Something A Little Different
Those that know me and have read many of my blog posts, know that I have a slight obsession when it comes to documenting my research and investigations in regards to the paranormal. In fact this began with me making many notes in journals that eventually developed into the blog site that you’re reading this very blog on today.
Documenting research and investigations, even our strange experiences is really important when it comes to the paranormal as it helps us to better understand the anomalous activity we all seek. These days the methods used to document paranormal experiences vary greatly; from academic research notes found in Journals, to website reports, to social media posts and the more popular YouTube videos – each of course presents their positives and negatives. The fact remains though that if we wish to progress the paranormal field then we must learn to document better in order to communicate and collaborate our experiences and findings.
Over the years I have used various methods to document my own findings, experiences and investigations. My website being a repository for the information that I wanted to share in the public domain, but there is of couse loads more that I keep to myself as its used for my writing, cases I might be working on, research I may be doing and elements I am learning about too. So, all this kind of information has been stored in vaious places over the years; these have included physical journals, physical files, digital files, Microsoft OneNote, and many more. Whilst many of these like OneNote have been quite effective, they have also had their limitations too. Which has meant I have had to use a combination of systems to make things work over the years.
Granted that this post is probably beginning to seem like a million miles away from my usual ones that tackle aspects like Psi Theory, Ghosts, Cryptozoology, UFOs, and paranormal cases; but it is also an important aspect of what many of us do in order to investigate the paranormal. We all seem to have various methods for keeping track of where we have investigated or what we have researched. With this is in mind I thought it might be helpful to share a new application that I have started using recently that has really started to help me with my research and writing, when it comes to the paranormal. The great thing about this new application is that you can pretty much keep everything in one place and also use it to organise investigations too. This is because the application is a great productivity and project management tool.
What is Notion
If you have never heard of the application Notion, then I would not be surprised. I only discovered it recently whilst checking out various YouTube videos on productivity. Something which I have always done, as finding what the best tools and approaches are available has often helped me to organise my working and personal time better. Initially I thought Notion was simply another note taking application like OneNote, EverNote and NoteShelf. I could not have been further from the truth. In fact, Notion allows you to capture notes and organise them, pretty much how you might want. This is because it is quite a versatile app that uses Databases and related Databases to connect all your stored information. However, it does not just stop there though – you can also use Notion to organise your wokload and workflow to become really productive.
I am going to pause here just to say – I am not receiving commission from Notion for this blog post. However, the reason I am posting about Notion, is simply because I have found it really helpful in my own research and writing work. It may not be for everyone out there, but it is certainly worth a look if you are interested in organising your work better.
One thing I will not be doing in this post is going into detail regarding how to use Notion, there are loads of great videos on YouTube that explain how to do this brilliantly. Especially by the likes of Thomas Frank, Marie Poulin and Keep Productive. These guys have utilised Notion in some really amazing ways, making it a one stop workspace for everything they are managing.
I have to admit that when I first started with Notion, things were a little slow. This was because I needed to learn exactly how to make the most out of the application in relation to my own research and writing projects. The guys previously mentioned really helped with this, as did the various templates available through the application. So, it was not long before I had setup a dashboard, a task list, an area for my research projects, an area for writing projects, an area for cases and investigations and also a kind of card index (more on that later).
Using Notion for Paranormal Research, Investigation and Documenting
So, you’re probably wondering how Notion could be useful for your own paranormal research, investigation and documentation by now. The great thing about Notion is that you can create databases to hold your information in, but then connect those together. Plus you could create loads links from the pages you can create in Notion to simply jump between your pages.
For example, you could create a page (within a database) that outlines information regarding a location that you have investigated. You could then link that page to other pages of information, perhaps one that has details regarding similar phenomena, which then allows you to quickly link together locations with similar information. And its this that starts to make Notion such a powerful tool for paranormal researchers and investigators. Being able to find patterns or similarities between those paranormal anomalies could help us all in understanding them more.
As I previously mentioned, we all have different approaches to how we document our investigations and research these days, but from watching some of those on YouTube that use Notion to organise their channels I think the application is versatile enough to perhaps fit many peoples approaches. For example, Thomas Frank has a video that explains how he uses Notion to organise, script and promote his YouTube videos. So, those ghost hunters that prefer to document their investigations by filming them and then creating content for YouTube may find Notion useful for organising this; and in turn have an excellent record of their work.
If you’re more like me and conduct a great deal of research, then that could mean you read a lot. Something that I have now started to do in order to try and retain more of the information from those books, is something called ‘active reading.’ The idea behind active reading is that you dont just read the book, you make notes as you read it. Now there are many different ways to make those notes depending on your prefernce and if you own the book too. Something I started to do was to write my notes directly into the book I am reading – something that took me a while to do. Then I review those notes and create a page in Notion for each one that is within its own database. The best way to describe this is that its like a cardfile index. The brilliant thing about this is that I can then filter that cardfile database within articles I write to show relavent topics, giving me good references.
The larger database with many entries from multiple books can also be used as inspiration for research or articles too. Most importantly, if I want to look into some particular area I can filter that whole list by a subject area, like perhaps ‘EVP’ to see what information I have on it. It is incredibly useful.
This kind of approach can be applied to your database of investigations too and pretty much anything else you set up within Notion.
The more you grow your wealth of information within Notion the more you will have at your disposal in one place that can be simply accessed for you to apply to future investigations, research and more.
Using Notion for arranging your events and investigations
These days with a requirement to access various locations, managing a calendar for this and those events is equally an important part to this puzzle. I certainly remember the days when I used to run a paranormal team, organising the teams investigations, collecting payment and paying locations was always something that had to be done too. Notion can be used for this too, especially as you can create a page for an event which can include details about payments, dates, those attending and more. This can be viewed, like all the databases in Notion, in various formats – one being a calendar view too.
This means that you can see what events you have booked and what their status is all in one view. Also, those events can be linked to your research too providing access to plenty of details that would be usful to you as an investigator and researcher.
You can even setup table views in Notion that act like spreadsheets so you can total them up if you need to track your groups expenses and income.
Information is Important
We are currently living in an informaiton age, where data helps run the world we live in. This is something that we as researchers and investigators should be equally vigilant of in our work to understand the paranormal field better. So, with this in mind finding a methodolgy to document the information we encounter and organise it so it can work for us, is brilliant in my opinion.
Gathering information on the locations we visit, the stories we read, the witness statements we receive, the books we read and the research we do will help grow our understanding of the paranormal. Having the ability to place all of that information in one place so we can access it and compare it, could be quite powerful.
I am not saying that this is the only thing you should use and there are no other options, there’s loads out there. Its simply one tool that I have been very impressed with recently and think its worth a try at least, if organising your information is important to you. At the end of the day, how we work has to be something that fits us individually. As it works for me – I wanted to share it with you all, simply because I stumbled on Notion, so thought many may not be aware of its existence.
The good news is that the first 1000 blocks are free to use. A block being what Notion uses to build pages. After that though it does cost – around $4 per month if memory serves me well. The good thing about that though is that its accessible through your phone, tablet and computer. I have it on my iPhone, iPad, iMac and Laptop. However, its also accessible from anywhere through a browser.
Check out Notion and see what you think – let me know if you like it and if you are going to use it moving forwards.