March Review: Embracing Notion

Since July 2019, I have written monthly about how I am going with sticking to my simple habit tracking system. I think from this month onwards I will try something a little different, where I will write more generally about anything that I would like to reflect upon for the past month, and what I am planning to do for the next.

I haven’t quite figured out if I will use a set format for this, or just see how things go on a month by month basis. I will still talk about my habits since that is an important aspect of every month I would like to reflect upon.

As I outlined in my original post, I adopted a paper based system for tracking my habits and getting a quick overview of how I am tracking, such as captured in the image of my habits tracking sheet from last month.

Habit Tracking for February

For March, I tried to start tracking the habits in Notion. For this I created a database where each habit is a checkbox property. I then created one entry in the database for every day of the months, and set the respective checkbox property to checked.

Habit Tracking on Notion

I for now opted to create a new database for every month so I can easily add or remove habits. I have also exported the database for March as CSV to get a more colourful overview of the month as I usually got through my paper based system:

Habits Overview March

So I think that gives a good enough overview of how successful I was in sticking to the habits. As can be seen, I was not very successful in sticking to my habits, since in the beginning of the month we travelled to Tasmania and didn’t really get to doing my usual routine.

It was getting a bit cold in Tasmania, so we had to get the fireplace going

During the second half of March, I managed to follow the habits somewhat successfully. Like everywhere else we are currently in Coronavirus lock-down. Here my notes for the individual habits:

  • Exercise and Stretching: Went running a lot after our return but then got the usual problem of getting too sore for that. For April, I will try something new; I have come up with a few exercises that only target specific muscle groups and will see if I can rotate these, in addition to going running.
  • Meditation: Did not do well on this again. I really wonder why it is so difficult for me to bring myself to do this! But I am not giving up yet!
  • Touch Typing: Continued my usual exercise of writing JavaScript code. Also started doing some exercises on keybr.com. Looking at the all time statistics there, things don’t look too great.
All time statistics from keybr.com – not doing so great when more keys are added…
  • Email: Of course there were a lot of emails piled up after our return from travels but I managed to get on top of that quite quickly.
  • Upright Go: I changed my habit ‘Posture’ to ‘Upright Go’. I will now consider this habit done when I wore my Upright Go device anytime during the day.

I continued in March in my epic project to get my highlights and quotes organises. In February, I was able to import all quotes into a database. I explored various frameworks that I could use to provide an easy UI to work with the quotes. However, I eventually gave up since it seemed like a lot of work, especially considering that there are other things I would organise as well – which would require different UI elements and coding. I eventually decided to give Notion a second look (I explored it a few month ago). I found that it can do most of the things I would like to do with the highlights/quotes, especially being able to tag them. Thus I exported the database I created and imported it to Notion. There I have now started tagging. I think I have more than 2000 quotes/highlights to tag.

My quotes database imported to Notion

I have long been on the quest to develop a system to develop my personal knowledge. Starting with a hand-crafted solution for interconnected PowerPoint slides, to a Java Swing application, Linnk, I developed.

Linnk application (see linnk.de)

I think Notion has all the main features that I need to organise my knowledge. I will see how I will go with using Notion over the next few months.

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