The Ultimate Notion Task Manager Build

A step by step in depth process to creating the ultimate Notion task manager. Follow along Better Creating as they create a task manager that covers weekly reviews, tasks, project pages and more.
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Tutorial overview

I. Introduction

  • 00:00 - Introduce the topic of organizing life using Notion
  • 00:19 - Preview the Notion Task Manager Build Guide that will be covered in the video

II. The Notion From Scratch Series

  • 01:36 - Explain what the Notion From Scratch Series is and how it relates to the current video
  • 02:12 - Provide an overview of the videos in the series that relate to the Notion Task Manager Build

III. Notion Task Manager Build Overview

  • 05:00 - Begin the build by discussing the creation of the Notion Home Page and the Tasks Database
  • 13:06 - Explain how to set up Default New Task Template Pages (Main/Sub Tasks) in Notion
  • 15:02 - Discuss the creation of a Notion Projects Database and the use of Weekly Review Formulas

IV. Building Your Notion Task Manager

  • 19:10 - Show how to create a Notion Projects Dashboard
  • 21:18 - Demonstrate how to create a new Project Notion Template Page
  • 22:59 - Explain how to filter Project Views in Notion
  • 23:41 - Show how to create a Task Inbox and set up the Notion Home Page for quick capture

V. Conclusion

  • Summarize the steps covered in the video and encourage viewers to implement the Notion Task Manager Build in their own lives.


Have you ever made a to-do list and then felt more overwhelmed by it building up than it is actually helping you? If so, you need a system that you trust to help you manage things and remove the stress of remembering and holding all those important things at once. It's the key to stress-free productivity and getting things done.

Hi, it's Simon. Today, as part of my notion from scratch build series, I'm sharing with you perhaps the single most powerful notion productivity tool I've ever built and used, so that you can too.

This task manager will allow you to do all of the following:

  • It will help you capture new tasks easily when you think of them.
  • Automate when they come back to you so that you don't have to worry about them day to day.
  • Organize tasks into projects so that you can keep track of those projects as a whole.
  • Use a weekly review system that is automated to remind you when you need to check on your projects.
  • Plan your day quickly and easily by priority.
  • Choose between weekly board views, either sorted by date or by an analog tag system, much like my simplified notion template.

You can easily see an overview of your tasks, projects, and week. You can also manage main and subtasks in a single database that's right at the end of this build and create beautiful and functional reporting views of your important projects and link them back to your goals.

Now, if you're new to notion, this is a great place to start, and if you're an old hand, I think the advanced stages of this build and the way it fits together has some great ideas on how to get the most out of the platform. Of course, you can either build it as a standalone or link it to the previous goal-setting and habit tracker builds in this series.

So, everything you see in the build is part of my life OS notion templates, so you might like to check out the tour video of my simplified notion system first in the description if you want to see more of an overview of what we're going to be building and how it fits with everything else. It also happens to be the intro to this notion from scratch build series, a step-by-step way for you to build your life operating system in notion all whilst helping you learn the fundamentals of that powerful productivity workspace.

And of course, you can always check out my complete notion templates on gumroad and my website if you're looking for a tested notion setup to get you started, not just from scratch.

We all know the problem; too many projects, tasks, and reminders to keep in our heads can mean that we can become overwhelmed and end up hardly doing anything. And I found that the solution was a second brain task and project manager based on the key principles in David Allen's book " Getting Things Done". This also really feeds well into the power method if you're a fan of that. Get it right, and you'll keep track of everything, not have to hold it in your head and be able to focus on the important stuff.

There are a load of powerful notion features to create here, so I've broken this down into several video stages. Each of them results in an increasingly powerful layer to the task manager.

System that just makes it that much better and easier to use. Here's a quick tour of what's in each video to give you an overview of everything that is possible in this system.

So, video one is "Fundamentals." In this video, you'll build with me the fundamental essential elements of a Notion task manager. A task database that allows you to schedule tasks, set deadlines, relate them to a project, and tick them off so they disappear from view when done. A project database including a basic project template page, a task inbox, and quick capture button to process new tasks and programming the basics of an automated weekly project review.

