The North Star: Holistic Personal Life Management

Ilma Aliya Fiddien

This is not your usual second-brain Notion template.

What is a second brain?


My definition:

An extension of our brain for storing and organising things, so that we can focus on more sophisticated use of the brain: ideating, planning, connecting, contemplating, reflecting.


  1. Consistently move your projects and goals to completion by organizing and accessing your knowledge in a results-oriented way
  2. Transform your personal knowledge into income/productivity, taking advantage of a rapidly growing knowledge economy
  3. Uncover unexpected patterns and connections between ideas
  4. Reduce stress and “information overload” by expertly curating and managing your personal information stream
  5. Develop valuable expertise, specialized knowledge, and the skills to deploy it in a new job, career, or business
  6. Cultivate a collection of valuable knowledge and insights over time without having to follow rigid, time-consuming rules
  7. Unlock the full value of the wealth of learning resources all around you, such as online courses, webinars, books, articles, forums, and podcasts

Who is this for?

  • Someone who juggles many things in their life and wants to keep everything in check without overflooding their head.
  • Someone who likes to zoom in and out the “picture” of all their matters and concerns.
  • Someone who wants to learn how to say “no” to things unrelated to their vision/direction of life.
  • Someone who doesn’t despise organising and writing things.

The Concepts and Principles

Item = tasks, insights, the smallest unit of useful information

Block = something you drag around in Notion

Database = a type of block that can “bind” a lot of blocks in Notion

View = a specific setting for how you want to see a database, e.g. using sorts or filters

Page = a type of block that can contain any other block in Notion

  • Each database has a concise purpose and usage.
  • Any incoming item into your system has one clear destination and only exists in one of the existing (eight) databases.
  • Relation between items exists to link your thoughts and experiences and to capture any real-life context.
  • Less moving blocks, except inside a database (between different linked views) or on a page where you are supposed to write.

What’s inside?

Special pages

The North Start: A statement of Rancangan Kontribusi Unggulan (RKU) or Greatest Life Contribution

A page to start seriously thinking about the big picture of your life—your long-term planning. This is to give you a direction in life, to determine what kind of capacities you need to have that you want to develop throughout your life. All in order to say “no” to irrelevant matters and more “yes” to relevant, great opportunities. In the end, it is your way to contribute and live a happy life in this world.

The main reference is Mr Elvandi’s ideas.

Relations between databases

[xxx] : Concerned with the quality of life, sense of progress, and big views — for planning

(xxx) : Collection of activities that have done/not-done attribute — for executing

/xxx/ : Terminal databases, unique and tangible objects. — for documentation

The Databases


  • A sphere of personal activities/states with a standard to be maintained over time.
  • Contains visions or hopes for that area of life.
  • Contextualise:
    • Resources: Which domains of knowledge are relevant to this area of my life?
    • Goals and Milestones: What kind of overarching aims do I want to achieve in this area?
    • Projects (with or without Goal): What kind of actions do I want to take in order to maintain/improve my standard in this area?
    • Notes: Is there any piece of information/knowledge that can benefit me in this area?
  • Related concepts: Wheel of Life.

Notes and Life Log

  • Any piece of writing; is divided into two categories:
    1. Notes: regular; non-personal.Types of note:
      1. Literature notes: from courses, books, etc; encouraged to be linked to a certain Resource. A Milestone and a Project usually have literature notes.
      2. Fleeting notes: a single concept written in a “complete” sentence(s). In the database, this is the No Type category.
      3. Permanent notes: the product (conclusions) from your consumptions; encouraged to be linked to a certain Area.
    2. Daily Notes: daily entry; personal; weekly and quarterly plans and reviews; has tags (emotions, theme, etc) to label a certain period of your life.
  • In this system, a meeting minute will be treated as an item in the Tasks database, not in Notes. Why? A meeting minute usually has actionable items. The Notes is not a place for something actionable.


  • A very time-specific activity assigned with a scheduled date and/or a due date.
  • Actions:
    • Do Next: must have a due or schedule date, something you want to do in the near future.
    • Delegate: must have a related entity and, ideally, a due date.
    • No Action (Someday): still unsure where to put the task.
  • Almost always under a Project.
  • Using the GTD Framework.


  • A series of Tasks to create a specific product/achievement. Have a well-defined definition of done. Usually doesn’t stretch beyond 4 quarters (a year). Usually have to do with other entities/external participation.
  • A “Big win” on a journey to progress in one or multiple Goals. Can be independent of any Goal but encouraged to be under a specific Area.
  • Can have related Notes to store knowledge, ideas, or discussions.


  • A state, an achievement, or an activity that is hardly actionable. Cannot be broken down into smaller pieces of steps, too insignificant to be recorded digitally, or too unstructured. Have a specific measure and an estimated end date. Hardly have anything to do with other people/external participation.
  • “Small win” on a journey to progress one (usually) or multiple Goals.
  • Like a Project, a Milestone can have related Notes to save knowledge, ideas, or discussions.
  • Related concepts: Key Result (in OKR Framework).


  • Transformational journals that can contain Projects and/or Milestones, and under one or multiple Areas. Have a well-defined success and/or failure criteria.
  • The duration of a goal usually is more than 3 months.


A topic of ongoing interest. A binder of various Notes and Projects. A knowledge base for future Projects. Encouraged to be under one or multiple Areas.


  • Person, organisation, brand, or any other entity.
  • Track contact details and last interaction date. (introverts will need this!)
  • Almost always come from a Project or Milestone.

Contextual Views

  • The North Star
  • Task Manager
  • Notes Binder
  • Projects Hub
  • Goals Planner

Templates within the databases

  • Area Dashboard
  • Goal Charter
  • Project Dashboard
  • Task with a Meeting Minute
  • Resource Library
  • Milestone Experience
  • Note on Book
  • Lecture Note

  • Effort Points (EP) is an arbitrary scoring system to show how much work and thoughts you have put into your matters through related goals, milestones, projects, resources, and notes. It is a means to appreciate your hard work! 🙌
  • Generally, EP equals the time (in hours) you spent working on doing a task or writing a note. But you might weigh it differently according to your own taste. Make sure to use your criteria consistently.
  • EP's final calculation is in Areas and Resources.
    • Resource’s Total EP Calculation

    • Area’s Total EP Calculation

    Why the EPs are calculated like this? It’s a personal preference. For example, when a goal is actually composed of projects and milestones (thus might be calculated twice), I put more emphasis on having a goal: a well-defined, medium to long-term target.
  • If you don’t care about these kinds of little details, you might ignore them completely or delete the properties altogether. Make sure to adjust the filters used in some of the Tasks and Notes linked views accordingly.

References and Inspirations

I want this!

A comprehensive Notion template made with ❤️

Futher Updates
Life Contribution Planning
Notes & Life Log
Task Manager
Project Dashboard
Goals Planner
Other mini templates!

The North Star: Holistic Personal Life Management

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