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Notion is a relatively new app garnering a lot of interest. It was released in 2015 and has grown to over 1 million users. There are many reasons for this rapid growth and all this interest but it could probably be summed up in one word – productivity. Mastering Notion improves either an individual’s productivity or a group or team. This article is a review and overview of Notion. As a starting point, there is little question that this is an excellent product well worth mastering. It is not essential to learn every nook and cranny of the product but it is necessary to understand the product and its structure so you can master what you’d like to employ it for.

Major criticism Surrounding Notion

There is really one major criticism surrounding the use of Notion. Notion is considered complicated and hard to wrap your mind around. People have a hard time trying to figure out where to start with Notion. Once you know what it’s all about and its structure, learning it becomes much easier. One reason for this is you can narrow what you want to do with the product and learn how to use it with applications for Notion. If you then decided you wanted to do something you would know whether Notion is appropriate and be able to extend your already learned skills.

Looking at Notion

Notion is an impressive program. It includes within it multiple components of application functionality. It can be:

  • Your note-taking program
  • outliner
  • task manager
  • information manager
  • information capture
  • database
  • research collection

and so much more.

Combining all these functions into one program enhances productivity. You reduce the need to bounce between programs. Further, within Notion, you have strong wiki capabilities. You can link a variety of information pieces to other information pieces which tend to build knowledge. Notion is not just an information manager then but a knowledge manager one of its strongest components.

A Place for Everything

Notion is considered your all-in-one app combining:

  • task management
  • note taking
    • outlining
  • capture tool
  • spreadsheet
  • database

and on it goes.

Students, researchers and teams love the functionality of Notion. It is cross-platform allowing members who use either Android or IOS not to be excluded. For many, this is their ultimate productivity enhancement tool.

There are other tools that have similar characteristics to Notion such as a hierarchical structure and cross-platform functionality however, these tools generally operate on the principle of folders in a hierarchy containing the information. Some people have a preference for this style whereas others find Notion the perfect adjunct tool to help maintain a semblance of order.

Other Tools

Notion is unique in its manner of operation. Other tools such as:

  • DEVONthink
  • Nimbus Note
  • Evernote (to a degree)
  • Notebook from Zoho

etc all use a hierarchical structure except Notebook. The key difference is that everything in Notion is held within a page and pages are often based hierarchically. Nimbus Notes, as an example, has many of the same capabilities as Notion but uses groups or folders to contain the items. For some, this seems more logical. However, the difference is only in the way one sets the hierarchy. A page holds/a folder holds and with either you build a comprehensive structure aided via tags and wiki-style links.

Is Notion better than say Nimbus Note or are they really quite similar? In many ways, they are very similar except that it is easier to wrap your mind around Nimbus. There is also no reason these programs can’t work together via wikis drawing on each other strengths.

Integration is becoming more predominant. DEVONthink using Public links and vice-a-versa can use notion Notes in DEVONthink. You can leverage the power of each one.

Notion is Incredibly Comprehensive

Mastering Notion or even just the thing you’d like to do with it is well worth the effort. This is a very comprehensive program allowing you to develop and combine the information in unique ways. Yes, it is initially hard to figure out exactly how to work with the program but once you do it is liberating.

Some people use the database functionality effectively to manage aspects of their business. Since they can do so much in this integrated program, results are immediately discernable.

This does not mean that when you first look at Notion results are immediately forthcoming. You have to bridge the learning hurdle to know how to do things and from that, you can see what it is you want to do.

Notion’s clean UI along with integrated functionality allows it to deliver results. The results are very worthwhile and go beyond what can be done in other programs especially if they are standalone.

Not Many Programs can do What Notion Does

The notion, because it is considered an all-in-one program, can do a lot. You can take simple notes just in a topic area or you can build a database to manage your workflow from one step to the next.

Utilizing Notions integrated WIKI functionality you can pull together information extremely well. You might have two pieces of information that are related but sitting far apart but once you apply the WIKI function you jump directly from one piece of information to another. This is powerful and not as complex as it sounds once you know how Notion works.

With its clean interface, and the ability to work solely or in teams, it can quickly become an indispensable tool. There is no reason to let the initial learning curve throw you off. More is being written about Notion daily that provides ideas on how to use the product. It has quickly risen to the highs of the productivity food chain and there are reasons for that.

Thomas Frank, a productivity specialist, has with time gotten very involved with Notion. He has developed some interesting uses for the program and even templates. In this video, he outlines aspects of Notion that he has found very helpful. The notion is the new kid on the block but it is proving to be a very interesting new kid.