How to Use Notion for School (+ a free template!)
by Magdalena Styś, Press & Written Media Team
Finding the perfect (or even optimal) organization system to help you in school is a long and treacherous journey. I know this from experience: every once in a while, I’m suddenly overwhelmed with the feeling that it is now Time to Try Out a New Organization System and before I know it, I’m searching for the perfect notebook to set up my bullet journal or watching YouTube videos about mastering this or the other online time management software.
Well, at the moment, my New Organization System is Notion, and it seems like a pretty stable relationship: we’ve been going strong for over a year. I went through a complete change in my school curriculum, I had to organize myself for multiple jobs and projects, I attended summer school — and through all of that, Notion has kept me company, giving me a way to organize my life through the changes. On top of that, I dragged some people along with me. I have multiple friends who can confirm they started using Notion, whether for school, work or artistic projects, after I kept mentioning it as my trusty organization system.
However, while I’m in close cahoots with Notion now, I remember the steep learning curve that came at the beginning of exploring the software. If you don’t opt to use one of the templates Notion offers you, you’re basically greeted with a blank page and a confusing instruction: “Type ‘/’ for commands”. Even once you get the hang of how to add text, images, columns etc., the freedom and versatility that Notion provides can be overwhelming. What could I possibly do with a software that seems to be able to do everything?
While I’m not an expert on Notion in most situations, I’m an expert on being a student and this expertise makes me just the right person to give you some bits of advice on how to get accustomed to using Notion for school purposes. Keep reading until the end to find a link to a ready-to-go, customizable, dark-academia themed Notion template for students!
! IMPORTANT NOTE: Notion does not enable end-to-end encryption of your data, which means that it’s possible for the employees of the platform to see the content of your boards. Please keep that in mind when you use Notion and be cautious with the information you store on the platform — while most school-related things, such as assignment deadlines or syllabi, should be fine, do not store any kind of log-in information or confidential personal information there.
Make a list of pages you’re actually going to need
If you go through a bunch of Notion templates available online for school, you will see that each template consists of slightly different elements. Some students like making a separate spread for their to-do lists every day, some just use a single page and scribble their upcoming tasks there; some make habit trackers; some create pages for each subject they’re studying. While all of these templates you’re finding probably look beautiful, don’t get carried away and create a bunch of pages you know you won’t use just because they look pretty. Digital clutter is still clutter and having too much to look at every day can actually make you less organized. When you first start using Notion, think about what you might actually find useful when organizing your semester.
Don’t be afraid to try out new things just to delete them after a week
To kind of contradict the point I just made: don’t be afraid to try out new things and don’t feel bad if it turns out they’re not for you. I’m the first to admit I’ve done my fair share of that. I thought I’d use a bunch of different pages; however, most of them turned out to be useless when considering my daily routine. The beauty of a software-based organization system is that you can just throw out anything you don’t feel like using anymore, so make the most out of it.
Make aesthetic layouts (or lack thereof) your friend
The mainstream online presence of Notion revolves around beautiful, aesthetic templates, filled with images of paintings and custom-added fonts. While making these small aesthetic changes can be a fun way to spend your afternoon or even help you be more motivated to study, remember that utility is key. Your organization system should help you get organized first and foremost, even if it doesn’t look the prettiest.
Explore different Notion tools & widgets
Notion is a gold mine of different ways to process and visualize information. Make sure you know your options and can choose which way of presenting your data is the best for you. If you feel like the software’s basic options and tools aren’t enough for you, there’s a plethora of additional widgets available online, many of them completely for free.
Try out our free Notion template for students
If you feel like you don’t know what to start with or would like some inspiration for an aesthetic yet simple student template, check out the one I made! It includes an assignment calendar, a semester schedule, a place to put any important links (both in general and per each subject) and many more. In order to copy the template to your Notion dashboard, just click on the link above and click the “Duplicate” button in the upper right corner. Good luck!
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