Notion Life Operating System: Planning in Notion

Blog post cover image.

lanning can seem an easy task. It's what procrastinators do most of the time. However, the majority of people does not make progress after the planning phase. It's crucial to align planning with the analysis and the execution.

In this guide, I'll walk you through the planning phase of the self-growth system I am building and share several essential tips to make your plans work.

You can follow the series and build a system along. You can also support me and **get the whole notion self-growth** **system** [here](

In the first part of the series, I showed how to reflect and perform a self-analysis to find your true values, beliefs, and aspirations. The planning will be based on the insights you found previously.

Notion life operating system planning

By doing so you align your identity (and the necessary changes) with your goals. Otherwise, your life is similar to Krylov's "The swan, the pike and the crawfish", where all of them pull a cart in separate directions. The cart, in this comparison, is your life. The animals are the different parts of your identity that each wants to go in its own direction.

I was the kind of person that let my life be pulled in different directions. However, I learned how to be the conductor of my orchestra, direct it and align in the rhythm. That, in turn, influenced many different areas in my life with a butterfly effect.

I became more confident, more creative, and open to new identity changes essential for the life goals I set.

Notion life operating system planning guide

## Life and goals planning in Notion

It's a 4 part series in which I will show you how to build a fully functioning self-growth system to help you achieve your goals and align your life.

1. [System Overview](
2. [Analysis](
3. → **Planning**
4. [Execution](

The main idea is to apply the insights you gained from the self-reflection part of the system. It's crucial to support your vision and projects with your identity because otherwise, you'll not have sufficient resources to complete a project.

Maintaining and refining your system is an ongoing process. When you start working on a project or a goal you'll notice that your identity needs certain shifts and changes to align with your particular endeavour. Once you learn, try to include that change in the system and work on it.

Building a holistic life digital system is a habit itself that follows the same principle as other habits.

Another essential part is the actions that you take. Check the calendar from time to time. Does it look empty? If it does, it's a clue that your goal is stagnating, and it requires your attention.

Do not overwhelm yourself with the number of actions and a tight timeframe. Assign several tasks that you can complete in a day. Don't reschedule every time like I used to do when I started.

When you feel unmotivated, go through your yearnings and value. Are they truly important to you? If yes, why don't they motivate you? You can read more about [motivation]( from neuroscience experience in the article I wrote. The insights into the inner workings of the brain can help you stay motivated and positive.

## Pick a project and a habit to build first

With all of this in mind, choose aspirations you want to start with. A goal and a couple of habits should be enough. Remember, do not overwhelm yourself, otherwise, your brain will consider **too challenging** and will give up.

Notion life operating system values and aspirations

Drag a goal from `Aspirations` to either `The Vision` or `Habits`. Usually, every goal is paired with a habit to align your identity with the goal you want to achieve.

Notion life operating system: the vision and habits
Habit building principles

## Plan your habits

The next step is to apply a simple but very efficient framework to each habit you want to build. It will allow to perform the habit and not give up after a few days.

Here are 4 hacks to make your morning ritual as easy to start as possible.

1. **Make it easy.** Your brain does not want changes until it is beneficial to your well-being and survival. Changes in the neural structure are expensive energy-wise. They will not be motivated until it is either easy to perform or have instant rewards. Anything long-term is considered high-cost. The limbic system in the brain prefers to be satisfied now than later. Therefore, start small and make it easy.
2. **Make it satisfactory.** The ancient part of the brain, the limbic system, wants rewards and satisfaction. That is why instant gratification is so addictive. It is low-cost and highly pleasurable for the brain's reward system. To make a habit stick, you have to make it appealing. Reward yourself with something enjoyable once you finish your ritual or a part of it. For instance, my reward is a breakfast with a coffee plus the checkboxes in the journal I keep. It is satisfactory to have all the boxes checked. However, there will be days when you cannot complete your morning ritual. It brings the following point.
3. **Be consistent.** Even when you cannot go through the whole process, try to make the bare minimum. Repetition is more important than quality. To make the habit stick, you have to perform it for at least 60-70 days. Once you automate a task, you can work on the quality. It is okay to miss a day. The key is to start your next streak immediately. Once you miss 2 days straight, the chances are you are going to lose the grip.
4. **Increment the complexity.** Once you feel comfortable, make the ritual more challenging. The more you repeat, the more neural connections you form. More neural synapses mean more automation and less spent energy. Increasing complexity promotes growth but is still manageable and not energy-consuming.

