Notion Basics – How to create a task dashboard in Notion

Due to the large number of tasks that others assign to me, but also due to the tasks that I devise and plan myself, it is very important to record and manage all these tasks properly. If you have to maintain a large number of tasks and are trying to keep an overview of them, it can be useful to have some kind of a dashboard with a summary and some statistics, so that you have a complete picture of the status of all your tasks at a glance. In this article, as part of my Notion Basics series, I will explain how to create a simple dashboard based on your task manager in Notion.

Content of the article

  • About Notion
  • Requirements for our task dashboard in Notion
  • The design of our task dashboard in Notion
  • Creating the task dashboard in Notion
  • Create the task list database
  • Create the dashboard database
  • Create the task Booleans
  • Create the Rollups
  • Bring rollups into context
  • Create progress bars
  • Create the dashboard
  • Final words

About Notion

Before we start building a simple dashboard for your tasks in Notion, it is good to know what Notion is and why it is such a nice platform to build this kind of productivity solution. In my article “Notion Basics – How to get started with Notion” I already gave a detailed introduction to what Notion is and what it can do, so I won’t go into too much detail here. 

Read: “Notion Basics – How to get started with Notion

In short, Notion is a workspace or an open canvas for anyone who prefers using an integrated productivity environment over having different applications for different purposes. Notion is a self-build environment for everyone who prefers to determine for themselves what their application environment looks like, what it can do, and how it behaves for all their tasks, lists, summaries, texts, journals, administrations, etc. Notion is a solution in which you can design and create functionalities based on a large number of powerful standard building blocks. Think of block types like Text, Page, Heading, Table, Bulleted list, Numbered list, Image, Video, Table view, Board view, Table of contents, Button, etc.

Requirements for our task dashboard in Notion

As an IT professional for more than 30 years, I always ask my business stakeholders first to come up with some solid requirements before I start with my team refining, designing, building, and testing a new user application. So before diving immediately into Notion, let’s first determine what our requirements are for our task dashboard. 

Goal

As a busy person with a lot of responsibilities, I want a dashboard integrated into my digital to-do list in Notion so that I have a birds-eye view of all open and closed tasks.

Basic requirements

The task dashboard should at least offer the below basic requirements:

  • Show the total number of tasks
  • Show the number of closed tasks
  • Show the number of tasks planned for today
  • Show the number of closed tasks planned for today
  • Show percentage closed vs total tasks
  • Show percentage closed vs planned tasks today
  • Show a graphical presentation of the percentages
  • The dashboard must be dynamic, so it must show real-time information

The design of our task dashboard in Notion

The dashboard solution that we will build on top of our task list will look like this:

Creating the task dashboard in Notion

Now that we know our basic requirements and the required design of our task dashboard, let’s start building.

I assume that you already have a (free) Notion account and that you know how to start up Notion. If not, please read my introductory article “Notion Basics – How to get started with Notion“.

Create the task list database

First, we create the foundation, which is the task list.

1) Start Notion as an app or in your web browser.

2) Create a new page via the “Create a new page” icon.

3) Give the new page a name, like “My Simple Task Manager”.

4) Click below the page title and type “/” to open the available commands.

5) Type “Database” and select “Database – Inline”.

Now you see a screen that looks like this:

On this screen, you see an empty table. Here we can implement the required table to store our tasks, a reference to our dashboard, and the required formulas for our dashboard. This is the foundation for our dashboard solution. 

6) Click on Untitled and type “My tasks”.

7) The first column “Name” can’t be deleted but can be renamed. Click on the header and rename this column to “Task description”. 

8) Create 5 tasks with the names Task 1, Task 2, Task 3, Task 4, and Task 5.

9) Rename the next “Tags” column into “Status” and select “Edit property”. 

10) Change the type of this column in “Status”. This option allows you to select different status values. This option is populated out-of-the-box with the values Not started, In progress, and Done.

11) Update the status of the 5 records with the below values;

12) In the third column click on the “+” sign to add a new column. Select the property type “Date” and give it the name “Planned date”.

13) Update the Planned date for the 5 records with the below values:

14) In the fourth column click on the “+” sign to add a new column. Select the property type “Select” and give it for example the name “Project”, or “Scope”.

15) Update this column for the 5 records with some project names, like below:

Create the dashboard database

Now that we have a simple task list, next, we will create the foundation for our dashboard. We will do that by creating a new database.

1) Place your cursor at the end of the page title and hit Enter. Now your screen looks like the below:

2) Click below the page title and type “/” to open the available commands.

3) Type “Database” and select “Database – Inline”.

Now you see a screen that looks like this:

This second database is the foundation for our dashboard.

4) Change the name of this database to “Dashboard”.

5) In the name column type “Task statistics” and remove the two empty rows below it by right-clicking on the empty row and selecting Delete. We only need just one row, that will contain everything required for our dashboard.

6) Now click on Tags and select Edit property. Here rename it to “Tasks database”, select for Type the option “Relation”, and enable “Show on My tasks”, to make the relation also visible in the My tasks database.

7) In the My tasks database give every row the value “Task statistics” in the Dashboard column.

Note: To add the value “Task statistics” to every row more efficiently, just select the first filled field in the Dashboard column and drag it down via the handle in the right bottom corner.

Now your screen looks like below:

What you can see now, is that the 5 records in My tasks are visible in the Tasks database column in the Dashboard database. All tasks are now connected with the foundation of our dashboard.

