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Should I Use Notion? 

By: Aidan O’Brien, CAPM; Editor: Dr. Michael J. Shick, MSPM, PMP, CSM

Hey there, welcome to an in-depth Notion review.

I’ve been using Notion for over two years now, and it has become an integral part of my daily workflow. From taking notes to organizing personal notes to managing complex project timelines, Notion has proven to be a versatile tool in numerous scenarios. Notion and its Notion pages are not just another productivity app; it’s a powerful, all-in-one workspace that has revolutionized the way I approach both my personal and professional tasks. What I like best about Notion is you don’t need to be a computer science major to leverage it’s capabilities.

In this review, I’ll break down all the crucial details and answer every critical question you might have. We’ll delve into its features, assess its pros and cons, and determine whether it provides good value for your specific needs. This way, you get a clear picture of what’s included, the benefits you can derive, and whether it offers good value for your specific needs.

So, let’s explore more of what makes Notion a standout tool in the productivity space and see if it’s the right fit for you.

An open laptop displays a blank "Pros" and "Cons" chart on its screen, placed on a white desk. The desk also has a cup, a notebook, a pot with black pencils, and part of a green plant in a glass vase. The background features vertical white paneling—ideal for pondering the question: Should I use Notion?

Pros and Cons of Using Notion

Pros:

Flexibility and Customization: Notion’s flexibility is one of its strongest selling points. Whether you are a student, a freelancer, a project manager, or a CEO, Notion can be tailored to fit your specific needs. You can create pages and databases for almost anything—from personal journals and class notes to intricate project management tasks, timelines, and customer relationship management (CRM) systems. This flexibility extends to the various views you can apply to your data, such as Kanban boards, calendars, and lists, which can be customized with different properties and filters to show precisely what you need. Moreover, forget about previous research articles, Notion allows you to save your page history for easy reference in the future. Notion excels at handling project management tasks, providing features like task lists, Kanban boards, and timelines to keep everything organized and on track.

Integration with Other Tools: Notion’s ability to integrate with other tools is another significant advantage. Seamless integration with tools like Slack, Google Drive, Trello, and Zapier means that you can consolidate your work into a single platform. This integration is not just about convenience; it can significantly enhance workflow efficiency. For instance, you can link your Notion tasks to your Google Calendar, ensuring that you never miss a deadline, or connect it to Slack for instant updates on project progress.

Collaborative Features: In today’s digital world, collaboration is key, and Notion excels in this area. Its real-time collaboration feature ensures that team members can work together seamlessly, even when they are miles apart. You can assign tasks, leave comments, mention teammates, and track progress, all in real time. This makes Notion an excellent tool for team-based projects, whether you’re a small startup or a large corporation. The collaborative nature of Notion helps in keeping everyone on the same page, facilitating smoother and more efficient teamwork.

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Cons:

Learning Curve: One of the main drawbacks of Notion is its steep learning curve. New users may find Notion’s interface overwhelming at first, especially if they are used to simpler, more straightforward productivity tools. The sheer number of features and customization options can be daunting. However, once you get past this initial hurdle, the possibilities are virtually limitless. To ease this transition, Notion offers numerous templates and community resources. There are extensive online tutorials, user forums, and even courses dedicated to helping users master Notion.

Performance Issues: Another potential downside is performance issues, especially with large data sets. Notion can become slow and unresponsive when handling large databases or complex pages with numerous elements. This can be frustrating and impact productivity. However, there are ways to optimize data management to mitigate these issues. Regularly archiving old data, minimizing the use of heavy elements like large images, and keeping your entire workspace well organized can help maintain Notion’s performance.

Limited Offline Access: Notion’s reliance on internet connectivity can be a significant limitation for some users. Most of Notion’s features require an internet connection, which means that if you often work offline or in areas with unstable internet, you might find this limiting. While Notion does offer limited offline capabilities, these are not as robust as those of some other productivity tools. For users who need constant access to their notes and projects without the internet, this can be a deal-breaker.

DALL·E 2024 06 05 12.39.41 A clear and balanced image depicting the quick verdict on using Notion. One side shows a person happily working with icons representing the pros prod

Quick Verdict

Verdict:

Notion is a powerful, versatile tool worth trying if you need a comprehensive productivity solution that can adapt to a wide range of needs. Its flexibility and extensive feature set make it suitable for individuals and teams looking to streamline their workflows. Further, it allows you to group related items, otherwise known as Notion stacks, to organize pages, link databases, coalesce templates, and more.

Key Selling Points:

Notion offers unparalleled account customization and a robust feature set, including databases, templates, and integrations, that can accommodate a wide array of personal and professional needs.

Overcome Objections:

While it might seem complex at first, Notion’s extensive templates and community resources significantly ease the learning process. With a bit of patience and exploration, users can unlock the full potential of this powerful tool.

