what did I actually take away from that book? That’s much more useful right in in this really condensed summary So I’m trying to be a little more intentional with what I’m saving and then of what I’m saving What am I doing with that information? Can I give it a summary? Can I simplify it can I connect it to other projects and make it more actionable? yeah, that that makes a lot of sense like it’s very thought-out and and so so A typical week you’ll land on the the dashboard and you start a new week What what do you do from there after you’ve got your key bits of information? I guess it’s a bit of this sort of groundwork of the day-to-day stuff, right? Yeah, so, I mean a lot of it will be my my client projects Now I’m not necessarily in The projects themselves because again a lot of that work in the to Do’s I’ll be doing kind of within this space. However So I used to have this I still use this master test database But now a lot of my clients are actually getting their own notion spaces Right so net so then I had the challenge of well if the tasks are living in my database But then I’m also creating then these spaces that’s for them to use and to create their tasks How do I manage that flow of information so still experimenting with this? But what I started doing is creating my clients their own little like headquarters and so I say like stay tuned I’m moving my materials over it is a process, right? It’s a little bit messy But I’m starting to get some of the clients that haven’t had a space like they don’t even use a sauna They’ve been doing everything through email so Now I’m setting up these spaces for them and I’ll set up their projects and be like here are the projects that we’re working on Like I did a strategic roadmap for her I can see the dates And this is a template too. So like I actually have a strategic roadmap template and I’ve got all the observations are broken down in here best practices, of course, it’s taking a little while to load and I put my strategic recommendations in there and Then these become these check boxes that we can go through and it becomes this living breathing document. So this one was a pretty pretty beastly one and you can see I’ve embedded a swipe file that’s filtered only with Project contains her name so she can go through she can see my notes in there about those particular Designs what? I thought those were powerful and so sometimes I’m working in the clients workspace here And I’ll add tasks in there and assign them to them different team members and that sort of thing and so what I what I discovered is you can actually Pull in to dues and tasks not just from shared workspaces But from other people’s workspaces as well Which I didn’t actually realize that before so I kind of this client Dashboard that now has all of my clients tasks and all of their particular master TAS databases in here Yeah, so this is one place where I can see all tasks across all projects in one area for all my clients anyway and that’s been that’s been really helpful and Any of your so your clients coming from the perspective that they haven’t used notion before? How are they getting on with it as an application? Obviously, you’re doing a lot of the groundwork I’m just curious how they’re sort of onboarding to it So so far So far everyone has loved it I’m in some cases clients have set up their own accounts and then added me as a user now So in one case of ambitious that client now started out her own Her own project and then I’m helping her use the pair of system projects areas resources archives And so I often am collaborating in her workspace in the case of this client For example, I’ve shared it with her. So she just comes into this workspace that we just kind of work out of here So it’s it’s sort of a limited Limited version of it. I feel like it’s the training wheels version of it right where she can come in She can see her tasks. It’s not too intimidating. And so she’s like this is amazing. This is so much better than asana It’s so much more clear You know where to go to do things because it’s you can see it’s very simple there’s not a whole lot of places for her to click that works really well for her as we go through the project if it Needs to grow to the point where she can kind of set up her own space We can move that stuff into her space and get her comfortable with it But I mean for this particular client It’s been non-stop new tech like there’s so many new things like she’s been launching online courses like here’s how to use You know type for WordPress zapier, so it’s been a lot and I didn’t want to be like hey surprise I’ve got another piece of tech because we started her project on asana, but we’re not really using it anymore And I I think we both find that notion has been just so much easier for us to both kind of stay on the same page, yeah, and Similarly, we’ve got a couple different projects on the go and you know, we can embed our two Do’s in there Like, you know, there’s my master tasks that are in there being pulled into this website Project all of our documents and things like that just like hey, can I get that image? I’ma get? No problem Go back to that document Drinkler, yeah yeah, I really I really like it’s Pretty easy. I Think I really like the way that you’re able to sort of make a shared workspace and sort of get the ball rolling and you’re actively able to see when somebody else makes a change in a client and that’s sort of a rare situation because You get guest access in many other team collaboration apps but not in the sense where you’re close to the Information like the internal wiki that they have so yeah, that’s very cool I really like that and in one one question I had was going Back to the calendar because I really like the way that you use database templates to save yourself a bit of time when it comes to You know creating