Create the task Booleans

Now that we have a simple task list, and the foundation for our dashboard, next we will create the required logic based on Booleans. In this way, we can use which records are in or out of scope for certain situations, like planned for today or not. What we need is the following:

My tasks database

  • A column to store the Boolean for all Done tasks.
  • A column to store the Boolean for all tasks planned for today.
  • A column to store the Boolean for all Done tasks planned for today.

Note: a Boolean is a type of data that represents a true or false value.

1) In the My tasks database, click in the empty column at the right on the “+” sign. Now type “Formula” and select the Formula option. Change the name in “F – Done Total”. Next to Formula, click Edit. 

2) Add the below formula and click Done.

Status=="Done"

Note: You can select Status from the Properties section or just type it.

3) In the My tasks database, click in the empty column at the right on the “+” sign. Now type “Formula” and select the Formula option. Change the name in “F – Planned Today”. Next to Formula, click Edit. 

4) Add the below formula and click Done.

Planned date==today()

5) In the My tasks database, click in the empty column at the right on the “+” sign. Now type “Formula” and select the Formula option. Change the name in “F – Done Today”. Next to Formula, click Edit. 

6) Add the below formula and click Done.

and(Planned date==today(),Status=="Done")

Create the Rollups

Now we can automatically determine the number of tasks total, tasks done, tasks planned for today, and tasks done today. We can do this via the Rollup function in Notion.

Tasks total

1) In the Dashboard database click on the “+” sign to add a new column. Select the property type “Rollup” and give it the name “Tasks total”. Select for Relation the value “Tasks database”. Select for Property the value “Dashboard”. Select for Calculate the value “Count/Count all”, to count the total number of tasks in the My tasks database.

Now you see the column showing the total number of tasks in the My tasks database:

Done total

2) In the Dashboard database click on the “+” sign to add a new column. Select the property type “Rollup” and give it the name “Done total”. Select for Relation the value “Tasks database”. Select for Property the value “F – Done Total”. Select for Calculate the value “Count/Checked” to count only the checked records.

Planned today

3) In the Dashboard database click on the “+” sign to add a new column. Select the property type “Rollup” and give it the name “Planned today”. Select for Relation the value “Tasks database”. Select for Property the value “F – Planned today”. Select for Calculate the value “Count/Checked”  to count only the checked records.

Done today

4) In the Dashboard database click on the “+” sign to add a new column. Select the property type “Rollup” and give it the name “Done today”. Select for Relation the value “Tasks database”. Select for Property the value “F – Done Today”. Select for Calculate the value “Count/Checked”  to count only the checked records.

Bring rollups into context

In the previous section, we created rollups to determine different counts for total and planned tasks. But just showing these numbers in our dashboard is meaningless without giving some context. So, in this section, we will integrate these numbers in some meaningful text.

Total text

1) In the Dashboard database click on the “+” sign to add a new column. Now type “Formula” and select the Formula option. Change the name in “F – Total text”. Next to Formula, click Edit. 

2) Add the below formula and click Done.

"You have a total of " + Tasks total + " tasks"

Total text out of

1) In the Dashboard database click on the “+” sign to add a new column. Now type “Formula” and select the Formula option. Change the name in “F – Total text out of”. Next to Formula, click Edit. 

2) Add the below formula and click Done.

"Finished " + Done total + "  tasks out of a total of " + Tasks total + " tasks"

Today text

1) In the Dashboard database click on the “+” sign to add a new column. Now type “Formula” and select the Formula option. Change the name in “F – Today text”. Next to Formula, click Edit. 

2) Add the below formula and click Done.

"You have a total of " + Planned Today + " tasks planned today"

Today text out of

1) In the Dashboard database click on the “+” sign to add a new column. Now type “Formula” and select the Formula option. Change the name in “F – Total text”. Next to Formula, click Edit. 

2) Add the below formula and click Done.

"Finished " + Done today + " tasks planned today out of a total of " + Planned Today + " tasks"

Create progress bars

No dashboard without some nice visuals. So in this section, we will create two progress bars, one for the total percentage of tasks completed and one for today’s planned tasks completed.

% Total tasks complete

1) In the Dashboard database click on the “+” sign to add a new column. Now type “Formula” and select the Formula option. Change the name in “% Total tasks complete”. Next to Formula, click Edit. 

2) Add the below formula and click Done.

Done total/Tasks total​

3) Select Percent for Number format

4) Select Show as Bar.

% Today tasks complete

1) In the Dashboard database click on the “+” sign to add a new column. Now type “Formula” and select the Formula option. Change the name in “% Today tasks complete”. Next to Formula, click Edit. 

2) Add the below formula and click Done.

round((Done today/Planned Today)*100)/100

Note: We use the round function to round the resulting value off to a certain number of decimal positions. We use *100 to indicate it is 2 decimal positions

3) Select Percent for Number format

4) Select Show as Bar.

Create the dashboard

In the previous sections, we created all the important components to put together the dashboard. And this last step is actually very simple.

1) In the Dashboard database click on the 3 dots, on the left-hand side of the New button. Here select the Gallery layout. Also, choose None for Card preview and select Card size Large.

2) Now we can show and reorder the different components in our dashboard. Click on the arrow next to Layout to go one step back. Now select Properties and show and order for example the components like in the screenshot below. 

And that’s all to create a simple dashboard to show some statistics on your task manager.

Final words

In this article, I explained how to create a simple dashboard to show some statistics on your open and closed tasks in your task manager. In a future article, I will go more in-depth on how to create for example templates so you don’t have to manually add the reference between the dashboard database and the task database, each time you add a new task. In Notion, there are of course always many ways to a certain result, like creating dashboard functionality, but I hope that my approach in this article gave you some inspiration and helped you a bit to create your own dashboards.