Minor Criticisms:

Some users might experience slow performance with extensive databases, which can be mitigated by optimizing data management practices. Additionally, reliance on internet connectivity for most features can be a limitation for those needing constant offline access.

That said, Notion’s free plan is a great starting point; however, to really leverage the app’s power, I recommend the AI or paid version of the software.

Green banner with white text reads, "Should I Use Notion? START USING NOTION TODAY.

Try the free version of Notion today and see how it can streamline your workflow and enhance your productivity! Whether you’re managing a personal project or leading a team, Notion has the tools you need to succeed.

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Who is it For?

Notion is for:

Individuals Seeking a Customizable Productivity Tool: Whether you’re a student, freelancer, or entrepreneur, Notion’s flexibility allows you to tailor it to your unique needs. Create personal journals, manage study notes, track freelance and personal plans and projects, create charts, or build an all-encompassing personal dashboard.

Teams Needing a Collaborative Workspace for Project Management: Notion’s real-time collaboration features make it ideal for teams. You can assign tasks to-do lists, track project progress, and ensure everyone is on the same page. From startups to small teams to large corporations, Notion facilitates efficient teamwork.

Project Managers Looking for an All-in-One Solution: Notion combines multiple productivity tools into one platform, offering project managers a comprehensive solution for tracking tasks, using project boards, managing timelines, and coordinating team efforts.

Notion is not for:

Users Needing Constant Offline Access: If you often work without internet connectivity, Notion’s reliance on online features can be a significant limitation for personal use. While it offers some offline capabilities, they are not as robust as those of other tools.

Those Looking for a Simple, Out-of-the-Box Solution: Notion’s extensive customization options come with a learning curve. If you’re looking for a quick overview of a straightforward, ready-to-use business productivity tool with minimal setup, Notion might feel overwhelming.

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Product Overview

What is Notion?

Notion is an all-in-one workspace designed for note-taking, call-taking, project management software, and database functions. It integrates various productivity tools into a single platform, offering users a versatile and customizable environment for both personal and professional use.

Key Benefit/Unique Selling Point:

Notion’s key benefit lies in its versatility and customization options. It combines multiple functionalities—such as note-taking app call-taking, task management, databases, and templates—into one cohesive platform. This makes it a unique productivity tool that can be tailored to suit a wide range of needs.

What does it do/come with?

Task and Project Management:

What is it? Notion’s task and project management features are robust, providing tools like Kanban boards, calendars, task lists, and timelines. These features allow users to track tasks, set deadlines, assign responsibilities, and monitor project progress.

Why is it special? The integration of these tools within a single platform means you don’t have to switch between different applications to manage your tasks and projects. The customization options allow you to tailor these tools to your specific workflow, whether you prefer a visual Kanban board or a detailed calendar view.

My Experience: Using Notion for project management has greatly improved team collaboration and project oversight. The ability to assign tasks, set due dates, and monitor progress in real time has streamlined our project workflows. I can easily see what needs to be done, who is responsible, and what the status is, which has enhanced our productivity and efficiency.

Databases and Templates:

What is it? Notion’s databases and templates are extensive and highly customizable. Databases can organize information in tables, lists, galleries, or boards and can include various types of data such as text, dates, and files. Templates are pre-built structures that can be customized and reused for different purposes.

Why is it special? The ability to create custom databases and templates means you can set up your workspace exactly how you need it. This flexibility is particularly valuable for complex workflows that require detailed data management and organization.

My Experience: The database functionalities and pre-built templates have saved me significant time in setting up project workflows and organizing data. I’ve used templates for project planning, content creation, and personal task management, all of which have streamlined my processes and made my work more efficient.

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Conclusion

Recommendation:

I highly recommend Notion to anyone looking for a comprehensive productivity tool that offers significant customization and collaborative features. Its versatility makes it suitable for a wide range of users, from individuals managing personal tasks to teams working on complex projects.

Proof:

Based on my evaluation and the past year of extensive use, Notion provides substantial value through its versatile functionalities and seamless integrations with other apps. Its ability to adapt to different needs and workflows makes it a standout tool in the productivity space.

Address Objections:

While there is a learning curve, ample resources are available to help new users get up to speed quickly, such as templates to act as your dedicated success manager. The initial complexity is outweighed by the benefits of having easy access to a highly customizable and integrated workspace.

Green banner with white text reads, "Should I Use Notion? START USING NOTION TODAY.

Create your free account with Notion today and transform your productivity with this powerful tool! Whether you’re a new page, managing a personal project, or leading a team, Notion has the tools you need to succeed.

About the author: Aidan O’Brien, CAPM, is a project management professional at ROSEMET LLC and is currently pursuing an MBA at Western Carolina University.