A clean and stylish workspace featuring a computer monitor displaying a 'Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)' screen on Notion, with a 'Made for Notion' badge indicating specialized content for the platform. The desk is accessorized with a minimalist vase of green leaves, a white coffee cup, a vintage-style airplane model, and a decorative frame, all contributing to an organized and serene office environment.

How to Set Up Notion: The Ultimate Guide

Notion is one of the most versatile digital workspace productivity programs that can transform the way you organize your personal and professional life.

From project management, to-do lists, jotting down quick notes, organizing meetings, and task lists, you can run a whole company through Notion! It can be used for personal use; you could have a habit tracker or workout tracker among many other things.

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Why Notion?

Imagine having a super-flexible digital space that's like your own personal playground for productivity. That's Notion! It's like your one-stop shop for notes, tasks, projects, goals, branding, marketing, and so much more.

You can customize it to fit your style, whether you're a list-maker, a visual thinker, or something in between. And the best part? It's got your back on any device you use, so you're never out of the loop.

There's one drawback though and Radreads.co explains it perfectly:

Notion is like a giant set of legos – by putting the various components together, you can create a simple tree house or the Eiffel Tower. The uses cases are extensive, ranging from mood boards, net worth trackers, and personal life dashboards. But there’s a catch – open the app and you’re greeted by a blank page. Literally, just a flashing cursor.

Notion isn't difficult to use, but there are so many options that the Notion setup can leave you bewildered and almost paralyzed. But, the best way to learn is to start, so, let's get you set up.

P.S. If you have ADHD, Notion can feel even more overwhelming! That doesn't mean you shouldn't try it, I know a few people with ADHD who absolutely love Notion. I've documented a few things to help you get past the overwhelm of Notion with ADHD (coming soon – stay tuned!).

How to Set Up Notion

Before you set up your account, you'll need to ensure you have an active email account. After that, follow these steps:

Create Your Notion Account

Download the Notion app from the app store or visit the Notion website and sign up for an account. You have the choice between the free plan and the paid versions. For this article, I'm utilizing the free version.

Pricing plans for Notion at the time of this post being published
Pricing plans for Notion at the time of this post being published

Once you've signed up, you'll need to check your email for a ‘sign up' email that is sent to you. This is to verify you're email is active.

Print screen of the sign-up email from Notion
Print screen of the sign-up email from Notion

Install Notion Web Clipper

Notion Support explains this add-on best:

The Web Clipper lets you save any web page off the internet to your workspace so you can read or edit it later. You can add this web content to a workspace or page of your choosing, making it easy to build a reading list, collect references and more

Head on over to https://www.notion.so/web-clipper and install Web Clipper for either Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.

Upon signing in, you'll land on your main page—this is your Notion dashboard. From here you will access all your Notion features.

Notion dashboard when you first sign up
Notion dashboard when you first sign up

Begin a New Notion Page

Now it's time to let your creativity flow! Click on “Add A Page” to start a fresh canvas. Create pages for personal projects, work tasks, travel plans, or even a digital diary. And, the whole reason we're here – create a page for your business.

Once you've added a new page – you'll want to rename it. Click on the 3 dots and there's an option to “Rename”.

Rename a page in Notion
Rename a page in Notion

Customize Your Page with Notion Templates

Notion offers a variety of pre-made templates to kickstart your productivity. If you're feeling like you can conquer Notion, you can also craft your own templates.

A third option is to purchase Notion templates from places like Etsy (get 40 free listings) or Creative Fabrica. Simply search “Notion template” or you can be more specific and add whatever you want (for example “Notion Template Content Calendar”).

To use a pre-made template in Notion, simply use the left menu and close to the bottom is the menu “Templates”. Click on that and you'll have a window pop up with all the templates. You can search by category, like “work” or you can use the search bar. Install the template you want by clicking on the blue button “Get template”

Choosing a pre-made template in Notion
Choosing a pre-made template in Notion

Set Up Your Notion Workspace Without Templates

Your workspace is like your own corner of the world. Personalize it to your heart's content. Add pages, pictures, music, and anything that makes you happy and productive!

As a blogger or online solopreneur, there are a few things you could set up in order to utilize Notion to its potential:

  1. Daily To-Do Lists – this is where you'll go every single day and there will be a list of tasks you need to do with due dates. You can check them off as you complete them and sort to only see incomplete tasks. You can even set reminders in Notion and create time management templates like a Pomodoro tracker.
  2. Goals – Daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annual. What are your goals – write them down and check them off as you accomplish them.
  3. Content Creation – Blog, YouTube, Social Media, all the things you do to get your content out there.
  4. Your products – A space for all your completed products, in-progress products, and future ideas.
  5. Courses – you can actually create paid courses within Notion and share them with your paying customers – mind blown 🤯, right?!
  6. Training – a list of links to all your training courses you're in, memberships you're a part of, etc.
  7. Other – you can add personal stuff like hobbies, exercise, etc. to round out your days.

An advertisement for a 'Free Notion Goal Planner & Task Tracker Template', which includes a visual of a tablet displaying the template with sections for SMART goals and task organization. The image also features a prominent 'Free' starburst icon and text that encourages users to easily record and align their tasks with their SMART goals. The 'Made for Notion' badge at the bottom signals compatibility with the Notion ecosystem, against a stylish background with a blend of neutral and green tones.

Achieve your business goals with this Notion Template!

Create a New Notion Database

In Notion, a database is a structured collection of information organized in a tabular format. It serves as a way to store, view, and manipulate data within Notion. Databases in Notion can be customized to meet specific needs and can include various types of content, such as text, numbers, dates, attachments, and more.

