Making 100 Things on Notion

To learn how to make the most of Notion, I challenged myself to make 100 things on Notion, big and small. This is what I learned from it.

Feb 28, 2024
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This post contains affiliate links. I may earn a referral fee if you choose to purchase something or subscribe on a paid plan.
In October 2023, I made a big decision.
I would stop being a UX copywriter, and do the work needed to become Notion consultant in 2024.
Notion was still a fairly new-to-me tool back then. I needed to find a way to learn all I needed to know about Notion quickly and with a hands-on approach.

Enter the “100 Things” challenge

I stole the idea from Visakan Veerasamy. He writes a beautiful post about the idea being just making a lot of a “thing” to simply practice repeating a process. In a few words, the goal is to:
Do 100 crappy things for no reason, with no agenda to live up to, at whatever pace feels comfortable, however you like. -Visakan Veerasamy
So I figured that I would simply start by making 100 things, all things that would use Notion as its core elements, but that might sometimes sort of live outside of it (like my website).
I wanted to do this for a few reasons:
  1. To get practice at making things on Notion
  1. To dive into more complex relations, formulas, automations and integrations
  1. To have fun with the tool, and really test out if I wanted to take this on as my next career
  1. To have a bit more of a target of sorts to reach as I would learn things, so that I would’t feel stuck in “learning mode” for too long.
Now that I’m only about five things away from closing this project, I thought I’d share what it’s been like to make 100 things on Notion.

What’s a “Thing”?

I made the challenge as simple as possible. So here are a few “rules” I made along the way:

The things I would make could be as big or a small as I felt like it

For example, one of the first things I “made” was to add a Pomodoro timer (widget) to my Today page. All it took was to copy and paste a link. Nothing complicated, but it still counted as a “thing”.
notion image
Not long after that, I started work on my meal planning template, Dinner Sorted!, and that meant creating a dashboard that would allow me to plan a month’s worth of meal simply by dragging my recipes into the calendar. This took a few days to get just right, and a few more weeks before it would be up on Gumroad.
This is Thing 06 that I completed in early November 2023.
This is Thing 06 that I completed in early November 2023.
And this is the Gumroad listing, complete with the template and a demo video.
And this is the Gumroad listing, complete with the template and a demo video.
The first thing probably took minutes to make, while the second took weeks to put together in a way where it was functional and I was happy to call it “done”.

Each thing had to allow me to learn a new Notion trick, or combine a few lessons together

When I started playing around with Notion, I first did what I could by experimenting, then I bing-watched and followed along some of Thomas Frank and August Bradley videos.
Eventually though, I decided to take the plunge and embark on a more official learning path and joined the Notion Mastery program.
So some of the things I made were simply chosen from doing things as part of the Notion Mastery journey.
For example, that’s when I made my “Now” page.
notion image

“Things” were updated when I felt like it

While I made my database of 100 Things visible to the public (it still is, probably always will be as long as I’m into Notion), I didn’t put any pressure on when these things would be completed and when they would be updated.
This means a lot of things where updated days or weeks after they had been done. And some days might look like I finished a lot fo things, but when I couldn’t remember an exact date, I simply used the date I would add a thing to the list.

Little lessons from the challenge

There were so many tiny things I learned during this challenge that I did not expect. Super basic things like:
  • In large databases, you can hold shift and scroll to go left and right. It works for spreadsheets or wide websites too.
  • If you press control+command+space, you can summon any emoji you’d like. For years I’ve been doing a copy/paste from a website that includes all possible emojis.
  • The markup language I learned when I published UX Writing Basics works in Notion too. This means I already knew many time-saving keyboard shortcuts.

The bigger lessons from this challenge

What I wanted to share in this post was more about the bigger picture type of learnings I made. The big lessons are not necessarily long to explain. But they’re concepts that have changed the way I think about building my business in general.

⏰ Making a thing takes time

Way more time than I plan for. Unless I set a specific deadline so that I don’t fall into the trap of trying to make it perfect.

🔁 Making things inspires me to make more things

Right when I think I’m running out of ideas, I make a thing and then discover what the next thing could be. Doing this challenge created a “snowball” effect for me, in terms of the number of possible things I could build with Notion.

🤔 Taking the time to record the process is easy to forget.

But when it’s done, it’s easier and more encouraging to see the progress that is made. On days when I would play catch-up and try to remember what I had built over the past few days or weeks, I always ended the day on a high, realising how far I’d come along.

⏳ It’s easy to spend too much time making a thing from scratch.

In particular, formulas. I’m still only a beginner when it comes to formula (I’m in the middle of taking he Formulas Fundamentals 2.0 course), but I realised that when writing one from scratch wasn’t working for me, I simply need to find a template that has a similar enough formula to start with, and then I modify it to make it work from me. Maybe one day I’ll write all my formulas from scratch. But for now, I know many other people are much better at writing those than I am!

📈 I have tangible proof I’m getting better at making things in Notion.

For example, this was my first “Today” page. It looks cute, but doesn’t do much:
notion image
In contrast, this is what my “Today” page looks now. It’s a lot more complex and functional than the original version:
notion image

Navigating a changing app

One of the cool things that happened during this challenge is that Notion has added a bunch of new feature. In particular, Notion Q&A and Notion Calendar were released while I was doing this challenge. This made it a bit easier for me to find new things to work on, but because some of these features are a little bit more complex and advanced, I didn’t focus on them too much.
The release of these new features did allow me to see how the Notion app is forever evolving and how using it as a core tool, and a core aspect of my business means I’ll have to continuously keep learning and mastering these new features.
Most of what I’ve seen so far are features that simplify some processes and allow for more customisation of Notion workspaces, so they’re usually things that make it easier to use the tool, and sometimes makes the tool an even more powerful solution for those looking to get better organised or to tun their business is a more streamlined manner.

What’s next?

As this challenge comes to a close, I definitely won’t stop making things. But I will regain some of my time by not needing to record all the things I’m making.
A few months into my Notion journey, this challenge has helped me confirm that it’s been a good choice to re-orient my career and to dive deeper into all things Notion.
🫱🏻‍🫲🏼 Need Notion support? Send me an email and we’ll have a chat about your needs.
🧐 Haven’t tried Notion yet? Give it a try (The free version is enough for most, but I prefer the options from the Pro account)