Share
Explore

Old doc, new year: Part III

How I improved my most-used doc with Coda’s 2021 product improvements.
When I’m not at Coda, I narrate audiobooks and do career coaching, which means I have a lot of projects to manage, expenses to track, and invoices to send. For the past two years, I’ve written about how updating my doc for the new year highlighted just how much the product changed in 365 days ( and ).

Now that we’ve introduced , I’m excited to share the next installment in this trilogy. So here we are again one more time…Old doc, new year: Part III — The Return of the Doc-i.

A place for all notes.
When I’m working on a project, most of my content can be organized into a table — tasks, due dates, category, etc. But, inevitably I have some unstructured notes or “hey, don’t forgets” that I need a place for. I used to add a comment on a row or have a text column that I’d jot notes in. While these got the job done, it wasn’t very elegant.

Well, everything’s changed now that exist. I now have a neat and tidy place to put all of my idle thoughts. I’ve done this in a few spaces:
In my Clients table for notes on the relationship
In my Tasks table where I have complicated tasks where I need to remember decisions or use additional sources
In my Projects table where I store relevant links and meeting notes
In my Opportunities table where I store meeting notes
This simple addition has cleaned up every table and made my doc the all-in-one tracker I need it to be. And with the added new feature of going full screen on a row, I can jump into full note-taking mode at any time while keeping everything organized and connected.

Before canvas columns
Screen Shot 2022-01-21 at 11.19.11 AM.png
After canvas columns
Screen Shot 2022-01-18 at 2.29.40 PM.png
Dashboards that shine.
Like many of you, I was super excited by the new addition of multiple columns on a Coda page, but it didn’t click how transformative this would be until I started working with my own data.

Screen Shot 2022-01-18 at 2.25.39 PM.png

The new also gave my home page a facelift so I can see all the most important items above the fold of my doc. I now have a really easy way to see all the people I need to reach out to during the week making my communication priorities clear. I also love how they add a splash of color.

Screen Shot 2022-01-21 at 11.22.10 AM.png
Screen Shot 2022-01-18 at 3.33.52 PM.png

Solving problems with Coda formulas.
I also took this opportunity to try some new things out with the Coda formula language, including solving two problems I had:
Getting reminders of weekly and monthly tasks.
Tracking my progress towards a series of revenue goals.

Let’s start with my recurring tasks. In the past, I just tracked my weekly recurring tasks using a Coda automation to uncheck tasks on a weekly basis. This didn’t solve my monthly recurring tasks though so I just had a list and hoped I remembered (spoiler alert: I often forgot). So I ventured out to solve this once and for all. Here’s what my new solution looks like:

I have a Recurring Tasks table with a Week Number column.
If it is a weekly task, the Week Number column has the formula Sequence (1,52).
If it is a monthly task, I have the Iso Week Number for any week that falls at the end of a month.
I then have a column with a button that adds the row to my recurring task table, and it is disabled with the following formula Not(thisRow.[Week Number].Contains(IsoWeekNumber(Today()))).
Finally, I have an automation that pushes all of the active buttons in my recurring task table which adds them to my front page!

Screen Shot 2022-01-18 at 3.38.09 PM.png

Now, let’s explore the other problem: tracking various revenue goals. This year, I want to earn a certain amount of money in total, for audiobooks and coaching. The best way to hit a goal is to track it so I wanted an easy way to do so. I do this in two ways in my new doc:
With a series of formulas on my Sales page.
With a monthly summary on the Home page.

Screen Shot 2022-01-18 at 3.44.26 PM.png
Screen Shot 2022-01-18 at 3.44.59 PM.png
I populate the formula series using a lookup table of each project type. For example:

AllSales.Filter(ProjectType=Audiobook).Amount.Sum()

The home page formula uses the sneaky Rectangle formula:

Screen Shot 2022-01-18 at 3.48.16 PM.png

That may look complicated, but all I’m doing is taking my Progress to the goal into a rectangle and placing it next to my remainder for the goal using Concatenate. All those numbers you see are the color and dimensions of the rectangles.

And it’s a template.
In the past, I would make a copy of my old doc and delete all the rows. This was fine (I guess), but still took extra time. With the new 2021 feature of multi-page templates, I have a clean template ready and waiting for me to tinker with in 2023 with just a click of a button.

Revisit your edges.
I always enjoy revisiting my doc, but my new takeaway this year is how eye-opening it can be to get to the foundation of a doc and ask yourself “is there a better way?” Like a closet accumulating stuff, I realized I had been holding on to some schema and flows that were taking up too much space and found that starting from scratch opened new possibilities. Don’t be afraid to look at your work, take it apart, and put it back together again. After all, curiosity is the foundation upon which brilliance is built.


Join me and the rest of the Coda education team in our or the .
Want to print your doc?
This is not the way.
Try clicking the ⋯ next to your doc name or using a keyboard shortcut (
CtrlP
) instead.