If you are the VP Communications for your NCL Chapter, I suggest trying out Notion for project management. Notion is a great way to manage your tasks. I’m getting ahead of myself, first let me say…Congratulations! You are the newly elected VP Communications for your NCL Chapter! Now you need to get organized. I’m here to help you. I have been VP Communications for two different NCL Chapters, and I was in the position for two years in each chapter. Needless to say, that is definitely the position in NCL that I have the most experience.
You may not meet with the outgoing VP Communications (VP Comm.) until the last month of your chapter’s fiscal year, which is likely either April or May. However, there are a few things that I am going to help you with to get your head wrapped around your new role.
Things to Keep in Mind
Remember, what I say here may be slightly different than the way your chapter operates. For instance, some chapters may have 5-6 people that work on the Communications team or committee. Other chapters may only have one or two. If your committee is small, you might consider trying to find ways to delegate work to another Patroness in the future. Then at the end of the year, make recommendations to potentially add more Patronesses to the committee. NCL has excellent advice the structure the Communications team.
Alright, now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about some organizational stuff. If you are a binder gal that likes lots of paper, this may not be for you. However, if you are someone that doesn’t really like getting passed down a binder full of paper, then read on!
A Little Background
I’m going to give you a little background on my VP Communications experience in NCL. When I first got the role, I was one of the chapter’s founding members, so there was a lot to get started. At that time, Digital Cheetah, NCL’s website software of choice, was pretty new. It was a crazy busy time. NCL Inc. was helpful, but there was a lot to learn during that 1st year as a chapter. I stayed on as VP Communications for a second year, and I am now a sustainer in that newly formed chapter and a VP Communications in another chapter that’s been around for 20+ years (it’s a long story.)
Files & Folders
As I start my 4th year of VP Communications, I have found that if you can get a few things organized in the Summer, then you will be in good shape when the year gets into full swing in the Fall. You will likely be handling many files, so it’s good to have a system set up beforehand.
When I first got the position, I created a directory or folder structure on my computer that mirrored the board’s roles. Under Communications, I have further breakdowns into the different areas within the team. These folders have progressed to living on a Google Drive that will be much easier to pass down.
I will create another post explaining my Google drive setup. For now, just know that it is one drive with various shared folders for each Board member. While Google Drive is for file storage, I use Notion to organize my tasks, notes, and ideas throughout the year. That’s what I will focus on today.
What is Notion?
Notion is an all-in-one online workspace that allows you to have a task list, notes, calendar, and databases in one location. At the time of this writing, it is free to use, and it syncs across all of your devices (yes, it has an app for both iOS and Android). Check out Notion at Notion.so, to get started or download from the app store. I’m an Apple user, so I can’t speak to the Android app, but I would imagine it works just as well. I’m always looking for a better way to organize my tasks and notes, etc., and Notion seemed like an excellent fit for volunteer work, especially for the VP Communications role.
Notion is a collection of blocks that can be linked and moved around. Pretty much everything is a block – text, headers, pages, images, databases, etc. I don’t plan on going into detail on how to move around the workspace in Notion here because there are lots of great YouTube videos out there that will give you the basics.
Notion allows you to make it as pretty or as bare as you want. You can easily add icons and images to make your pages come to life. When people pass down info to me, I’m much more likely to take a look at it if it has images. Of course, or if you want basic information, you can have plain text. It’s not perfect, but nothing is. My biggest issue with it is currently, there is no offline option, but they are working on that as we speak. So hopefully, by the time you are reading this, they will have figured that out.
Why use Notion for Project Management?
I love using Notion for project management for my VP Comm role. I use it to manage all of my tasks and keep track of all of my notes for VP Communications’ different areas.
Before I started using Notion, I had all my tasks in a “to-do list” app and my notes in different files on various devices. That worked reasonably well, but it was a pain because sometimes my notes were not “in the cloud” or sometimes I flat out I couldn’t find them. Needless to say, when I sat down to do specific tasks, I might spend the first 5-10 minutes trying to find my notes.
With Notion, I have a master task list for all of the different areas I have under VP Communications. For our chapter, the VP Comm areas are:
- Website/Digital Cheetah
- Social Media
- Board Meetings
- File Storage
- Membership Drive
- Transition to New Year
I created a page for each of the Communications team areas. If I need to see just the task list related to Social Media, I click on the Social Media gallery page. On this page, I will also have pages that I can click on, such as notes to help me remember how to post a story to Instagram or Facebook. You can keep adding content and notes as you see fit, and it’s all in one place.
Having notes and tasks together is huge! You don’t have to go searching for the notes when you are ready to work on a task. The other great thing is if you like seeing your task list in a calendar form with due dates, you just click a button, and there it is like magic all in a calendar, or you can switch to a Kanban board that shows progress. My preference is the table view.
Another cool thing about using Notion for project management is the concept linked pages. For example, on a task list, each task can link to a page with more detail. So, if a task was particularly complex, you could have notes on that task. Or if you just wanted to leave notes for the next VP Comm., that might be a great place to do it.
Notion for Project Management : NCL VP Comm Projects
Let me show you what I mean. Here is a picture of my main project page in Notion for VP Communications. This is just an example of my VP Comm areas, if I wanted to drill down on Board Meetings, I could just click on that image, and it would take me to a page where I could view a list of all of my board reports.
Notion for Project Management : Board Reports
Here is the Board Meetings page, where you could can keep track of all of your board reports. Click a task and you can drill down into that month’s board report.
Notion for Project Management : Social Media
Another example of using Notion for project management is in the social media area. This social media page helps me keep track of all of my notes and tasks related to social media. I find this extremely helpful to help me to stay focused on the task at hand. It is easy to feel overwhelmed because VP Comm. is such a tremendous job. However, being able to drill down from the main project page, helps you to focus and eliminate all of the other distractions.
I have included a link to this template below if you want to give it a try. The template includes all of the above areas, however you can certainly change them to suit your own chapter’s needs. If you think this might help you, feel free to give it a test drive and see what you think. I hope it might help you feel on top of all of the many tasks you have as VP Communications. Good Luck!
Click here to get the free Notion Template for VP Communications.