Using Notion to Manage Your Life - Part 9 of 12 - The Contacts Database

Introduction

This week we will create a Contacts Database, which can also be used as a CRM system.  For me personally, I didn't want this to become yet another list of phone numbers as my phone has all that information.  However, you can easily incorporate phone numbers into this database if you would like.

In addition to storing contacts, we will show how we can assign those contacts to notes and tasks.  We will also add the ability to track how often we want to communicate with certain contacts and build a way to track the amount of time that has passes since the last communication.

Let's dive in...

Topics in Today's Lesson

  1. Creating the Contacts Database
  2. Updating the Notes and Tasks Database
  3. Using the Contacts Database
  4. Creating a "Waiting On" Task View
  5. Updating the Monthly Review Templates

Notion Tutorials

  1. Getting Started with Notion
  2. Creating and Using the Notes Database
  3. Creating Templates for the Notes Database
  4. Creating and Using the Tasks Database
  5. Project Management Using Notion
  6. Goal Setting and Tracking
  7. Daily Tracking and Habits
  8. Weekly and Monthly Reviews
  9. Creating a Contacts Database or CRM
  10. Creating Book/Recipe/etc. Databases
  11. Using the Notion Web Clipper
  12. Bringing it Together with Global Tags

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Lesson 9: Creating the Contacts Database

Step 1: On our dashboard, in the Shortcuts section, add "Contacts" subpage under the Goals Database.

Step 2: Click on the Contacts Page and select "Table" as the Database type.  Create an icon for the page.  Rename "Name" to "Full Name" and delete the "Tags" field.  Add the following fields:

  • First Name (Text)
  • Last Name (Text)
  • Type (Select)
  • Company (Text)
  • Email (Email)
  • Website (URL)
  • Relationship (Multi-select)
  • Track Contact (Checkbox)
  • Last Contact Date (Date)
  • Contact Frequency (Select)
  • Days Until Follow-up (Formula)

Step 3: Set the selection items for the Select and Multi-select fields as follows:

Type

  • Personal
  • Work
  • School

Relationship

  • Friend
  • Family
  • Colleague
  • Classmate
  • Mentor
  • Influencer

Contact Frequency

  • Weekly
  • Monthly
  • Quarterly
  • Yearly

Step 4: To calculate the "Days Until Follow-up", we will compare the current date with the "Last Contact Date".  We will then compare the difference of these two days to the frequency selected.  Use the following formula and update it as needed for any additional Contact Frequencies you added.

if(prop("Track Contact") == true, if(prop("Contact Frequency") == "Yearly", 365, if(prop("Contact Frequency") == "Quarterly", 90, if(prop("Contact Frequency") == "Weekly", 7, if(prop("Contact Frequency") == "Monthly", 30, if(prop("Contact Frequency") == "None", 9999, 365))))), 9999) - toNumber(dateBetween(now(), prop("Last Contact Date"), "days"))


We will see this formula in action later in the lesson.  However, for now, we now have our Contacts Database created.  Delete the rows that were created during the table setup.  Next we will create relationships between the Notes and Tasks Databases and the Contacts Database.

Lesson 9: Updating the Notes and Tasks Databases

Step 1: Going back to the Dashboard, open the Notes Database by clicking on the database name in the "Notes" section.

Step 2: When we created the "Notes" database, we created a "Contact" text field.  Change this field to a relation to the Contacts Database.

Step 3: Again, back on the dashboard, follow the same steps to open the Tasks Database.  Here, we will update the "Waiting On" text field as a Relation to the Contacts Database.

Our Contacts Database is now complete.  Next we will see how we can use this database and how to assign contacts to Notes and/or Tasks.

Lesson 9: Using the Contacts Database

Step 1: Go back to the Dashboard and open the Contacts Database.  Click the blue "New" button and arrange the fields displayed to make data entry flow smoother (Notion defaults the fields in alphabetical order)

Step 2: Create your first contact.

Step 3: Our formula will default to 9999 days until follow-up if we do not select "Track Contact".  However, if we want to track this contact, we can check off the checkbox, and fill out the remaining information.

For the Last Contact Date, I am going to select a date three weeks ago (21 days).  As you change the Contact Frequency, you can see how the "Days Until Follow-up" is automatically updated.

Step 4: From the Dashboard, use the Notes Quick Add button to create a new Note.  From here, we can use the Contacts relation to tag the note with a contact.

Step 5: We can do the same with Tasks.  Create a new Task using the Tasks Quick Add button.  Add a new Status selection named "Waiting On".

Step 6: Fill out a new Tasks with a "Waiting On" status.  In the "Waiting On" field, we can select or create a new Contact.

Step 7: After clicking "Create a new page..." you can click on the name to bring up the Contact Page and complete the rest of the details.  Notice how the Task is automatically shown.

Now that we have a working Contacts Database, we can update our Tasks Database with a view to show items that are outstanding and assigned to other people and update our Monthly Review template to check on any contacts we may want to reach out to.

Lesson 9: Creating a "Waiting On" Task View

Step 1: On the dashboard, expand the "Today" toggle and add a new view named "Waiting On".

Step 2: Create a filter to only show items where the status is "Waiting On" and "Done" is not checked off.  Sort the view by "Do Date".

Step 3: Rearrange the columns so the "Waiting On" field is at the start of the view.  You can now use this view to determine if there are any tasks past due which you assigned to someone else.  As you reach out to them for an update, you can add a note to the tasks tracking the date and time you followed up.

To go back to your tasks, select the "Table View" view.  Now you can switch between the two views as needed.  (You can also rename the default "Table View" to "My Tasks" or something more descriptive).

Lesson 9: Updating the Monthly Review Template

Step 1: Finally, we will update the Monthly Review Template to show us contacts that are past due, or approaching follow-up.  Open the Monthly Review page from the dashboard, click the drop down to the right of the blue "New" button, click the three dots next to "New Month Template" and select "Edit".

Step 2: Add a new item under Monthly Cleanup to review contacts for follow-up.  Link to the contacts database and create a filter to only show contacts where we are tracking the date and where the remaining time is less than 3 days for weekly frequency contacts and less than 10 days for all others. To do this, we will need to create a nested filter group. Setup the first filter and then click on the three dots next to the filter group and select "Wrap in group".

Step 3: We now have a nested "Or" filter within our original "And" filter. As we did prior, create another group so we can set the days when "Monthly" is selected.

Step 4: Finalize the filter. Thank you to Colin for pointing out the mistake with my original screenshots where I had the "And" and "Or" filters swapped. The template has also been updated. :)

End of Lesson 9: Creating the Contacts Database

We now have a working Contacts database where we can assign people to tasks or tag people to notes.  We also have a way of tracking those tasks we assign to others and a monthly review to check if we need to follow-up with anyone so we don't lose touch with them.

Next week we will create a Books Database, which can be easily replicated or enhanced to capture other media as well (Movies, TV Shows, Recipes, etc.).

Notion Tutorials

  1. Getting Started with Notion
  2. Creating and Using the Notes Database
  3. Creating Templates for the Notes Database
  4. Creating and Using the Tasks Database
  5. Project Management Using Notion
  6. Goal Setting and Tracking
  7. Daily Tracking and Habits
  8. Weekly and Monthly Reviews
  9. Creating a Contacts Database or CRM
  10. Creating Book/Recipe/etc. Databases
  11. Using the Notion Web Clipper
  12. Bringing it Together with Global Tags

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Lesson 9: Free Notion Template

Here is the link to the template we just created. To add this template to your workspace, click the "Duplicate" link in the upper right of the screen.