In video 2, we'll add the dashboard features and action views that mean you can more frictionlessly use the system day to day. A project dashboard with automated weekly review system to help you set reminders and monitor projects as you wish. An action dashboard with weekly board views, a analog tag-based system, and a database system, and a completed task bin where you can delete everything that you've hidden.

Now, if you love the fundamental system that you build on these next two videos, videos three and four will be available to download via Gumroad and my website. Will do project reports and filtered project templates that automatically set everything up. So, video 3 will manage and track your projects with a deadline calendar to keep track of your tasks and deadlines. A project report view on your home screen that includes progress reports and where you're up to in the number of tasks that are there. And project template pages that automatically filter related tasks into whatever project you set up. I've also worked out how to do subtasks and main tasks within a single task database.

In video 4 it will include main task progress bars, project progress bars, automated recurring tasks using our and a refined project template page and Reporting Gallery views. You'll be helping me to continue to make this content but also get access to some really powerful features I'm properly proud of that truly take this system to the next level. I can't wait to share those with you. So make sure to sign up to the mailing list so you can hear more about them when they right. Let's get on with the build.

Okay, so before we start building the task and project system, if you haven't seen the previous videos, I built this the main home screen to my life OS. So, you're probably going to want to build that first if you didn't do the previous build on building a habit tracker and the first part. But simply put, you would just go into the sidebar and add a new page and then start building a basic dashboard page that you can build all of this in. If you've already got it and you're following on with the series then we're good to carry on.

As a quick recap of what's in here, I basically created a nice full page full width from up here. We've got our logo in and our background and then we have a capture section on dashboard which is the habits which we're next in this session going to integrate in the inbox for tasks as well and a system menu which is just a toggle with the databases for both goals and habits that we created previously. That's the habits database and I'm going to follow this kind of theme through with tasks. So, the first thing we're going to want to do is I'm going to click into the system menu. Just do it on your home page that's fine if you don't have that. We're going to do forward slash database and we want a full page database for the tasks to start with.

I want to add an icon I'm going to click in here. We're going to use Notions new icons. Although you could easily be adding like forthcoming icon pack if that's out already or your own. It's up to you but for tasks, surely it's got to be a tick box and we're going to make that tick box blue because the whole system I'm using is blue. We're going to add cover, can just select that from unsplash. There we go.

So the First Column is just going to be called task. So rename it then you're going to need a done checkbox. You've got an option for this so we're going to put this in as done. You could call it status, it's up to you. If you don't want to follow into my more advanced parts of this build and do SUB tasks then you can just make this a status column. So in the type you could go down and use status and that would give you to do, in progress or done. If you want to do the option of turning this into subtasks I would just make it a check box. So I'm going to make mine a checkbox and let's call it done. Great, you can move the thing in.

We're going to then add another the next thing is obvious thing you're going to want is a due date. So you're going to go in to a new column and we're going to select date and we'll rename that due date. Because you're also going to want a date which is deadline. So again, dates deadline. The reason I like those two is because it allows us to have two views. One is like the day you want to do it on when you put it into your system. So if you see my existing version here, I can see deadlines here like this but I've also got the day that I'm doing it on in a broad view or in a list view it would be over here, you know due date and deadline. I think that's really really helpful when you're planning your week and planning your life so you have that option and also once we set up the projects, you can even do it so that you don't have a due date or a deadline and you just look at it in the project view.

The next column we want is a daily priority. Now I use this to sort tasks within a specific day in an order I would do that every evening so I'm ready for the day ahead. I'm going to do that as a simple select and we'll call that daily prior T. So you can now put in there what you want that to be. So for example, I would like to put in quick first tasks, I want to put in the one thing following that fantastic book The one thing is the only thing that you need to get done in the day you're going to focus on. I think quick quick first tasks are usually you know a quick email something you just got to get out the way but then the one thing is usually what I would spend most of my morning on if I'm at home and then you can kind of add whatever else you want in. I'm going to create a couple for example morning, lunch, afternoon. You can do this in the boxes or equally you can go into here and edit property and create different elements in here by just adding them in like this so we could also have and of the day and I quite like an as and when what about an evening. You can order the way they're going to come up just by.

Moving them around in edit properties, I want lunch after morning. I probably won't end of the day down here. Probably I'll put it there and as and when I think can go at the bottom so you've got them in an order of to which they would happen. You can obviously select the color that they are as you see fit like that.