a new piece of content for any amount of your work and how does this? Does this calendar connect with some of the tasks dashboards? Is it connected in any sense? It’s it’s a little tricky like it is it does require a little bit of duplication right just because of the way that we know Databases are set up I almost have to like manually connect and I don’t even think I actually have my tasks connected in here I’ve got my journal and things like that Tags notes and other things but I don’t actually connect my tasks to this calendar I almost see this calendar more as my editorial calendar for the most part like that’s kind of how I use it So like what are the things that I’m publishing? You know interviews that I have notion office hours things like that because otherwise I’m just kind of generally speaking using my my weekly agenda and then what I like about the weekly agenda too is that I can use Like the progress tracker to just see like what was my effectiveness? What were the words that I was using? What was my focus and you can see how things change right like before I didn’t have outcomes so if you scroll down like those didn’t exist before and before the databases those didn’t exist, either so The the workspace is definitely adjust and change over time. But yeah, I don’t I don’t really connect those directly to this calendar I’m kind of holding out for the API integration Yeah brilliant, well, I’ve really enjoyed your setup is there anything else that you want to show us Before we sort of wrap this one out Let’s see, I mean there’s lots of little areas in here in different ways that I use databases and things a lot of these I’ve shared in other videos, but What one of the great things the the ways that I use it is when I’m making a new proposal And I have this case studies area and I recommend a lot of people do this like other Designers developers if you do any kind of work that involves you sharing a proposal I always try to store my projects in here and I will mark them with what was done What tech that I used services provided this sort of thing and then I have this template. That’s my Like a digital roadmap template and so I spin that up as a template and I’ve got these embedded in there so that it becomes like this digital It’s it’s almost like a mini website of sorts, right and it’s got you know these embedded case studies already in there it’s really easy for them to to look them up without it getting kind of junked up so I could show you what that Let’s show you what that template looks like This could be really messy. Sometimes I bury my my templates and I’ll deal with that later Yeah, I know you mean Yeah, let me show you a quick Quick version of what that looks like It I guess is quite useful for when it comes to sharing work pretty fast Like it’s just an opportunity for you just to go. Oh, there you go. Let this what we’ve done in the past And you don’t have to really think about addy and like here’s another way simple way to use a database, right? It’s like areas that we’re gonna explore So this is it’s like a proposal that I’m doing and then I’m just showing these different areas. They’re not necessarily active Things right. They’re just kind of like icons Part of a layout but as we work together, we might actually add notes into there to that. So this becomes this living breathing document It’s a really good idea and then also so for example you know as part of my pitch here, like I’m helping the team use notion to build their second brain and I say like Hey that I mentioned. I’m an ocean pro. I do their office hours. I can embed this in there. I can embed these case studies Right and then feel the love I’ve got these these little and embeds here So it’s like hey, see how other people are talking about the way that I use notion. It becomes the social proof So this becomes this really great document that I can then, you know share. Yeah, and and so Using them for proposals have been have been a really great Really fun use case that I just I love how that has streamlined my workflow. Oh Definitely. Well Murray, this has been absolutely awesome and I think a lot of people gonna take away not just from the sort of weekly dashboards, but the way you think about notion because I think that’s something that can help people actually move forward creating their own spaces because once you get that sort of mind Set of connecting everything up it can really help people. So thank you for taking the time out and Murray where can everyone find all of the rest of the stuff online Yeah easiest place to find us probably at Murray Poole ENCOM that’s where you can find all the links to youtube videos notion office hours and all that good stuff and We are okey dokey comm is the agency I run with my husband’s you can always catch us over there and Twitter is where I’m pretty active Twitter and Instagram you could find me at Murray : Fantastic well Murray, I hope you have a lovely rest day and We’ll talk soon. Yeah. Thanks so much for having me. All right

4 thoughts on “How Marie Poulin Uses Notion

  1. We're very lucky to be joined by Marie Poulin
    Marie is one of the best Notion teachers in the world, far better than me, her teachings and sessions have been amazing!

    She has a course coming in a few weeks/months – so I'd recommend keeping an eye on it!

  2. Pretty cool. Sometimes I get the feeling it takes as much time to build something like this and maintain it as it takes to do your day job in the first place. I do think I’ll pop over and start watching her videos. She has a really fresh approach. Notion’s lack of global search has stopped my Notion use for the most part. After Francesco’s Evernote mea culpa video I kissed and made up with Evernote and am blending notebooks and tags into my “stacks of paper”.

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