How I Use Notion and Google Docs to Manage My Relationship by@trdoc

How I Use Notion and Google Docs to Manage My Relationship

March 14th 2021 3,606 reads
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For her 28th birthday, I decided to create a research paper about my partner in collaboration with her friends. I intended the paper to cover all aspects of her life and serve as the biggest surprise possible to a person who was a scientific researcher by profession. In this article I intend to share ideas on how you too can hack the internet to do the same.
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MD Meets Techie

Our tech journey as we live a #nerdy life doing #nerdy things

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Managing your relationship on a documentation tool? Sounds absurd, doesn't it? It’s kind of similar to Sheldon’s Relationship Agreement with Amy (from the show The Big Bang Theory).

Read on! I’ll tell you why you’ll love the idea and why you should use Notion to do the same. I also have a Notion template and a Google Docs template linked below below to help you get started on your own.

(Spoiler Alert: It's nothing like Sheldon's Relationship Agreement with Amy)

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I’ve been dating this new being in my life for the last four months. We met via a dating app and found each other to be really compatible in many aspects of life (politics, religion, family, outlook on life, etc.). After two months of dating, I took the initiative to create a document that tracked some of the many things we talked about. What started as a simple Google Sheet to track each other’s travel bucket lists evolved into a large pet project on Notion that holds us close together to this day.

We maintain the document on Notion. Here’s a small glimpse of what we’ve put into words and five reasons why you should do it too.

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1. Everything becomes clear and transparent

When you start writing your thoughts and problems down, you stop dwelling on them too much and start focusing on solutions. This has been true for us, especially so since we’re both visual people.

We transparently spelled out our desires for the relationship, our goals for our careers, and what we like and don’t like as individuals. With this done, very few things are left up in the air. The fact that these needs, desires, and wants have been expressed in writing makes it an easy point of reference for future discussions.

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Notion makes this extremely easy with simple in-line tables that are visually appealing while at the same time extremely functional, complete with select or multi-select options.

2. Make agreeable principles that guide you

We took a special effort to sit down for a few hours and write down our principles regarding honesty, forgiveness, and compromises — among many others. This turned out to be one of the most fulfilling parts of this project. Not only does it help minimize ambiguity, but you also get to understand the other person’s values as a partner and human being.

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One of our favorite parts of this exercise was when we wrote down and gauged the size of the compromises that we might be making for each other in the future (we called this T-shirt sizing). This really gave us a clear picture of what was important to the other person and the challenges we’ll need to overcome in the future, in addition to ensuring the compromises are balanced and fair.

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By using Notion we were able to link sub-pages to high-level principles. This enabled breaking down principles granularly and being able to cover those nuanced situations (who takes out the trash on Sundays?) that would otherwise clutter the higher-level relationship values.

3. Achieve your goals by holding each other accountable

Inspired by the book Atomic Habits, we wrote down some of our personal goals for 2021 and broke them down into daily tasks.

Being a Muslim, she wants to pray more regularly and get as close to praying five times a day. I set goals for exercise and intermittent fasting to become visibly fitter. By following up with each other every day on our atomic habits, we hold the other person accountable, thus creating a powerful micro-level habit-loop for achieving each other’s goals.

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If you don't know already, Notion is one of the most powerful tools out there to maintain a habit tracker. Sharing this already powerful tracker with a partner who keeps you accountable is a double life hack!

4. Create a goldmine of memories with a touch of humor

We tabulated all our small achievements, milestones, and special moments together against their respective dates, often touching it up with a bit of fun and humor. This section ended up being one of the biggest hits among our friends and even more so became our favorite.

It combines some of the special moments in our relationship, like the date of our first text, date, and kiss sprinkled with a few absurdities and internal jokes. The jokes reached a breaking point where we had to create a separate family-friendly version of the page for a public showcase.

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Once you get used to it, documenting on Notion can become an addiction. The super intuitive keyboard shortcuts, the ease at which dates can be selected or new rows added to tables, makes for a clean yet powerful product experience for the daily documenter.

5. Never forget by tracking all the small things

Our document categorizes minor aspects of our relationships, such as our reading lists, watch lists, travel bucket lists, and even everyday things we need to plan, discuss or talk about.

We’ve seen three major benefits come out of doing this:

  1. We’ve never had the problem of noting something in our heads and forgetting them later.
  2. It’s become an easy point of reference when we run out of stuff to do or discuss.
  3. It’s helped each of us show and remain interested in the other person’s life.
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By using different types of views for tables on Notion (observe the tabular view of the reading list and the board view for the travel list), each person can present and preserve their information in a manner that appeals to them the most.

More than anything else, this shared document has served as a reminder of what we’ve experienced together as a couple. We’ve learned to value each other more as independent human beings who have a life together and apart from each other.

These are five of the many reasons why you should try a relationship document too and more specifically why you should try it on Notion. If you're interested in the Notion template for this document, you can get it here. If you're a bit more old school and prefer a Google Docs template, you can find it linked here as well (the small fee gives me a lot of confidence that my audience is interested in this type of content).

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