📣 If you’re interested in getting the free Notion template that powers this system, it can be found at the bottom of the page.
For any organization to survive, shit needs to get done. More specifically, the right tasks need to get done at the right time (with some flexibility of course). Figuring out how to manage tasks in a thoughtful and robust way is not an easy thing to do. In fact, there is a whole industry dedicated to creating task management applications. Each has its own pros and cons but one stands out as being more powerful and customizable than all the others: Notion. In this post, we’ll explain how we at Oasis have used Notion to effectively manage the work that gets done.
How do we think about tasks?
At Oasis we have three main categories for tasks:
📃 Big Initiatives
These are projects that take anywhere from two weeks to the whole semester to accomplish
e.g. Start the Oasis blog, Get official club recognition
☑️ Small one-off tasks
These tasks are ones that often come up during meetings as quick action items and can be completed in a relatively short amount of time
e.g. Clean up the Oasis email inbox, book a room for an event
⏱️ Scheduled tasks
This is the category of tasks that need to be completed each semester at approximately the same time relative to when the program starts
e.g. Marketing for welcome day, mentor recruitment
We have built our Notion to handle each of these three “task categories” which we’ll dive into below.
How do we handle each type of task in Notion?
📃 Big Initiatives
To manage the initiates at Oasis we use an initiative database. At a glance, it shows who is working on a particular initiative and its completion percentage.
When a new initiative is created we use a template to automatically add a kanban board inside the page to keep track of all the related tasks. We use the status (Not started, In Progress, Complete) of the tasks related to the initiative to compute the percent completed seen above.
☑️ Small One-Off Tasks
Since the majority of the new one-off tasks arise during our meetings, we decided to build it directly into our meeting template. Originally we went with the simple approach of adding an action items section at bottom of the meetings page. This gave us a consistent place to organize action items, however, it lacked the ability to let team members see their tasks across meetings and initiatives. To achieve this we used Notion’s relation and database filtering functionality to allow the action items to feed directly into our main task database so that team members can view all their tasks in one place.
⏱️ Scheduled Tasks
For scheduled tasks, we created a separate page called the “Oasis Playbook.” This is probably the most unique part of our task management system and also the most intricate. The playbook consists of “Plays” and “Events”. A play is any task that is necessary to complete each semester. An event is an in-person gathering like a weekly hack session or demo day.
Scheduled tasks (aka plays) need a due date because it’s important that they are completed at certain times. Instead of having a set date that a play needs to be completed by, we’ve decided to make the completion date that relative to a particular event.
As seen in the video above, the start and end dates are automatically populated from the formula. This is useful since we run the program each semester and the same “plays” need to be completed to ensure it’s a successes. Without the ability to link the “Complete By” date to an event, we would have to manually update all the dates which would be quite tedious.
The plays can be views in various ways. We’ve made it easier to see what needs to be done when by creating different views:
- By Timeline
- By stage (pre-oasis, during oasis, post demo day)
- By role (director, head of marketing, etc..)
Could this be useful for you?
This system we believe could be helpful for many other small teams that need to track projects, action items, and recurring tasks. If this is something you’re interested in using, click the link below to get it for free.