The Notion app is a game-changer: Thanks to this productivity software, I have been able to take my focus and productivity to a new level since the end of 2020. Today, Notion serves as my task management and life operating system.
What is Notion?
Notion isn’t just a productivity software and it is way more than just another Evernote in new clothes. Rather, it is an app that allows users to create customized systems and applications without using code.
To use another buzzword: Notion is a no-code-tool that allows you to:
- Save and manage notes
- Create databases
- Organize Kanban boards
- An internal wiki create
- Set calendars and reminders
- Track tasks and habits
- Schedule and write blog posts
- Manage teams
- Create a personal homepage
- Build a Zettelkasten system
- and much more
Notion allows you to connect different pages through linked databases. You can create pages within pages or databases within databases in Notion. In a way, you can build different “apps” on every page and connect them with each other, which allows you to build an all-encompassing “Life Operating System”.
As a result, The more apps you are currently using to coordinate your work and life, the more you will fall in love with Notion.
How is Notion different from Evernote?
In fact, Notion and Evernote are two entirely different apps:
Evernote helps users collect their files in one place. It’s a note-taking app at its core.
Notion, on the other hand, allows you to build systems. You can use it for note-taking or any other task imaginable.
For the past decade, Evernote has been THE dominant note-taking app in the world. It has also been used for many other productivity tasks due to a lack of alternatives. In recent years, however, many competitors have sprung up like mushrooms, often solving these productivity tasks even better.
Notion is the biggest of those newcomers.
Why am I using Notion?
Most productivity apps like Monday, Evernote, Trello, or Airtable offer relatively limited customization options. They are excellent for the use-cases they were made for, but not flexible enough to do other things. Although you can organize tasks with Trello very easily, the app is hardly usable for saving notes or for writing internal wikis, blog posts, or even entire books.
Evernote is great for storing and managing notes and excellent for writing but is less suited as a task manager. With Notion you can basically do everything: Task management, habit tracking, content creation, learning, or note-taking. Of course, apps that focus on doing one task well can often do that very task better than Notion.
Be aware that Notion is a generalist, not a specialist. However, it solves most tasks so well that it is easily replacing some of the many apps you are using in your life. Disclaimer: You don’t need to use Notion for everything!
Another point that speaks for Notion is that our brains are all wired differently: so while some apps work beautifully for the app developers, they may not be attuned to the way your brain works and thinks. In a way, Notion is like Lego: Normal toys dictate relatively rigidly how children should play with them. In contrast, Lego is offering it’s users total flexibility. They can use the bricks to build airplanes, police-station, castles, machines, or whatever comes to their mind. Similarly, with Notion you can build anything you want; and you even don’t need to know how to code!
Some examples: You could build a habit tracker that is unique to you instead of using habit trackers created by some developer who doesn’t have a clue about your brain structure.
That’s why Notion is the first productivity app I’ve actually stuck with. Precisely because it is so much fun to play around with the many possibilities and create something new.
How should you start with Notion?
If you want to try Notion, I recommend you just sign up with the free plan and first try Notion’s many features. For most users, the free plan should be enough. Just in case you want to manage teams in Notion, I would recommend upgrading.
Now, try starting with the simple stuff. Don’t get overwhelmed. You could begin with building
- A daily journal
- A simple Habit Tracker
- Or a task management database
Tips for the first few weeks with Notion
Notion can feel overwhelming in the beginning. It takes time to get used to all the functionalities and the learning curve is definitely very steep. It is therefore advisable to start with some of the free templates that are offered by Notion., or on my site. However, over time, customize those templates and optimize them to your personal needs.
Personally, I’ve been using Notion for a little over 1 year now but my Life Operating System is still a “work in process” simply because it’s constantly evolving and I am refining it every day.
I hope that you will also have a lot of fun with Notion and I am curious about your experiences with it,