Notion: App Review

There are numerous apps and platforms to choose from when it comes to helping you organize your time. In this post, I look at one that is turning out to be one of my favourite time management tools to-date, Notion.

I first heard about Notion on a productivity-related Subreddit.

A few users have been saying that they found it to be the best application to manage their schedule, so I thought I would give it a crack.

Here are my thoughts on this increasingly popular app.

What is Notion?

The people at Notion say that their goal with this platform was to blend many of the apps commonly used by the knowledge worker into an “all-in-one workspace”.

And I think that perfectly describes Notion in a few words. It combines the functionality of many different work-related apps, such as Evernote, Trello, Todoist, Google Calendar & Docs and allows you to plan, schedule, collaborate, take notes, add tasks, manage projects and more – but all in one place. I like to think of it as my Command Centre or Mission Control. It provides me with a complete overview of everything that is going on in my life.

First Impressions

Over the last few months, I have been experimenting with numerous productivity and time management tools and I have to admit that Notion was the first tool I have tested that I found to be a little intimidating on first impressions.

My initial thoughts were:

“This looks like it’s going to be a hassle to learn. Can I really be bothered learning another platform when the one I am using now is perfectly fine?”

I can imagine that I wasn’t the first person and certainly won’t be the last to have such thoughts on the first encounter with Notion.

However, the reviews I had seen up to this point were all stellar, so I had to give it a go. And after having watched a couple of tutorials on YouTube, I soon got into it and quickly realized that it wasn’t so difficult to use at all.

In retrospect, I think the reason why I had felt intimidated by Notion initially was the fact that I didn’t really understand its capabilities and exactly how it could be used to improve the way I organize my business and personal life. Once you have a handle on what it can do, it makes it much easier to set it up for your own personal requirements.

My Notion dashboard / Time Hack Hero

Using Notion

Notion is an incredibly versatile tool that can be used to manage all kinds of projects, tasks and schedules.

I am not going to show you how to set it up and use it here, because firstly, there is far too much to cover in a single post and secondly, there are already dozens of great videos on YouTube showing how different people use Notion.

So my suggestion would be to go and check out some of those before you get started. This is exactly what I did and I was up-and-running with it in no time at all.

A lot of the apps out there have very rigid formats that don’t allow much customization, so you’re kind of forced to work within the constraints set by the developer. But one of the many things I like about Notion is its flexibility. You can set up the systems in a way that matches how you want to work, which is a big advantage over many of the other individual apps.

Notion kanban board view / Time Hack Hero

You can import data directly from many different sources, which makes things convenient. For example, if you already have established data in Evernote, Asana or Trello, you can move it across directly. The same applies to Google Docs, Dropbox, Word and several others.

Notion is available as a mobile, desktop and web-based app and works across Mac, Windows, iOs and Android.

Pros & Cons

What you like and don’t like about Notion will probably depend on how you use it. For me with my still quite limited experienced of the platform, the most obvious pros and cons are as follows:

Pros

  • Clean, attractive and customizable interface to view and organize your data
  • Great range of templates provided
  • Can link to any page from anywhere
  • Captures code syntax correctly
  • No problem with pasting content into Notion
  • Free version adequate for many personal users

Cons

  • Requires some time to set up
  • No OCR or voice recording facility (which Evernote does have)
  • Cannot integrate the calendar with others, e.g. Google Calendar, Apple, Outlook, etc.
  • Although I am trying to keep things balanced here, I can’t think of any more at the moment!

Pricing

Notion currently has four different levels of service, but if you are an individual (as opposed to a team or whole company) that just requires a basic platform to manage your workflow, you will probably find that the free tier is perfectly sufficient for your needs.

There are some limits on file uploads and the number of blocks you can create with the free version, but if you find that you need greater capacity, the first paid tier is just $4 per month and offers unlimited file uploads and blocks. You can see the pricing overview here.

Time Hack Hero Takeaway

There are some great apps out there to help you organize, schedule and manage your time, but jumping from one to another can be a pain, so the idea, or dare I say notion, of something like Notion which blends the functionality of a calendar, to-do list, kanban board and many other things together on one platform will be attractive to many people.

After I got over the initial feeling of intimidation, I was very pleasantly surprised by the versatility and flexibility of this app.

There may well be some superior solutions out there, but I haven’t found one that I like better than this just yet. I will let you know when I do!

Whether or not Notion is a good solution for you really depends on what you need it for and the best way to find out is to give it a whirl.

Have you tried Notion? What are your thoughts? Or maybe you have found a more impressive alternative? Please let me know in the comments section below.

Get Notion here.

More reading

Remember The Milk: App Review

How To Use Time Blocking

Why Time Management Fails

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