Great, so that's daily priority if you've put them in here you just want to delete them from these examples and I think it can be quite helpful just to set up some example tasks just so that you can see what you're looking at.

So for example, you could drag down and paste Ctrl V that's a way of copying things down. Great, so for example quick Fest task the one thing evening. Great, you also have the option for setting context. So this is inspired by Getting Things Done by David Allen a lot of this system as I've mentioned is such as using a weekly review. So you could put in here another one which is a multi-select we call that one context and that's usually a person a place or a thing. So I'm going to put that p p or t that's just a reminder now that would be for example a really obvious thing that I think is useful to put in is high energy tasks that require lots of focus and low energy tasks but you also might want to put into their things like your mum uh it might want to be office and home it might want to be in town whatever it is so that's places it could be your computer iPad it might be when you have your camera set up for me so that's just context now the reason that's useful is I can then avoid context switching so it means that you can label things as you want let's say it's everything you need to do on your computer or email and then you can just filter by that context and go right let's get those done for the day all at once on the computer so that's an option for you if you want it.

Now the next thing in my simplified system you'll see here I have this week analog which is a board view with days and I also have this week by date now people really like the analog version if they're not wanting to hold themselves to a date and just simply move things into the current week so this allows you to basically label tasks by the tag in the analog this week for you and just have everything on your current week and then you can take them off as you normally would date one of course Works to the calendar within notion and that allows you to plan around dates so I want to give you both options just because the analog version is so easy to do let's put that in so we're going to put in here we're going to make this a select because it can only be one thing we're going to call it this week analog and you can also use the emojis in here if you haven't learned this one yet emojis can just be brought up within the Page by just doing the little forward slash double dots but it doesn't work within boxes like this so I have to go up to edit emojis and symbols or you could try pressing the function button and I'm just going to put a little tick nice and all we need to do in there is ADD options of the days Monday I'm going to make all of these gray just so that they all look the same let's just add those in now nice and quick and of course you want to order these in the order that they would come up so that it sorts them like that great there you go.

Now, finally within this task's database build, I want to add a new task template that's really simply done. We did it on the previous video, go into here, click new template. We're going to call this new main task. For the future, if you want to add sub-tasks, you're going to have that option now. In here, anything you set up will always look like that when you add a new main task. So, I'm going to move the daily priority up. You could put the daily priority as just always as and when and that will always stay at the bottom of the list. So, you've got that option and then you can adjust it as you go. That's quite a nice thing to do.

I would also like the due date at the top. I would like the deadline to follow it but this is options like that and the reason this is particularly good is it keeps a look. So, I'm going to click into here set an icon and I'm going to use the sideways arrow for main tasks. Keep that really simple and then sub-tasks could have the downward Arrow so that you're clear what lines up with what. We're going to add a cover and I'm going to change the cover from unsplash really simply to just be white this true Beamer image on Splash. It's getting a lot of use from me but there you go. It's a nice clean option.

Now the advantage of this is you could then put within here a filtered View of the task database for sub-tasks that would sit underneath it. But that is for a future Advanced video that you'll be able to hear about soon. That's your main task template done. We're going to close that up now. You'll see here it says default. I would like my new main task to be the default view. So, I'm just going to click onto here and set as default. You can set that for different views. So, obviously, you've got the option. We're just going to do all views for now and you should now if we click into one of these and click on Main task it will format those tasks that we already created to look the same. Let's just do that nice and quick. I'm really enjoying this side Peak View that notion of it have invented there you go. So, our tasks are formatted that is the first part.

Let's now go and create the projects database. So, the task database is in there. We're just going to go and do exactly the same thing here forward slash and we're going to do data again and we want that to be a full page call it projects and make it look nice. I com I'm going to use a folder that looks great. Love that now a good little tip is to name the table in the database as system view so you always know where everything is. This is the one we're not going to touch and just leave for building it.

Let me show you what we're aiming at. So, if I jump forward to the one I made earlier you can see down here I've got a project reporting view which is cool. It gives me various different statuses and all of that will eventually get to that in the following parts of these builds. But the main thing that we want to do is create this dashboard which is actually not the database. And the reason that's useful is we can put in our weekly review as well as these reports and things like archived and completed views and all of that.

