Managing mentorship session notes with Notion

Melissa Schmitz
Amazing Together
Published in
6 min readJan 15, 2024

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A simple template to keep track of sessions!

Photo by Pauline Bernard on Unsplash

In the early days of my mentorship on ADPList, I would primarily have one-off sessions and maybe one long-term mentee at a time. Mentees would prepare a broad question they wanted me to answer for the session and it would usually be very specific to their personal journey. These sessions were so general and disparate that something like keeping a note on Apple Notes for each individual session was enough.

Fast forward almost 2 years later, I’m averaging triple the sessions per month, most of my mentees are long-term or group sessions and I’ve niched down to XR Design. While niching down has benefitted my mentees tremendously by allowing me to provide more directed value, as a result, there’s a lot of overlap. I’m constantly sharing the same resources, making similar recommendations to multiple mentees, and it all starts to blend together in your head as a mere mortal.

Did I tell mentee X about this upcoming event they should attend?
Have I already sent mentee Y that particular resource document?
What was the original goal mentee Z had when we started 4 weeks ago?

You get the picture.

While I am starting to create content both here on Medium and on YouTube to help manage the repeatability problem, I still needed something better to keep my notes together.

Building the Notion Templates

My mentoring Notion setup is as simple as two primary pages:

  1. A calendar view to house a schedule of all individual sessions
  2. A timeline view to keep track of long-term mentees with overlapping sessions

I’ll walk you through the features of each view so you can easily set it up yourself!

Calendar View

To create a calendar view, make a new page and click the “…” to expand your template options and select “Calendar”.

Using a template to create the calendar view

This will create a calendar that you can populate with various items, as shown below.

Calendar view of individual sessions

Here in the calendar view you can create one note for each individual session. You can create them by hovering over a day and clicking the “+” button that appears in the top left corner of the day.

When you have long-term mentees, this will still be one note for each session in the long-term mentorship series. I demarcate the session number as “W#” (week number) because I do weekly sessions, but you are free to modify this to your needs.

In this view, I’d also recommend adding any travel or events that may impact your scheduling just for reference. This is especially the case for long-term mentorship, which currently doesn’t honor blackout dates when automatically scheduling sessions. So be careful of this!

If you click on a session note, it will look like this:

Individual session notes

What you put in your meeting notes will vary based on how you like to run your mentorship sessions. But at minimum, I like to include:

  1. A unique icon or profile photo of your mentee so it’s easier to make that mental connection of who the session is with.
  2. The goal of that session at the top (either the session description from the mentee or what I plan to help them with in the session).
  3. Preparation notes I made for the session (e.g., if it’s a portfolio review, some high-level points I want to address).
  4. In-session notes that I wrote down during the session.
  5. Specific action steps both me and my mentee should take after this session and/or before the next session.

You may choose to add other properties like tags to the note, if you see fit.

The main benefit with this calendar setup is that you can easily see all your sessions at a glance. I don’t know about you, but a lot of appointments (including ADPList) get automatically populated into the same calendar on Google Calendar, so I can’t just isolate that calendar to see only ADPList appointments. Functionally speaking, the rest is like any other notetaking app but with the benefit of connecting to a database as I’ll show in the next step.

Timeline View

To make a timeline view, you add another new page and click the “…” to reveal the Timeline template.

Using a template to create the calendar view

Once created, it will ask you to select a data source to continue. For this, just click the “+ New database” option in the right sidebar.

Adding a new database

From there, you should get something like what’s shown below with a few default “cards” that populate the timeline. You can either edit them or delete them and create new ones.

Timeline view for all long-term mentees

When you click on a name, it will bring up a page unique to that mentee (shown on the right). In the date section, you can specify the start and end dates of your long-term mentorship, which will change the length of the bar in the timeline.

This was really helpful to me in a case when I errantly changed something in my ADPList calendar settings and suddenly had more sessions than I was expecting. But it can also help you manage the bandwidth you have for taking on additional long-term mentees with this simple visualization.

Since this is a page dedicated to one mentee, I like to include:

  1. Similar to the sessions notes, a unique icon or profile photo of your mentee to make that visual connection in your brain.
  2. Key notes about the mentee (e.g., background, experience, key goals, portfolio link) at the top that I can easily reference.
  3. A list of resources I’ve sent them, particularly for resources I share with most mentees, so I don’t waste time asking if I sent it to them already.
  4. Links to individual session notes (the ones we created in the calendar view) so I can quickly jump to notes from a particular session. You can add them by using the /link command and searching for the session name.
  5. Optionally, if you plan to meet up in-person with some of your mentees (such as an outside event or conference) or host a group session they may attend, you could add a note about their RSVP to the event.

Once you have these basics, you may customize it to your heart’s content!

The major benefit I found with this is that everything is organized in one place. No longer do I have to scroll through my mentorship session folder in Apple Notes to find a session (especially if I edit it and it changes the date!). I can just pull up the page for the mentee with an easy search and go from there!

I hope this helps! Happy mentoring!

Melissa Schmitz is a mentor on ADPList specializing in XR Design and UX Research for XR applications. She offers a combination of individual mentorship sessions, long-term mentorship, and group sessions on the platform, such as the Intro to XR Design group session, which was featured in a recent ADPList article. Having achieved the 1,000 mentorship minutes and 50 mentorship sessions milestones over a short period of time, she has been named a global top 1% mentor twice, once in October 2022 and again in December 2023 and is currently one of the global Top 10 Female Mentors in XR Design on the platform.

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Melissa Schmitz
Amazing Together

Research engineer in emerging tech (prototyping XR, UX, autonomy). ✦ http://linktr.ee/melissa_xr