👉 TL;DR: This notion template is especially tailored for researchers and PhD students who can use it to manage their daily research routine and work related tasks.
<aside> 🌟 BACKGROUND: Notion is a fantastic tool that provides a blank canvas that is completely customizable for different use cases. However, the plethora of notion templates available for students are more suited to high-school or graduate studies. With more focus on planning and managing assignments, classes and course schedules they are rather unusable for postgrads and researchers. Research requires research work, task and time management in tandem with day to day activities such as supervisor/research group meetings and documentation such as reports, grants etc.
I am a PhD student and an avid task and time management geek. I like to optimize my routine and try to create a fluid plan that allows me to balance work, life and other activities. I found Notion around a year back and even though the power of Notion was quite clear, the lack of a starting template particularly for research workflow was rather disappointing. Back in Sep '19 when notion went free for students, I decided to finally take the dive and design a template suited for my work flow. Now after multiple iterations and revisions and several months of daily usage, I want to share my template for fellow researchers and PhD students and hope that this template will be a good starting point to manage their work.
To plan the workflow, I was definitely inspired by Tiago Forte's brilliant article on "How to Build a Second Brain" and the C.O.D.E and PARA methods. I would highly recommend anyone who is looking to manage and organize their work flow to read up on the two brilliant methods. The CODE method (Collect, Organize, Distill and Express) particularly resembles the modern research work flow whereas The PARA method is a sub-set in the Organize category. Together, these two concepts form the basis of this template and my daily workflow.
This is my current Layout...
My current layout
<aside> 💡 TEMPLATE LAYOUT: The template is based on Two main pages containing six broad areas (variant of PARA method) and four databases.
1️⃣ 🎓 HOMEPAGE
The current page is the homepage. This is the main page that is used daily and is the hub of all organization. The page is divided into six major parts, four of which are the areas according to the Para method. The 5th is a To-Read view of the Paper Database and the 6th is a Calendar view of the linked Targets & Planning database to visualize all the activities during the month. The sub areas on the home page and their main usage are as follows:- ▪ TASKS: To Read, Upcoming Tasks, Research Tasks - The To-read is a filtered view of the Paper Database whereas the Tasks are filtered views from the Targets and Planning Database. ▪ AREAS: R&D Active topics, Personal tasks ▪ RESOURCES: Literature Review database, Paper Database (Bibliography) and any other relevant resource ▪ ARCHIVE: Weblinks (from Notion web clipper)
DATABASES: ————————————————— 2️⃣ 🎯 Targets & Planning Database This is the central database that links all the tasks, meetings, activities and research plan. The database is linked in multiple places with different views filtered with tags.
3️⃣ 📃 Paper Database The bibliography database exported from any PDF organizer
4️⃣ 🌐 Weblinks Notion Web clipper database for online research bookmarks
Note: The current template is around 400 blocks, so anyone with a free account can duplicate and test the template. Also, the template is fully editable and customizable so you can tailor it to your needs and language etc.
<aside> 💡 WORKFLOW:
My current layout is in the image on the right. As you can see, for me this one page is where most of the overview happens.
<aside> ⚙ ToDo's:
Highly recommend you check out the Notion integration with Zotero plugin.. its really awesome and solves managing the manual addition of Bibliography !! Huge shoutout to the author of the plugin! Link: https://github.com/dvanoni/notero
<aside> ⚠️ NOTE: After duplicating the template; please remove the existing links from the Shortcuts (Home) bar and update them with links to your own databases.
👆After duplicating the template, delete all the the above blocks and start using the template👆
Literature Review →
Paper Database & Bibliography
Targets & Planning