I'll show you how to make that menu in a little bit. We also have within the system menu, the actual projects page which is here. And this is where we build everything, so we need to put all of this stuff in now.

So the first thing we're going to call this one here "project". The next thing is we want a status report and for this, we're definitely going to use "status". So turn this tags that's put in and into a "status". You'll see it says "not started", you've got the option of "in progress" and "done". I want to leave that as it is, I love it and I'm just going to call that one "status". Again, you can adjust the scale of these. I'm going to put in some example projects, there you go "example projects". We'll do more in a minute.

Now we want to be able to do a weekly review. So basically, we want to set a date when we last reviewed the project and then automate when the project comes back to us so we can look at it. In order to do that, we're going to need a few things in here. The first is the last date you properly look through your project page, so we're going to go in and select a date, call it "last review done".

You're then going to want a "review frequency" so we're going to go in here and make that number and we're going to call that "review frequency" because it's how many days you want to wait until you're reminded to review it. So for example, seven days would be a week. Maybe you want to review "cat Whispering" every month-ish and let's say the side hustle is every two weeks.

The next thing we're going to put into our projects in order for it to report is the "next review date". So in here, you're going to do a formula, put this as "next review due" and if we go to my existing version, you will see here the formula is we want to add a date which is the "last review date" by the "review frequency" in days. So we're going to here we want to go "date add" and then you'll see these are the examples the date, the amount in how much time. So the date is obviously "last review", the amount is "review frequency" and then we're doing it in days so we would write "days" so you get the Guide to how to use these formulas like that.

So let's put that in the "last review", "review frequency", and then just put in "days", place the brackets. So if we put a review date in of "Friday week" you will see that the next due is exactly seven days after that. I like to put them all on the same day so that I'm doing my weekly review on a Friday and it is basically predicting it.

Now the final thing you're gonna need for the report is to say whether it is "overdue" or not. In order to do that, click here add another formula "review due?" We can call it that. And this is actually really simple. It's going to be "next review is greater than now" open brackets, close brackets. Really simple, brilliant thing. So now it's just this moment in time. So that will mean that if I were to set the last review as like a week earlier, so it will be overdue.

Today, we discussed how we can filter a view later on for anything to pop up on our home screen. This feature is really cool, and in reality, it looks like this:

If I go back to my existing version, we have a couple of options. We've got this projects dashboard, where you can get these reporting views, but also down here you can see stuff that can just be filtered by if the next review is due. This is pretty cool, and we'll make that in a little bit.

Let's go back to where we were. So we've got our project in, and let's build a Project's dashboard. So we go back to the home page. This is our system now. What I want to create here is a menu, so I'm going to do forward slash tog for a toggle list, we're going to call it menu, and I'm actually going to put in a little symbol. Why don't we make it a key? Take the system menu, and drop it into the main menu, open the menu up, and into here, we're going to put our first dashboard, and we're going to call that a page forward slash page, create it. This is the Projects dashboard.

I want to make it full width over here, there you go. I want it to be empty with an icon. Let's set the icon, make it a project view, bring a blue thing here, and a cover. Now, you could use the same thing, there you go. I want to make it look a little bit different. There's my projects. So we can now insert into here what we need.

The first thing I want to put in is forward slash linked database view. This means we can take a view of the project, and bring it into here. So let's find it, there they are, projects. That's drawn them all in. We can change this view, let's edit the view, and let's make the layout a gallery. And this is where we can start to get a nice picture of everything that's there.

For example, I want the preview to be the cover and I want the card size to be medium. As the layout, the properties you want to show. Well, I might want to see status, and for now, you could put in your next review due, like that. But there are better ways to do that later on, so let's just leave it as it is. We've just got the status, that's pretty good. You can see it's blank. Well, that's because we didn't create a project template. But what we have here is a way to quickly link back to the main database.

So, if you see this little arrow, that means you can jump back to an existing database. Let's go back to the project database, let's go into here, add a new template. We're going to call this new project. Now, you could create different templates for different types of projects, I have a new freelance project, a new personal project, and a new content creation project. But let's just keep it simple for now.

We're going to add an icon, let's find something in here. I quite like doing it as a document, because it kind of seems to sit with my theme. And actually, I want to make that document blue, so it kind of links to my project for you. Let's add a cover, there you go. I like that.

