“Notes” are sort of like Tweets – quick thoughts that are random and not fully formed; that I didn’t want to or haven’t yet put into a longer format.
My Notion wishlist, March 2023
I love and use Notion throughout my day to manage my personal tasks and goals, keep a journal, and much more. As a daily user and big fan, I’ve been building a wishlist of improvements I’d love to see Notion implement in 2023.
Since I built my own personal Notion journal/task/goal tracker system in January 2020 (related: see my 2023 mantra post, which ties into my Notion goal tracking), I’ve expanded and refined it continually, incorporating more advanced features and trying out new features as they’re released to see how they might integrate into my system.
While I welcome Notion’s focus on AI tools towards the end of 2022 and into 2023, I do think there are some important standard and advanced features that would benefit the continued growth of Notion for casual and power users.
Based on that experience, here’s my Notion wishlist, current as of March 2023:
Populating relational values dynamically based on formula or rollup values.
The #1 feature on my Notion wishlist for 2023 is the ability to populate relational properties dynamically based on formula or rollup values. This would be a huge unlock for power users who are making use of multiple related databases to connect content together. While it’s admittedly much less useful for regular users, I think the amount of innovation that would be created would fuel Notion’s growth from the amount of more integrated, user-friendly template systems that would be built.
Sample use case case: Imagine the use case of a daily journal, where a recurring database template is triggered each day at midnight. There’s a relational field called “Related Weeks” which links back to a “Weeks” database. Instead of manually updating the daily journal recurring template each week to associate it to the new week page in the Weeks database, the “Related Weeks” property could automatically be updated to reference the most recent entry in the Weeks database, for example.
Improvements to the default Name field
Next up on the Notion wishlist is making improvements to the default Name field. I’d love to see Notion enable either auto-population of the Name field based on formula, or enable the designation of another field as the default field in the database. Again, while this is primarily a power-user-centric feature, I think it would make Notion more accessible for casual users by again enabling more “ready to use” Notion templating systems.
Sample use case: imagine being able to auto-populate the name of a recurring daily journal template with the value of a date field (such as “July 14th”), thus saving users the step of having to name their journal entry with the current date.
Auto inserting date for recurring templates
Notion launched recurring database templates in late 2022, and it’s already become an essential part of my routine and my Notion workspace. From auto-creation of my daily journal page, to weekly tasks, I’m using it more and more. While I love this feature, I think it’s missing a pretty huge feature. The ability to automatically populate a date property with the date of the recurring database entry would make it even better.
Take the example of a database called “Tasks” which uses a combination of manually created tasks and recurring templates triggered on certain dates (such as a recurring template triggered weekly on Thursdays for “Take out trash”). Right now when a recurring template is triggered, it doesn’t include the option to define a date, meaning that any filter view based on date– which is extremely common for task management systems and other types of databases — requires additional properties or other work-arounds to ensure that the recurring task appears in the task list correctly.
By enabling the ability to define a date property to be populated when the recurring template is created, recurring templates can become an even more powerful part of any Notion setup.
Enable customization for selecting relations
Database relations — being able to link together things like a list of tasks with a goal, or a list of people to a team, for example — are an essential part of Notion’s success, to the point where they promote it to users of all experience levels.
However, as any Notion users knows, when your list of database entries gets long, the current UI for selecting and associating database entries becomes less effective than it could be.
While the built-in search control is useful, it would be fantastic to be able to define some customizations filter views at an individual database level. Notion already has the UI element in place (the 3 dots icon in the top right of the example image above), so expanding it with some more controls would be great.
Adding a personal library for spell check
Notion’s built-in spell check is useful, but also annoying when you see it underlining page titles or other important UI elements that you are choosing to spell “wrong” (such as proper names).
In this context, it would be great to be able to add items to a personal dictionary, exactly like other spellcheckers do.
Updated UI for managing the Trash
I rarely use the Trash in Notion, but when I do I’m usually anxious and focused on recovering something that was inadvertently deleted.
With this context in mind, it would be great to see the current trash UI expanded beyond its current position as an overlay that appears when you click the Trash link.
An expanded UI — such as it its own full page — would enable more options such as filtering by date, database type, and other attributes. Add to those filters bulk management of items in the trash (such as bulk delete/restore), and this would make a potentially stressful experience easier for users.
Modest UI enhancements
Bulk edit multi-select properties
Many multi-select properties only contain 3-5 items, making them simple to manage. However, in some cases where a multi-select property may contain a large number of properties, an improvement would be the ability to bulk edit multi-select attributes.
Add the ability to wrap property names in table headings
Enabling wrapping of all table columns is a huge benefit to creating organized table displays that are easier to read and thus more intuitive to interact with.
To go a step further, it would be equally nice to enable wrapping of table headings, which would make it even easier to create well-designed tables that fit into specific settings witout needing to modify property names to be short enough to fit.
