What you can expect from this article.
- What is Notion?
- Notion vs Traditional Systems?
- How I Notion
- How to get Notion
- Additional Resources
"For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned." - Anonymous
What is Notion?
Notion is an All-In-One workspace. Notion’s platform allows you to create task oriented lists and projects, wikis, databases, lightweight CRM’s, tables, code repositories and almost anything else you cream dream up, imbed, or connect. How Notion is actually used is a much broader question because the possibilities are endless. Rather you are a student looking to organize and record everything related to your education, or teams within an organization housing centralized databases and task oriented goals to steer group success, there is application for you. If you’ve the slightest itch for databases, organizing data, taking notes, building beautiful lists, simplifying and minimizing, or collaborating Notion will scratch it. If this sounds intimidating, don’t stress.
Notion's Template Gallery will take care of two things for you in the immediate (i) it will allow you to visualize many of the possible workflow setups created by Notion and others (ii) and provide the ability to select and use any pre-built template until you learn how to build your own and edit layouts that accelerate your productivity.
Notion vs Traditional Systems
usability, customization, design
Before Notion, life was a bleak abyss absent of anything positive. Not really, but in hindsight it feels like that after spending the last two years with Notion. I have always been a note taker even outside of work and education. I have taken notes and organized my life in every format possible through mobile applications and other digital avenues (Evernote, Apple Notes, Microsoft’s One Note, Mind Node) to physical notebooks and journals alike, most notably Field Notes and Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner which I enjoyed thoroughly alongside the cons that accompany any physical notebook.
For the longest time I found myself coming back to a planner or notebook that involved physical note taking. Like reading a hardback book, there is something special about writing down notes and doodling on paper opposed to reading or writing digitally, not to mention the research on transference, recall, and memory opposed to typing. More on that below in the resources section 👇 . I signed up for Notion on January 1st of 2019 and I haven’t looked back. Twenty four months later I am still as excited, motivated, and hungry to use and learn Notion as I was on day one. One of the more obvious benefits is Notion’s multi-platform usability. Imagine the below scenario.
📌 Scenario: I am in my office reviewing the needs of our finance department in Notion on my iMac. A reminder pops up alerting me that I have staff meeting in five minutes. I grab my iPad Pro, and make my way towards our conference room where I open my iPad and continue working on the same Notion task since everything updates in real time. I can conveniently continue work before switching to my Meeting’s page where I will take notes on todays conversations and follow up with team members later. Halfway through the meeting, I get up to use the restroom and refill my coffee. I run downstairs, take care of both desires and on my way back, I run into a manager who asks me if I have those updated forms and some time to discuss them. I respond that at the moment, I am in the middle of a meeting but simultaneously pulling out my iPhone and clicking into Notion where I land in my dashboard and add a reminder note to send the dispatch manager a meeting request to connect by end of current day.
The scenario mentioned above happens to me quite frequently. I cannot continually build, document, and organize with this amount of flexibility on any traditionally platforms or planners. My experience with other digital note taking systems have not been that seamless either. Consolidating all of my tools, projects, and data into one single workspace that I have access to at all times has been a game changer for my productivity and meeting the needs of my teams.
Next up is what I believe to be one of Notion’s competitive advantages — it’s unique design options and customization. The market is full of CRM’s, planners, workplace softwares, and other tools that offer 50% of what you want or need. Finding one that offers more is rare and finding one with customization and appealing UI, forget it. With Notion, climbing toward that 75% and higher range where the combination of consolidation and design together equal pure gold to the introverted, obsessive–compulsive prolific note taker.
When designing a website, we think deeply about information overload, space, click through rate, the flow of information, how many clicks it will take from start to finish, and the customer experience from the UI/UX. We test and test and test and tweak and refine and test and test and optimize. Unfortunately we don’t use that lens for most softwares and platforms though. Notion understands this. It isn’t simply a product, it’s a philosophy. It’s a way of being productive, organizing, living, and being efficient so you can be affective in whatever format fuels you the most. A mindset I don’t see in most SAAS. I could go on about the pros of Notion but let me show you three areas of my life which I use Notion.
How I notion
I use Notion in many ways, but I will share a few of my favorites below. First, my weekly dashboard, followed by a collaborative dashboard, an internal design board for a clothing line, and a Human Resources hub encompassing eight major HR Functions.
Here is a screenshot of where I spend a lot of time in Notion. My dashboard is my landing page, and every Friday before I leave the office, I reset this for the following week, so I am prepared the moment I return to my office. This format allows me to visualize weekly needs, reward myself when completing them, and input tasks on the go as they arise.
On the collaborative dashboard, our teams can see what projects current or on deck, which team members are working on them, their status, and their priority. While there are some powerful collaborative tools and more being created every year, Notion is a great tool for a customization amongst small to mid-size teams. If you've managed a team before, you understand the challenges of moving the needle in your business and providing clear communication around those goals.
Clothing Line Design
Here is a cool table used in gallery format, with each card as a merchandise item. Upon clicking inside, you can see action items that need to be done, conversations around pricing, design documents, and monthly sales information on that item.
Human Resources Hub
Notion offers awesome templates for teams, and even a page of how other companies are using Notion that I couldn't recommend enough. Above is a screenshot of how I've created a hub bucketing all of the HR functions I prioritize in our company. While I don't store any private information inside Notion, it is a fantastic function for organization and quick storage or recall.
How to get Notion
Simply download it, what are you waiting for? Whether you are using a Mac or a PC, desktop users can download each version here 👈. Mobile users can download Notion directly from the app stores or by clicking here for iPhone users at the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store for Android users. If you prefer to use the web browser instead, that is an option as well by going to Notion.so and logging in. Best of all, for individual users, Notion is now free! Lastly, Notion raised an additional $50 Million last summer amidst the start of our pandemic. I see a bright future for Notion which entails adding more features and API integration to their already powerful software as remote work continues to be the new norm.
Below I have provided some resources on Notion, note taking, research papers, and individuals in the space who provide great content.
✍️ Summary of Writing vs Typing