You might do something like forward slash H3 a heading and call it overview. You could do forward slash collar go down and select a background and give it a little bar that's the way to do that.

And then down here what I'm going to actually put is forward slash H3 again I like using the slightly smaller headings. And let's call that related tasks because later on into this template we're going to put a view of the tasks related to that project. Again, you can give that a look for now that is our template remember to go and make it the default for All Views and then of course you can change the covers for your actual projects once you create them. You get the idea. So if we now go back to our home screen, you can see now we've got that projects dashboard and the home screen. So we have now created our projects, our tasks and our basic project dashboard that's looking pretty good now.

Because you can see the projects lining up, let's rename that view as live projects. And you can select here filter let's filter by status and I'm just going to select anything that's to do or in progress not complete. We could also then go here and duplicate this view. Let's call this one completed projects. It's an exact same copy but what we're going to do with that is we're going to filter and make that view only completed stuff and then you've got that nice view of the two things fantastic right let's now move on to the exciting bit building the Inbox and moving towards having a weekly review.

Nice now for the exciting bit building stuff on the home screen the first thing is we're going to need somewhere to capture now to do this you're going to do forward slash create linked database view if you haven't already created this system from the previous part of the series. If you have got for example something like this already in we're just going to add to it. The really cool thing about linked databases is that you can link from different databases. So I have my habits coming in here for logging habits. Now we can just add and really simply find tasks. There they are add them and they pop up beautifully into the space.

Now this view we're going to Simply rename it and we're going to call it new task. I'd quite like to make that look good so let's just add an emoji in fact why don't we do an inbox because it will work with our colors. I want the layout to be a gallery okay the most important bit to do here all we're going to do is we're going to go to filter and add an advanced filter and where task is empty. Why do we do that well it's really simple if you make it empty all you're going to do is you're going to add a task. We could call it quick task add and the moment you fill that in it disappears can you see that nothing there and then it goes. That's it that is your new task you could say add new task for example. We're going to then create a second of the tasks but this time I want that to be a table and this is to Simply.

Filter down anything that hasn't been filled in. So at the moment all of our tasks are currently in it. This is where we need to add the way that we're going to filter tasks into the system.

We're going to call this one "tasks inbox." You could call it "processing" or whatever you want. Now you can do this here and this will work on the whole system on the task. We're going to add a new column and we're going to select relation set up a link between our tasks and our projects.

This means that when we add a task to a project, we know it's all where it's going and joined up. So click projects you want it to have no limit because it's going to be as many as we want to put in. You don't have to, but I think it's useful. On projects, we're going to call it "related tasks." Add the relation and let's call this "related project."

That means that, for example, "Task 1" if we click on it can now be linked to the project we want it to be part of. Let's say "example test 1" is part of my bungee jumping career. So in order to filter tasks from the task inbox, we want to go to filter, click an advanced filter and it's going to be where "related projects" is empty.

That means as you can see "Task 1" disappeared once you add this to a related project, it disappears from the inbox. The other thing I would suggest doing here is how we're going to filter tasks when they're done. So you want to go in and add another filter and where "done" is unchecked.

That will mean that if you either fill in this so I could do that and it will disappear or I could tick it off and it will disappear. It means that everything is completed and that is how you complete tasks. Really nice, they don't completely disappear. They will stay in the tasks database like that. So you're able to create a kind of task bin if you want, just filtering it the other way around.

But let's go back that is the simplest way to create that. So it means that all I can do is put in my dates that I want to do things. I can set my deadlines that I want it to be done by, give it a context even add it to the week if I want to. And then when I add it to the related projects, it disappears into the system. As simple as that.

Look at that great so that's our capture inbox. Add one and a task inbox for processing the tasks. If you want to make that clear to yourself, you could even rename that and just put into here a little Emoji symbol that you're working on it. That's a task inbox. The other thing is if you have built a goals database linking your projects to your goals is going to be really important.

So for example in this very simple goals database I've created, I've got things that link to habits. Let's now add another relation into here link it to my projects and I would like that to show on projects put here "related goal" and add the relation. So that means that "becoming fitter than last year" is definitely about bungee jumping. That will mean if we go back to the project dashboard, you might also want to show in the properties the "related goal." Another nice way to track how you are working.