8 min read
Notion + YouTube - A Powerful Combination for Productivity
I want to preface this article with the fact that this is not my standard article. I don't normally create blogs on Notion or how to use Notion. And this article isn't going to teach you how to use Notion. It's going to show you how I use Notion to create consumable content.
Also, this blog is not sponsored in any way by Notion.
I asked, you responded
I created a poll on Twitter asking if you'd like to see a video on how I use Notion to track my content creation process and here were the results.
So I'm going to show you what Notion is, how I use it, and I'm going to give you the template that I use. You'll find the link to that template further down.
What is Notion?
Let me quickly go over what Notion is and how it can help you track.. things.
Notion was built as an all-in-one workspace. It really defies traditional categorization. It's crazy how much you can do with Notion, how flexible it is, and how customizable it is.
You can use it as a note-taker. You can create Wikis. You can use it for project and task tracking, which is what I use it for. It has built-in Kanban functionality much like Trello. It has a crazy hybrid markdown system that I'll show you. You can also link within documents to other documents, you can create databases, you can create checklists. You can collaborate with others. So if you have a team, Notion is a collaborative workspace. There's just so much that it can do!
There are also a ton of templates that you can choose from, such as habit trackers, calendars, and to-do lists.
They very recently updated their pricing structure. It's now FREE for personal use. You get unlimited pages and blocks. You can share it with 5 guests. And you can sync across devices. If you do work with a team then you would want to upgrade your plan. But for the majority of content creators, I think that the personal plan will work just fine.
Notion is worth it
Because Notion is so robust, many find it difficult to get started. It can be overwhelming and sometimes confusing, just because it is so customizable.
So we're going to go through how I use it and hopefully it will make sense to you.
Now, before I started using Notion I really didn't have a system at all. I used Google Docs and just randomly named folders and it was a mess.
I have my content planner and my course planner. Then a video planner/tracker template. This template is what my other trackers are based on. It looks a lot like a spreadsheet. But it is basically a database. And unlike spreadsheets, it is much more flexible. You can actually look at them in different views, such as Kanban view and calendar view.
So, here we have columns with different types of information, but the cool thing about Notion is that a database here really is a database. It isn't just a spreadsheet of information. Every single row is actually its own page, and within these pages, you can put whatever you want including other databases. So this can get really, really powerful.
Creating a project
But if I do this, I'm just going to end up with a blank page. And that's fine if I just wanted a blank page. But I want some templated information. So this template actually has another template built-in. Instead of clicking “new”, we'll click the down arrow and select the project template.
We'll go through the rest of this in a minute, but I'm just going to fill in the title for now. By default, the template gives the video a number of 999. This is because I have this view set up to sort by the video number, descending. That way the new project will always be at the top. So everything that is active should be near the top.
Now I'm going to set the status of this project to “idea”.
Notice that it disappeared. I have set up several views in this template. This view shows me all projects except ones with the status of “Idea”. I have an idea view specifically setup.
I don't want to clutter my other views with things that I'm not actively working on. So when I have a new idea for content, I just type in the title and set the status to “Idea”.
When it's time to take an idea and start working on it, I can either change the status, or I can switch to the “Board – Status View”. This is like a Trello Kanban view. Here I can drag and drop projects into the appropriate status.
We can also look at the project with a calendar view. This will show us when the project was published or is scheduled to be published.
And the last view is my active view. This filters out the ideas and published projects to truly only show active projects.
All of these views can be customized to your liking. You can change these or create new views.
Local file tracking
The video numbering is very important to my process. Like I was saying before, I used random folder names and had no system to keep track of my projects. Now I have a folder where I keep each project and it's numbered corresponding to the number in Notion. So it's very easy for me to find assets while I'm creating the content. I keep all of my images, thumbnails, screen recordings, code example, etc. in these folders.
Let's open up this project and we can “open as page” to make it full screen. Here we have access to the same data that shows up in the table views along with some additional stuff.
There is a URL field, which I use for the YouTube video URL. Then we have the description, which would be the YouTube description.
Then we have Title Ideas, which is a toggle. Within that, we have bullets where we can list multiple title ideas. Then Keywords, same thing. And sponsor info.
Outline / Script
Then we have the outline/script. So if you have noticed, I have been referring to content planning and not specifically video planning. This started out as a YouTube video planner. But recently I have started creating other content, such as blogs and Instagram posts. At first, I only created an outline with main points that I wanted to cover and some code examples. I realized that this was so close to being a blog post. I just needed to spend a little extra time to fill in the blanks and polish it up. So now, just about every one of my projects become a video, blog, and Instagram post with very little effort.
Let me step you through the script creation process. Notice that this opens a new page. So it's a page within a page. And we have some breadcrumbs here at the top.
Notion uses a hybrid markdown system. If I press forward slash
/, you can see all of the options. Basic blocks, inline, database, media, embeds, etc. So I start out with my headings, just like creating an outline. So I'll type
/2 and that will create an H2 block. And I'll keep creating all of the basic headlines that I want to cover. Then I'll start filling them in. By default, each line will be a text block but we can change it by pressing
/ and selecting the block we want.
I use code blocks often. It has syntax highlighting and you can pick the appropriate programming language.
Now the really cool thing about this is that it is basically markdown. I can highlight all of this and copy/paste it into any markdown editor, such as the editor on dev.to and it will be properly formatted for me.
So now I'll record the video, post this on my personal blog and sometimes on other blogs such as dev.to, and create an Instagram post. All based off of the information in this project.
Download the template
You will have to sign up for a Notion account, which again is FREE. When you click on the link, this is what you will see.
Just click “Duplicate” and it will copy the template into Notion and you can customize it and start using it however you would like.
So Notion is in my opinion the best all-in-one workspace for planning and tracking projects. Let me know what you think. Do you use something different? Are you going to give Notion a try?
Check out the full video on my YouTube channel.
Help me out by liking this video and subscribing if you haven't already.