How I never miss and forget about anything again — Build an automated database system with Notion and TickTick
Wouldn’t it be great if we had a simple system to help us remember things in our lives? Something like a digital brain that can be accessed anytime and anywhere. With a lot of amazing tools nowadays, it’s feasible.
The system I built is inspired by one of Tiago Forte’s Second Brain methods, which is “capture”. The goal is to capture everything I want to remember in a digital system instead of my brain.
“Your mind is designed to have ideas, based upon pattern detection, but it isn’t designed to remember much of anything! — David Allen
The tools I used to build this system are Notion and TickTick. Good to know that they’re not integrated with each other, I use both platforms for different use cases.
- Notion — Bookmarks database from everything on the internet (in my case, it’s URL, YouTube videos, and Twitter tweets/threads).
- TickTick — Quick capture of “what’s going on in my mind that I want to remember” while you’re on the go (no laptop beside me).
This is the requirement to follow the main content of this article:
If you know nothing about Notion, you can start from here. Let’s start with Notion.
Automate Database with Notion
Have you ever felt that you found some amazing content while surfing on the internet and it frustrates you when you forget about it? I did too. Most of the amazing content that I found is usually from Twitter, YouTube, and while I’m browsing on Chrome. Normally, I can save everything in its own place (example: playlist on YouTube, likes section on Twitter, and bookmark on Chrome) and then call it a day. But what if I can save it in one big database where I can organize and find them easily? That would be amazing.
So, the reason why I started to build this system is
I want to build a database system where I can organize and access everything with EASE.
The first thing that comes into mind is Notion. I’ve been using Notion for about two years now and Notion becomes more popular day by day, so I have no doubt that they have supported integration with popular platforms like Twitter, YouTube, etc. And, I was right.
Now, let’s get started with the main business.
The image above is a preview of what we will try to make. This database contains three things
- Tweets/Threads from Twitter
- Videos from YouTube
- Links from Google Chrome
What we want to achieve is “the fastest way” to save all of these and save them all to a Notion database. Let’s start with the first one.
Save Tweets/Threads from Twitter to Notion
The platform that I used for this is SaveToNotion. First thing first, let’s set up the integration. Since they already make a good thread about step by step to implement it, I will just put the link here.
Make sure to set it up first before jumping into the next section (Note: Instead of duplicating the template from SaveToNotion, I recommend you to duplicate my template here for the next integration purpose).
SaveToNotion allows you to save the tweets/threads to Notion database ONLY by mentioning them like the image below. On top of that, you also can add hashtags in your tweets to add tags on your Notion database so it will be easier to organize them later.
In the database, it will be displayed like this:
Save Videos URL from YouTube to Notion
For this one, the platform that I used is Zapier. You might have heard it before, it’s one of the most popular platforms when it comes to automation.
Zapier provides a trigger, that when we save a video to a designated playlist (the playlist we create) on YouTube, it’s possible to create an event and connect it to another platform. An event that we want in this case is “Create Database Item” in Notion database (to save it in Notion too parallelly).
Summarized, what I want to achieve is:
Save a YouTube Video to playlist (as a trigger) then it will automatically saved to the Notion database (response as an event).
Start with creating an account in Zapier here. You need to fill out some form. The first one is to fill in your personal data. For the second one, you can add Notion and YouTube, it will look like this:
In case you miss it, don’t worry because you can set it up again later. After that just click Start with Zapier.
To create the automation, click Create Zap button.
After that, fill YouTube for the first platform then choose New Video in Playlist (when a video is saved to our designated playlist, it will be treated as a trigger).
Next, you need to create a playlist on your YouTube account. Like I said before, what we want to do is for all of the videos that we saved in that playlist will be saved into Notion database too. Let’s set up the playlist integration.
You can get your playlist id from the URL bar.
After that, you can test it by saving a video to that playlist and see if the integration is connected or not.
Onto the next one, it’s time to set up the Notion side. For the event, choose Create Database Item (because we want to add the YouTube URL into Notion database as a response from the “New video in playlist” of YouTube’s trigger before).
Same like the YouTube earlier, you need to integrate your Notion account to Zapier first.
Then after that, now we can set up the database and the item data.
Just follow my setup if you don’t know where to start. In short, Zapier needs us to let them know where the data they get needs to be placed in our database column.
Then lastly, test it again and see how it goes.
In the database, it will be displayed like this:
Save URL from Google Chrome to Notion
The last one, it’s a chrome extension called SaveToNotion too (since the platform name is the same, it’s probably the same source as the one from Twitter). Make sure to download and install it before moving on.
It’s pretty much the same as the Zapier one, choose the data that SaveToNotion got and match it with our database’s column.
Just click Save, then you’re good to go. This is an example of how it’s saved in the Notion database.
That’s it for the Notion system, now time to move to TickTick one.
Capture everything whenever you go using ShortCuts and TickTick
Disclaimer: You need an apple device to follow this section. I’m not sure if it’s possible or not in Android but what I will share is an implementation using Shortcuts app by Apple.
The goal of this system is to capture what’s going on in your mind in the simplest and fastest way. You actually can just write it in any note app you have and you will be okay, but if you’re like me who always wants the best, fastest, and less-friction system as much as possible, this might be a good reference for you.
The response time is not as fast since I’m using 6 years old iPhone 7 (forgive me for this)
But if you’re interested, let’s follow on.
Have you heard about Shortcuts? Shortcuts is an app that made by Apple to provide users to build their own automation. Automation is something like Zapier does, you set up the trigger and response steps to get an output that you want. But before jumping into that, you need to install TickTick first.
TickTick is a todo list app, I choose TickTick because it synchronizes very well with all of my devices (iPhone, iPad, and Mac), and it also has nice built-in iOS and iPad widgets, along with a native menu-bar in Mac. You actually can use another popular app like Todoist, but in this article, I will be using TickTick as an example (I love TickTick!).
Once your TickTick is installed, let’s set up the Shortcuts.
Press the “+” button at the top left then fill the steps like my shortcut below. Or, you can customize it as you want.
After the shortcut is made, press Share button on the shortcut then choose Add to Home Screen.