What’s the one thing that you can’t do in Notion?
Well, there may be many things.
But, there is one thing that you really need but you can’t do that in Notion.
Do you know what it is?
It’s a Recurring task.
By default, Notion doesn’t allow you to create recurring tasks like you can do in Todoist and Google Calendar.
But don’t worry.
Like always, I’m going to show you two easy peasy ways to create recurring tasks without using Todoist or Google Calendar.
My preferred way - Recurring templates
For recurring tasks, we can use Notion's newest feature called Recurring Templates.
If you take a closer look, you'll find that all of your recurring tasks can be grouped into:
- Weekly tasks
- Monthly tasks
- Quarterly tasks
- Yearly tasks
You can create a dedicated template for each of these categories and group your recurring tasks as checklists.
Let's start with a template for weekly tasks.
Create a template, give it a name, and enter all the recurring tasks as a checklist.
Now you can set the template to recur every week on Saturdays, starting from next Saturday.
You can follow the same process to create dedicated templates for monthly, quarterly, and yearly tasks.
Using Notion Formula
Don’t want to rely on any third-party automation tool?
Well, there is a way to add recurring tasks. You just have to use a complex formula.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to learn coding to do that. I will give you the formula.
This method of creating recurring tasks is popularized by Thomas Frank. You can see the entire process in the following video:
Need further explanation on it?
Sure! Anything for you.
This is quite simple. For this to work, you need to make sure that your Task Database has the following columns:
- Due Date (Date Property)
- Recurring Interval (Number Property)
- Next Due (Formula)
- Type (Formula Property)
- Done (Check box)
Let me explain each one of these:
In the Due Date, you will set when you’re going to do the tasks. This will come in handy later in the process.
The most important columns are the Recurring Interval and Next Due date.
Recurring Interval will be a simple number property. Here, You will be adding the number of days by which you want to do the task again and again.
But, the Next Due date will be a formula. A complex one.
You can copy this formula and paste it in the Next Due date.
Now, you’ll need the Type column to label the tasks as either One-time or Recurring. This will be done automatically with a formula.
Just copy this simple formula and paste it in the column:
What it will do is that if you put a number in the Recurring Interval Column, it will show ‘Recurring’. Otherwise, it will remain as ‘One-Time’
Now, the database has been set up. But there is one more thing you need to do.
Let’s say, you have filtered the database in a way that whenever you click the Done checkbox, the task will disappear.
But recurring tasks shouldn’t disappear. It should reappear with a new date. Right?
Well, Notion doesn’t work like other To-do list apps. To make sure that your recurring tasks don’t disappear, you need to add the following filters (See the image below to understand it):
Now you’re good to go.
Let me show you how this works.
First, add a new task and set the due date like you always do. This will create a One-time task (You can see it in the Type column).
Then, to make it a recurring task, you need to add a number in the
column. (For example, add 7 to do the task every 7 days.)
That’s it, you’ve created your first recurring task.
Now, every time you complete a recurring task, click the Done checkbox (it will not disappear because of the filters).
Then, you will see the Next Due date and update the Due Date with the Next Due date.
Because the Next Due date will always be updated based on the Recurring Interval number.
This is how you can deal with Recurring Tasks in Notion.
Using an Automation tool
Does the first one seem too complicated for you?
Or maybe, you would love to fully automate the process.
Yes, you can do that too.
You just have to use an automation tool like Automate.io, Zapier, or Integromat.
You need to use some sort of auto-trigger feature within these apps. It can be configured to trigger daily, weekly, monthly, or anything you want.
This way, after a fixed period of time, a new database entry will be created automatically and you don’t have to worry about updating the due date.
In my experimentations, I found the Zapier and Integromat works better than the Automate.io (Especially in this scenario)
So let’s look at them one by one:
First, you need to create an account.
Then, you need to click Create a Zap and a new page will open.
Here, you will set the automatic trigger. You will see an option called Schedule. Click that.
Now, under Choose app & event, you’ll find Trigger Event. From there, choose any recurring interval you want.
You can choose from every hour, every day, every week, and every month.
Go for the one you need and click Continue.
Depending on what you choose, you will be given the option to further refine your interval.
Let’s say you’re setting a monthly schedule. You can set the Day of the month and Time of day. Just customize it any way you like and again click Continue.
Now, you need to select an app that, in this case, is Notion. Search Notion in the search bar and click it.
After that, you’ll find an Action Event. Choose Create database item and click continue.
You may need to connect your Notion account with Zapier if you haven’t already.
Now you will choose a Database where you want to create the tasks.
After that, fill in all the fields based on your needs. You can create the task, add content, and even modify all other page properties that the database already has.
Now everything has been set up. You can click Test & Continue to see if everything works.
Then, click Turn on Zap and that’s it.
Your task will be added automatically based on the interval you’ve set.
Now I will show you how you can set up the Integromat for recurring tasks.
First, create an account and connect your Notion account with Integromat. You can do that by going to the Connection tab (on the left bar)
Now head over to the top of the dashboard and click Create a new scenario. Then from the list of apps, select Notion and click Continue.
Now you’ll be redirected to a new page. At the center, you will find a ‘+’ sign along with a clock.
Click the ‘+’ to add a module. Then click the Notion icon. (Search for it if it isn’t showing).
From the list of actions, Select Create a Database Item. Now, from the Connection, select the one which you’ve previously created (Notion).
From the Enter a Database ID, go for Select from the list. And, select your task database.
Now you need to add the task and edit other page properties.
If it’s a task database, you probably have a Due Date column. Here, you need to add a formula to show the date. It’s simple. Just add the following formula in the Start Time and it will work just fine:
You can’t copy and paste the code. You just have to type it.
Now you have to set the scheduler. It’s so simple.
First, click on the Analogue clock, and under Run Scenario, select the one you need. You can go for everyday, day of the week, days of the month, and even set specific dates.
The choice is yours. Then set the time depending on what you need.
Now, press Ctrl + S to save it. The configuration is complete now. You can test it by clicking the play button.
Or, you can just enable the Scheduling by toggling the button below Run once.
That’s it. You don’t have to think about recurring tasks anymore. Whatever time and date you’ve set, the task will automatically be added.
This is how you can add recurring tasks with Integromat.
Recurring tasks are the missing parts that we all need in our Notion workflow. But, there isn’t any direct way to do that.
Of course, you can do that manually by duplicating the tasks and changing the due dates.
But, I wanted to find a way that would remove the friction as much as possible. Finally, I found these two easy options.
You can incorporate these into your workflow without having any difficulty.
But, which one should you really use?
Well, it depends on your choice.
Don’t want to use a third-party integration tool? There is no other option than going for Thomas Frank’s way.
But, if you love to have a fully automated process, you should definitely use either Zapier or Integromat.
But, I prefer Integromat. Because it gives me the most flexibility when it comes to setting up recurring tasks.