How I Set Up the TIL Journal in Notion

At the start of my daily learning journey this year, I realized that keeping a physical journal for this project isn’t for me.
I wanted a place to record all my entries and keep them supremely organized.
To make my every day of writing entries as easy and fast as possible, so I could focus more on the work, and less on the medium.
So, after discovering the app, Notion, I began creating my own system. And after months of adjusting here and there, I’m finally happy with it!

I’ll share the link to my template here, free to use:

And in this article, I will give you a tour of it.
“The Learning Page” has four different tools you can use:
– My Questions
– The Library
– Today I Learned
– My Study Notebook

My Questions

When I began this project, I started out with a ton of unanswered questions. I wrote them all down in this page. And over time, this list has only gotten longer! Because the more I learn, the more aware I become of things I don’t yet know. My curiosity finds new subjects to grab ahold of.

This page is especially handy for the days you feel that there’s really nothing to learn. It will prove you wrong fast!
It’s not a place to be picky about what you write:
– how do stock markets work?
– how does bluetooth work?
– what is gluten?
– what roles do various parts of the brain have?
– what is the difference between “who” and “whom”?

Whatever you’re curious about (or feel self-conscious for not knowing already), write it all down!
This is no place for embarrassment. Only curiosity.

The Library

When you tag your entries with a topic, this is where they all go: into neat little categories of your own choosing.
Don’t worry about creating so many topics in the beginning. What you see below is my gradual accumulation of 9 months’ worth of entries.
I’ve found that it’s better to learn first, then create your topics based on the entries you have available. As the entries slowly accumulate, you’ll get a better idea of how to organize them.

When you want to find a particular entry, or view several on one subject, “The Library” is where you go.
Just click on a topic, and every entry with that topic’s tag will appear on one page. No unrelated entries to sift through! Just like a neatly-organized library shelf.
As someone who is obsessed with organization, this is my dream!
Here’s an example. Everything I’ve written to improve my Dutch vocabulary, all in one page:

Today I Learned

Writing the Entry

This is where I record my daily learning.
As I write what I’ve learned, I prefer to keep it as short and comprehensive as I can. It makes it easier to review later down the road.

And now, for one of my favorite things about this: the toggle feature.
The toggle allows me to use the active recall method of learning. If I were to just simply write out the answer in plain sight, I would likely read over it without truly thinking about it.
This way, though, I have to really test myself to see if I know that answer.
So, you look at the question, think about what the answer is, and then click on the toggle to reveal it.

Here’s what that looks like when everything’s filled out:

And after you’re done with your research and writing, you might like to cite where you got this information. Even if my source is purely self-reflection, I write it down.

Titling and Tagging the Entry

Title: I personally title my entries with the day of the streak I’m on + the date of the entry.
Date: the date you wrote the entry
Find in Library: What topic does the entry belong to? If you’ve just learned a new word in English, for example, you might put it in the “English Vocabulary” topic.
And if you’re not sure which topic a single entry fits into, you don’t have to play the either/or game. If you give that entry multiple tags, it will appear in each of those topic pages in The Library!
Need to Review: If you’re not confident that you’ll remember what you’ve just learned, you can mark the checkbox, and that entry will automatically appear in your “Entries Needing Review” view.
Last Reviewed: Every time you revisit the entry and review what you’ve learned, you can update this box. It will help you organize your “Need to Review” view.
Backed Up?: If you’d like to export these entries as pdfs and store them somewhere else, this box will help you keep track of what you’ve already backed up, and what’s been revised after the original was exported.

The Views

In your Today I Learned Page, you’ll have numerous view options to choose from:

1 Months’ View: This is the view I use daily. It shows only the entries added within the last 30 days.
Entries Needing Review: Whatever you’ve checked as needing review, they all end up here, sorted by when they were last reviewed. This page is great for when you’ve got a few minutes (waiting in line, on the bus, etc.). Especially if you’d to substitute scrolling on social media with something more mentally stimulating.
ALL Entries (Table and Gallery): Both show every entry you’ve ever entered (as long as they’re also dated)
Entries Needing to Be Backed Up: Every entry whose “backed up?” box isn’t marked as “backed up” will end up here, ready to be exported.
Entries Without Date: Because entries in the other views are organized by date, entries without a date will not show up. That’s where this view comes in handy. It’s shows all your date-less entries, waiting to be organized.
Double-Check Date: This calendar view provides an easy way to double-check that we’ve been consistent with how we’re writing our entry dates on the title line.

The Study Notebook

I prefer my TIL entries to be kept clean and concise.
So I take my notes in “My Study Notebook”, when I know the subject requires a lot of messy notes that will need sifting through.

And that’s about it!
If you found this helpful, and want to start your own TIL journey, feel free to tell me in the comments!
And if you instead have constructive criticism, share that with me too! Being new to the blogging world, I’d benefit tremendously from learning how to make my posts better for my readers.
Either way, thanks for reading!

One thought on “How I Set Up the TIL Journal in Notion

  1. I am astounded at how readable, organized and wise your blog entry is! I didn’t read it closely, but plan to go back and do that, soon. Kudos!

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