Use Notion to focus on what matters most
A common challenge most teams—and individuals—face on a daily basis is prioritization. Particularly if you work in a fast-paced environment, on any given day there may be a dozen tasks requiring your attention, projects worth considering, and opportunities that need vetting. If you're not careful, you’ll end up jumping from one distraction to the next and won’t get any closer to your real goals.
It’s not much different when it comes to tracking metrics. Without the right prioritization and focus, teams often track what is convenient and what they readily understand, which in turn often doesn’t have actionable next steps.
That’s why teams use Notion to focus on the metrics that matter most to achieving key team and company goals.
In the tutorial below, we will walk you through five key features that will show you how to implement Notion to help your teams focus on what matters most.
The first step to all of this though is something that needs to be done outside of the tool. And that is to set goals with your team and then choose a few key metrics that indicate your progress toward those goals.
Need help setting team goals? Our guide to Getting Started with Team Metrics includes a plan to get your team goal oriented and tracking the metrics that matter in just three short meetings. Download your guide here.
How to focus with Notion
1. Build more than one dashboard
While there is no limit to the number of dashboards you can create in Notion, restraint is often your best friend when getting started. Data can be overwhelming in large quantities, especially if poorly organized. Creating clearly named and structured dashboards is the first step to helping your teams focus on the right metrics.
Successful organizations create dashboards around their teams, departments, or products. ( Keep in mind, metrics can appear on more than one dashboard. This allows you to create a rollup dashboard that spans teams or product lines.)
To create a dashboard, click on All Dashboards from the left sidebar.
Then, click Create New Dashboard at the bottom of your dashboard list.
You can select from a list of recommended templates to help get you started, or leave it blank to start from scratch.
And finally, give your dashboard a name.
Pro-tip: Dashboards are listed alphabetically in the nav menu, so to keep dashboards grouped together, it can help to give them a prefix. For example, Team - Frontend, Team - Backend, Team - API, Team - Operations, etc.
If you selected a template, you will see a handful of recommended metrics you can begin to fill out to build your dashboard.
If you are starting from scratch and building custom metrics, use the New Metric button to add as many metrics and team polls as you want. You can learn more about building metrics here.
Managing dashboard overload
If you start to get more dashboards than everyone can keep up with, you can limit the number of dashboards people see by making some invite only.
To do this, visit the dashboard and click Dashboard Settings under the dashboard name in the top nav bar.
Toggle the Dashboard Access to Invite Only and then enter in the email addresses of any of your existing team members.
2. Focus your team with dashboard organization
Ok, now you’ve got a dashboard full of the metrics that matter most for a specific team. Excellent. But how do you make communicate the importance and priority of those individual metrics?
With a little bit of dashboard customization you can take a boring, repetitive group of metrics and turn it into an informative board optimized for focus.
Drag and drop metrics
The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure your metrics are ordered the way you want. If Backlog Burn Rate is the most important metric to your team, you don’t want it listed last.
In the bottom right corner of each metric card, you can click your mouse on the dotted icon and drag the card to a new location.
Pro-tip: You can also drag cards to the bottom of the screen to easily remove them from your dashboard. This won’t delete them, they will still appear in the main Directory.
Increase card size
You can also draw attention to one metric over another by increasing (or decreasing) the card size.
Perhaps your metrics are more meaningful when showing a larger amount of data. Or you want to group metrics together all on the same row.
To change the card size, click the grid icon in the top right corned of a metric card.
Select a card width from the dropdown menu and the card will instantly resize and the rest of the metrics on the board will adapt position accordingly.
Set chart types
The last way to customize the look of your dashboard is to change the chart type. There are two ways you can do this.
- To set the default chart type (meaning how all viewers will see it), you need to click into the metric and then click Metric Settings. Scroll down to Additional Options and you have the ability to change the Chart Type and the Value Format, along with a few other options.
- From the dashboard, click the bar chart icon in the upper right corner of the metric card. Select one of the display options from the dropdown. This selection will override the default chart type for you only.
3. Set targets
If you haven’t already, going back into your metric settings and adding a target is another great way to keep the team focused. Targets serve as a great way to communicate the goals you are working towards and how your metrics are performing.
Notion currently has three different types of targets you can set:
- Projected: Great for forecasting growth trends or tracking burndown charts. Allows you to set a desired target date in addition to the value you are trying to hit. The chart will then render both the desired trajectory and the projected trajectory based on your current velocity.
- Total: Select this option when you have a finite goal. For example, if you are tracking how many customers are using a feature and you want to set a baseline of 70%, this would be the perfect option.
- Period over Period: If you are hoping to track period over period goals, then the incremental target type will fit your needs better. Based on your display period options, you will see your frequency listed as the other target type. Incremental targets can than either be fixed (5 new customers each month) or percentage based (10% increase over the previous period).
Targets are visualized on dashboards and show pages, depending on which type of target type is set.
When a target is achieved, a notification will appear in your account’s Activity Feed in the Directory. Digest emails at the end of the week will also be sent to all team members, keeping everyone up to date on achieved goals.
4. Add Milestones
Sometimes, additional context is needed to explain sudden dips, climbs, or other unexpected behaviors related to your metrics. Milestones serve as a simple way to add past achievements or upcoming mile markers as contextual elements to your metrics to explain trends and answer questions for you.
To create a milestone, click Milestones in the left sidebar under the Account section.
Next, you'll want to add a date and a text description.
5. Set up automatic reports
By now, hopefully you have everything you need to create, organize, and prioritize your key metrics to help your team focus on what matters most. But what about making sure everyone on your team is actually looking at the metrics?
Automatic reports can be generated from each individual dashboard and shared with your entire team based on a frequency of your choice.
To schedule an automatic report, click the Dashboard Settings link from the dashboard.
Scroll to the Schedule a Report section and toggle reports on.
Select a frequency and a starting date.
Getting your data in one place is only half the battle. Once you do, you can start to inform and engage your team so that you can focus on the most important information when you need it.
Focusing on the right thing, at the right time has never been easier than with Notion.