Notion: Note-taking Made Clean, Efficient, and Simple, But Is It Right For You?

How many times have you scribbled a note for yourself on paper and thought, “There’s probably an app for this”. Not only are you correct, I would argue that Notion is much more than a note-taking app.

With excellent functionality on desktop and mobile, Notion can easily help you organize a brainstorming meeting or shared family chore list from wherever you are. Here I will give a review on Notion to help you decide if it will fit your needs.

What Is Notion?

Notion brands itself as an all-in-one workspace in which you are able to create, strategize, collaborate as well as get organized – it enables you to take notes, add duties, manage tasks & many other things.

Notion offers the building blocks, and you are able to make your very own layouts and toolkit to get work accomplished. Lots of people talk about Notion as an “internal wiki” that enables individuals and teams to plan their goals, work, and projects.

This workspace opens a gorgeous interface where you can build your own personal base (with limitless levels of content) and view it in a kanban perspective, a calendar, or even a basic list view. You could also take your workflows to the next level and enter everything, creating databases and spreadsheets. Notion operates across all platforms including on Android, Windows, Mac, iOS, and Web.

Before getting into the nitty gritty of the workflow in Notion, I want to discuss the Notion app itself. The basic style and visual of the app is quite clean and attractive. It’s a no nonsense sort of app that removes some fluff and unneeded features that several other note-taking apps might have. Some might be against the ease of Notion and its settings, but in my opinion, this is a stand-out quality.

Many features are actually integrated when using the app. Easily turn a page into a To Do List, Outline, Plain Text Editor, or another layout with the options it provides for you to select when using the app. Rather than being forced to choose what page type you would like at the get go, Notion enables you to blend all of the components within one page, enabling you to have a really complex set of directions for whatever task you are planning. 

Next, we’ll take a quick dive into a couple of features that make it shine.

Benefits of Notion

1. Highly effective Note Taking

One of the cornerstone Notion functions is a powerful note taking. You are able to include a list, simple text, video clips, audio, code snippets – it is your choice. This will make creating a standalone page or perhaps database a breeze.

2. Integration

Your Notion workspace is able to sync with lots of existing resources to streamline your workflow. It supports integration with lots of email clients and site tools like Typeform, the Google Calendar app, as well as Google Drive. 

3. Templates

In order to cut set up time, the Notion program allows you to produce guides for your notes. It is then very easy to replicate pages in the database and build brand new pages in seconds.

For instance, you are able to quickly produce a standardized template for composing all the blog posts. This way, when your content staff is producing a brand new article, they are able to use that template as a launchpad to get started. For some free and paid templates to get you started, visit Notion’s Template Gallery here.

4. Task and Project Tracking 

While Notion is mainly a wiki application, you are able to use it to assign activities and build projects for your team. As each activity is saved on a Kanban board, you are able to quickly move these activities around or link tasks together.

You could also generate folders to further categorize the notes. Owners can also enable notifications to remain informed of any brand new project developments.

5. Variable Views

Versatility and individuality was clearly important to the makers of Notion. They seemed to understand that different people prefer to track time management activities in different ways, and offering variable views certainly gives them a leg up here. 

While Notion’s main list and Kanban views are not optimal for me, Notion also provides you with a to do list view which organizes all the tasks of yours in a neat To Do list. This is my favorite, because it lets you immediately take inventory of what is on your plate– nothing more, nothing less– and from there, you simply check off the list as you accomplish your tasks.

Disadvantages of Notion

While Notion is an excellent knowledge base application, it is not flawless. Below are a few areas that hold it back from becoming the ideal all-in-one option.

1. Cannot Outdo Specialized Project Management Tools

Notion would like to be a task management alternative; yet, it lacks many task management capabilities that you would expect from one.

In-built Gantt charts, assigned reviews, customizable project statuses and reminders are only a few task management staples lacking from Notion’s feature list.

2. Overly eager tutorials

Once inside the app, Notion provides tutorials to help you get oriented, but unfortunately, it feels a lot more like force feeding. The app is overly zealous to teach you what you are able to do with it that it stops you from becoming acquainted at your own pace. As a result, I’d have to grapple with the method that Notion wanted me to use for something as simple as inserting a new table. I discovered it is extremely tough to quickly take my plans, notes, ideas, and throw them into Notion in a way that is going to make sense to me later.

3. Not Inherently Scalable

Notion is a tool that is largely created for small teams and individuals. It is not an efficient collaboration option for large companies; unless they only want to put it to use as a knowledge base. Multifactor productivity will not be its strongest point.

Large teams could run into huge problems with Notion’s limited collaborative abilities and may be better served by a committed task management tool. I would certainly keep my eye on their What’s New page to check for any new functionality upgrades.

In Conclusion

Notion could certainly be the answer for those looking to organize their daily lives in a simple and effective way. From real estate agents to content creators, from homemakers to writers, Notion can be quite flexible and mold to anything you need; though it seems that personal users and small teams tend to get the most thorough use of the product. 

As always, the very best way to make your decision is checking around and finding examples of how people around the world are actually using it. 

If you’re still not convinced, you can simply visit their test and homepage live in the embedded demo webpage (no membership required). You can also sign up for a Free plan and see how you could incorporate it into your home, work, and life flow.

All photos by Karolina Grabowska

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