Truncation of percentages in properties
The ability to display number fields or (formulas outputting numbers) with visual enhancements such as colored rings or bars is a great recent addition to Notion. There’s just one small downside to this feature that could be a “quick win” to further enhance its visuals.
By either automatically, or via setting, truncating percentages in number fields, Notion can reduce visual clutter, especially for most common use cases.
That’s my Notion wishlist as of March 2023. If you have any feedback on these, or think of any I’m missing, let me know in the comments!
Movement Creates Motivation
Each year since 2021, I’ve chosen a mantra to help focus my mind for the year.
In 2022, it was “I have no enemies”, inspired by a dharma talk by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. This mantra was largely inspired by the atmosphere of vitriol and tribalism in communities, the media, and the world. It also helped to remind me to speak ill of others less, approach challenging people and situations with more understanding and empathy, and even remind myself that my own challenges (such as fear or anger) are not my own enemies.
In 2021, it was “Strong back, soft heart”. This mantra reminded me that I can both live by my values with strength and confidence, but also be able to simultaneously display compassion for myself and others. In other words, we don’t need to choose between strength and vulnerability; we can be mindful in selecting which approach is right for each situation.
In 2023, my mantra is “Movement creates motivation”. This is inspired largely by own personal struggles with energy and focus over the past two to three years. As I’ve struggled more with lethargy and jumping around from goal to goal without seeing any one item through, those actions have given rise to strong, recurring feelings of guilt and disappointment with myself. Not working with these feelings feeds a vicious cycle wherein I blame myself for not feeling the “spark” I need to suddenly feel like taking focused, productive action.
Inspired by my wife Heidi’s rock-solid habits, reading about others like painter Henri Matisse, and through testing the theory in a variety of ways, I’ve come to learn that sitting and waiting for energy or motivation to strike is a failed strategy.
Instead, the times when I’ve started with simple movements even when I didn’t feel like moving resulted in an increasing build-up of energy and motivation. Instead of a vicious cycle, this created a virtuous cycle wherein I saw progress, felt confidence arising, and then ultimately felt motivation to continue going down whatever path I was on.
Once in a while a magic spark does come along and get me out of bed early, but I’m increasingly learning that by building the habit of initial actions, I can give rise to ambition and motivation myself.
Top 10 Favorite Detroiters Characters
Detroiters aired two seasons on Comedy Central in 2017-2018. Fans of Tim Robinson’s I Think You Should Leave or Sam Richardson (Ted Lasso, VEEP, Champagne, Ill) will most likely love this cult classic.
As a huge Tim and Sam fan, Detroiters is one of my favorite endlessly rewatchable shows.
As a tribute, here are my top 10 favorite Detroiters characters (stars and regular cast only). While it was tough to not include Hank or Trevor Cramblin or Carter Grant, they would all be top contenders for a guest star list.
The king of Detroit-area fine dining, grilling, and family event speeches, Sam and Chrissy’s dad is a strong and loving influence on their lives, making them the two kind, smart people they are today.
From “I hate it when it’s just the two of us” to Freddie Kreuger’s hand to reading the Cramblin Duvet stock apology message with hilarious disinterest and shame, Lea’s classic moments start in episode one and go from there. She also covers for them, forces them to be better owners, and shows off her chops as a producer and director.
She and Sam may not have reunited by the end of season 2, but we know in our hearts that they’re sitting on a couch at Tim and Chrissy’s watching The New Dance Show.
Legendary real-life broadcaster (and inspiration for Will Ferrell’s Anchorman character Ron Burgundy) Mort Crim plays a pitch perfect, “prices” hating ladder-dangling, pool shark version of himself.
Mort’s asides on TV would’ve been enough to earn my love, but his starring episode ensures his place on this list.
The 50-year veteran of Cramblin Duvet is a consistently positive influence on the boys despite her stern demeanor and cold relationship with her Mother.
Cramblin Duvet’s biggest fan pulls off a brilliant Beverly Hills Cop parody, and that’s not even the funniest thing he does. Ned’s positive energy (“that neck”) and support of Cramblin Duvet mean that he’s a close second for the funniest and kindest of all the supporting cast.
The third leg of the triangle between two best friends, her brother and her husband, Chrissy is the hard-working, supportive, best friend and center of the Detroiters universe. Plus she’s funny and razor sharp moving between the straight side and punchline of any scene.
One half of the Rowdy Boys (aka “Team Viper”), Tim is the Anonymous-imitating, bad singing, Nerf-basketball-playing, loose cannon with a heart of gold who makes a winning and fun family man, best friend, and business owner.
Sam Duvet’s quest for love, dogged pursuit of success at Cramblin Duvet, loyalty to his friend (even when it’s risky), and his wit and wise and quick head for advertising make him an undeniable pick for the favorite character on the show.