Notion life operating system: habits

## Assign a project

To give a form to a goal and make it real, you have to assign a project or a habit. A project is a workspace where you set actions, track the progress, and learn.

Forming a habit can be a part of your morning ritual and checked off once you perform it. It is a smaller entity than a project. However, a set of new habits will impact your growth and the end goal.

For instance, if your goal is to improve health, the form can be a habit. If it's a bigger goal, let's say lose weight, then it can be a project so that you can properly organize and track your progress.

Notion life operating system: projects

## Identify the current state

Where do you stand now on the path? It is essential to understand your initial position. This step gives you an insight into the timeframe and the resources you need to hit the goal.

Define your current set of relevant skills, habits, and knowledge. What is the level of success you would need to feel satisfied?

You might realize that it is a very demanding goal and alter the course. On the other hand, many goals look like dreams, but all it takes is to change a few traits and habits.

Check on the progress weekly and monthly. If you do not take action, think about what hinders you and adjust the goal structure.

The more you work on the obstacles, the easier your achievements will come. If it's a habit related issue, focus on your identity change. If you set a too difficult outcome, adjust it so that it feels comfortable to you.

Notion life operating system: projects

## Set the outcome

Divide the path into actionable steps. Start small to get intermediate rewards. Goldilocks Principle is an excellent rule that can keep you challenged, but motivated. If you always do the same thing, it will bore you. If you start with a too difficult task, it will hinder you from completion. Find the right balance.

For example, when I started to write, I set a goal outcome of 20 articles, 2 per week. It was just the right amount of work to learn and grow. Once I finished, I set another goal of 40 pieces.

Notion life operating system: projects

## Assign several actions.

In order to progress in a project, you always have to assign tasks or actions to the project. The number of actions and completed ones are used to calcualate the progress. Each action is assigned to the outcome and to the project so that you can later track easily what have you done so far.

Actions are an essential part in the whole workflow. They drive the progress and make things happen. The whole planning is useless until it's executed, which I will cover in a bit.

As always, do not overwhelm yourself in the beginning. Assign a small achievable number of tasks to each outcome.

Notion life operating system: action items

## Set rewards

There are two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation occurs when you are driven by primary rewards, such as survival, reproduction, or pleasure.

Extrinsic motivation, on the opposite, relates to external, associative rewards. Examples of extrinsic rewards are money, customer loyalty, or trophies. The benefits of such rewards are learned and translated into primary rewards.

Sometimes you may feel unmotivated and will need a little nudge. Think of both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards to improve your mindset.

Assign the rewards from the self-reflection analysis you did earlier.

Notion life operating system: the vision

## Listen to the feedback and adjust the flow

Now you know that the whole goal-setting structure is designed in a way to give you constant feedback. It is dynamic and flexible. When a link in the system breaks, use the feedback to adjust your actions until you have a flow that works for you.

The most important part of the whole flow is your identity and the changes you are willing to make. After all, it requires a lot of commitment, effort, and learning to succeed. Improve each day, and you will get to your dreams.

Notion life operating system: the vision

## Planning completed

Self-reflection, goal setting, and system building will help you to align your actions with your goals. Instead of blindly following a goal that might not make you happy in the end, it is better to understand why do you want it and what do you need to trade-off for it.

Once you build a proper system that integrates well into your life, achieving goals will become a fun journey.

Hope you learned something new in planning and implement it in your system. If you would like to support my work, you can **get the whole notion self-growth** **system** [here](

To navigate to previous sections:

1. [System Overview](
2. [Analysis](
3. → **Planning**
4. [Execution](

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