Inside my head can feel really messy sometimes, so in order for me to stay sane two things need to always be organized: 1. My house 2. Quill & Co. HQ. Without some semblance of structure in both these places, I start to feel all over the place and usually end up not being as productive as I could be.
That being said, organization is kind of my love language and it’s something that I well…take really seriously. The journey to organization is finding tools and systems that work for YOU. Not every structure or offering will be a good fit for you, and that’s more than okay! I’ve tried my fair share of apps and organization styles and I finally landed on my secret tool that I use to stay uber organized for myself and my team. And that tool is Notion!
Notion is an “all-in-one workspace” that is totally customizable since it’s built in blocks, just like websites. Think of it like combining Asana, Google Docs, Exel, and so much more into one tool with rich formatting. With Notion you can customize it to be exactly what you need it to be, whereas with Asana or Trello you are stuck with their layouts. I also like that Notion can be as simple as you need it to be (you could use it for jotting down notes or to-do lists) or as complex as you need it to be (you can have linked databases with custom formulas and rollups).
Before moving to Notion, I was using Asana to keep both my client projects and internal projects organized. But as I started to grow and add on team members, everything seemed really jumbled. This was mostly due to the fact that I had kept a lot of Quill & Co’s systems and knowledge just in my head since I was the only person that needed it. I began to realize the importance of SOP’s (standard operating procedures) as I brought in contract workers to expand my vision for Quill & Co.
But beyond the need for SOP’s, the system in Asana wasn’t working because the structure of the platform was limiting for the multi-dimensional projects and levels of tasks myself and my team members were working on. If someone needed something, I would have to email them a link to a google doc, or share a pdf in an email, or send them a loom video explaining something and then all of a sudden it was hard to keep track of where everything was living. Asana was a great starting point but after a while the tasks within subtasks within each other became like Russian nesting dolls and difficult to see projects from a holistic, big-picture perspective.
Now with Notion, it’s like one big ecosystem for Quill & Co. Everything is connected and it just keeps growing and getting more dense. If a team member needs something it’s easy to link to other pages or projects within the hub. SOP’s are also much easier to access and this is where loom videos with instructions on set topics can live. While it was a lot to absorb at first when approaching setting up Notion, it’s been such a worthwhile experience thus far.
Here’s a top level view of Quill & Co HQ. I break everything up into five categories: Brand, Operations, Marketing, Finances, and Products & Services.
Brand is where I can keep a reminder to myself and have full transparency with my team on who Quill & Co is and what our vision is for the future. This section also holds a database on current and past clients, who our ideal client is, and keeps all of our brand assets organized.
Here’s a peek at our Brand Assets page. So anyone can quickly go in and have access to the brand guidelines, fonts, colors, photos, mockups. Although, this will be updated soon for our 2021 brand refresh 😉
Inside operations I have a list of team members or contractors that we work with, our standard operating procedures, a list of all of the tech and tools that we use, and a hub for resources that anyone might need.
Inside of our standard operating procedures I have everything broken down into three categories; fulfillment, growth, and operations. This helps to group different SOP’s by categories and keep everything organized.
And then within each of those different areas and procedures are broken down even more.
Inside marketing is where I keep track of our content calendar, and partnerships or collaborations coming up, and recently any ads that I may be running. This is also home to a handy content workflow, a topic I’ve touched on before on the blog here, and shows a visual representation of taking one piece of content across many platforms.
This area is pretty straight forward. It’s where I keep track of money coming and out and keep an eye on our projected income and where I see if we are on track for our income goals. This area isn’t accessed as much and is something that I’m hoping to dive into more this year as I continue to build out my Notion.
Products and Services
This is where I spend the majority of my time (other than my calendar page and “focus” dashboard, which is basically a simplified look at what I need to do for the week so I don’t get distracted) as it’s the hub for my client projects and timelines, my educational course Brand Clarity Academy, and other big internal projects.
When keeping track of our client projects, each client has their own dashboard. While I used to work with all clients through Asana, this is something I’ve recently been experimenting with and will likely post a more in-depth blog about at a later date once I’ve tested it with more clients.
This section is also where I keep track of all things Brand Clarity Academy, which has another dashboard broken into fulfillment and marketing. In November we did a big Black Friday sale and having all the moving parts for my course live on Notion was instrumental for executing a successful and organized launch.
Beyond my client dashboards and Brand Clarity Academy hub, all Quill & Co. internal projects also live here. I usually break them down by quarter, which really helps me to have a clear vision of what I want to accomplish for each part for the year. I’ve also found this approach extremely helpful to goal setting and monitoring your goals, when they’re tied to set timelines and you can track them.
Here’s a peak of archived internal projects from Q3 in 2020
And then within each project, I can have different tasks or resources associated with that project that can link to our master task dashboard, so I have either a big picture view of everything that is going on, or I can zoom in and only focus on one specific task.
This was just a little snapshot of how I run Quill & Co and how Notion makes it much easier. Remember, systems and organization is very personal. What works for me might not work for you. For me personally, I’m always interested to see how other creatives keep so many moving parts running at once, and so I hope this mini behind-the-scenes tour of my systems is helpful to you as you learn how to best keep organized.