To set up a new database, simply click on the “+” icon, and select “Database.” Choose from different views like a table, board, or list, depending on your preference.

Screenshot of a Notion database I created for Organize Your Online Biz
Screenshot of a Notion database I created for Organize Your Online Biz

The screenshot above is a look at an unfinished product I'm creating in Notion; A Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) database for all your business SOPs!

Database Views

There are a few different views that you can use in a Notion database. You can choose the one that best suits you.

  1. Table View: Displays your data in rows and columns – think Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets type of look.
  2. List View: Lists each database entry as a separate item (listed vertically).
  3. Board View: Displays data in columns that are organized based on some criteria. For example, from my screenshot above with the SOPs, my board view has 3 columns – Not Started, In Progress, and Completed. This view is similar to a Kanban board.
  4. Gallery View: This is great for visual content as it organizes your entries with thumbnails.
  5. Timeline View: Data is organized based on a timeline, like when tasks are scheduled to be done or when they are completed.
  6. Calendar View: Data is shown in a calendar.

Add a Widget

A widget in Notion is an application that is embedded into Notion. So for example you could embed a weather widget. This widget will always be up to date from the website that you got it from. I'm going to embed an Environment Canada widget with the weather for Calgary, Alberta.

The first thing that you need to do is get the embed code or HTML code required to embed. Environment Canada makes this really easy allowing you to choose your desired location and it spits out the code you need:

A snippet of HTML code for embedding a weather widget from Environment Canada on a webpage. The iframe element is used to display the widget, which is set to a width of 287 pixels and a height of 191 pixels. It points to a specific URL that includes parameters for city code and language. The code is marked with comments indicating the beginning and end of the WeatherLink Fragment. A disclaimer notes that current conditions are subject to availability and not all forecast locations have current conditions data.
HTML Code for Environment Canada for Calgary, Alberta. This is required to embed a weather widget from Environment Canada.

Next head over to your Notion dashboard and choose where you want the widget. Type in “/embed” (without quotations) and choose the embed

A user interface for embedding content, with a focus on a Calgary, Alberta Weather Widget. The UI provides an option to embed various types of content such as PDFs, Google Docs, Maps, Spotify, and more. There's an 'Embed link' tab selected, with an input field prompting the user to paste a link, and a blue 'Embed link' button below. A note confirms that the feature works with links from PDFs, Google Drive, Google Maps, CodePen, etc.
Screenshot of setting up an embed link to add a weather widget in Notion

Copy the code that we grabbed from the Environment Canada site and paste it in the area above and press the blue “Embeded Link” button.

A weather widget for Calgary, Alberta, displaying the current temperature at 0°C with a clear night sky icon, and wind speed at SSW 13 km/h. The forecast includes a chilly night at -5°C with a snowflake and moon icon, a sunny Saturday at 9°C, and a cooler Saturday night at 1°C. Each forecast segment features the Environment Canada logo, indicating the source of this weather data.
The finished look of an Environment Canada weather widget in Notion

And there you go! Now whenever you're in this area of your Notion site, the weather will be updated automatically. Pretty cool hey! You can do this for Google Docs and even Spotify!

One last think I should add, Notion saves automatically, so all these things you just set up, are already saved! You can close your web browser or mobile app at any time!

Frequency Asked Questions

Can I Use Notion for Free?

Absolutely! Notion offers a free plan with robust features. You can always upgrade to a paid plan for additional perks and advanced functionalities.

Can I Sync Notion with Google Drive and Google Calendar?

Yes, you can! Notion seamlessly integrates with Google Drive, allowing you to attach files and documents directly to your pages. You can also sync your Google Calendar to stay on top of your schedule. Check out the widget section above.

A promotional image for the Notion Product & Blog Post Tracker, featuring two tablets displaying tracking interfaces for products and blog posts. Bullet points on the right side highlight features such as tracking capabilities, customization of views, and alignment with audience needs. The 'Made for Notion' badge emphasizes the tool's integration with the Notion platform, set against a modernistic background with green and pink hues.

Grab this Notion Template that tracks your products and aligns them with your blog posts, ensuring you are serving your audience.

How Do I Download Notion on My Device?

Downloading Notion is a breeze. Simply go to your device's app store, search for “Notion,” and hit the download button. You may need to supply a password before the download will proceed – depends on how you have your phone or device set up.

Can I Change the Background Colour in Notion?

Yes! You can change the background colour of blocks. The page background can either be white or black (dark mode). Check out this Notion background blog post for a step-by-step tutorial.

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Can I Center Text in Notion?

Absolutely, but not quite the same as say Google Docs or Microsoft Word. I wrote a blog post all about Centering text in Notion, check it out!

Your Personalized Notion

Congratulations! You've just set up your Notion account! Now you can start playing around with it customizing it just the way you like it, and get your business organized!

There are so many options that it's impossible to cover everything in one blog post, so stay tuned! I'll be adding more “how-to's” for Notion. If you're looking for something in particular, please comment below.

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It helps my blog enormously. Thank you!

A bold and colorful promotional image featuring 'Notion 101' in large pink and brown font with a subtitle 'HOW TO SET UP NOTION' followed by 'CREATE YOUR PERFECT DIGITAL WORKSPACE'. The website 'organizeyouronlinebiz.com' is noted at the bottom, guiding users on setting up their ideal digital workspace using Notion
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Creator and CEO of Organize Your Online Biz, Lindsay Trca

Hi, I'm Lindsay!

A blogger dedicated to empowering women entrepreneurs in the online business world. With over 15 years of experience in process documentation and SOP creation, I specialize in streamlining workflows, organizing workspaces, and optimizing digital tools for maximum efficiency. Join me as we transform your business operations with practical insights and budget-friendly solutions.

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